My adventure with SAGA begins four years ago in the house of a friend, with the supplement “Northern Fury” strategically abandoned on a table so that when I passed by its side I noticed of the cover and its bloody attractive, then I get hooked to the wargames again after ten years without touching a miniature.
And this is saga, hook fast but difficult to master. Get the most of a warband is very complicated with all the possibilities that you have due to the high number of bands that you can face combined with all the available scenarios.
Take, for example, the band that I’m playing with nowadays, the Moors. It is a band in which the warlord is mounted, the HG are armed with javelins and mounted on horse and the warriors have the option of riding with javelins or fight on foot with spears. The levies have the option to go armed with bows or crossbows, with extra fatigue in the last case.
A fast look to the moors battleboard and immediately we will realize that the maximum match to the abilities is taken away having units of warriors on foot, since we have two types of abilities at our disposal, those that serve us to strengthen infantry units not armed with ranged weapons (Song of drums, Impaling spears, Dance of spears and Fury of swords) and those which serve to hinder the orders and plans of the enemy warlord (Discord, The Moors gold, Doubts, Friendly fire, and Betrayal). Apart we have a special ability: Corruption a skill that will have to be used with care since although it is very useful at some point in the battle, it can also favor our enemy...
Not forgetting that we have at our disposal a hero of the crusades as Ben Yusuf and the Black Guard, in addition to the dogs of war that would be the daylami, naffata, trucomans...
On the other hand you have to keep in mind that if your army is mostly cavalry you can turn it into an Andalusian band in which your riders will be able to fire their javelins before or after the movement as if they were compound bows.
All this said I tell you how I have evolved my band.
At first and while growing my collection of figures I started using 2 units of foot warriors and 2 units of guards on horseback with javelins. With this arrangement I faced the Milites Christi several times, and despite hampering the plans of the enemy, I was overcome by the hardly offensive abilities of the Milites, and is because you need 3 or 4 saga dice to screw the enemy plans which left me few dice to activate offensively the units during my turns besides the weakness of the cavalry of hearthguards in front of the crossbows.
Then I tried the option to use the Blackguard, for 3 points I had a unit of 8 Heathguards armed with spears plus another 2 points of warriors on foot and a unit of levies with bows, playing six points already, but it was such a disaster the first time I faced Milites again and have not used that warband again.
At this point I thought I need more dice so I started using the Priest (Religious Advisor), 3p of warriors in 2 units of 12, 1p of levy archers and the last point as a unit of mounted hearthguards or mounted warriors as bodyguards of my warlord. This disposition was the first that began to give me some victorys, using less offensive tactics each time, reserving and remaining defensive until the moment of making decisive charges when the enemy was sufficiently diminished ... Until I faced the Spanish and discovered that the Priest was completely useless because having many dice on the board did not bring me anything good and needed to counter the harassment of jinetes’ light cavalry. So I changed the priest for 4 naffatum (thanks to the advice of Monty Luhman)
The naffata have not stopped giving me joy and have helped me to get some victories although I am still finishing to determine my moors warband and my style of play. Being more and more defensive and trying to find the ideal moment to go on the offensive, depending on the opponent and the scenario at stake.
Nowadays I’m using 4 units of 8 warriors with 1 naffata each (5p) and another unit of warriors on horseback with javelin although I am studying the possibility of using Turcomans in their place since the fact to shoot before the move and move + C in each activation can be very unbalanced against certain enemies...
As a conclusion I can only say that it is difficult to get bored with this game, the possibilities offered by each band, considering the combinations that occur in the scenarios are many, I would dare say infinite if I take into account the time that leaves my “normal” life to dedicate to the game, without going any further I tell you that I already have one eye on the armies of the caliphates mounted figures from Footsore to prepare a 6 points Andalusi-Moors warband and increase my collection of Moors to 8 or even 10 points!!!
Author: Carlos Caston
Civil engineer by day, painter of miniatures by night. Family man at all times and wargamer when it's possible. Collector of Dark Ages 28mm scale miniatures mainly. Sagaholic and trained to survive in a zombie apocalypse.