SAGA Tournament, Success!

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SAGA games almost as far as the eye can see.

Wow! What a great turn out and day of gaming! The last weekend in January saw the culmination of 3 months of game days leading up to Saturdays SAGA Tournament! Twenty players fought 3 rounds each over the course of 6 hours to determine the chosen few left standing at the end to receive some of the great “loot” from the prize table!

Last summer the Los Angeles based “Dog’s of War” miniatures war gaming group was kibitzing at their clubhouse or as we call it “the Dog Pound” and putting forth ideas for a get together outside the club to both promote miniature war gaming and hold an event with others outside the group. We decided to limit the scope of the project to our current favorite period and rules “SAGA” Dark Ages Battles. We hoped to meet new players, bring other SAGA players out of their garages, and even possibly create new devotees to the game. Several plans were put forth. We finally decided to run a series of game days where we would be able to both bring current players together as well as introduce new players to the game in a casual setting. Several different venues were considered for these events before finally deciding to start where we knew there to be gamers who were  interested in SAGA.

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We approached Chuck Robbins of the Game Empire in Pasadena, California, with the idea and got a positive response to our ideas. Soon we were holding regular SAGA game days every 2 weekends and the response from both current and new players was great. It

Mike and Chuck share a laff!

Mike and Chuck share a laff!

seemed that there had been a small group doing SAGA there months before but interest had waned as a few of the main players had moved. With the support and drive of the Dogs of War this was about to change. Any type of gaming, especially miniature wargaming interest level is critical and when gaming is sporadic or monotonous (same opponent every week) interest levels plummet. This leads to disappointment and a reluctance of gamers to invest money and time in a set of rules and figures that they feel will be rarely used, or the “enjoyment factor” will be low verse the investment.

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A couple of “Dogs” share a moment……

Well the “Dogs of War” are persistent, dependable, and dedicated, if they are anything and it showed in the final turnout where after a reliable series of game days the player count for the tournament exceeded anyone’s expectations and that even after half a dozen players we thought would surly be there had to cancel! The tournament was as big as several others I have seen at big conventions!, with better prizes, and more fun!

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

Before I get into the tournament I want to thank all the “Dogs” for their hard work in putting this together, making the drive week after week, lugging terrain, mats, rules, and troops to teach, lend and develop new players. Chris Snell for all the above and always being there, Joe Naccio for his always on top efforts, building, painting, and contributing much more than we all really know (Joe painted his extra figure into the Viking Warband prize, the Viking Command stand prize, and provided all the “tweezers” door prizes!, David Dandridge for his level headed consul, devotion, and volunteering to not play and take the reins of umpiring and tabulating the tourney (woot I got to play!). Rick, Tim and the Sarge, Galen, Steve G, and all the “Dogs” well done! Rick and I both contributed prizes as well, Hills, Fatigue counter stands, trees, sacred ground markers…..

Ricks newest creation a turn record piece.

Ricks newest creation a turn record piece.

We all also need to remember that this would not have been possible with out the Game Empire and Chuck Robbins. The Game Empire is one of the last “Brick and Mortar” game shops left around LA and we all need to support them so events like this can go on! Chuck contributed to both the prize pool and the use of his store space resources over the last three months. Travis his store manager was always there to help and is a wealth of experience in running events, thanks Chuck and Travis.

my first opponent James and his Skraelings....

my first opponent James and his Skraelings….

The first rounds began shortly after 11am Saturday and the last finishing up about 6:30 that evening. The 20 players who registered and fought were as follows;

Frank VillaOrlad / Teutonic Knights, Jose Farinas / Crusaders, Christian Sorensen / Anglo-Danes, Dennis Bolin / Welsh, Rick Abbo / Moors, James Stilwell / Skraelings, Sara Stilwell / Vikings, Roger Stilwell / Anglo-Saxons, Bill Stilwell / Normans, Tim Daun / Anglo-Danes, Chuck Robbins / Normans, Igor Torgeson / Normans, Mike Gunson / Anglo-Danes, Bill Witthans / Vikings, Chris Armstrong / Anglo-Saxon, Chirs Snell / Normans, Steve Gausche / Vikings, Galen Yee / Anglo-Danes, Joe Naccio / Skraelings, and Jeff McArthur / ?

 

This great Viking army was built, painted and donated by Joe Naccio! Hats off to Joe!

This great Viking army was built, painted and donated by Joe Naccio! Hats off to Joe!

