Battle at the Ford

Last night, we played another game of SAGA. I wanted to do the Battle at the Ford scenario once more, as last time K. beat me horribly. After she slaughtered one unit of my Knights early on, I completely panicked and started shuffling my troops around at my table edge, which led to me not even getting one unit across the river. This time, I was determined to do better.

The set-up had almost all of my units on my left flank in front of the ford, while my levies took position in the watchtower to guard the bridge. This time, we played with 5 points. I still haven’t finished painting my mounted warriors, so I took one unit of foot Sergeants to complement my two Hearthguard, crossbowmen and levies. K. had her troops more evenly distributed, with her Warlord, her berserkers and her levy facing the ford, her Hearthguard in the woods and another unit of Warriors and Hearthguard at the bridge.

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The set-up

I had the initiative and immediately threw my foot sergeants across the bridge and into K.’s levy, which lost melee and had to retreat. K.’s berserkers however, in turn attacked my dashing sergeants – a clash which surprisingly saw one Warrior surviving to flee behind a bush on the edge of the river.

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Hiding won’t save you!

The dreaded Loki ability was used for the first, but sadly not the last time in this game. Later on, she would finish off my remaining crossbowmen with this Viking hocus-pocus.

Meanwhile on the right flank my levies did well. Using the Massed Volley ability, they killed one unit of Viking Hearthguard, which had dared to move too close to the bridge.

At the ford, things started to get nasty as we both funneled troops into the battle. Berserkers attacked crossbowmen and were in turn attacked and killed by Norman knights. A concentrated effort of the knights, making use of some fine SAGA dice, finished off K.s Hearthguard, which had moved out of the wood to join the fray. Things started to look good for me at the ford! I didn’t think too hard about the bridge, where there was a standstill – K.’s Warriors ready to cross, but just outside my bow range, and my Levy unable to do anything because I didn’t have the right SAGA dice or needed them desperately at the ford. How could I miss what K. was up to?

To my excuse, I was fully absorbed by the events on the ford, where, in true Viking style, K. sent in her Warlord. In the first fight against my knights he took so many hits that he had to sacrifice a whole unit of Hearthguard to survive. But then he taught me the meaning of resilience. Standing in the middle of the ford, he just held wave after wave (well, consecutive attacks) of my knights, saving all his hits with some ferocious dice rolling.

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None shall pass!

But dramatic dice rolling was distributed evenly this evening. Two crowns from my SAGA dice meant that I could use Dex Aïe for the first time ever. With a fierce battle cry, my Warlord charged and in due course slew his Viking adversary. However, the heroic onslaught had left my Warlord exhausted and he stood panting in the ford as the sole surviving knight crossed to the other side. By then, I already knew that I had lost, because somewhere in the 5th turn I finally realised that K. was only waiting with her Warriors at the bridge to hurry over in the last round – a move I could not prevent with my insubordinate Levies, which preferred the safety of their watchtower to the glory of the battle field.

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Vikings pouring over the bridge

This was a close game: Would I have broken through at the ford sooner, I might have pulled it off. But I payed the price for ignoring the Vikings lurking at my right flank. However, I honestly don’t know what I could have done to stop them earlier – I needed all the figures and SAGA dice I could get for the fighting at the ford.

So what’s your experience from this scenario? Any tactical hints that might help me next time?

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