Category: SAGA: AoM

Still excited

You might have noticed from the last couple of posts that I’ve made that I’m quite excited by SAGA: AoM.  I mean I’ve always loved fantasy gaming but apart from the Skaven that I collected over 30 years I’ve never really had another fantasy army.  The ones that were on offer from GW were too much GW fluff and not enough Mike fluff if you know what I mean.  Just couldn’t put my own stamp on the story and that meant that whilst I got excited by the figures I just couldn’t get my head into a painting mindset to sit down and sort out an army – the same reason I don’t play 40k as well.

With AoM though I can make the armies that I want, using the figures that I want and create the narrative that I want which as I’ve talked about before goes far beyond just naming the characters.

So I thought I would take this blog post to talk about a couple of the forces that I am putting together for when the Barbarians are finished.

First up is something to use the Lords of the Wild Board (the one that you would stick Beastmen and Woodelves into if you were doing GW army comparisons)

As well as the generic force composition that the battleboard gives you there are also a couple of variant compositions that offer a more restricted force.  The payoff for using one of these is that you will get some sort of special rule to give that force more character.  In the Lords of the Wild force these variants are The Arachnaean Jungle (think lots of spider riders) and the Minotaurs of the Black Hills.  This was the list that attracted me.  However not as Minotaurs but as Werewolves.

Several years ago I backed the CMoN Wrath of Kings KS and whilst the finished game did nothing for me at all, it produced some absolutely gorgeous miniatures that I’ve never really been able to use until now.  So quick rebase, add in some GW Fenrisian Wolves that I had got in a trade and my 8 point warband was born.

Awoooooow, Werewolves of Norfolk
  • Warlord
  • Sorcerer
  • 6 points of creatures (split 4/3/3/2)
  • Monster

It really is that simple and really is that few figures.  Could do exactly the same warband with Ogre models or perhaps trolls.  Only model I am unhappy with is the Giant Bear as my Monster but I have plans to replace it with an even bigger Werewolf (of course)

Second force that I am currently working on is an Otherworld list (think Demons)  My original plan for this was to use my Egyptian based models that I have for the Cult of Set as the army for this board with the demons being snakes etc. but the Otherworld list doesn’t use levies (guess they have all been sacrificed) and in my mind the Cult of Set is full of worshippers and elites.  Very little actual soldier types.  So it was back to the drawing board with those and I needed something else to fill in.

Reading through the list one of the things that struck me was that you can upgrade your warlord to be an Archdemon at the cost of a point.  Archdemon sounds a lot like a god to me and then the answer revealed itself.

Another of my ongoing (neverending???) projects is a generic dungeon crawl game, but to get that working I needed a theme for the models and I had ended up with a lot of Greek mythological types as well as a set of the models from Mythic Battles: Pantheon.

This meant all I needed to do was create a Greek God list with mythical creatures instead of demons.  As the meerkats say, simples.

Zero to Hero

So I have Minotaurmen and Harpies as my warriors, Greek Heroes as my Hearthguard, Smaller Mythical creatures (Gorgon, Nemean Lion and Minotaur) as my creatures and Cerberus and the Hydra as my monsters (both behemoths)  All led by Zeus himself.  Should look really nice painted 🙂

So thats my next two AoM projects.  Hopefully this post gives you an idea of how easy it is to take some models that you love and turn them into an AoM force, ready for some events in the near future.

Here be  dragons 2.jpg

A brief insight

I’ve talked before about how my brain needs to have story and narrative for models that I am painting and playing with and this doesn’t change if I am playing a low figure count skirmish game or a large rank and flank type massed battle (not that i play any of those any more)  With the advent of SAGA: AoM I’ve obviously had the opportunity to get some long forgotten models out of the cupboard and think about some new ideas on how they all fit together.

Which brings me to yesterday and the decision to add a chariot to my horde army.  This is a special unit that only horde can take and provides a nice centrepiece model (to go with all the other centrepiece models, can you have to many centrepieces?)

My plan was to take a GW Ogre Leadbelcher kit, chuck a fighting platform on top of it and then stick a Big Boris on top of that.  Jobs a good one as Boris would say.

Boris Bike???


Only something about it didn’t feel right.  Even with the addition of some extra ropes (a freebie I found in one of my ‘safe’ storing places. the model still wasn’t doing it for me.

I thought about adding one of the Hasslefree skyclad women (thats naked to the rest of us) and going full on Frazetta but it still wasn’t hitting the right buttons.

