Saturday 23 October 2021

HAHA SAGA Escalation League - 3


Back in December 2019, a group of us at the Helensburgh Alternative Hobby Association (HAHA) planned out an escalation league for SAGA.  Each month we would bring along a warlord and 1 more point of troops and fight a battle.  The original rules for the league are set out here: escalation-league.docx

We only managed 2 sessions before covid struck and everything went on hold.  You can read about these here:

  1. Escalation league week 1
  2. Escalation league week 2

Well, this is a month of many "first in a long time" events.  We were able to restart the league and play round 3, finally.

The Setup

As per the schedule, each player brought along a SAGA warband consisting of their warlord and 3 points of troops - at least one point of which was not hearthguard.

I had been hoping to arrange a pair of 3-player every-man-for-himself matches for the evening, but with the numbers we had this wasn't possible.  Of the original 7 participants, 2 have moved away from the area in the past 19 months.  One of the remaining armies (the Byzantines) was involved in a terrible shelf-collapse accident on the morning of the club meeting and was therefore unavailable.  I really hope it can be restored in due course...

That left 4 players.  We (well, I) decided that we would play a 4-way every-man-for-himself match.  The scenario was simple: each player would enter on a different edge of a 4 foot square table.  In the centre was an objective.

If any player started their turn as the only force in contact with the objective then they would win the match.  Obviously, this means they would have had to move that unit into position on their previous turn, thus allowing all the other players a chance to respond!  We limited this automatic win to turn 3 or after, to prevent any cavalry-heavy force from dashing in before all the infantry warbands had marched any great distance.

The Game

The Saxons, Crusaders and Skraelings all advanced early on, whilst the Normans spent their time building up abilities and shooting long range volleys of archery.

Fighting started between the Saxons and the Crusaders.  Whilst this was distracting them, the Skraeling "beaver totem" warriors raced through the woods and hurled javelins into one group of Crusader reinforcements.

Then the Normans joined in.  A savage charge of knights almost destroyed one unit of Saxon hearthguard.

After a couple of turns, the Crusaders and Saxons had taken heavy losses (though oddly enough, the Saxons hadn't lost a unit - instead all of their units were reduced to just one or two figures)

This left the Normans free to attempt the objective.  Initial attempts by the Skraeling "beavers" to dislodge them were repulsed bloodily.

...but the other unit of Skraeling warriors (the "pumas") wiped out the nearest Norman knights and sent their warlord recoiling, thoroughly exhausted.

Now we came to an interesting issue that I hadn't forseen when I set up the scenario: the Warlord's Pride rule.  Put simply, a warlord must attack another warlord if able.  In this case, the Crusader general saw the Saxon chief and went for him, ignoring the possibly more significant targets who were actually on the objective.  The heavily-boosted Crusader overpowered his foe, but was considerably tired from the fight.

The Norman commander then saw the Skraeling chief and somehow mustered up enough energy to attack him (I think he used a battle board ability to throw off a fatigue and charge all in one go).  Both captains went down in a mutual knockout.

This left the Crusaders as the only faction with a leader.  He charged the Skraeling pumas - but because of his earlier fatigue the battle was a close one.  Once more, both sides fought to mutual destruction.

By this time there were very few warriors left, although some levy archers hung about the outer fringes.  The one remaining Skraeling beaver made it to the objective.  The last Saxon (a hearthguard) couldn't quite reach it.  That left the advancing Crusader crossbowmen as the only force which might dislodge the Skraelings.  They shot at him, scoring 3 hits.  2 of these were cancelled by the agility ability, leaving one hit to save on a 4, 5 or 6 - for the game.  The Skraeling made the saving roll and victory was theirs!


Well, that was bloody!  The Skraelings, Normans and Crusaders still had all of their archers or crossbows left, but virtually all the other figures had been removed.  Indeed, the Saxon band was reduced to a single model.  It makes me wonder, with all the leaders out of action, if any of the rank-and-file understood why they were fighting over a big rock in the middle of the board!

After round 3 the standings of the HAHA escalation league are this:

January 2020
Starter for ten
February 2020
Powers of two
March 2020
October 2021
Long live the peasants!
April 2020
November 2021
Bonus round
May 2020
December 2021
Anglo Saxons3317
Anglo Danes3(absent)(retired)3


  1. An interesting, if bloody, fight, quite typical of many Saga games I've seen. Great fun all round I suspect.

    1. It was surprisingly close in the end - though I expected someone to sneak a win somewhat earlier - rather than it being left to the "last man standing".