Wolves from the Sea
Saturday morning slot. GMs: Matt Kibbe and Adam Rios.
|Best. Morning. Game. EVER.|
Saga is a miniatures skirmish game set during the Dark Ages by Gripping Beast. It is a historical game, but not in the sense of accurately modelling combat in a specific period. Rather, it depicts what might be said about a particular battle after the fact. The kinds of tales that come out late in the evening after a few drinks, a fine repast, and a few more drinks. This was another game I heard about from Meeples and Miniatures and looked forward to giving a try.
This was an open demonstration. Players were paired off against each other and given a selection of four point armies to choose from. I ended up playing the Irish against the Vikings. The scenario started with the warlords from both sides already in close combat range and the rest of their armies deploying on the edges of the board.
The core game system is light and fast. Granted, this was a stripped-down demonstration game, but all of the players seemed to pick up the rules quickly. Play time was roughly two hours, including instruction time.
The Irish and the Vikings have a very different flavor and rely on different tactics. The Irish use missile fire to soften up their opponents as the range closes. The Vikings favor melee combat. The special abilities of each faction further add to their strengths.
The custom Saga dice determine what a player can do with his army on a particular turn. Units (other than the warlord) must be allocated dice to act in a given turn. Symbols and combinations of symbols can activate special abilities.
The action on the board is very fluid. Units move up to engage and losing units fall back. The back and forth maintains focus. My attention never wondered far from the board, even when it was my opponent's turn.
First Impressions - Cons:
I generally regard "I-go, you-go" initiative as a weakness in a system. It is not as noticeable in Saga. The fluid nature of the game results in relatively little down time during the other player's turns. The period also helped. There were no large fields of fire to encourage players to hunker down in cover and result in a static game.
Each faction has their own custom Saga dice. Each set of six dice costs around $20.00 USD. I regard that as a little on the expensive side.
I had a fun time. The game is challenging and kept my attention until the end. Saga is a candidate for my next game, but I have a number of projects to complete until I can take on a new period.