Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Battle of Rorkes....... sorry I mean Corpse Drift! Saga "The Lustrian chronicles"

So a while back Jesus George introduced us all to Gripping Beast's "Saga".

With the Armoury Gaming club being the Armoury Gaming club we soon bastardised it to fit in all the different armies we play and as always we soon located it in our favorite place to go, Lustria!

"A prayer is as good as a bayonet on a day like this!"

I LOVE SAGA! And I mean LOVE Saga!

No beardy army lists, you can read the rule book in under an hour, you understand most of the game by the third turn, and you get to play a brilliant game with less then 30 figures which do not cost the earth! Everyones a winner.................. Except the beardies and you know who you are!

I also love that the originators of the game seem to encourage players to take ownership of the game by providing blank battle boards etc and allow discussion of this on their official forums. Maybe others out there should take note! 

Macca seems to be the go to guy for the undead and soon produced a shambling horde from the Vampire coast, with me favouring "in your face aggression" the vikings of Lost Erickson were the natural choice for me.

With most of the terrain pieces now gone from the Mini Empire we decide to play the game as a beach landing on the Vampire coast, which fits with it being our first encounter (hopefully of many!).

"Why is it us? Why us?"   "Because we're here lad, Nobody else, just us!"

We decide to play 6 points as it seems to give the most rounded game.

I go with;
Warlord (Free)
Berserkers (1 point)
8 Hearthguard in one unit (2 points)
and 24 Warriors in two units of 12 (3 points).

I find this is the best mix for me as its gives me durable units (which generally last the game and keep the SAGA dice coming) and 4 units (which is enough to give me tactical options and stop me being overrun and picked off piece meal).

"Death awaits you all!"

Macca goes with 2 units of Zombies (levy), a unit of 8 warriors and 3 four man units of grave guard (Hirdman), 8 of which are mounted in two units of 4.

Zulus....................I mean ZOMBIES...........Thousands of them!

It was at this point that Macca made his first "Zulu" reference and "Corpse Drift" was born.

"He breaketh the bow and snappeth the spear in sunder!"

I set my Vikings up in a "flying brick" formation with my Warlord "Olaf the Lucky" leading from the front and my "Berserker bullets" tucked in the back.

The plan is a simple one, get the lads in as soon as possible to stop the Undead building up fatigue to dump on me later ("fatigue dumping" is one of the undeads best offensive abilities), while keeping my Berserkers in reserve to make a lightening break for the Necromancer when he showed his face (Skull?).

Macca starts his "Zombie shuffle", moving his units backwards and forwards 2" at a time and building fatigue (they ignore exhaustion!) to dump on me later.

I decide to break off up the left flank as a full unit of Zombie Levy will only generate 4 attack die and even my exhausted units should be able to top that with boosts from the battle board.

Macca the plays "the Horror" to cancel my unit of Bondi's activation, leaving them dangerously exposed to the mounted undead cavalry!

Yes that's a customised undead battle board and dice, that's just how we roll!!

I beat back the legions of undead zombies and with the use of Frigg and Njord (not something you get to say everyday!) manage to burn off the worst of the fatigue "dump".

I feel this leaves his unit of warriors exposed and blitz in with my Warlord and supporting Hirdguard.

Olaf and his body guard rip through the undead warriors but in my haste I leave my Warlord horribly exposed.

I know fortune favours the brave but if my bodyguard are driven back my Warlord will have to rely on his own resilience!

"60! We dropped at least 60, wouldn't you say?!"    "That leaves only 3,940!"

Of course an old Warhorse like Macca spots this to and pitches into my Hirdguard with both his Zombie units (which he activated with a single saga die thanks to his battle board).

One Hirdguard departs for Valhalla but they manage to win the combat!

This is going to hurt you a lot more than it will me, I'm happy to say!"

Now Macca boils in with his Warlord and supporting Graveguard, a liberal use of Viking battle board abilities sees the demise of 3 Draugr and Macca is forced to retreat.

"Reform the line................ Reform the line!"

I use the lull in the battle to reform my shield wall and bring up my warrior stragglers to consolidate the battle line (and provide a fresh batch of body guards).

"You mean your only plan is to stand behind a few feet of bags and wait for the attack?"

"Careful! Pop that chap somebody! Good fellow, good fellow!"

Macca pitches in with his mounted units but my right flank stands resolute, before being beaten back by the volume of attacks.

With only one unit of mounted Grave Guard standing between me and the Necromancer I decide its time to unleash my Berserkers!

They crash into the Grave guard and "go berserk" (funny that!).

Both units are wiped out but they have done their job and opened a clear charge lane to the Draugr Leader

"This is going to hurt you a lot more than it will me, I'm happy to say!"

Olaf leads the assault with the last of his Hirdguard.

Despite boosting my attack die I roll only 4 hits!

Macca has one remaining Grave guard, will it be enough!

Macca fails to make a single saving throw (he only needed to make 2 saves) and in a howl of rage crumbles to dust....................... surely to rise again.

Macca and I shake hands on a hard fought, knife edged battle.

1) "Fatigue Dumping" must be a nightmare for other armies as it totally neuters your best units.

2) Larger units seem the way to go in 6 point games as their longevity keeps the saga die coming to give a greater choice of abilities and you need less saga die to get your forces moving.

3) I should not expect Berserkers to last the battle and fully tanked up on Saga abilities generate 32 attack dice! But they are best kept to surgical strikes and assassination runs.


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