Thursday, 28 March 2013

Battle of Deadlane Grove.

Refreshed and ready to move on, Jarl Ragnar set about organising the men. Further warriors and supplies were due to land to the south at Flag Creek but scouts had returned from the east suggesting a build-up of the Anglo-Danish followers of the young Ealdorman Torel.

Sending out his trusted lieutenant “Big” Bergthor with a force of well-trained warriors and Hird, along with Rurik and his band of berserkers, who were still lusting for another fight.

They had not travelled far when they arrived at a large clearing; the main features a small copse to the right, a low hill in the centre and an old stone circle burial site to the left. Clearly this was a place of some significance to the locals, indeed, it was sacred ground.

Cautiously moving forward, suddenly a battle cry rang out and the glinting sword and spear-points of Ealdorman Torel’s men could be seen across the clearing…

Ealdorman Torel (centre) and his force arrive in the clearing.

"Big" Bergthor (centre) and his men shout across the battlefield!

This is Sacred Ground.

Rurik works himself into a frenzy
to encourage the warriors around him.

Ealdorman Torel marches towards the hill...

...and secures the base of this to await the Viking raider approach.

Shouting and singing, the Vikings charge across the open ground
to the stone circle and low hill. 

Bergthor's Hirdmen and Bondi are greeted
by the the Anglo-Dane forces...

...and a tough melee ensues with Bergthor in the thick of the battle!

Torel stands firm as some of his Ceorl
are pushed back from the summit.

Tense fighting continues with losses on both sides
but Torel cannot push the raiders from the bottom of the hill.

Rurik belows obscenities as he secures the stone circle
 with his berserkers and warriors in tow!

Sonja, the "Queen of the Hill", sends the Anglo-Danes
scurrying from the summit of the hill.

Another desperate attempt to stop the Viking Warlord fails
and Bergthor shouts after the fleeing  Huscarl, but...

...the final epic battle sees both Warlords, Bergthor and Torel, killed.
Jorund "Redbeard" claims the final blow on Torel.

"Stuff this for a game of soldiers - lets get out of here!"

The Anglo-Danish force knew they could no longer win this fight – gathering their wounded the battle weary men slowly dispersed into the surrounding woods.

Rurik looked on with a huge grin over his scarred face. The flank was secured and this was a crushing blow to the moral of the defenders. The passing of brave “Big” Bergthor to the drinking halls of Valhalla would be sung about for the rest of history…

Rurik and the men celebrate the hard won victory!

Self-proclaimed "Queen of the Hill" Sonja and
"Chief Jorund Redbeard" get a little bit too big for their boots...

Rurik will certainly have something to say about it
when he reports back to Jarl Ragnar.


Viking Raiders (Andy)
"Big" Bergthor
1 unit of Hirdmen (4 x Hearthguard including Sonja, Hrefna and Sverting)
1 unit of Berserkers (4 x Hearthguard under Rurik "the Restless")
2 unit of Bondi (16 x Warriors including Jorund "Redbeard")

Anglo-Danish Defenders (Rob)
Ealdorman Torel
1 unit of Huscarl (4 x Hearthguard with Dane axes)
1 unit of Huscarl (4 x Hearthguard)
2 units of Ceorl (16 x Warriors)

After a long break I finally dug out the Vikings again and we set up for a small 4 point a side Saga battle playing the Sacred Ground scenario. Andy (the Zombie Master / Ant Master…) took control of the Viking force this time whilst Rob went back to the Anglo-Danes. We decided on no levies in this game.

The first round involved nothing more than both sides moving forwards. Rob moved first and edged the majority of his force towards the central hill, with a unit of Ceorl aiming for the stone circle. Andy shrugged off some fatigue placed on him via Robs battleboard and then steadily moved his force forwards keeping a line formation. (Points – Rob: 0 Andy: 0)

Round two and Rob managed to get his first units of Huscarl, warriors and warlord (Ealdorman Torel) to the bottom of the hill. Andy replied in a similar fashion and managed to get some Hirdmen and warriors to the opposite side. Still no combat! (Points – Rob: 11 Andy: 5)

Round three and Rob consolidated his force on the top of the small hill – two units of Ceorl, a unit of Huscarl and his warlord. The other unit of Huscarl remained to the flank. Andy was now ready for battle and launched a unit of Bondi with his warlord (Big Bergthor) into Rob’s warriors. A devastating combat left four dead Anglo-Danish Ceorl and two dead Viking Bondi. (Points – Rob: 13 Andy: 11)

Round four and the fighting continued. Rob attacked Andy’s exposed warlord with his own warlord and a unit of Huscarl. Big Bergthor shrugged off the assault killing two of the Ealdorman’s Dane-axe wielding Huscarl in the process! Another unit of Robs Ceorl charged into the Viking Bondi at the bottom of the hill but were forced back with one casualty on each side. Finally Rob sent his second unit of Huscarl to attack Big Bergthor from the rear. Result, another Anglo-Dane corpse. Andy’s move and Rurik and his berserkers occupied the stone circle. Next, three Hirdmen (well, one Hirdman and two Hirdwomen) then charged Robs unit of Ceorl on the hill and an epic combat ensued. As the slaughter ended only the proud “Queen of the Hill” Sonja stood atop the hill, her companions Hrefna and Sverting lying injured beside her and the corpses of four Anglo-Danes next to them. The remaining Ceorl fled to the bottom of the hill. (Points – Rob: 8 Andy: 15)

Round five and Rob surveyed his battered forces. Realising his only option was to keep on the attack his brave warlord charged into combat against the unit of Bondi at the foot of the hill followed by his two remaining Dane-axemen. This proved successful and the Viking Bondi retreated leaving behind four warriors to enter Valhalla. Robs sent his other three remaining Huscarl back to fight Big Bergthor again resulting in another dead Anglo-Dane and the other two fleeing the battlefield with Bergthor shouting after them. Andy moved his second unit of Bondi into the stone circle. He then turned his warlord to attack the two Dane-axemen. A shocking result left the two axemen dead but also saw Bergthor brought down by their blows! Finally, fired up by the sight of their huge leader felled, three Bondi charged into the Anglo-Dane warlord, now alone on the top of the hill. Two warriors were killed by the brave Ealdorman Torel but he himself dropped to the ground with the point of a Viking sword in his belly – back to the mud. “Redbeard” Jorund celebrated and proclaimed himself the new chief but it is doubtful Rurik would be allowing this any time soon… (Points – Rob: 3 Andy: 10)

At this point it was pretty clear Rob could not turn the battle back in his favour and conceded defeat. All that remained of his force were two units of Ceorl (one of three and the other four) plus two fleeing Huscarl. Andy still had a full unit of Bondi and berserkers plus the proud, self-proclaimed “Queen of the Hill” and “Chief Jorund Redbeard”.

(Final Points - Rob: 35 Andy: 41)

Another good game of Saga that saw the Vikings come out on top (again) – we felt the lack of missile troops may have hindered the Anglo-Danes but ultimately, despite some good tactical play Rob did not have the dice gods with him and Andy managed to make good use his own battleboard abilities and the potentially risky strategy of sending his warlord into the thick of things paid off.

"The Cast"
f/r - Jorund "Redbeard", Rurik, "Big" Bergthor and Sonja.

Figures are Foundry, Artizan and Gripping Beast and the stone circle is by Fantascene.