The plan is to renovate my existing Britannia Vikings with new, up-to-date bases (their 4th set of bases so far) and then add a second force so I have two SAGA war bands.
I could have gone with a different faction for my new figures but I like Vikings so, once they're done, they can fight each other. I'm going to paint up a couple of monks too so they'll have someone to victimise.
My existing Vikings had been super glued to coins and then Basetexed. Getting them off their coins wasn't easy until I remembered someone saying that if you heat the coin they just pop off.
Well, I heated the coins with a lighter and, sure enough, the figures just popped off. Well, they didn't actually pop off, I still needed to use pliers but they came away with only the Basetex holding them not the original glue.
If I'd remembered about the glue trick at the beginning I could have avoided the blistered fingers from the pliers and the loss of poor Chopper Tom (originally a D&D character figure of mine from 1983) who was broken beyond repair and found his Valhalla in the bin.
Everyone else is awaiting their new basing compound.
Here's everyone finished:
While I was at it I also re-based a set of Gripping Beast clergy.
Here are some new Britannia monks and a couple of re-based Gripping Beast Normans.
This project is underway again this year. I have ordered a few Britannia Vikings (13) which are enough to give me two four-point SAGA Viking forces that can fight each other.
I'll probably get a ship and some Viking tents from Warbases too but first things first.
Here are the completed Britannia Vikings.
Eight new warriors.
Four new Hearthguard.
And another Warlord. This one is from CP Models. The extra Viking from Britannia is to replace Chopper Tom (see above) and keep the numbers correct.
I've finally found a suitable Viking longship. This is from DarkOps and only costs £15.00. It comes with shields and oars which I've left off since my warriors are on land pillaging. The sail was made by my daughter. Other good news, the ship is being captained by a new Chopper Tom! I finally sourced another casting of him from eBay so he lives again, back from the dead after his predecessor's basing accident (see above).
Recently I visited the Shed for my first game of SAGA, a dark ages skirmish game available from Gripping Beast.
I took along my vintage Britannia Vikings for their first outing in a long time (over 15 years) hoping they'd still be up to the challenge of a modern, fast flowing wargame.
We played a four player game of a Viking raid against a village guarded by some Anglo-Danes. Mark and I were the tourists and Giles (the famous Eric the Shed) and Matt were the home team.
The opening move was a simple, unopposed storming of the beach. Since the aim was to sack and burn my chaps headed straight for a tempting church whilst Mark's crew headed towards the still distant defenders seeking glory and blood.
He was clearly in a hurry, you can spot the black fatigue markers his double moves cost him.
I had arranged my forces into two bands of warriors and a single unit of Hearth Guard so that I had the security of numbers wherever possible and not too many groups to move. These units, along with my Warlord, gave me 5 SAGA dice to throw each turn which are then allocated amongst several possible actions and special abilities.
In practice I found I was always able to do pretty much what I needed to do each turn with some dice in reserve to counter any surprise set backs thrown at me by my opponents.
It wasn't long before I was in amongst the undefended church buildings chatting with the local monks and warming things up by igniting some thatch.
One unit of warriors, not fancying the church goats, headed off in the general direction of some enemy via a sheep field (long sea voyages can be lonely).
Mark's lot, meanwhile, were moving up the road in force to menace the defenders who'd finally begun to make an appearance.
Anglo-Danes had arrived in my neck of the woods too but they weren't quick enough to stop me setting fire to another house.
Mark was being menaced by some levies in the woods armed with girlie bows who insisted in shooting at him. While he really wanted to focus his attention on the proper manly fighters who were crossing the river to his right
Whilst my relief party were still busy negotiating the crowded sheep field.
Deciding that dying from an arrow wasn't going to get them into Valhalla Mark's unit of Berserkers charged into the woods to savage the poor levies. It wasn't a pretty sight.
Back at the church the sanctity of the hallowed cloisters was shattered by the sounds of battle.
Spears were shaken, shields were splintered, it was a sword day, a red day. The unit of Anglo-Danes vanished from the memory of man.
I moved onwards to set fire to the church itself.
Whilst the elite Hearth Guard of the Anglo-Danes hid behind a hedge.
In the centre Mark was laying waste to all and sundry (not without loss however).
Finally I managed to convince my warriors that the sheep would still be there after the battle and they surged forward to drive the levies from the woods in front of them.
My own Hearth Guard, since their opposing numbers still seemed to prefer hedge lurking to fighting, headed to where the real action was.
On the road the blood was flowing freely as Mark was beset on all sides. He held though, and through masterful use of his SAGA abilities destroyed unit after unit culminating in the slaughter of Giles' Warlord.
My troops in the woods looked on, unaware that they were to play a part in the day's denouement.
Behind them lurked Matt's remaining warriors, ready to pounce.
The battle was short and unpleasant, only two of my men escaped alive.
No matter, the day was won already and the rest of the Viking horde returned to their ships victorious, laden with booty and livestock.
An entertaining game. SAGA plays well, it requires a little thought to best use the resources you generate each turn and the combat is resolved quickly and satisfactorily.
My geriatric Vikings showed they still had what it takes too, which is always nice. I'm looking forward to the rematch.