Almost two years ago, I bought a 4-point metal starter box of Vikings from Gripping Beast, with the expectation I would never actually play (I just liked the idea of painting some viking miniatures). When second edition released, I decided to get the actual books, and convinced a friend to at least snag the base rulebook, but while that has generated vague interest, it hasn’t turned into actual models or games yet. I did field some of my Vikings as Ostlanders during the last local Mordheim campaign, but that and Frostgrave were starting to look like the extent of their usefulness around here, until I recently showed my Vikings to my friend Dave and got some real results (maybe the fact that I’ve recently made a real effort to get them all painted had an effect on their usefulness in this regard). He took advantage of the Gripping Beast black Friday sale and bought himself some Normans. He assembled them over the holidays, and last night we played an actual game of Saga…
We laid lots of terrain down, then rolled Method B for deployment and ended up touching almost none of it, haha. Clash of Warlords for our first game.
My Hirdmen watch as my Warlord and a unit of Bondi advance through the woods, leaving them behind.
Being new to this whole thing, I leave a unit of Bondi hiding in rocky ground while my Berserkers run around it in the open. The Berserkers will be largely cut down by ranged fire during Dave’s first turn; only one will be left standing.
My Bondi attempt to cut down some Norman Crossbowmen, but Dave’s dice are on fire…
… son of a dingleberry! (I rolled 13 hits, and Dave defended against almost all of them).
My last Berserker decides to make himself useful and charges a unit of mounted Norman Hearthguard. Valhalla gets him some extra dice…
… and he takes them out! He’s also gone as a result of Valhalla, but this is probably the first interaction to go even remotely my way, and marks a bit of a turning point in our battle.
Having finally dragged themselves out of the rocky ground (and having been whittled down by more ranged fire), my Bondi manage to take out some more Norman Warriors, but not enough. A few still remain standing.
My Warlord has defeated his Norman counterpart, but so has 3 Crossbowmen and a largely untouched unit of Levies to deal with.
Crossbows down, Levy Archers to go…
While he doesn’t take them all out, my Warlord does take out enough Levy to negate Dave’s final Saga die, ending the game.
We quite likely played more than 6 turns, as we sorta glossed over that part and just played until one of us ran out of Saga dice. Lots of fun, though, and both of us are very much looking forward to playing again (and we’re going to get some more miniatures so we can start thinking about 6 points in the not too distant future).
Thoughts after our first game?
Normans are probably going to be a tough fight for me. I did okay once I’d closed for combat, but the Norman ranged options did some real damage (especially to my poor Berserkers!) and the mounted Hearthguard twisted some of my deployment choices back on me. Their maneuverability really limited my ability to choose my battles via deployment.
Berserkers need some real help getting across the battlefield. I’ll need to make better use of terrain and other units to get them safely into combat.
Our game took a few hours, but that included *lots* of rules searches and clarifications, plus we basically played to annihilation. Games should be pretty quick once we get a better handle on the game.
I’ll probably read through the rules again now that I have a game under my belt. It’s well laid out from a reading perspective, but trying to find specific rules while playing was pretty rough (reminded me a little bit of Infinity’s second edition, but not as brutal since the book is a lot shorter). There are definitely a couple of things I’d just like to confirm we did correctly where movement and fatigue are concerned.
TLDR: We really like Saga.
Yes, with the second Bondi unit that I posted a couple weeks ago, I finished painting a full army. Not something I can say very often. Let’s take another look at those final 8 warriors:
What follows is pretty much going to be a bunch of photos, because I’m feeling pretty good about these guys. Sharing time!
I feel like this guy’s got some tricky moves… Watch the feet!
And there we go. Thanks for checking them out. I am in fact working on those Gall Gaedhil I mentioned last time, but I interrupted that painting task with some shieldmaiden assembly.
So lots more Saga still coming. I picked up Njal, too. Also, Dave’s Normans arrived, so once he’s got them assembled and on bases, I’m actually going to get to play!
Tonight I put the finishing touches on my last 8 Viking Bondi (warriors). That’s right, I am now the proud owner of a fully painted 4 points of Saga. I’ll have to get a group photo at some point.
When we left off, I’d put in a couple evenings of paint, and the Bondi were looking like this:
Day 4: more paint, plus some dirt on the ground!
Day 5: finished up any still unpainted spots, but mostly a bunch of shades and washes. I don’t think I snapped a picture of that.