Then, boom, it hit me.  Lets reverse the gender roles and pinch a cue from Malifaux (when they still respected their female characters, but thats a whole different rant) and put the Sisters of Slaughter on the fighting platform.

From that the story in my head grew that these sisters are imbued with the power of Lugh the Bloody himself and take their chariot across the north challenging the champions of each tribe they come across to combat.  The deal is simple.  If the champions win then the sisters belong to them.  If the champions lose then the tribe will join Lughs growing horde.  The sisters have never lost and Lughs horde keeps on growing!

And that was it.  Now I have a story for the unit that will help drive both how I finish up modelling it and the paint scheme that I eventually use.

Still building the model as aliens seem to have taken all my super glue but this is currently how its looking, will add some shields of the conquered champions and perhaps a little bit of bunting, you can never go wrong with bunting.

Sisters of Slaughter WIP




Do you feel if a game company ……

Following on from my purchases from Salute where I bought the Age of Magic rules, the accompanying Chaos and Magic dice, the Saga Battle Book and a Deep Cut Studio 6×4 playing mat, the question occurred to me today –

“Do you feel if a game company appears to have stopped supporting a game that you are less likely to play that game?”

This came on the back of mulling ideas about AoM forces without spending lots of money. It amuses me that as we have gotten older and that having no doubt spent an absolute humongous amount of money on gaming over the years, that we are trying to do stuff now without spending a load of dosh. Moving swiftly back on topic, I am disappointed that I have stuff lying around that I will probably never use so how can I use or re-use stuff. With the introduction of AoM I can see figures that I have being used for small AoM forces. It upsets me that games like Wrath of Kings may not get played much any more in my gaming group. I enjoyed the game immensely and had great cinematic games with my regular gaming buddy Nick. I have a second (unbuilt) force – the Shael Han and I figured I would never get to use them. In addition I bought in to the L5R miniature game when it first came out. I bought some boxed sets of one of the factions. The idea of a Samurai setting game really appealed to me as I was a big fan of the original Bushido RPG when it first came out (but ofc never played it!) Myself being of an age and era that included classics like the Water Margin and Monkey then clearly stuff like these figures/games would appeal to me. I think with the dawn of AoM I have found a probable use for some of the figures.

I’ve re-used my WFB dwarves successfully in my Kings of War army and this game has allowed me to buy some super cool minis from companies such as Scibor Miniatures, (Lord riding a bear), MOM Miniaturas (rock dwarves as Earth Elementals) and West Wind Productions (pig cavalry).

I have a Godslayer set of miniatures which are doing nothing at present possibly begging to be used in AoM. I also still have my WFB demons as well as a load of minis sitting in the garage doing nothing.

I suppose at the day it’s about the type of gamer you are and if you can get the support from like minded gamers. I mean EpicA has a good (but small) community still playing what is a great game. Blood Bowl when it was OOP was still heavily supported by the community as was Necromunda and Mordheim. 9th age is still being played as is Oldhammer. With other games, support for the game from the community will drop off and possibly even die. It saddens me now that this happens. I think with the dawn of Kickstarter and other crowd funding tools, it was as I said it would be, despite it being a golden age of gaming, there would be casualties along the way.

Ultimately though I do feel that I am going to have to go through a purge again this year to offload stuff that is just taking up space with a view to streamlining the game systems old and new that I play but that is of course down to how much free time I have.

New Adventures Await

Last weekend was Salute and I was able to pick up my highly anticipated copy of Age of Magic (AoM) for SAGA.  I’ve always enjoyed playing SAGA as its has a nice balance via the limited resource of your SAGA dice and games feel tactical (well as tactical as a game with no real Command and Control mechanism can) but I’ve not played it as much as some mainly because whilst I have a passing interest in the Dark Ages all the models tend to boil down to beardy men with pointy sticks.  This doesn’t necessarily make for the most interesting painting projects and without a interesting painting project its much harder to drum up enthusiasm for a game.  The upshot was though that when a fantasy based universe was announced (SAGA is split into the core rules and then Universes which are pretty much self contained sets of armies) I had high hopes.

Interestingly around the same time Warlords of Erewhon from Warlord Games was announced that seemed to offer the same sort of game play experience – use whatever figures you want in games of medium figure count game – and the Bolt Action game system is again a very solid performer.  However in the run up to the game being released a series of previews showed that it was actually using a very prescriptive army list system that, to me, seems counter intuitive to what it was trying to achieve – get folks with Oldhammer Armies to get them out the cupboard and start using them again – which meant it was a non starter.  Hopes were all pinned on AoM.

