Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Saga Roman Warband


Finished my Italian allies that I will be using as my Roman warband. This is seven points, and I plan on using 4 units of 8 warriors, then not sure whether to use 2 points of hearthguard as a single unit or two units, or to replace one of the hearthguard points with a point of Velites. I will probably paint up a point of cavalry, too, in case I need a bit more range.

On Sunday I'm planning to field a Tribune instead of a Consul and an eight man unit of Hearthguard, so hopefully the extra 'We Obey' will make up for the lost saga dice. The warband is a bit static and the Romans don't have great defence against shooting, so I feel like I'll need to bring in some lighter troops. But on Sunday I'm playing against Graeculi so I can probably get away with being a bit slow.

Monday, 12 October 2020

Gauls vs Carthaginians

Have had a few more games of AoH, now, and played a couple of times with the Gauls. At first play thet Gallic battleboard seems to have a lot of easy to use power-ups. It has some more complex stuff, as well, that requires a bit of coordination. Both games I pretty much just blasted through my opponents' centre with mindless force.

I played 5 points of warriors and 1 point of archers (modelled by slingers) against the Carthaginians. In the second turn I destroyed two units, and left the elephant on the edge, with the triple-activation Gaulish Wave. It didn't leave my opponent too much to work with. Gaulish Wave is great for getting three units into melee, but Power of the Ancient Gods is an incredible dice machine. It's expensive (an uncommon + a rare) but with a few other units around can easily bring 10 or 12 dice (including re-rolls) to a melee, and gives you the flexibility to choose Attack or Defence dice. And Gaulish Fury makes your opponent hesitate to close ranks.

I thought managing Fervour might be an issue, but it's actually pretty straightforward. Perseverance gives a choice between getting rid of Fatigue or Fervour, so it makes sense to keep it loaded even if you're not interested in the Fervour, and Tumultus Gallicus can remove all the Fervour from a unit. I thought the cost of a Saga dice is reasonable to keep the Fervour flowing, but you get a free activation for 1 common dice, in any case, so it is effectively free to use.

I also played against a Syracuse Graeculi warband. Although they were better defensively than the Carthaginians, the Gauls still managed to make some pretty impressive holes in their 12-man phalanxes. In this game I dropped my archer/slingers as there are no shooting power-ups on the board and brought in eight more warriors. They didn't do much either because I didn't really need them, so will consider replacing them with eight mounted warriors, just to give myself a bit of range and flexibility.

This is a great warband for people who aren't very good at Saga, so I will be playing it a lot. My impression was that this is the sort of board that the Age of Magic Hordes could have been, and my opponent remarked exactly the same thing.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Saga: Age of Hannibal

Saga: Age of Hannibal has arrived. Not having had much to do with ancients until recently, I've played Infamy Infamy, Clash of Spears, and Mortal Gods over the past couple of months, but my little guys were really waiting for Saga: Age of Hannibal to be released.

I tried out Carthaginians against Numidians. The Carthaginians have a pretty rounded board. Its 'thing' is the balance between its Citizens and its foreign Contingent. Special Abilities ping differently off of those two types. I didn't really grasp a theme with the differentiation, but Contingent seems a bit easier to defend, and Citizens get a bit more attack. Citizens are also easier (Hearthguard easy) to activate.

For the record, Elephants are Citizens. They have Resilience 2 so feel a bit like the Monsters in Age of Magic (though they don't have Imposing). They get 2 automatic hits in melee (but 4 against Mounted and Closed Ranks!). Also mounted units get -1 to hit them.

The board has a way to divert one or two casualties against one unit onto nearby units which is very useful for keeping the elephant going, and has the useful Delay for cancelling an opponent's activation, and if you use it with a Rare, stopping it from activating again that turn. It looks like a decent all-round board. 

I'm not sure about the Numidian board. It seems to have all the sort of stuff you might want for an annoying, aloof, mounted javelins warband, but I couldn't really get it to work, on my one try. When I played against them my opponent couldn't get it to work, either. Its activation/reaction doesn't seem to be as handy as the Welsh, or Norman ones. It's not even as good as the Cathaginian Delay.

I've not played with the other boards (or even looked at the Greek one coz I have lent it to a prospective opponent). The Roman board looks nice, and it has made me get back to painting that warband. It seems to have a lot of simple but decent melee buffs, and a nice one which gives a bonus to Close Ranks, and also means you don't get a fatigue if you don't withdraw from combat. Looks like you should try to just stand there and take what the enemy throws at you, and then hit back on your turn. It also has a nice interpenetration abilty so you can bring your reserves up straight through your fatigued front line.

The Gallic board's thing is Fervour. These are tokens that you can spend (a bit like Fatigue) to enhance many of the Advanced Abilities. Once you hit three Fervour you lose the opportunity to be affected by Advanced Abilities,but there are ways to reduce your Fervour. Even without the Fervour this looks like a decent mass-attack board. I would think the Gallic player can either treat their Fervour as a one-time mindless bonus, or they can make an effort to carefully manage it.

The Iberian thing is Guerilla. During their turn the Iberians can accrue Guerilla tokens in the course of activating Advanced Abilities. Some abilities bring Guerilla incidentally, while others, like Bait, are there specifically to mine for Guerilla tokens. Then, in your opponent's turn, you can spend two Guerilla tokens to activate one of your units after your opponent's activation. This is a unique and very interesting ability and I look forward to getting my Iberians finished to try this out. It feels like it might be a fun way to run rings round your opponent, but equally, you will be obliged to make the most of this as the board is probably weak otherwise. You can also spend Guerilla to enhance a couple of your conventional Activations. The Iberians also seem to have some decent movement and terrain management buffs.

The Age of Hannibal book also has rules for Ruses and Epic battles. Epic battles are for larger games with up to 18 points a side. Having read the rules they don't do a lot for me. I've played some decent 3-a-side battles of Saga using more or less the conventional rules. The Epic rules call for 48 Orders Phases (instead of your usual 12) which feels like at least 24 too many.

Ruses are special one-off abilties you buy before the game and can keep secret from your opponent. They give you sneaky exceptions and abilities. I'm not sure they are required, as the whole point of the Battle Boards is that they bring this sort of stuff to Saga games, in any case. But they might be fun to enhance your games, especially if you want to spice up a long-standing rivalry.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Balearic Slingers

Did some slingers which will be useful for a few AoH warbands. AoH also has a Balearic Slinger mercenary unit, so they can get used for that.