Day 6: some detail work (including shieldwork), and some light drybrushing to give the hair, fur, and dirt some depth.
They’re starting to really look like something at this point.
Although they can’t look at anything themselves. No eyes just yet.
Day 7: Day the last! Eyes and blood! Here’s a few of them before and after the finishing touches:
And one final group shot:
Up next: the Gal Gaedhil (Sons of Death)?
K, this is it! I’m only 8 miniatures away from having a fully painted 4 point Saga warband, so I’m painting all 8 at the same time.
Day 1: Prime the last few that were still bare metal…
Day 2: Some blues, some greens, some browns. Moving right along…
Day 3: A few different skin tones and wood colours, and most of the clothing complete.
Until next time!
Before I get started here, I would probably mention that the meta I play in is relatively casual. We’re competitive, we play to win, but the vast majority of us would rather lose an interesting game than win a boring one. With that in mind, the following thoughts and opinions might get more or less mileage based on your own community, but I think the core sentiments stand.
One of my favourite things about Infinity is that it’s not a list-building exercise. What you bring will totally impact your game, and your ability to react to situations or complete specific objectives, but the miniatures you put on the table are far less important than what you do with them. There are totally benefits to preparing ahead of time, but that isn’t enough on its own. [Aside: the primary reason I could never really get into Warmachine/Hordes is that it always felt like the opposite; the outcome seemed determined before the game even began, because no amount of skill seemed able to overcome a ‘weak’ list.] I feel like one of Infinity’s strongest selling points is the necessity of *playing* well. In a straightforward Annihilation scenario, a really skilled Infinity player could do decently with a list provided by their opponent.
That said, in ITS and other scenario based formats, a well planned list can still be a huge benefit. This is usually my weakness. Life makes a lot of demands, and I don’t always make time to sit down and prepare lists. I often set up the tournament and then just select a couple of appropriate lists from among my past creations. This generally serves me fairly well. I play vanilla, and tend to like well rounded ‘toolbox’ lists that provide me with an appropriate response (albeit a limited one) to just about every game-based situation that’s likely to come up. I’m usually short on specialists, so I have to both play well, to make up for those shortcomings, and really pick my early targets carefully (I often lean towards trying to get second deployment in these cases, since my ability to respond effectively in the early game becomes particularly important to me). In Direct Action tournaments I generally do really well; Operations tournaments are harder but I can usually eke out enough minor victories to place in the top half (we’re a pretty small community, so that still usually means I’ve placed). It’s a bit of a slog, though, and I sometimes feel like I play too slowly when I have to lean so heavily on tactics. I can speed myself up by using Limited Insertion, but I’ve had mixed results with that so far. It definitely keeps me fast, but I wind up really feeling the paucity of orders.
The last couple of tournaments I’ve tried to prepare my lists around the declared scenarios. The first time was a very small tourney where I had a pretty rough day with the dice, so it was hard to tell whether the lists were working or not. A couple weeks ago was the second time. 3 rounds: Nomads (can’t remember if it was vanilla?), Qapu Khalki, and Military Orders.
Round 1 (Acquisition) – Nomads
This was the scenario I didn’t plan for, and was my best game. Controlled everything, and even got the Classified objective (I *never* get my Classified objective), so it couldn’t have gone much better. I played a strong tactical game. I had to, since my list didn’t provide any really advantage.
Round 2 (The Grid) – Qapu Khalki
I lost this one, and I shouldn’t have. I brought a list that should have crushed it, and then focused on all the wrong stuff. Tactically, this one was a tire fire. I brought a Limited Insertion list with 7 specialists (I think 5 were Forward Observers). Peter’s QK went first; he had no useful specialists for this one, so his only hope was to kill the Designated Target, and to kill me before I could tag some Antennas. He did indeed manage to take out the target with his Datatracker for 4 points, then got into playing some long range tag with me. We were pretty even, dice-wise, and both lost a couple units. On my turn, I neglected to respond to the situation. My initial plan when designing the list was that I’d wait for the second turn to start attempting to designate antennas; this would avoid wasting orders on antennas that my opponent would just flip back anyway. You see what happened there? I let my preparation trump my tactics. Peter *couldn’t* flip antennas. Designating even one would have netted me a guaranteed 3pts. Half my list or more had Anti Materiel weaponry, so another 3pts would very likely have followed in my second turn. Instead, I focused entirely on trying to remove some of his units, thus giving him 2 full turns to reduce my numbers before I even attempted to *fulfil the scenario objectives*. He eliminated most of my specialists during his second turn, and took out the last one with an ARO during mine. I managed to kill the Designated Target, but not with my Datatracker. I lost, 2-4. Peter approached the scenario with a nearly useless list, but played with his weaknesses in mind and prioritized eliminating my strengths before I could put them to use. I failed to respond to the situation at all, and let my preparedness be a hindrance. Well played, sir.
