Saga – The Escort

This Saga game took place a while ago (well before the IABSM game in the last post) so I’m not going to try and dredge up the particulars from my addled brain, but I’ll hit the high points.  For this one, we broke out the newly painted pigs, carts, and ponies and played The Escort, one of the scenarios in the Saga rulebook, with the Irish warlords serving to help the local monastery bring in supplies provided by their flock in the countryside.   On the other side, a band of Vikings looks to score some quick loot and maybe knock a priest or two on the head in the name of Odin.

The Escort scenario revolves around one side trying to move a number of baggage elements, which could represent anything from the ladies of the court to a herd of pigs, across the table and safely off the other side.  The side with the baggage sets up first, so the opposing force gets to position themselves to block any easy escapes but since the baggage generates Saga dice, the escorting side enjoys a considerable initiative advantage throughout the game due to the extra dice.  In our game I played the Vikings with an 8 point warband against a pair of 4 point Irish bands (again using the Welsh Battleboard) each escorting a pair of baggage elements.

The Irish deployed pretty spread out and forced me to try and cover the whole width of the table with my scattered forces.   The farmstead on my left along with the steep hill in the center made the terrain pretty constricting on that side.  On my right a large wood provided concealment for the baggage and a safe place for the sneaky Irish to use to launch their cowardly hit and run javelin attacks.

The Irish moved up their warriors hoping to clear a path for their baggage.  A group moved up onto the center hill, where I met them with my Warlord, leading half of his hearthguard.  The Irish there were defeated and destroyed, but at a heavy price – 5 of the 8 hearthguard had fallen.  A unit of Viking bondi moved into the cluster of buildings and clashed with some Irish nobles, coming out the worse for that encounter but inflicting some losses.  With the two fighting units on that side worn down, only a large group of Viking skirmishers with bows remained to prevent the Irish from completing their mission.

Unfortunately, the Viking archers would not matter as the Viking right side was to fair even worse.  A unit of viking bondi was able to catch a unit of Irish warriors who had moved out ahead of the rest and attack them, but once again the victory was a Pyrrhic one as the bondi unit was left too weak to do any further good.  That left only a single unit of 8 hearthguard on that side as the full weight of the Irish descended.  Unit after unit of Irishmen erupted out of the woods to fling javelins at the Hirdmen, who fell one by one to the deluge of pointy sticks.  Finally the Irish nobles charged in to finish the deal, clearing the way for the baggage to escape and a clear and decisive Irish victory.

I probably should have committed more force to the more open right side and used the constricting terrain to hold on the left with minimum force.  Neither the original plan nor any other though would have fared well in the face of bad dice rolling that saw my Vikings falling again and again to lesser foes.

More Saga to come soon I hope as the Anglo Saxon host is almost ready for battle.  Plus The Raven’s Shadow, the latest supplement for Saga, has been released and has actual Irish and Norse-Gael factions, so more new stuff to try out once I get my paws on the book.

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2 responses to “Saga – The Escort”

  1. Burkhard says :

    So how did you like that scenario? We played it once and it was one of our least favourite ones.

    • Brian says :

      I like the basic scenario. I like any scenario that has objectives other than “line up and murderize that other guy”. Having some objective makes maneuvering much more important and interesting.

      That said, I do think the scenario can use some tweaks. The escorting side definitely has a leg up and as written, most people just use the extra dice provided by the baggage to pile into the enemy and do some harm. By the time the main battle is done, the attacker is often too weak to take out the manly baggage. Many suggest bidding for which side is the escort, with the lower bid getting the escort duty, I’d also think that the scenario could be improved by simply making the baggage much weaker. I’d still give them 2 hits, but I would give them armor 4 and probably zero attack dice (but still generating a Saga die). That would make them something the escort really has to protect and allow the attacker to try and win through maneuvering to get an attack in on the weak baggage elements without having to fight the entire escort force.

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