Tuesday 27 December 2016

Godwinsons on the Paint Table

Of course if I'm going to undertake a SAGA based retelling of the monumental events of 1066, I will need to fill out my Anglo Danish force...    

Thursday 22 December 2016

Battle of Fulford Gate, 20 September 1066

A small English force stands on a low hill in the marshes. Will their shieldwall be enough to stop the invading Vikings from sacking the City of York... 


When Edward the Confessor died on 5 January 1066, Harold Godwinson rushed to London to be crowned king. But others also desired the crown, not least his outlawed brother Tostig. Tostig and his Flemish mercenaries fled to Norway and convinced Harald Hardrada to sail to England and restore Cnut's Viking lineage to the throne. The Vikings sailed into the Humber estuary before turning north up the River Ouse. Leaving their fleet at Riccall, Harald and Tostig travelled overland to Fulford, just outside York.

The earls Edwin of Mercia and his brother Morcar of Northumberland were expert tacticians and after rallying the local fyrd they gathered their forces to defend the city of York. Rather than risk the city being sacked, they set up their defences on a low ridge in a nearby marsh.

Meanwhile, across the English Channel William was also gathering his forces, but the northerly winds that had helped Harald were now hindering his own invasion plans.


The attacking force is composed of two six point Viking warbands led by Harald Hardrada (Hero of the Viking Age) and Tostig Godwinson (standard warlord). Harald Hardrada may be accompanied by a Bard or a single unit of Gall-Gaedhill (Sons Of Death). Tostig's warband may include a single unit of Flemish Mercenaries.

The defending force includes two Anglo Dane warbands led by Morcar, Earl of Northumberland (standard warlord; 3 point warband) and his brother Edwin, Earl of Mercia (standard warlord; 4 point warband).

No other Sword for Hire units are permitted.


The game is played on a 36" x 36" table.

All terrain is placed by the attacking force.

Germany Beck is a tributary of the River Ouse with a width no greater than M that is placed within L + M from the southern side of the table (A). Germany Beck is impassable except by way of one major ford with a width no greater than S (B) and one minor ford with a width no greater than VS (C). Fords may not be placed within M of each other.

A small or medium marsh is placed between the two fords with one side touching the northern bank of Germany Beck (D).

A low hill (standard elevation) with a length that should exceed L and a width that must not exceed L is placed with one side touching the northern edge of the small marsh (E).

A small or medium marsh is placed opposite the major ford, touching the northern edge of the hill (F).

A small or medium marsh is placed opposite the minor ford, touching the northern edge of the hill (G).

No other items of terrain are placed.


Morcar is placed on the hill opposite the major ford (H).

Edwin is placed on the hill opposite the minor ford (I).

The defending force then deploys their remaining units with as many figures as possible located within L of their respective Warlord. No figures may be placed within S of Germany Beck or either ford.

After the defenders have deployed, Harald is placed on the southern side of Germany Beck between S and L of the major ford (J).

Tostig is placed on the southern side of Germany Beck between S and L of the minor ford

Each attacking warband then deploys half of its remaining units with as many figures as possible located within L of their respective Warlord. No figures may be placed within S of Germany Beck or either ford.

Remaining units are deployed along the attacking force's table edge at the start of turn 2. If available space prevents units being placed, they should be deployed at the beginning of the next turn as appropriate.

Length of Game and Special Rules

The game immediately ends if both Morcar and Edwin are killed. Otherwise the game continues for 7 turns.

Special Rules

Germany Beck
Germany Beck is only passable at the two fords. Local tides mean that the fords may become marshy or even impassable.


Turn 1 Major ford impassable. Minor ford flooded but passable as marsh
Turn 2 Minor ford open. Major ford flooded but passable as marsh
Turn 3 Both fords open.
Turn 4 Minor ford open. Major ford flooded but passable as marsh
Turn 5 Major ford impassable. Minor ford flooded but passable as marsh
Turn 6 High Tide. Both fords impassable
Turn 7 High Tide. Both fords impassable. Darkness, movement lowered by 1 movement band

At high tide all flat ground not otherwise identified as terrain becomes boggy with movement restricted to S.

At the start of each game turn, any figures stood in impassable terrain are immediately removed as casualties.

Any unit ending its movement with at least one figure in a marsh (including flooded fords) immediately receives 1 fatigue. At high tide, units must also roll 1d6 for each figure in the unit. One casualty is removed for each result less than the unit's armour value.

Order of Play
The defending force has the first turn.

