Monday, May 9, 2016

SAGA Crescent & Cross - last stand AAR

I had a chance to make it over to Vancouver and play with some friends at the monthly Trumpeter gaming night. Cameron (LINK) has been converting a bunch of locals to SAGA over the last two years or so. It started with regular (viking) SAGA, and for a small group of us, we all ordered up 15mm figs for crusader war gaming (Crescent and Cross).

At long last enough of us have painted figs and the opportunity to throw down some lead on the table. I had never played, Grace has played a few times, and Cameron knows the rules. We did a two vs 1+1 battle. I suspect we had the advantage due to the number of saga (activation essentially) dice we got to throw as two individuals rather than one.

The mission was a last stand, after bidding to see how long we thought it'd take us to table our enemy using endless reinforcements we had chosen the same number. Cameron won the dice off, and it was a typical crusader murder fest against the indigenous peoples of the levant.

Grace and I lucked out with a fairly defensible village. My foot troopers took up positions in the buildings, while most of the cavalry gathered in the centre.

The crusaders all got auto activations first round and moved aggressively to set up for the attack.
Grace took some early losses on the west, and began to evacuate her horses to the South. It became increasingly obvious to us that killing too many crusaders was a bad idea. They could recycle troops once they hit minimum unit size values. Our best bet would be to frustrate the easy killing of our men.
The crusader horses with the red flags are 'hearthguard' (or their crescent and cross equivalent), which largely means they are meat buzz saws. To the right we see them setting up for a charge to clear out a building. I think the hand wavium argument is they race up, fight on foot, and then remount. Which allows cavalry to attack buildings, but not occupy them.

We see the building now cleared. Grace is down to 3 units of 4 horsemen. Our numbers are dwindling quickly. I've cleverly placed my cav in the corner of the board as I start to use an ability known as 'saracens trick'. It forces mounted units to charge towards my mounted unit. This was used again and again to save my foot troops, and occasionally graces horse, from crushing charges. I imagined that my guys were trumpeting the crusader rallying sounds or something, so they'd head my way.

New crusader units are cycled in (on any board edge) and it looks grim again. We are well and truly surrounded. My archers now have a target rich environment and start to wear down the crusader units. Being careful to try and leave smallish units as they are less effective.

Grace and I accumlate in the bottom left of the map. Not sure this was an intentional decision or if we were being herded a bit. Not a great result in any event.
More heathguard show up and slaughter my cavalry. Only my leader survives. He's the bloke with the spear that the columns of horses are pointing towards. Cameron decides to take the effort of killing him off, as he does give me quite a few saga/activation dice per turn. For the purposes of wiping us out the warlords don't count, but it's a good move as it dramatically reduces my ability to do 'sneaky things'.
Oh Ahmed. Your end will live on in the tales told through the ages.
My spearmen meanwhile have hot footed it away from the first set of buildings, through the courtyard, and consolidated into the southern buildings. Numbers are looking pretty thin, the turn counter is late, but it looks like the crusaders can do it.

Grace has a single figure on the table, with 4 fellows trying to hack her to at food. This poor fellow faces two turns of long odds to survive.
Start of the last turn. We have 1 spearman in the right, 4 in the centre, and 3 bowmen. It's.....possible I'll survive.

But not likely. Cameron achieves the kills. Unfortunately, the longest odd of all, the 4:1 on graces final fig ends up wiffing. The saracens have a single warrior on the table at the end of the game to tell of the crusader perfidity. The crusaders are a step closer to being thrown out of the holy lands.


  1. Nice report! The story of that lone horse archer deserves a place in the history books.

    I think the scenario rules need some rejigging to work with the sort of 8 points vs. 4+4 points game we had. It worked out fine in our case, but if I had been using any other warband, which didn't have the ability to generate 3 extra actions a turn with a Saga ability, I think it would have been a lopsided Saracen victory.

    1. I was thinking the easiest way might be to split the crusader side. So you'd have 2 4pt forces and run turns back to back. It'd just get slightly complicated with the recycling of unit I suppose.

  2. Wow, that was an epic battle for sure! Very nice minis and terrain on display too. Really enjoyed reading this.

    1. Thanks Dai. I'm really happy with how my figs turned out. Cameron always manages to set up visually impressive games.