The current “goto” warband Anglo-Danes were the most popular and did well, but failed to make it to the top. Vikings and Normans were also well represented with Roger Stilwell’s Viking warband taking top spot and the grand prize of…what else, a painted Viking Warband! Hot on his heels for top honors was Chuck Robbins with his Normans going like Roger’s Vikings win/win/win and only getting edged down to 2nd place by 3 points. Chuck picked up a very nice Viking command stand painted and donated by Joe Naccio. 3rd place went to Bill Stilwell another of the Stilwell family gamers playing yet again another Norman

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

Rick Abbo makes and sells some cool Fatigue markers

warband. Bill took home some of Rick Abbo’s custom “Fatigue” marker stands. Rick makes and sell these, email him for info. Dennis Bolin came in 4th place with the only Welsh warband to see action that day and took a set of “Sacred Ground” markers made for the tourney (made / donated by me). Jose Farinas came in at 5th and was rewarded with a set of trees (also from me) and last place, winner of the “Wooden Spoon” award was Chris Armstrong who’s dice utterly failed him! He gets a new set of dice from the Game Empire! Everyone else was rewarded with a cool set of “tweezers” a door prize from Joe N. and a great day of wargaming!

Some cool hills buit and donated by "yours Truly"

Some cool hills buit and donated by “yours Truly”

So as I played in and ran the tourney I was pretty busy so I’m not able to speak about all the other battles, just the ones I was in. First I fought James Stilwell and his Skraelings, James was a tough competitor and the Skraelings can give any opponent fits, I pressed my Vikings hard and they broke through killing his Warlord on turn 4. Next was Chris Snell, Chris and I have fought many battles before and he’s tough…normally I have Normans against his Vikings but this time he had Normans and I the Vikings! Chris has learned to finesse his Normans and gave me a hard time, we fought tooth and nail however I was getting the worst of it and my die rolls weren’t helping. I made one last effort to push into his Warlord. I killed all but one of his hearth guard, he ALL my figures save the warlord so that found our Warlords slugging it out for the next two two rounds with my warlord surviving TWO rounds of shooting from both a full 12 man levy bow unit and his near full strength crossbow unit! EPIC!!!! 4-5 people were watching and sheering this one!

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My Vikings charge over the hill, into Chris Snell’s Normans, and Valhalla!

My warlord killed 2 or three of his hearth guard and fought his Warlord as well while standing alone but then my warlord dieing at the end. The third round pitted me against Christian S and his Anglo-Danes in the Sacred Ground scenario. By this stage of the day I was tired, loosing steam, and poor die rolls did not help (my excuse “wink”) so smart play on Christians part had me and my Vikings return to the boats, conceding the game at the beginning of turn 5!

At this point most of the third round was complete and winners and losers then gathered to lick their wounds and cheer the winners. The Winners got to choose from a prize table in order of their placing in the tourney. Prizes went down to 6th place.

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Chuck and Bill (me) present Roger Stilwell his 4 point Viking Warband for his placing first in the tourney.

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Our rewards!

Everyone had loads of fun, all were praising the “Dogs” and Game Empire for putting the Tournament on, and many asking when the next one would be. As the last players drove away the remaining “Dogs” packed away the gear and retired across the way to Lucky Baldwin’s Pub for some well deserved drinks and a bit of food!
Since some have asked the next SAGA event will be announced shortly, it will take us to the land of the Crusades! The next expansion of the SAGA rule set the “Crescent and the Cross” We will be doing game days leading to a tourney……details to come…..

Bill Witthans

Please enjoy the gallery of the days fun! There are more pictures coming so check back soon.

 

Another Day another SAGA written……

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Last week I played Danny and used my Normans against his Vikings, tried some different moves, and being very tired from work went down for the count…. could not roll a save to save my life (or the Norman Hearthguard) 4 mounted Normans destroyed by his Levy’s! I didn’t take many pictures (to tired) and the battle is a bit fuzzy (same excuse) but there were a few and I do remember a some well intentioned charges by the Normans followed by horrendous die rolls….and in the end a large pile of dead Normans! Well at least I got rid of my bad dice before the con.

The Warbands face off!

The Warbands face off!

The "Dead Pool" and it would get bigger!

The “Dead Pool” and it would get bigger!

Near the end, I think a last Norman charge at the two Viking Hearthguard killed them but in the fray the Normans failed saves again and took 3 casualties to the Horse!

Near the end, I think a last Norman charge at the two Viking Hearthguard killed them but in the fray the Normans failed saves again and took 3 casualties to the Horse!

Steve G got back from Georgia Friday so we just hung at my place Saturday and Steve was kind enough to act as my “sparring” partner for a few SAGA tune-up games…lol! First a straight up Warlord vs. Warlord, Norman (me) vs. Viking bash, Vikings went down after a hard fight. The next was a Viking vs. Viking with me using my almost complete (a few with unfinished bases) Vikings warband in the “Battle at the Ford” Bridge4a

 

