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!
The painting bug finally caught hold of me again, and the result is a whole mess of Vikings. Previous to the last week or so, I had slowly worked my way through two Berserkers, a Hearthguard, a Warrior, and my Warlord. 5 models. I have now more than tripled that, and I have also convinced a friend of mine to take advantage of Gripping Beast’s black Friday sale, so I’m actually going to get to *field* these ruffians (and not as Ostlanders).
Viking Paintfest, Round 1:
I started with these three Bondi (warriors), as they were ‘based’ and primed and ready to go. Realized pretty much immediately that if I was going to work on multiple minis at the same time, I should do more than 3. So I finished that first night by grabbing a few more that I’d already gritted the bases on and priming them.
This brought the count to 5 Bondi and Gunnar Hamundarson. I don’t have Njal yet, so he was probably a silly choice to paint at the moment, but it’s just such a great model.
I used a lot of different colours on this lot (and so many browns!), but I like the feel of it. Uniform in their lack of uniformity, if you will.
And there’s that batch finished, and bloodied up. I think I mixed about 7 shades of red for this group; I reduced that to about 3 for the next lot.
Next lot! 7 miniatures this time: 2 Berserkers, 3 Hirdmen (hearthguard), and 2 Bondi.
I went with this combination because it would finish off a bunch of units that I’d started over the past year (usually one at a time for local painting contests).
I picked up some GW Nuln oil to wash the armour (is it weird that I’ve never bought any previously?) and decided to try a few more interesting shield designs.
Mixed results. I’m not exactly a freehand genius, but I’m happy enough with the results. Once I’ve bloodied these fellows up a little it should soften the aspects I feel look weird.
It takes a pretty serious effort on my part not to overdo it with the blood. Maybe I do anyway, but it strikes me as pretty unlikely that vikings wading through a battlefield *wouldn’t* be visibly bloodied, so here we are. Weapons and hands seem like obvious candidates, and I picture shields just being another weapon; either via a classic bash, or using the edge (with shields this big, though, maybe that’s unrealistic? I have no personal experience with dark ages combat, haha). That’s enough overthinking for now…
So, the result of this latest painting binge? I have now painted:
Gunnar Hamundarson and my Warlord.
One point of Berserkers.
1 point of Hirdmen.
1 point of Bondi.
Next up? Another point of Bondi and maybe Njal or a mercenary unit, depending what finds its way onto my desk.
Spent a couple evenings just cleaning and assembling Vikings (plus a couple random Hasslefree minis).
Started just thinking I’d get a couple prepped for future Historical-themed painting contests, then got into the swing of it and did a bunch. Even then I was still planning to leave the spear wielders until later (I’m going to be ordering some wire spears as soon as Gripping Beast have their Viking dice back in stock), but just kept going.
‘Twas a strange mood for me, but I figured I’d take advantage while I was feeling it.
I’ll have to post the whole lot of them at some point, but this’ll have to do for now…