The attacking force may not roll any SAGA defence dice.

At the start of each attacker/defender turn both Warlords roll their SAGA dice together and complete their Orders phases simultaneously. They then proceed to complete their Activation phases simultaneously.

Victory Conditions

At the end of the game both forces earn victory points (vp) as follows:

1 slaughtering point = 1vp
Each unit with at least half of its remaining figures stood on the hill = 1vp

Anglo Dane Major Victory
Either Morcar or Edwin remain alive and both Harald Hardrada and Tostig are killed. The small English force has crushed the Viking invasion and Harold Godwinson is free to confront William at Hastings without the burden of first engaging in battle at Stamford Bridge. Harold's army is not subject to the fatigue special rule at Hastings.

Anglo Dane Minor Victory
Either Morcar or Edwin remain alive and the defenders score more victory points than the attackers. The Viking invasion has been repelled. Caught between the northern shieldwall and Harold Godwinson's marching army, the Northmen flee back to their ships. Harold does not loose men in battle at Stamford Bridge, but his army is still subject to the fatigue special rule at Hastings.

Viking Major Victory
Harald Hardrada and Tostig remain alive, Morcar and Edwin are killed and the attackers score more victory points than the defenders. Triumphant, the Vikings regroup and then march on York but instead of sacking the city they agree to receive hostages at Stamford Bridge.

Viking Minor Victory
Harald Hardrada or Tostig remain alive and the attackers score more victory points than the defenders. The Vikings forfeit their opportunity to regroup as they hastily march on York. Instead of attacking the city they agree to receive hostages at Stamford Bridge.

Any other result is a draw. The Vikings forfeit their opportunity to regroup as they hastily march on York and rather than risking further casualties they agree to receive hostages at Stamford Bridge


If the Vikings march on York they are subject to the following special rules:

Warlords 'killed' during the game are only injured. They automatically start the next game with 1 fatigue and always fight with 1 less die in melee (to a minimum of 1 die).

Other troop casualties follow the rules described in Age of the Wolf.

If the Vikings achieved a Major Victory each warband may immediately recruit 1 hearthguard, 2 warriors and 3 levy. Where possible, these figures must be added to an existing unit (following normal rules for equipment and maximum unit size). If no suitable units are available the recruits return to their longships and are not added to the Viking force.

Swords for Hire units may never recruit.


Initial playtesting revealed that canny Viking players had no real incentive to fully engage the Anglo Danes. Fighting would result in loss of men (including potentially both warlords) and since the Viking players know they have to face Harold at Stamford Bridge this could result in a rather gamey situation that makes for a very dull battle.

I've therefore modified the victory conditions to ensure that in order for the Vikings to progress in the campaign they must not be defeated by the Anglo Danes.

The low ridge on the marsh was a strategic feature on the battlefield. Therefore, as well as earning slaughtering points for killing enemy troops, both warbands also earn points for occupying the hill at the end of the game.

At the beginning of the game, the Anglo Danes will be in control of the hill. The Vikings must therefore attack if they are to have any chance of winning. A minor victory for the Vikings will see them get to Stamford Bridge, but they will need to achieve a Major Victory if they are to recruit troops from their longship.

With this change in mind I have also decided to make the previous Optional Deployment Rule the default. The Anglo Danes now have the first turn and the Vikings roll no SAGA defence dice. But if the Anglo Danes move off the hill to attack a weakened enemy that is not fully deployed, they may be risking losing men and victory points for not better defending the hill. Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday 20 December 2016

1066 - SAGA Campaign

After a great game of SAGA at the club a couple of Fridays back, we thought it would be fun to play The Battle of Hastings, SAGA style. Perhaps rashly I offered to put together a scenario for both Hastings and Stamford Bridge. Well one thing leads to another and once I got the bit between my teeth I thought I might as well do Fulford Gate as well!

The three scenarios are now written and play testing will begin soon. I've used the excellent As Told in the Great Hall as the main source of information for each scenario. This book offers background information, battlefield plans and orders of battle that proved quite easy to adapt for SAGA.

The overall design consideration for the campaign is to make the games, whether players win or lose,  fun. Each scenario is based on the three real battles, with specific elements added to warband composition, deployment and special rules. All of which should introduce a little spice. Each game is intended to be played as a two vs two player game. This ensures there are common (and sometimes conflicting) objectives for players to achieve and ensures the games are more 'social' and less competitive than standard 1 vs 1 player games. Here's a summary of what I aim to achieve for each scenario:

Fulford Gate
A smaller Anglo Danish force has a defensive position on a low hill in the marshes. A larger Viking force must negotiate local tides to cross fords and achieve victory before nightfall.

