lauantai 23. tammikuuta 2016

Here be the first part of Eirik Bloodaxe's Saga

Second Game of Campaign Round 3, Stamford Bridge

The Battle of Stamford Bridge took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire, in England on 25 September 1066, between an English army under King Harold Godwinson and an invading Norwegian force led by King Harald Hardrada and the English king's brother Tostig Godwinson. After a bloody battle, both Hardrada and Tostig along with most of the Norwegians were killed. Although Harold Godwinson repelled the Norwegian invaders, his army was defeated by the Normans at Hastings less than three weeks later. The battle has traditionally been presented as symbolising the end of the Viking Age, although majorScandinavian campaigns in Britain and Ireland occurred in the following decades, such as those of King Sweyn Estrithson of Denmark in 1069–70 and King Magnus Barefoot of Norway in 1098 and 1102–03. Source

This round of our campaign is based on this historical battle. "Battle at the fjord" scenario from the Saga rulebook is well suited for the theme.


This was my second game for this round. The first was an faction internal training session against Ville, who played his second Saga-game ever. So far I've won all my battles in the campaign and our factions (Raiders) has won first two rounds... Now I would face Aleksis, one of the best Saga-players in our club, wielding the Norse-Gael battle board as a deadly weapon!

Eirik Bloodaxe

My Warband is as follows:

WL Eirik Bloodaxe with a Daneaxe
8 Hearthguard with Dane axes, banner
4 Hearthguard
12 warriors, banner
8 warriors, daneaxes
4 warriors



Aleksis´ warband was:
WL
Priest
12 Hearthguard
8 Hearthguard

I did warn him about certain abilities on my battle board,,,

My plan

Since nobody had any shooting, but I had the ability to kill 3 of his models (or gain 2 wrath) I decided to start by hanging back and let my WRATH grow before engaging the enemy...
The game has 7 rounds, so there would be plenty of time...


Deployment


Aleksis first deployed half of his models in front of the bridge on the right. I then placed most of my units in the middle (one 4 warrior unit is in the building) - this would give me the opportunity to press numbers towards either passing. 4 HG unit was placed in the extreme left to build a trap.

First rounds

Aleksis got the first round - which suited me fine and moved both of his units forward (see above as well). He had buildt a deadly combo of abilities on his board: +2 to all dice rolls on challenges, removing 2/3 of my attack dice and the dreaded "Who's next" -ability, that will kill 3 of my warriors in the melee, before it even starts!


Due to this combo, I had even less appetite to engage the enemy, so I just raised my wrath with "Northern Tempest" -ability, moved the largest warrior unit and my WL to a central position - ready to move to either crossing.

 Aleksis´eggbasket with 12 HG rushed over the bridge and then stood by waiting for the warlord and his ass licking priest. I pondered on rushing by this unit to engage the warlord or even better to take out the priest, whom kept feeding two saga dice for Aleksis... unfortunately the opportunity really never came...

 Situation after my second round and "Jomsborg" -ability, that allowed me to move 4 of his units: I moved the HG in the left to the rough ground, his large unit further away from the bridge and his WL away from the Priest

If only I could get my hands on you... 

Violence begins

Somewhere around 3rd or 4th round violence erupted en masse. By wrath had grown to 5 and I was able to get the "Northen Tempest" through. Aleksis still had the deadly combo "lying in ambush" on his BB, but I also had few tricks up my sleeve. I charged his horde by the bridge equipped with "halve his attacks" and "Make X automatic hits" (X = Wrath level). So I removed 3 warriors without any challenge rolls made and had only 3 attacks to my unit, but I had 5 automatic hits! Aleksis also lost half his attacks. I managed to slay 4 of his elite warriors and lost 4 more of my warriors - but 1 survived to fight another day.


On the other side of the river Aleksis 5 HG charged my 12 warriors, whom took a serious beating from their daneaxes, here also just one poor fellow was left alive... this would prove crusial...


Decive moments

Things looked grim; I had dented both Aleksis' units, but he had almost wiped out my two big warrior units. His "autokill 3 models really was a show stopper on considering combat with his units. And he had a solid base of points (HG + WL + Priest (4VP!) ) on my side of the river... Damn!


So I rolled my Saga dice and then the solution came to me: one man suicide missions with nice bunch of autohits involved!


So I launched my lone survivor against the HG horde and this bezerk slaughtered in a very suicidal manner FIVE (5) of Aleksis' HG!!!! Hurrah! Aleksis tried to protest, that I could only double my attack dice, but to no avail, since autohits don't have anything to do with attack dice. Later on 3 remaining HG here were taken out with "Northern tempest".

On the left crossing I instead chose to retreat further away from those daneaxe wielding slaughterers and their autokill challenges. Losing too many of my HG would be fatal...


But unfortunately this only prolonged the inevitable: his 5 HG charged my 8 HG and with a brutal combo of challenges and abilities literally slaughtered them all! Eirik Bloodaxe could only watch in horror as his personal bodyguard died to a lats man. 4 died before the combat even started!!! Bloody hell! Aleksis' fatique, Slaughter -ability (hits with 1's) and my daneaxes made sure that I autohit his HG, but after the fury of melee ceased one Norse Gael HG still stood amongst TWELVE (12) dead HG... Odin take them to VALHALLA!

Slaughter! My HG figures are from the Blood Rage -game. See unboxing notes here


Then it was my turn. Eirik stood up from his chair and charged the remaining HG with his axe swinging, revenge was swift. I then moved him and the 4 HG over the river hence securing victory, Aleksis had 7 points over the bridge and  I had 7,5 and 4 more warriors on their way.


Grande Finale: duel of warlords

Aleksis had his finale round. I canceled his first with me action and then slowed down his priest, but I could not stop his WL from charging my warriors with some 4 moves! Luckily this tired his wl quite a bit and he only killed one of my warriors, phew!


Coup de grace!

My finale turn started with "Jomsborg" and I moved his priest to the middle of the bridge. I also moved his WL closer to my WL and my remaining three warriors... charge!
A close fight ensued with Aleksis' WL striking 4 hits and killing 2 of my warriors through the resilience rule. I only managed two hits... this would be close... one die fell on the table, no save, but the other clattered to the floor - not counted! Aleksis rerolled... and his WL fell to Eirik Bloodaxe's feet, Eiriks bloodied axe buried in his chest!


Conclusions

A very tight game with the victory first seeming to be in Norse Gael hands, but then the WRATH -abilities of Jomsvikings started to take toll and eventually turned the game to my victory. First three rounds of the game were quite passive: Aleksis rolling only half his dice due to keeping certain unused abilities on the battle and me not willing to engage him while those abilities were there AND waiting for my wrath to grow, which Aleksis was unable to avoid due to his list being made only of HG. I think if Aleksis would have moved on me more aggressively and gotten his troops killing before my "Northern Tempest" started working and my WRATH was up, he could have won the game quite easily, since none of my units could stand his lethal abilities.



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