|A Syrian Emir prepares to lead his host to glorious victory over the Frankish invaders|
Last week the Conscripts tried "SAGA: Crescent and The Cross" on the table for the first time. I had completed a four-point warband of Crusaders back in the late winter of this year, and finished a four-point warband of Saracens to oppose them this fall. It was time to get them on to the table for a showdown in the Holy Land, and last Thursday was the day!
Among our gaming group Byron is the only one who had any significant experience playing the unique "SAGA" rules, although he had not yet tried the "Crescent and The Cross". I was the next most-senior SAGA player - and I had tried it once, four or five years ago, with a game of Vikings vs. Saxons that my good friend Curt had hosted for me in Regina. So safe to say that overall our group was still very new to the SAGA experience.
|A view of the board at the beginning of the game - nobody wanted to touch the uneven ground in the wadi...the Saracens are on the left, and the Crusaders on the right.|
|Christian Knights move out...|
|Crossbows on the flank in cover, while stout spearmen hold the centre of the Crusader lines...|
We lined up a very basic starting scenario, imagining a clash somewhere east of Jerusalem in the early 12th century. The victors would be the warband who gained more "slaughtering victory points" than the other. Sounds about right to me! Bill, Byron and Frederick played the Saracen warband, while Dallas, Mike and Dave V took up the Crusaders' cause.
|Mounted archers ride forward on the Saracen flank.|
|Ghulams prepare to charge the Crusaders...|
|The Crusaders prepare to respond...|
|Bang! Lances are splintered, shields shattered etc...|
|The forces clash! More fatigue tokens and fewer Knights are the result...|
|Ghulams holding the line...|
|The Warlord steadies his lines of Ghulams...|
|Crossbows emerge to shower the Saracens with bolts...|
|But it doesn't seem to have an effect...|
|The Saracen spearmen stand ready, but were not required at the end of the matter...|
In the end it was a narrow victory for the Saracen warband, and God was left to sort out the souls of the departed warriors...
I'm pretty sure we still screwed up some rules, but overall SAGA is a lot of fun. It is not (and does not try to be) an exacting or careful historical simulation. It is more of a dramatic, story-driven clash. As I told the group last week, I have been wanting to play a miniatures game set in the Crusades for a long, long time, as the period is so fascinating for me. So it was a real thrill to finally see one happen!
|My terrier Spencer is exhausted from all of the gaming action, so he takes a nap on the floor :)|
Hopefully we can try SAGA again in the future. In the interim, I'll try and bulk out the warbands a little bit, as six-point warbands would fill the table up a little more, and give the players some different options in terms of structuring their warband units differently (like a 12-model unit of warriors, for example).
Thanks again to everyone for coming out to play and try the new (to us) rules!