Stamford Bridge
An unarmoured Viking force is camped awaiting arrival of hostages and caught unawares by a fully armoured Anglo Dane force. Viking reinforcements are on the way. A lone Viking champion stands on a bridge. Can he hold back the attackers long enough for his companions to mount an effective defence?

A fatigued and somewhat depleted Anglo Danish force stands on a hill facing Normans (and Bretons if figures available). A trickle of Anglo Dane reinforcements arrive as the battle progresses. The Normans must secure victory before the trickle becomes a flood. If Vikings manage to win at Stamford Bridge they may play this battle, but each Viking warlord should remember that there can only be one King of England.

Sunday 27 November 2016

Mythic Battles: Pantheon

Not only does this new game by the creators of Conan look absolutely fantastic, but I rather suspect that many of the figures will find their way into quite a few other games!  It's up on Kickstarter right now. I managed to grab an early bird (my first ever, yeah!) - anybody else backing it? 


Tuesday 22 November 2016

Aetius & Arthur!

Wargames Illustrated have posted up a quick preview of the new SAGA supplement. A couple of things to note. The supplement represents an expansion of the C&C rulebook, but allows modified use of some Dark Age warbands. I have this on preorder so will publish a more in depth review when I receive my own copy. 



Thursday 27 October 2016

Conan Has Arrived!

And it comes in not one, but two large boxes!  

It's certainly taken awhile and I know there are some issues with the rulebook and a few of the figures. But on the whole, the game looks amazing and we're really looking forward to getting it on the table!


Sunday 18 September 2016

Games and More Games!

It's been quite a week! The hot weather followed by very heavy rain has prevented me from doing my day job, so I've managed to get quite a bit of painting finished (archaeologists, camels and even some figures from Congo are nearing completion). I've also managed to get quite a few games in. Along with yesterday's Doctor Who game I had a fantastic game of C&C The Great War with John at Friday Night Firefight Club.


A really super game!

If that wasn't enough, today was our (now annual) Hail Caesar big game! There were at least 1500 points per side on the (large!) table with five divisions of Romans battling against three divisions of Macedonians supported by two divisions of Indians. My Celts entered as Gaul mercenaries - available to the highest bidder! The Macedonians won the bid for the Gauls and the Romans found themselves on the wrong end of several hundred very sharp sticks!


Thanks to everyone for making it such a great day!  

Saturday 17 September 2016

Pyramids of Mars - Damsel in Distress

The story so far...

The TARDIS has been pulled from its course and materialised in a rambling old Priory, somewhere in the English countryside. A mysterious Egyptian called Namin has taken up residence and the owner, Marcus Scarman, is missing - last seen at an archaeological dig just outside Cairo. Worried about Marcus' prolonged absence, Dr. Warlock began a desperate search for his friend and pushed his way past the butler, Collins, to discover  the truth that he believed was hidden somewhere in the priory. After a close encounter with Namin and his robot mummies, Warlock and The Doctor together with Sarah Jane and Collins escaped through an old priest hole. Although they didn't find Marcus, they did find an old scroll with hieroglyphs that describe an ancient relay device hidden within an Egyptian tomb. 

 After emerging from a cave entrance, the group fled through the woods hoping to seek refuge with Marcus' brother Laurence. But they are pursued by Namin's mummies. Just as they are nearing safety, A bandaged hand reached out and choked the life from Warlock. 

 The Doctor has a plan, but he is thwarted by a Forcefield that envelops the grounds of The Priory. Taking Sarah Jane he searched for the control mechanism that would allow him to disable it. Again, he and Sarah are pursued by mummies, but The Doctor succeeds and finds the mechanism hidden in an old Egyptian jar. But Sarah finds herself face to face with a mummy and is captured. Before she passes out she sees The Doctor struggle with a mummy. Struggle and fall...

The Doctor rubbed his head and staggered to his feet.


[Kyle failed to recover all of The Doctor's hit points in the post game review, so was forced to use two points of luck. He therefore starts this scenario with just 4 luck points]

After stumbling back to the lodge, The Doctor is determined to rescue Sarah from the clutches of Namin.

"We can sneak back in through the cave", suggests Collins.

"Yes!" exclaims The Doctor, "But we'd best split up. Take Laurence through the secret passage and I'll find my own way in through a window." 