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With many of our games Steve and I play “Friendly” and advise each other of mistakes or suggest better moves when playing so we improve both our games in the future, this was the case in our first game but the second one I advised him that the “gloves were off” (well sort of) and my Vikings were out for blood! Steve decided to make the first bold move and charged over the bridge on the right, he also led with his “chin” placing his Bezerkers in front of the charge across the bridge and not waiting for his bowmen’s support! Behind them a second Hearthguard and his Warlord. My bowmen had taken up position and rained arrows on the Bezerkers in the middle of the bridge…a dead Bezerker, bad as there are only four! Facing them my 8 man Hearthguard screamed in defiance as his Bezerkers charged into them, his second Hearthguard unit followed on their heels jumping off the bridge and hitting my Levy archers… My 8 man Hearth guard fought well (rolled) and after a sharp exchange his Bezerkers went to see Odin! I lost only one Hearthguard. Steves other Hearthguard unit did little better in melee taking out two bowman while losing one of theirs. On the other side of the “battle at the ford” the action consisted of little more than hard stares as his force of 2-8 man Warrior units with a 4 man Hearthguard unit faced my one 8 man Warrior units along with 2 Hearthguard units and my warlord. The next turn saw more action on the bridge with my Levy Bowmen retreating to a house in the center and my large Hearthguard charging and vaporizing his remaining Hearthguard. His Warlord now stood on the bridge alone, my Hearthguard activated a second time charged, used FRIGG to remove FATIGUE and GAIN an ATTACK die, and he too followed his warriors to Valhalla!

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Got to love those “FOUNDRY” Vikings, Bill’s victorious Hearthguard charges over the bridge.

At this point Steve was ready to toss in the towel but after much cajoling by me about “don’t give up the ship”, “victory from the jaws of defeat” and some other rot…. He got his second wind and started to advance on the other flank. I could have sat back and let my archers weaken him (they were now occupying the building in the center) but that would not be the “Viking way” so I decided to oblige him and join battle at the ford. After all I was stronger on this flank and he was rising up to the fight, he should go down swinging!Bridge7

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Meanwhile back at the Bridge my large Hearthguard after running down his Warlord continued over and off the bridge striking his archers in the woods, another quick fight, and using the “THOR” ability to fight a second round of MELEE at no fatigue cost Steve’s dead Archers made it a busy day in Valhalla! I now had a 6 man Hearthguard unit on his side of the river. 6 point of victory unless he could push them back…unlikely as he was was down to 3 SAGA dice per turn and I now charged over the ford to meet him on the left. Overconfidence on my side and good play and rolls by Steve made the “Ford” a bloody place! First my warriors and his Warrior unit clashed, his men obviously angered at the Death of their Warlord fought like demons and my Warriors were reduced to a single man, retreating out of the way as my 4 man

Hearthguard unit charge in to avenge their brothers. The Hearthguard severely hurt his first Warrior unit but also failed to save the hits (5) his Warriors caused, a second “defeat” for my force as my lone Hearthgurd figure retreated to join the lone warrior off in the bushes! Now it was my Bezerkers turn! A powerful unit if given the proper chance… they charged in and tore apart his second warrior unit, dead to a man! However the fighting was fierce, the Bezerkers took enough return damage and failing their saves also melted off the battlefield, Wow! This was turn seven and the game ended with Steve’s last unit, the 3 man Hearthguard unit stared at my Warlord across the ford littered with the dead and dying to see my Levy archers and Warlord standing there as ripe targets. With a bit more time they “might” avenge their Warlords death and the enemy incursion onto their side of the river…however daylight and the howling of my larger Hearthguard unit approaching to their side caused then to withdraw and think of next seasons battles!

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Our Warriors clash at the Ford!

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This was our first “scenario” and we both liked it as a change from the Warlord vs. Warlord standard fights.

Steve G and I are probably going to Kingdom con for the SAGA tourney. Thought it might be nice to see and play and see how a different group handles SAGA. There will also be a SAGA “Samurai” demo on Friday night. Steve and I will definitely be there for the Saturday SAGA game so if anyone wants to “car pool” please let me know. Should be a hoot!

Bill W

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The finish with my archers in the building, my Hearth guard on Steve’s side of the river, and my Warlord saying “Go back to your women, this land is ours now!”

The Gods Decend! My almost LPL8 entry….

Well there has not been a post lately because as some of you know I was painting for the Lead Adventure forums annual painting challenge. Entry’s cannot have been posted elsewhere on the internet before. Well the best laid plans of mice and men go awry and despite painting like a fiend and having my entries ready (first 15 of 50, 5 new ones each week for ten weeks!) I worked all week shooting on a TV show 16 hours a day all nights, outside, and was a wreck by the weekend I was to have a few hours to take pictures and submit them. I was such a wreck I misjudged the time difference (it’s a European based worldwide competition) and realized in the middle of prepping photos that the deadline had already passed.

So the good news is that I can just post them here and at my leisure. I can also continue with other projects and gaming….heck its not like I was winning anything great just a small icon by ones name….lol!

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Thor (Donar) – God of thunder and battle, Freyja – Goddess of love, fertility, and battle, Lofn – Goddess of forbidden loves, Odin – The “All Father” God of war, also associated to wisdom, poetry, and magic (The Ruler of the gods), Magni – god of strength. Son of Thor.   VIKINGgodsRnd1bb