31 May 2017
Mark brought along his nice Viking figures for me to use . In return I lent him my partially painted Normans which seemed like a fair swap. Reversing the armies gives you a nice understanding of the problems your own army imposes and their weaknesses. We set up on the first scenario in the book. One I favour for the Normans as it doesn't tie you to any objectives and relys solely on either killing the opposing warlord or going for a points decision.
Mark went with the almost obligatory unit of bow and added the crossbow. This caters to the missile advantages while the warriors with crossbow added a saga dice to the mix. He then maximized the Cavalry into two units of double sized heath guard which packs quite a punch. The only negative is he dropped one saga dice from his allotment.
I went with two units of warriors twelve strong shielding two smaller heathguard units. As I thought he may try to pick of the advancing units and withdrawal I also opted for one bow unit in a position to cut off his retreat.
Mark set up reasonable close to the middle of the board on my left flank. I felt the best option was to rush him and rely on the superior melee and fatigue options the Vikings so I set up as close to him as I could as I also had the first move.
Closing withing striking distance I also saved several key dice on the battle board that would allow me re rolls to gain eight saga dice for the next turn. Mark fired off his bow decimating one of the large units of warriors with six casualties. He then charged in his cavalry to mixed results. Taking out the remaining warriors but also suffering a few Heathguard as casualties.This added fatigue to most of my units but as Vikings this was easily countered. My counter charge wiped out his cavalry causing his crossbowmen to take a fatigue.
I went for broke realizing If I could take out his crossbows not only would it lower his saga dice to three but would also put a fatigue on his Warlord and remaining mounted Heathguard. I ended up having to do two separate attacks to take out the crossbows. This caused two problems. One after taking the initial casualties his remaining troops were two far away to cause fatigue once they were wiped out. Secondly it left my Warlord exposed and with only a couple of Warriors as protection Mark charged in with the final heathguard unit.
My warlord was chopped to pieces. With hindsight a unit of berserkas instead of bows could have come in handy and would have enables a larger unit of heathguard, but with the mobility of the Normans that wasn't really an option. And a little bit of luck with the attack on the crossbows could have made everything much closer. An enjoyable game. Where on the way home in the car I could make out faint mocking taunts from my Normans in the back seat.