[Since The Doctor had to find an unlocked window he would enter play after D3 turns - Kyle rolled a 4, so turn 2].    

Two mummies stand guard beside the communication device - disguised as an Egyptian sarcophagus. If Namin reaches it he can request a gift from Sutekh...    
Laurence and Collins emerge from the priest hole.  "I say!" exclaimed Laurence, "I bet she's hidden in a sarcophagus!"   
Whilst Laurence is searching for Sarah, Namin enters the priory through the hall and scurries along the corridors to communicate with Sutekh.    
Meanwhile The Doctor finds the window to the library unlocked. He opens it and climbs through. 
"Hmm" he muses, "should be able to find something useful here..." 

[Before the game started, the library was designated as a location where inventions could be discovered]   
Laurence finds nothing amongst the dusty boxes, but his actions attract the attention of a robot mummy. Luckily Laurence has brought his rifle and when he hears the door open he spins around and shoots the mummy square in the chest!  

[unfortunately for Kyle each mummy has two hit points] 

Collins cowers in fear on the balcony whilst Laurence retreats, firing as he goes. The mummy seems impervious to his bullets. Laurence closes his eyes...   
But the mummy climbs the stairs and heads straight towards Collins!  

[in this scenario a dead Collins is worth more VP to me!]   

Taking aim, Laurence fires again. The mummy staggers and then falls!  

While The Doctor continues to work on his invention, Namin reaches the communication device. Sutekh speaks... And grants the gift of another robot mummy! 

"Kill them!" commands Namin, "Kill them all!"

The mummy enters Laurence's room and shuffles towards the stairs. Again Laurence fires. The mummy staggers but remains standing.

Collins panicks and leaps from the balcony. He runs across the room and takes refuge behind some crates. 

Bullets bounce off the mummy as it shuffles towards Collins. The mummy pushes aside the boxes and grabs Collins who is crushed to death. 

Another mummy heads off towards the library, but The Doctor has made a breakthrough and discovered how to block the signal that controls the robot mummies.

[the invention roll was jammer +2]

The Doctor adjusts his sonic screwdriver and the mummy suddenly lurches to the side crashing into a wall! 

Seeing his chance, The Doctor sprints past the mummy and flings open the lid of a sarcophagus. Inside is Sarah Jane, a little shaken but otherwise unharmed. 

"Doctor!", cries Sarah, "Let's get away from this beastly place!"

"We will Sarah, but first we must stop Sutekh or he will destroy Earth!"

Namin calls once more upon Sutekh for assistance. 

The communication device pulsates and a dark figure appears. 

"Sutekh grants a gift" it announces. "Sutekh grants the gift of death!"

Grabbing Namin, Sutekh's minion discharges a pulse of energy and Namin drops to the ground dead.

"Sutekh needs only one servant!"

The minion seems to shimmer and then transforms into the pale, ghost like incarnation of Marcus Sharman!

Marcus turns to the communication device. 

"Build me a rocket!" Sutekh demands. "Build me a rocket that will free me from these bonds!" 

"Did you hear that Doctor?" exclaimed Sarah Jane. "The voice sounded like it came from inside my head."

"Yes Sarah. Sutekh's psychic powers are growing stronger. We must hurry!"

Suddenly there's a noise behind them.

"But we'll have to do something about that robot mummy first!"

[time for Kyle to bring out the big guns!]

[time for Kyle's dad to show who's got the biggest guns!]

Using his jammer to disable the pursuing mummy, The Doctor leads Sarah Jane back to the storeroom. 

"But I don't understand Doctor! Why can't we just leave? We know Sutekh doesn't destroy Earth. I'm from the future, he can't destroy it!" 

"Can't he?"

The Doctor and Sarah Jane enter the TARDIS. 

"Where are we?" asks Sarah Jane. 

"Earth" replies The Doctor. "This is the future Earth if Sutekh frees himself from his prison" 

Back in 1911, Laurence continues to struggle with a seemingly endless onslaught of robot mummies. Despite his sure aim, he realises that he can't fight his way further into the priory. Pursued onto the balcony, he climbs into the priest hole and escapes. 

The TARDIS rematerialises in the storeroom. The Doctor and Sarah Jane check that they are alone before leaving the TARDIS and opening a window. They then climb through, back into the grounds of the priory. 

"You see Sarah. We can't just leave. Now come on there's a rocket to stop!"

Stay tuned for Hit the Hut!

Friday 16 September 2016

Pack Animals

I picked up these camels last year at SELWG and intend for them to be scenery items for our DWMG campaign.  

