With the saga expansion “Age of the Vikings” I finally set off into Nordic waters and devote myself to the large and small conflicts around marauding Northmen and their opponents. The starting point for me is, of course, the Vikings series, which is not so fresh anymore. Following in the footsteps of Ragnar Lodbrok and years after all the other saga players, I am now unleashing a small Viking force.
The supplement book
To play the Vikings and contemporary factions in Saga you need the appropriate supplement book. Unlike Warhammer veterans, there is fortunately only one supplement book for the whole era and not a separate one for each army. At the heart of it all are the “Battle Boards”, which provide each army with its individual abilities and special rules. However, the battle board not only simply lists these, it is also the central element of Saga in terms of the game mechanism. Stronghold Terrain, as the German publisher of the Saga books, has once again delivered an excellent product: 72 pages of hardcover, solid paper, colorful printing, beautiful, appealing and atmospheric design. Inside there is a classification to the historical era with background information and introductions to all 12 armies, as well as mercenaries, relics and artifacts and famous personalities.
The army introductions each include a historical outline, a presentation of the respective troops and army-specific skills. Each army introduction is rounded off with a full-page assessment by “Ragnar”, who more or less guides us through the era and the book. This is a nice idea because not only does it create atmosphere, but it also speaks to the reader personally and presents Ragnar’s assessments in the form of a conversation. In this way, obvious questions about how to play the armies are already answered.
The following armies are covered by Saga: Age of Vikings:
- Last Romans
- Norse Gaels
- Pagan Rus
- Jom Viking
The battle boards and the dice
With the supplement book, you acquire the battle boards as individual DinA4 plans on sturdy cardboard. This is practical, since you probably won’t look at the book itself during the game, and the board must lie next to the gaming board for its active function in the game. The book is priced at 33,90€ for a high quality hardcover, but you need it just for the battle boards. The Saga rulebook is still needed, of course. The supplement book contains only the information for the armies and possible special rules. It does not contain any game rules. However, I find the German Saga rulebook for 13,90€ (incl. free figure) a bargain, so that a nice total package results. If you only play within one epoch and maybe even want to raise 2 or 3 armies, you still only need this one supplement book. I find this all sensibly regulated.
What you still need, however, are the Saga dice. They are used together with the battle board and are 6-sided dice printed with army-specific symbols. 8 dice for 13,90€ are also ok. But if you want more armies, you have to price this in each case. The dice can always be used for 2-3 lists – you can find in the webshop of Stronghold Terrain for which army which dice are intended.
Right now you get a nice Viking standard bearer for free with your order. I really like it and will definitely use it in my Viking army.
The Vikings are coming!
For my own Viking force, I opted for the large pack of plastic Vikings from Victrix. Included are 60 miniatures with an insanely diverse selection of heads, weapons, shields and accessories. From these you can easily build enough veterans, warriors and pawns for my target 6 points including extra points for army list variability. Depending on the opponent you might have one point more veterans or rather use more warriors than pawns. All this is possible.
For the warlord, I’ll take the fancy warlord, sent for free with the current edition of the rulebook. Since I want to give him a more imposing base, he also gets the standard bearer, which in turn was sent for free with the Saga: Age of the Vikings. My plan is that the warlord stands elevated on a stone and the standard bearer stretches the banner behind him.
I think both miniatures are sculpted by Brother Vinnie. The Warlord unfortunately or intentionally turned out very large. Shoulder to shoulder next to the Victrix plastic miniatures, he towers over them by a good bit and definitely looks bigger. Maybe that’s okay for a warlord too? In any case, I hope it’s not so noticeable when he’s elevated on the stone anyway.
Since I always look at the cinematic aspects of my projects, I have ordered a Ragnar Lodbrok from Vikings as a second warlord. Depending on my mood, one or the other will be used.
The first miniatures for the Viking project are now prepared. Let’s get to the brushes!