Well having now played a grand total of one game I can say that my hopes are still high as it was tremendous fun.  So things are looking positive.

Rather than saying this is a battle board for Orcs, this one is for Humans etc. Tomahawk Studios have gone for a far more generic and open approach of using fantasy archetypes so our battle yesterday featured a my Barbarians (using the Horde Board) vs. Matt and his Samurai (using the Great Kingdoms Board) He of course says that make him the goodies but I think we all know that they are actually an oppressive regime exploiting the good will of the common man whilst Lugh Silver Hand is a folk hero in the same way as Robin Hood is, rising up against evil and helping the common folk.

Lugh Silver Hand and his Horde
The Samurai (oh and a beardy dwarf)

Enough waffle, lets talk about the game (I’ve assumed that you know some of the basics of SAGA in this)

My Army was as follows

  • 3 points of Warriors
  • 2 points of Hearthguard
  • 1 point of Monsters (Behemoth)
  • 1 Point of Creatures
  • 1 Point of Sorcerer
  • Lugh of the Silver Hand (Warlord)

One of the neat things about AoM is that you can give up deploying models of one type to increase the number of models in another so I only deployed 6 Hearthguard which meant that I could add an extra model to my Creatures.  It sounds confusing but in practice its very straightforward and an elegant way to expand the new unit types without having to get into half points etc.

From memory (and looking at the photo) Matt used

  • 3 Points of Hearthguard
  • 1 Point of Warriors
  • 1 Point of Creatures
  • 1 Point of Levy
  • 1 Point of Monsters (Scourge)
  • 1 Point of Sorcerer
  • Warlord mounted on a beast

He gave up 6 Levy models to add a warmachine and 2 Hearthguard to add an extra creature.

We played the Clash of Warlords scenario from the main rulebook (didn’t want to make it more complicated for ourselves using Book of Battles)

Deployed ready for battle to commence

Now we aren’t the most experienced SAGA players in the world and had to flick back and forth through the rulebook a lot during the game but all for things that after a couple more games will just be second nature so whilst it took us most of the afternoon to play it didn’t seem like it did if that makes sense.

I’m not one for doing turn by turn reports (and frankly I couldn’t tell you when certain things happened anyway) but the game was full of the cinematic moments that both Matt and I play games for.  Early on his dragon came swooping into combat with my poor sorcerer who predictably got eaten – though I’m pretty sure his actual fate is more like Ron Pearlmans character in Pacific Rim – but it then found itself locked in a fight to the death with my Johtun.  My Behemoth marauded up the flank smashing all before him until Matt commited his reserves and finally put the beast down.  The damage had been done though.  Warlords on Beasts turned out to be very tough indeed – Resilience(2) is huge – and whilst I eventually killed him with my Hearthguard they had been mauled beyond all recognition in a storm of gnashing teeth and scything blades.

In the end Matt ran out of SAGA dice generating units and victory went to Lugh 30-17

An awesome introduction to the game.

With the death of my sorcerer early on I had worried that I would be at a major disadvantage but that didn’t turn out to be the case which meant that my fears that a sorcerer was pretty much a must take in every army turned out to be unjustified.  It just another tool in the toolbox rather than being something that you have to have.  This is a good thing.

Not looking good for my poor sorcerer

Monsters and Creatures are tough – lots of Resilience floating around – but not indestructible and if you are gaining fatigue to not die then you are effectively being taken out of the game anyway.  When a game is only 6 turns having your big powerful beastie sitting around only being able to rest for even a turn is a huge balancing factor – SAGA has always been a game about getting as many Fatigue markers on your opponent as possible and this hasn’t changed – in fact if anything its become even more important.

So conclusions.  It’s fantastic.  Solid innovative ruleset which now has a well worked out fantasy twist.  I can’t see it not becoming our go to fantasy game (replacing Dragon Rampant) and I’m pretty hopeful that I can rope more friends into play – nearly everyone I know has at least a couple of Warhammer armies in a cupboard somewhere.

I’m going to be finishing up the painting on Lughs horde over the next couple of months and then will be moving onto the Cult of Set using the Demonic Otherworld board but I have army ideas for pretty much everything so plans could change (and normally do)

Highly highly recommended, 5 stars, etc. etc.

Sure Matts general used to be here