Friday, April 8, 2016

AdeptiCon SAGA Grand Melee Team Tournament Thoughts - Great Success!

This last week the FCG crew made its way to Chicago for AdeptiCon. We've had so much fun at this con in the past and I somehow had a better time this year than in the past!

A lot of that comes from my Friday experience as Will and I played SAGA all day. We had a ton of fun with lots of great opponents - more on that below.

Before I start, though, I need to say this: it is amazing that AdeptiCon has adapted to the times and now offers so many different games for people to play. Ten years ago it would have been all 40k (thus the name, AdeptiCon) but this past weekend I saw huge X-Wing, Bolt Action, SAGA, Infinity, WMH, and Dropzone Commander tournaments, plus a lot of others. It is amazing that this con has grown and embraced everything.

Will and I played three games of SAGA on Friday, which is more than either of us had ever played before the tournament, lol. I wasn't super worried about it because the game is easy to play. I was worried that we'd get out strategized, since we didn't have much practice, but we didn't just get hammered all day. It is a sign of a great game when you can play without practicing much and still have a good time and be competitive!

Above you can see our warbands. It was a team tournament where each teammate had four points.

Team Lagertha:


  • Warlord (Ragnar) +0
  • Hearthguard x4 +1
  • Hearthguard x4 +1
  • Warriors x8 +1
  • Warriors x8 +1

Will's guys:

Pagan Rus

  • Warlord (Dude) +0
  • Hearthguard x4 +1
  • Hearthguard x4 +1
  • Warriors x8 +1
  • Levy x12 +1

Our first game put us up against the dudes from Skullbros podcast, Mike and Kevin. It was super fun and they helped us out quite a bit with our rules questions etc. Mike was playing Pagan Rus like Will, so we definitely saw what happens when you mess with Pagan Rus. Kevin was playing Mongols (or Steppe Tribes as they are called on their battle board). He was basically all mounted with a ton of shooting.

I thought we had a decent chance at this game because Will's Pagan Rus have a ton of anti-shooting and anti-cavalry tech. He has the ability to slow everyone on the board to the same speed - 4", and all the shooting to a range of only 4". Kevin and Mike had a good strategy, though, as Kevin moved forward and flanked me out with cavalry and shooting while Mike held the center with really tough hearthguard.

Will had a turn or two where he didn't get his limited movement and shooting ability (Great Winter), and Kevin REALLY hammered me with arrows. I moved up as fast as I could and we eventually got into combat with Mike's dudes. We did manage to kill most of his guys, but he ended up slaughtering me off the board. Will managed to weather some shooting and get in as well and did a lot of damage to the Pagan Rus, but the Mongols were pretty much untouched. We ended up losing this one as it was kill point based (Slaughter Victory Points in SAGA).

Our second game was against the Viner couple, husband and wife. Amber was playing Norse Gael and Rick was playing Vikings. You can see Amber's Norse Gaels above. She collected a ton of women miniatures for her warband and they look amazing!

We ran into a small interest part of SAGA's rules in this game. Before the game starts, you bid for how many terrain pieces you want to put on the board, then you put them out. You then have the ability to move the terrain around or even remove it. Generally I am not a huge fan of terrain mini-games, but for SAGA it works, since you're not trying to deny your enemy any place to hide from your massed volume of shooting, you're just putting difficult terrain in to slow your enemy down, and they do have a chance to move it or remove it.

The author looking really tired, joining the shield wall
Our opponent bid high for the number of terrain pieces, so when they rolled low on the 'move the terrain chart' they didn't have a chance to move the woods we put right in the middle of their deployment zone. This really changed their plan, in my opinion, and made it much harder because this scenario was all about moving to the center to pick up loot. We managed to run faster to the middle and really get the jump on the loot counters.

We did manage a victory here, which was cool! However, the best part was just having a great, close game with fun opponents. Will's battle board didn't really have to be leveraged this game with the terrain element - they were using all foot models, and so were we, so we didn't want to slow us down. He did however get to use a few things that boosted his survivability etc, so that was awesome.

Our final game was against Monty and Brent and their Rus Princes and Irish. Monty fielded mostly druzhina cavalry hearthguard which were TOUGH. This scenario was all about planting your troops on a piece of terrain and gradually getting points for each dude on the terrain, with each turn giving you more points.

We got a little unlucky in the first turn. In SAGA you roll your SAGA dice and assign them to certain things on your battle board that you want to do throughout the turn. Whomever gets the first turn gets to roll all their dice. The second player gets to roll three, so they can't really do as much (usually you roll six if you bring a four point warband with no levy). So we couldn't do GREAT WINTER and Monty moved his cavalry up really fast to the hill in the middle. There was one other piece of terrain in each corner, so Brent took his with his Irish guys too. This setup Monty to score on turn one? I believe, or maybe just at turn two, and we couldn't catch up unless we knocked them off the hill.

Monty's brilliantly painted druzhina cavalry
We were pretty stoked to try out some of Will's other battle board things this time. We didn't actually realize it until the second game, but since we were both using Viking SAGA dice we could actually trade dice - so if he had an extra S symbol that I needed, I could trade him an F. It really only mattered in getting him great winter, or getting me... RAGNAROK (-1 armor to dudes on the board).

Will's battle board also had a thing that gave enemy cavalry -1 armor for a turn. That was pretty sweet! This had been part of our plan - if we go up against cavalry, slow them and make them weaker with the combo of those two board things. It was harder because his great winter ability needed two SAGA dice - plus the one for the -1 armor (Barren Lands) and he was only rolling three dice to try to get it.

So we swapped dice and we managed to get RAGNAROK and Barren Lands all in one turn - so Monty's cavalry was -2 armor. That was pretty awesome. Instead of rolling fives to try to kill dudes, we were now rolling threes! We managed to get some dudes into close combat and did kill some guys, but Monty also had a thing where his dudes had the power of God in their blood... so they were protected and couldn't die. Pretty epic.

Ragnar did end up fighting Monty's warlord in singular combat. He and Lagertha both went in together, actually. I ended up blowing a ton of dice on Ragnar trying to get him to destroy the warlord - he managed to pawn of a bunch of hits on his hearthguard, which, while satisfying for us in SLAUGHTER VICTORY POINTS, I really wanted to take down his warlord just for fun. Lagertha did end up biting it, and so did Bjorn, but it was fun! It was cool to see how awesome the warlord in SAGA can be.

In the end, I believe the score was 29-27, which was super super close. We did manage to kill a lot of guys. We ended up having a TON of fun and everyone we played was super nice and sporting. I couldn't have asked for a better day and I look forward to learning the game better and maybe doing the two day melee next year!

For $30 for our team, we each got a beer glass and a t-shirt, plus all the games, plus any prizes anyone won. It was pretty amazing and I'd recommend it to anyone. SAGA is really easy to play, very affordable, very strategic, and tons of fun.

More photos below!


  1. Great write up and game! That combo literally took my Druz off the table. Well done!

  2. Great write up and game! That combo literally took my Druz off the table. Well done!

  3. Tons of fun, great article. Mike, in the second game, one great chilly Pagan Rus play was keeping the threat of Frozen to cancel a unit intending to act more than once. If I recall correctly, it clinched the points at the end, because it took an activation to pick up the gold.

    Monty and Brent, you helped us really learn some high level SAGA plays in the end!

    Everyone was awesome there. Looking forward to seeing everyone next year.