With the demise of my iPad blogging software, I've been hunting around for a replacement. Blogging directly in Blogger is quite a faff on an iPad and the Blogger iPad app is, well poor. Anyway I've now found BlogPad Pro. We'll see how it works after a couple of posts...   

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Intrepid Explorers for DWMG and Congo

Bit of a milestone. Last four figures are now painted for our DWMG Pyramids of Mars campaign. I've also finished all of the terrain bits I need for the last scenario. Here's a sneak peak.

I took these shots to see how the terrain items sat together, the actual game will likely be played in a smaller area.

The robot mummies will be aided by a group of tomb robbers.

And here are the last four figures, stalwart archaeologists ready to dig into the Ancient tombs for the advancement of science, but completely unprepared for what they might unearth...

I rather suspect that these four may well find themselves on a slow boat to The Congo once our DWMG campaign is finished!

Sunday 4 September 2016

Pyramids of Mars - May the Force (Field) Be With You

Once again escaping Namin and his servitor robots, The Doctor, Sarah Jane and Collins the butler join Laurence Clemons in his hunting lodge.

"Poor Dr. Warlock." sighs Sara Jane.

On a table before them sits an unusual scientific instrument...

The Doctor examines the apparatus and uses his sonic screwdriver to decode the bleeps it is emitting.

"B e w a r e  S u t e k h ..."

"How could you possibly know that!" exclaims Laurence.

"Well you see, Mr. Scarman" replies The Doctor "I have the advantage of being slightly ahead if you. Sometimes behind you, but normally ahead of you."

"I see" 

Smiling, The Doctor turns to Laurence "I'm sure you don't, but it's very nice of you to try."

"But what are we to do?" asks Sarah.

"I have a plan. But the grounds appear to be shielded by some type of force field." replies The Doctor "We must first find a way to disable it..."

The Doctor and Sarah Jane leave Laurence and the still trembling Collins in the Lodge and make their way across the grounds of The Priory. 

"Look!" Exclaims The Doctor

Sarah Jane looks to where The Doctor is pointing "Egyptian urns?"  

"Of course, Egyptian urns! We'll find a control mechanism for the force field in one of them, I'm sure." states The Doctor.

While pondering what to do next, the sound of snapping twigs can be heard in the distance and four robot mummies appear from the dense undergrowth. 

"Let's distract them." says The Doctor.

[Mighty Kyle rolls a 6 allowing him to move all six figures on the table]

The mummies inexplicably shuffle their way into a thicket, while The Doctor and Sarah Jane carefully make their way to the first urn.

But as they move around the trees, a nasty surprise awaits.

The Doctor catches his foot in a poacher's snare set earlier in the day by Clements. 


The Doctor falls to the ground, stunned.

Regaining his composure, The Doctor nurses his sore ankle and examines the closest urn.

But it is empty! 

Meanwhile the robot mummies shuffle ever closer.

"We'd best split up Doctor" says Sarah Jane as she disappears behind a thicket.

"Be careful Sarah!" warns The Doctor. 

The Doctor approaches the second urn but is confronted by a robot mummy. The Doctor takes aim with his sonic screwdriver and the mummy falls to the ground, stunned.

But the second urn is also empty!

Disabling two more robot mummies, The Doctor follows Sarah Jane to the third urn.

Before she can reach the urn, Sarah Jane is ambushed!

"Help!" She screams.

But to no avail, she is grabbed by the mummy. Struggle as she might Sarah Jane is unable to free herself and the mummy drags her back towards The Priory.

Unable to run because of the difficult ground conditions, The Doctor eventually finds his way to the third and final urn.

"Sarah!" shouts The Doctor. "Where on earth is she?"

The Doctor opens the urn but is unable to deactivate the mechanism.

[Kyle failed his intelligence test, but then plays this]

"ah hah!" exclaims The Doctor. With a click the mechanism switches off and the force field around The Priory powers down.

"But where is Sarah?" He puzzles.

Distracted by Sarah's disappearance he doesn't realise the approaching danger, until it is too late!

The robot mummies have reactivated themselves and one strikes The Doctor. Spinning to confront his foe, The Doctor attempts to deactivate it with his sonic screwdriver.

But fails, three times! 

His luck deserting him, The Doctor crumples to the ground...

With a muffled yell, Sarah Jane looks on horrified. The world suddenly goes fuzzy and then dark as a musty, bandaged hand covers her face...

Stay tuned for Damsel in Distress