Round 3 (Rescue) – Military Orders
80% of this list had terrain rules, and I selected one of the other 20% as my Datatracker out of habit (I often use the Unknown Ranger because I find he survives very well). That’s about how this round went. I spent about half the game’s orders dealing with 2 *very* hard to kill units (ignoring them as much as possible would have been a much better plan), and then made a bad call in my last couple orders of the game. I used an order or two to try and clear a path when I should have just triggered AROs instead. The orders used up trying to remove threats meant that my Datatracker couldn’t get his civilian to my DZ (to add insult to injury, I also failed to remove the threats). The extra order worth of movement would have gotten him there, which would have resulted in a major victory instead of a minor one, and that would have won me the tournament. Our first kit ever, and I was so close… but so far. I put too much faith in my lists, and let my preparation get in the way of my tactics.
It was an eye opening experience. I still came in second, and I had a blast, but it hurt to be able to look at the games and see so easily what I’d done wrong. If only I’d opened my eyes earlier, while playing. Hahahasigh.
Well, we continued our Forgotten Pacts campaign last week, and it was *insane*.
Three of us again (Chris and I, plus Alex joined us for his first game of Frostgrave!), so we settled from the corners.
Three of us meant 9 treasures, so the board started with 9 barbarian berserkers. Every dead berserker spawned two more, and they started to add up fast. My warband killed about 10, and while Chris and Alex were less overwhelmed by barbarians than I was, they still took out a few each. Never mind appropriately armed miniatures, I had to use almost the entire bestiary I’d brought with me (we had boars and dogs counting as barbarian berserkers by the end).
Katie the Wolf was trying to get into this watchtower (there was a treasure on the top floor) when fresh barbarians started spawning on the nearby board edge. It was probably the most ‘popular’ spawning edge by a significant margin, and it meant she never made it to the tower door. She did manage to stem the tide for a few turns, though, and was responsible for about half the berserkers taken out by my warband.
My early game is often about sending a few fast soldiers to grab the treasures nearest my opponents. Playing this scenario again, I’d probably worry less about grabbing those treasures and instead focus on getting to those in the middle of the board. I definitely underestimated how quickly the berserkers would pile up (9 to start plus 16-18 double respawns means over 40 barbarian berserkers even *without* random occurrences), and I’d be pretty wary of those board edges in the future; every barbarian you take out near a spawn edge has basically a 50/50 chance of putting another one right on you.
Oh, and I lost another dog.
I must really like Infinity, because I don’t usually buy into multiple factions for the games I play, but here I am.
The arrival of Uprising brought a variety of new factions/sectorials, and since they include a mix of regular units and mercenaries, I already had a bunch of appropriate miniatures. My old Yu Jing demo list has been given a new purpose, as the Keisotsus, the Wu Ming, and the Ninja all have homes in the new Ikari Company, along with my Desperadoes and a few others. I probably had more models for StarCo, but the pull of Ikari was strong, especially because it gave me an excuse to track down Yojimbo.
No shortage of finicky bits on this thing. The baggage is suspended off the back of the seat, which is in turn pretty much suspended in midair. It looks cool as it comes together, but at first glance, the parts don’t even clearly indicate which end will be the front, haha. He also came with a pair of CrazyKoalas, which are significantly less finicky. Just a head to glue onto a body, and I feel like even that was probably not especially necessary. These guys probably could have been one-piece minis.
The most brutal bit of multi-part cruelty is the right handlebar, which is this super tiny piece that you’re supposed to glue on and then (I guess) hope never brushes against anything? Can you say Further Adventures in Pinning? For this little project, I broke out the 0.6mm bit and a staple.
The fact that I used a staple should give you some sense of scale where these pictures are concerned. The left handlebar is actually a part of the torso, and is molded into Yojimbo’s hand, but of course the right had to stand alone.
It has to stand alone because it needs to hold an insanely long sword, which I fully expect to cause problems forever. I’m tempted to leave the blade unpainted so that there’s no paint to chip when the blade inevitably bends.
But dang, it’s pretty.