Sunday, 28 July 2019

Saga: Age of Magic

Chaos Warriors vs Spider Cultists

Saga is now on it's second edition, there is a main rulebook and then a supplement for each of the 'periods', Vikings, Crusades etc, and Age of Magic which covers the fantasy genre. Each faction,be it Anglo Saxon or the Undead has restrictions on which troops it can include and has a unique battle board defining it's abilities. Special Dice are rolled each turn and placed on the board to activate the abilities.All units have access to Hearthguard at 4 figures per point, Warriors at 8 figures per point and Levies at 12 figures per point, plus a mandatory Warlord. The Fantasy armies have other unit types like Creatures, Monsters and various types of Heroes.

This is an eight point game played at the club

My army used the The Horde army list.  My figures are from my old Warhammer Chaos army had a Warlord, 12 Hearthguard in two units, 8 Warriors on foot, 8 Mounted Warriors (actually centaurs), a Behemoth (at class of monster) and a Sorcerer (a class of Hero).

Richard's army used The Lords of the Wild list and his army included giant spiders (Creatures), a huge spider (Behemoth), a Ranger, a Sorcerer and some Warriors.

 Richard put his archers in the corner due to an ability that would soon be causing me problems and left his other warriors guarding them. I considered rushing them but with his army doing better in bad going than mine I would be intercepted anyway, so I went after what was available.

Richard's army had several key abilities that made it very potent. The Ranger allowed all his units in the same bad going to ignore it's penalties, he spent most of the game in the central wood.  The Ambush ability on the battle board allows a unit of archers to draw a line of sight from any unoccupied of uneven ground. That meant they could shoot me without going near danger.  The Rise of the Spirits ability transforms a piece of uneven terrain into a Titan (a kind of monster) which can then rampage around the table. Both these abilities became doubly dangerous combined with a spell he had which could create new uneven terrain.

After coming under unexpected fire which left my Behemoth fatigued for several turns I decided I needed to get stuck in as quickly as possible. My Centaurs went into some Spiders in the wood and suffered fatigue for moving twice and entering a wood, they lost badly and were finished off by archers.

Having spent a lot of points on Hearthguard and having lost a unit I was short on Saga Dice and had to use most of them just to keep moving rather than anything fancy. I also wasted some because I kept forgetting the Behemoth couldn't use the special abilities on the board where I'd put them.

A treeman infested copse was summoned and destroyed my foot warriors. My Behemoth killed it and then a unit of Creatures (those little spiders are acting as fatigue markers) too, then went head to head with the enemy Behemoth which killed him.

My Sorcerer got a few spells of boosting the units around him but he was next to fall to the Giant Spider. My Hearthguard and Warlord killed the other Creatures and Richard's characters withdrew to safety.

A second Titan appeared in a newly summoned wood and attacked me from one side while the Giant Spider continued to plough through my army.

In the last turn my Warlord died and the only survivor of the whole army was one foot warrior who had withdrawn to an out of the way wood (also preventing it being used for those enemy abilities since it was now occupied)

The Wild army is very tough to face, I will need to study my own board carefully to see how to use it better.

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Star Grunt

Stargrunt II is a skirmish game from GZG intended for their own range of 15mm and 25mm figures. I first started playing it 20 years ago but I was slow to get much painted and I only ever had a few games, and the last around ten years ago. So it was a case of half remembered rules and checking the play sheet when we brought it out at the club last week, and we took a few short cuts to keep things moving.

The figures are from GZG and are 25mm rather than the more common 28mm or ‘heroic’ 28mm found these days. They represent the New Anglian Confederation and Federal Stats Europa. I’m not sure which faction the powered armour are for as I bought them on a bring and buy and there aren’t many pictures on the GZG site to compare them to. The army squad, which have khaki instead of green battledress are another faction as well, but again I couldn’t identify them. 

The figures in brown are from the Battletech spin-off Battle Troops, they are the Kurita machine gun assault platoon produced by Ral Partha.

While the paint job on the powered armour makes them look like they belong with the FSE I could only make a balanced force with the figures I had painted by putting them on the other side.
The New Anglian Confederation had a platoon of four sections with veteran quality (the marines), an elite squad in powered armour and an average quality squad (army). They also had an independent sniper.

The Federal Stats Europa force had a platoon of five squads of legionnaires of average quality and a platoon of 3 squads of green quality militia. The militia had a separate machine gun group and the legionnaires had an independent sniper.

We threw out the terrain randomly, John picked the FSE.  I started everyone on Confidant status to keep things simple.

John’s militia were on my left and the legionnaires in the centre and right. I put my powered armour squad facing a built up area in the centre, predicting both sides would contest it and I could have them assault the enemy. I kept my command squad out of danger in a wood behind another squad and after the first turn I was using all his actions to activate other squads for a second time.


2 squads of legionnaires entered the built up area on the centre line and a squad of marines and powered armour did the same from the other side. My powered armour charged both squads in successive turns who failed their morale tests and withdrew back into the open, where I was able to pin them with fire. From there on I kept using my commander to activate each squad twice each turn hammering them in the open (make hay while the sun shines).

John was re-activating his as well but they were never able to do much damage and spent half their time at least removing suppression markers. My marine squad started taking significant damage from the militia in the woods but their morale held.

On the right the FSE finally reached the far side of their built up area and exchanged fire with their opposite numbers.

Eventually the two squads in the open broke, abandoning two wounded and the troops behind them were able to fire for the first time. 

With time nearly up we called it there as a victory for the NAC.

When we’d played with only one platoon a side we found games typically became fairly static with no-one leaving cover for most of the game. This time we had slightly large forces but most units headed for the cover in front of them and stayed there. This is probably due to the typical ‘wargames’ layout of terrain with a dozen woods, hills and built up areas scattered randomly around a field. I think a more lifelike arrangement would probably solve this.

Something I really like about Stargrunt is that troop quality and leadership is important in all aspects of the game. In too many games superior equipment and especially superior numbers count for much more. In real life superior troops routinely beat superior numbers. I think we’ll be playing it again now, and next time I’ll have to re-read the rules first.