Back at Historicon, I picked up some stuff for Saga (I almost don’t even want to link to the Studio Tomahawk site, it’s so bad). Somehow along the way, I managed to get some figures assembled for it (it’s really only been two and a half months?) and have gotten in a few games for it with Casey.
Directionless rambling about the game follows.
We’ve played through all of the two-player scenarios (except the wagon-based one) at this point, and although I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered the game in any way, I do think I’ve gotten a good feel for it.
Although I don’t think I love the game, I definitely like it a good amount. Since I’ve been trying to find a skirmish game I don’t hate, that’s definitely a victory.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, I won’t try to summarize the rules: you can find overviews at The Wargamer, Boardgame Geek, and RPG.net. For me, it’s attractive because of the relatively low model count and the fact that the rules are simple, but have some depth. Yes, there are lists of fiddly damn rules like the ones Warmachine and Malifaux use to turn me off, but they’re scoped to the entire army rather than specific models… and in practice they end up guiding the way the different armies play rather than being building blocks for combos (if that makes any sense).
And the game plays really pretty fast: we’ve done games in 30-60 minutes with extensive digressions into how The Shield is one of the greatest American TV shows produced and how the finale of Breaking Bad didn’t quite deliver. As 40K games seem to take longer and longer with every new book, “fast” is a value.
Almost all of our games have been unbelievably close, too. Like, down to a final roll of the dice. It’s very swingy. When we started, at 4 points, I asserted that it was a game about who could roll dice better… though at 6 points (where it’s actually supposed to be played) I don’t think that’s the case.
Model count is fairly low: there’s effectively a hard window of between 25 and 73 models (and that 73 models would come in a wildly impractical list). I’m putting together a list that’s two of each choice: 2x Hearthguard (4 each), 2x Warriors (8 each), 2x Levies (12 each). My Warlord puts it at 49 models.
This, combined with the relatively low overall cost of historical miniatures, means the game is kind of bullshit cheap. The rulebook’s almost as expensive as an army. The Tapestry has a great article about to get several armies out of just a couple of purchases.
I’ve turned to Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories for motivation and focus with a great deal of success: despite the books basically being about Saxon Conan the Barbarian (UHTRED OF BEBBANBURG) who rampages across Britain screaming “KILL! KILL! KILL!” (seriously; I think those are actually his first words in Sword Song), the books portray a people (Vikings and Danes) much more believable and interesting than what you get if you start and end with “The Immigrant Song.” I’ve really enjoyed them.
I initially put together some Anglo-Danes, but swiftly ended up putting together a Norman warband. I’m not sure I remember why I made the shift, but I’m glad I did. Now that I’m digging in on painting them, I’m finding that all that chainmail paints very quickly, and I feel like I can get away with a more regimented, standard paint scheme with Normans than I could with a less organized force. I’m probably wrong here: as far as I can tell, none of these people had uniforms, but I’m more comfortable painting models uniformly.
The game came up on RPG.net OGO, and someone brought up a photo from a Viking reenactment group’s website as an example of the sorts of colors used during the Dark Ages.
I’ve used this as a bit of a guide in painting: colorful, but not bright and colorful, I don’t think I’ve gotten specific colors 100% on this, but what I’ve got is close they’re close (I think), and believable.
Also significant: horses. I can’t say that I’ve ever painted a horse before, which is a little surprising to me. I can probably attribute that to loathsome ratmen and all their vile kin not really having much of a use for them beyond eating. I’ve done some research, though, and I am pleased with the results. They’re not perfect by any stretch, but for a first-timer they’re absolutely sufficient.
Anyway, I’ve made really great headway into painting up those Normans: I’ll post some photos in the next couple of days.