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Wargame Spotlight: Saga

Historical wargaming can be a tricky thing. Some players like as much realism  as possible right down to the layout of their boards, but others enjoy the  general idea of historical wars more than recreating them in precise detail.  "Saga," produced by Gripping Beast and Studio Tomahawk, is a wargame of medieval  combat that rests squarely on the side of entertainment. This might scare off a few hardcore history enthusiasts, but don't fret! A large degree of historical  accuracy is maintained in the look of the minis, and you can't beat a game that's quick and fun.

The game:

"Saga" is more of a skirmish game than a wargame, but it comes with all  the tactical possibilities you'd expect from a good tabletop game. Typical  battles are played with 6 points-worth of troops who are broken up into three  categories: Hearthguard, Warriors, and Levies. These are essentially elite,  regular, and weak troops, but each faction uses a different name for them, and while the units themselves don't come with different abilities, the Battleboard system takes care of distinguishing each faction style of play.

Battleboards are cut-out boards that tell the player what special abilities  are available to the player. Each faction comes with dice specific to them, and  you roll one for every unit on the board but max out at 6. Each ability on the  Battleboard requires different combinations of runes, the faces of the  customized die, but dice are also required for regular actions like movement. This means that players must delegate their dice effectively to maximize abilities and maneuvering.

Combat requires typical opposed rolls but doesn't require massive  quantities of dice or complex math to figure out. Generally the only thing you'll  be doing is modifying rolls and results by a couple of dice and rounding the results.

The story:

Since "Saga" is a historical game, every faction is a recreation of  actual medieval ethnicities. The core rulebook includes information and Battleboards for Anglo-Danes, Normans, Vikings, and the Welsh. The expansion, Northern Fury, includes the Anglo-Saxon, Breton, Jomsvikings, and Scots while the  second expansion, Raven's Shadow, includes Franks, Irish, Norse Gael, and  Strathclyde Welsh. At this point, you should either be thinking, “man I love  those guys!” or rest assured that each one of these groups were very real and should inspire a bit of reading.

Nothing forces players to recreate battles in history, but it's always  an option for history buffs. However, if you want to recreate a scenario it's  important to know that you might have to tweak unit stats to better reflect  real-world variables the game might not encompass. "Saga" is more about taking warriors  from history and reflecting their fighting style in an entertaining way.

Where to find it:

"Saga" hasn't gained widespread popularity, so your local tabletop store  might not carry it. If that's the case, you can check out Gripping Beast's  product page for everything you'll need to play. It's important to note that  while the game isn't as well-known as "Warhammer or "Warmachine," it's gaining  popularity so fast that Gripping Beast sometimes has difficulty keeping up with  demand.

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