Sunday, 19 February 2017
In the post game phase, both forces suffered a slight decline in their numbers due to battle attrition. The Danes had plenty of wealth and were able to reinforce some of these losses, but the Saxons are penniless and have to rely on the mercy of the fates. This was reasonable with another six levy joining, but the Saxon commander is really struggling and thinking of defecting to Welsh allies! At the end of season 2 the Saxon contingent is really struggling, while the Danes and Vikings are roughly neck and neck in front.
Three games in then and it's possible to make a slightly more informed opinion of the Age of the Wolf supplement. It's a great idea, there are four new scenarios to play (including the one above) and there is huge scope for narrative development with all the little traits and abilities of the warlords, the fates, reinforcements, and such like. The book is pretty well laid out and it's reasonably easy to follow the procedure around seasons, games and campaign mechanics. There is a problem with forces being mismatched, it's not explained at all well. And the random events can be very unfair - Saxon flood and famine coupled with Vikings gaining ten hearthguard (elite) troops springs to mind. As we prepare for season three it's clear that the Saxons are really struggling. It's also very unclear as to there being any way they can get out the predicament.
Tuesday, 31 January 2017
|Stage 1 : Prime and wash|
|Stage 2 : Leathers base coat|
|Stage 3 : Flesh, base and metal base coats|
|Stage 4 : base coat remaining garments|
That's all I managed I'm afraid, it's been a busy month in other areas so little time for hobby painting. These are close to completion, just the hair and fur, bows and arrows and a little weathering left to do. Let's hope they do not attract the attention of PETA!
Sunday, 22 January 2017
|Baggage train heads to the left flank|
The battlefield was fairly open, a couple of small wood copses in the centre. A small skirmish down the Viking right flank opened the action, a unit on each side falling in combat, with the Vikings deciding it was too difficult to get past the archer levy on that side. The baggage train headed to the left flank. The action switched to the centre, location of the bulk of the Viking army, while a single unit of warriors accompanied the cargo to the left. The Saxon army attempted to relocate their troops.
|Warlords face off|
The fighting in the centre was sporadic and non-decisive for the most part. A concerted charge by the Viking warlord into the Saxon Lord should have seen him hacked to pieces, but the gods deserted the Viking dice and the Saxon Lord escaped by the skin of his teeth - or rather by the sacrifice of his hearthguard unit. Meanwhile, the baggage train lumbered on, ever to the left flank and a much smaller Saxon defending force.
|Action on the left flank|
In an attempt to clear the way, Viking warriors on the left flank charged but came off second best, though both sides were now considerably depleted. In the centre, a devastating Saxon arrow volley completely wiped out a warrior unit, leaving the Viking warlord marooned with his far more pathetic levy archers, who seemed unable to hit anything even though it was just yards in front of them. But Loki came to their aid, whispering false rumours in Saxon ears, warriors slinking away from the battle for no apparent reason (this being one of the more esoteric Viking battleboard abilities).
|The Final Showdown|
As with many a game of Saga, it had been a brutal affair, corpses littered the ground. As the centre was now depleted, the Vikings managed to smuggle one of the baggage animals to safety, but the remaining two were blocked by a handful of Saxons. And it was just a handful - the Saxon Lord, three of his warriors, facing off against just two viking warriors. The Lord attempted to tackle the ox cart, but somehow was driven off by the docile beasts. Loki once more played his part as his more Saxons slunk from the battlefield. The lone, fatigued Saxon Lord was finally bested by a pair of viking warriors and the battle was over. The baggage was safely received by the victorious Vikings. A bad day for the Saxons.
In the post battle sequence, things got even worse for the beleaguered Saxon. The Warlord suffered a serious wound and then received news that his province was suffering from flood and famine. Penniless and dejected he limped back to his camp. The Vikings however had even more fortune bestowed upon them. Gold flowed, warriors were recruited and were magically transformed into hearthguard!! Mmm, sometimes random campaign events can be particularly overpowered. Ten warriors is barely a point in Saga terms, but ten hearthguard are two and a half points. The Vikings are easily in a position of power at the end of this first campaign season, while the Saxons are now definitely the underdogs. It will be interesting to see if the system can cope with such unbalances.
Monday, 16 January 2017
Monday, 9 January 2017
Age of the Wolf is a campaign system designed for several players, but we only have the two of us interested in this game and this era, so we are taking two armies each. Whenever a player has choices in the campaign, such as who to attack, we let the dice decide. It means we miss out on the scheming and backstabbing of a real player campaign, but we do get to play lots of games and a story develops as we go along, which is just as much fun I reckon - certainly better than just playing random one-off games.
|Danish Levy take on Norman crossbows|
The Danes had an advantage in the early loss of the knights, plus their battle board ability to pile on fatigue to the enemy. They could afford to hold back and wait, while the Normans had to try to rush forward, especially when they came off worse in a missile battle - the Danish archers once more proving their worth, getting the better of Norman crossbow men. Again, this was aided by the excess fatigue piling up on the Norman forces.
|Tired Normans face unyielding Danes|
After the battle there is a process to go through, as in-game casualties are converted to campaign deaths or injuries - the Norman warlord will be suffering from that serious wound for the rest of the campaign. Both sides managed to recruit more troops, theoretically the Danes did really well here with five new hearthguard joining their ranks while the Normans attracted lowly levy, though a good number of them. Perhaps those extra arrows will pay dividends in future encounters.
This brief report just scratches the surface of what's in the book. I only had a hurried look but it seems well organised and very detailed. Hopefully the campaign will progress well for all four armies - too many campaign systems allow one side to gain such an advantage that the underdogs just give up. It's early days as yet, with just one game played, but I have high hopes for this gaming adventure.