Games I Like – Saga – A quick review

So a friend was nice enough to give me a copy of Tomahawk Studios new game Saga which has caused quite a stir amongst historicals fans. The game is designed as a Historical Skirmish, which means it has significantly more figures in it than the 6-12 you’d typically see in Sci Fi and Fantasy games.

Core Rules

The core of the game is a simple strong mechanic. There are four measurements for ranges in the game that cover everything from Close Combat range, Movement, Shooting and any other time you need to determine distance. They range from Very Short (2″) to Long (12″) with Short and Medium in between. This makes it a simple four type statistic used throughout the game. There are photocopyable rulers in the back, but you can just as easily use a tape measure.

The second major core rule is the Battle Board. Each of the eight factions has their own set of unique ‘Saga’ powers that represent the influence of the Warlord strategizing and scheming on the battlefield. Each turn your Warlord generates Saga dice based on the units you’re using and who is still surviving on the table. The dice are rolled and you can pair up the symbols at the start of each turn with the ‘abilities’ on your Battle Board. Some of them are Once per turn… the others can be used multiple times by ‘powering’ them up with multiple dice. Some even need combinations of dice to use. This is a really cool and unique system to enhance what is effectively a simple historical combat system where (like in real life!) ‘A man is a man is a man’.

The Forces

All factions with a few exceptions have the same base system and a unique and simple army building system that is inherently balanced by giving EVERY player essentially the same options. All games are played at 6 points. The Warlord (you!) is free and essentially identical across the armies (a powerful fighter!). You can then select, at a point each, three ‘grades’ of Warriors to fight in your army. For each point you spend of a grade (which are essentially Untrained, Regular and Veteran) you get a certain number of models added to your army. You get 12 Untrained, 8 Regular or 4 Veteran troops for each point you spend. You are then free to organize them in units of between 4 and 12 models of the same type. In this way you’ve got the freedom to create the force you like but the game focuses on strategy and use of the Battle Board to win missions on the tabletop.

You can also choose the Dark Age faction you want to bring to battle. This does not really alter your troops and how they fight, more the odds and ends they are equipped with and more importantly, which Battle Board Saga abilities you bring to the game. It can give you some small options like mounting your models, which makes them faster but easier to harm/remove with shooting (representing the panic of the animals) meaning it really equates to a plus/minus. Forces range from the Vikings, Anglo Saxons, Scots, Welsh and others. There are 8 in total and each gives you a variety of modeling options which you can focus on, instead of obsessing with what each one is armed with!

Other useful Info

Since this was a bit of a surprise I had to do some research on where I would get my models. There are tons of great manufacturers out there… the ones I’m mostly interested in are the Vikings. To my surprise, I almost immediately discovered two really nice lines of multi-part plastics that would fit this game perfectly.

Gripping Beast Plastics make both Bondi and Viking Warriors which can make any level of the infantry you need for the game. It also gives you bits to make your warlord. The reviews I’ve looked at online say they are completely compatible with the Wargames Factory figures of Vikings, making them a great place for me to start.


They make a ton of metal accessories as well, so I should be able to find odds and ends I like for my force too.

Wargames Factory Viking Huscarls are also multi part plastics. WG doesn’t make any metals, but I’m told they are compatible with the Gripping Beast figures completely so they should be perfect to complement them for bits.


In my head I’ve got the idea of collecting the following ‘suggested’ army to get started…

12 Viking Huscarls (Veterans – 3pts)
16 Viking Bondi (Regulars – 2pts)
12 Viking Thralls (Untrained – 1pt)

The Gripping Beast box comes with 44 figures, more than enough to make this armylist! I’m thinking I’ll pick up the Wargames Factory stuff as well in order to make the thralls and just plain old give me lots of bits.

Overall I’m excited about this game! I’ve got plenty of scenery and a 4×4′ table (recommended) for the game already… so I just need to get some figures painted and I’d be good to go.

More as I work on it!


~ by Achilles on August 18, 2012.

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