The game uses small units of figures from 4 - 12 strong, with lower quality troops usually appearing in larger units than the more elite troops. The basic rules are a super-simple IGOUGO structure with very simple combat rules. At the heart of the though system is the use of "Saga Dice" and "Battle Boards". Players throw up to 6 Saga Dice a turn with each having 3 * uncommon symbols, 2 * common symbols, and 1 * rare symbol each. The dice are then positioned on the battle board before each move to allow you active troops, perform special abilities, or even interrupt the opponents turn.
Another interesting twist is that units accumulate Fatigue points as they fight or move rapidly, with up to 3 being stacked until you must rest. However the Fatigue can be spent by your opponent at any point to slow you down or maker you less effective in combat.
I found myself using the Viking faction which has mostly attack oriented special abilities on its battle board, allowing me more chances to attack my opponent or to sacrifice troops to go into various berserk rages. I was faced with Saxons how have a very defensive board that allows them to save wounds more effectively or stack Fatigue on their opponents to slow them down.
So to the game - a simple scenario in which we each had to kill the others Warlord. Sides were even with 1 * warlord, 1 * heardguard (4), 2 * warriors (6), and 1 * levies with misses (12) per side.
|The Saxons form a strong looking line|
|My Vikings in a deep formation|
|My skirmishers advance|
|The field once my warriors had killed their opposite numbers|
It was an interesting first outing for Saga, and we certainly had an enjoyable game played over about 2.5 hours. The key to the game is using the battle board correctly and in some cases you need to be planning 2 moves ahead to get the best from your abilities or build powerful combinations.
It likely works best as a 1-1 game as the interactions between the opponents and your abilities are where the subtly come into the game. A nice feature is that you have abilities that occur in the opponent's turn and you can spend their Fatigue so you can nt just zone-out while they move.
One to try for a mini campaign and I think I can field an Irish force without much effort