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"SAGA rules consideration" Topic

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Captain Carter24 May 2019 7:45 p.m. PST

Ok I'll come straight to the point. A friend of mine told me Saga rules are rubbish. I've slways respected his opinions as he has been game 40 years plus as have I. So I've avoided SAGA but I love Dark Ages. So I need to ask is SAGA any good or rubbish as my friend has told me. Or should I look to Swordpoint or Hail Ceaser ??

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2019 9:41 p.m. PST

Not really valid to name a subjective opinion choice. "Rubbish" is an opinion only. I like the Village people's music. Others may cal it "rubbish" but who cares?

I do not play SAGA but appreciate it is very popular.
It is part of the modern "skirmish" genre.
Not many figures to paint, small table, just set up and kill everyone. Good fun.

PrivateSnafu24 May 2019 10:18 p.m. PST

It's a thinking persons game, but not in a tactical way. The tactics involve managing resources like a card game. The battle boards give you powers essentially. Historical flavor at best, magic at worst to describe them. You'll manage your ‘activations' through dice placed on the board along with your units fatigue levels. The game is won or lost on the battle boards usually.

If you want something with shieldwalls, charges, flanks, envelopments, and morale tests Saga is not it.

I enjoy it, but it's not like ancients and even different than skirmish due to the battle boards.

Captain Carter24 May 2019 10:26 p.m. PST

Yes I just want to stress it's not my opinion of the game. I've heard a lot of good things about it. But as my friend is my main opponent in gaming obviously his opinion matters. I'm originally an early medievalist to 100 YW gamer and amateur historian. I've been distracted if late with other gaming projects. And missed new developments in the field including Saga now I'm getting back to the period I love the most I'm looking to Saga for a skirmish game. So was a bit surprised when my friend of 29 years said he didn't like it and it was not a good game and thought it was rubbish. So need another's opinion. Most likely I'll buy it anyway. To be completely honest my friend is a little old fashioned in his views and tends to love DBA over everything else

Dexter Ward25 May 2019 12:33 a.m. PST

Saga is a fantastic game, but it is game inspired by history rather than a historical game. Real Dark Age armies were all pretty similar; Saga makes them quite distinctive.
If you want to play a great, enjoyable skirmish game with your Dark Age mins, you won't find a better one, but don't expect to learn much about Dark Age tactics from it. If you want a historical Dark Age game, Dux Britanniarum from the Too Fat Lardies is a much better bet (and also a good game), although it is for an earlier period (Saxon invasions)

Mr Jones25 May 2019 2:59 a.m. PST

Personally I don't like SAGA, but neither do I like Hail Ceasar or Swordpoint. Perhaps look for a freebie on the web?

I've not tried this yet, but it sounds good:

There is one called Skjaldborg from Shieldwall Games, but the link is unavailable at the moment. However I have a PDF I can send you if you want it.

skipper John25 May 2019 4:47 a.m. PST

I loved Saga 1. After all the books and 200 bucks later they came out with version 2, which was just enough different that many paid up again. NOT my group though. And now it has morphed into a magic game. I don't do magic. Rubbish indeed.

Steamingdave225 May 2019 6:11 a.m. PST

I enjoy the odd game of SAGA, whilst recognising that it is just a game, not a historical simulation. My only reservations are that some of the resources seem to be very difficult to get hold off in the UK and they are rather expensive.
My favourite Dark Ages game is Dux Bellorum from Dan Mersey. You just need figures, ordinary dice (not the £12.00 GBP a set needed for each SAGA force) and a playing area. The rule book is relativley cheap (as opposed to the £10.00 GBP for rules plus £27.00 GBP or so for SAGA universes, essential to get the battleboards)

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP25 May 2019 7:44 a.m. PST

With SAGA most of your attention is on the battle boards not on the table – that's why I don't care for it.

And you can easily avoid buying the stupid dice. Buy some wood cubes for $1 USD and make your own….

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2019 11:14 a.m. PST

I still like the game, makes for a very fun 2 hour battle start to finish with a clear winner. much like a chess match trying to anticipate your opponents next move and think out your next 2 moves to get a "Check Mate".

Always fun to fight a new opponent and new army. Once you think you have mastered your own army someone beats you down and you have to re-examine your board and tactics.

SBminisguy25 May 2019 1:50 p.m. PST

SAGA is ok, but I prefer Dux Britanniarum from Too Fat Lardies.

khanscom25 May 2019 5:11 p.m. PST

A gaming buddy introduced me to SAGA a couple of weeks ago; we tried the fantasy version, and I found the battle boards provided an intriguing limitation on command and control. There do seem to be some differences among all the different editions, but nothing that can't be amicably resolved.

This did pique my interest enough to get me started on some GW figures that have lain in the "pile" for some 25 years.

raylev326 May 2019 11:53 a.m. PST

You can't compare SAGA to Swordpoint or Hail Caesar. SAGA is basically a skirmish game while Swordpoint and Hail Caesar are meant for larger battles.

A better comparison is SAGA to Dux Britanniarum. (Unfortunately I've never played Dux Britanniarum.)

If you like skirmish, SAGA's pretty good. It has an interesting command system that requires you to make decisions and set priorities every turn. If you want larger battles, go with Swordpoint or Hail Caesar…I've enjoyed both.

Mkultra9928 May 2019 6:32 a.m. PST

Saga rubbish? I wouldnt say that.. it's a fun game. If you're looking for a "dark age skirmish combat simulation".. keep looking. It's very much a GAME that likes to cosplay the "dark ages". V2 is better than V1. And as said previously, the faction board is the focus and there's definitely some 'magical' abilities on those boards, but it allows each faction to play differently.

Max Schnell15 Jul 2019 11:27 a.m. PST

SAGA is alright with me! I enjoy it.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2019 5:23 p.m. PST

As many have said it is a great GAME with a decent amount of dark age overlay. I have never had a bad game of it and since I am not a dark age expert the lack of simulation doesn't bother me. If it was late 20th century I would probably be all over it…
I agree the V2 rules are different enough and improved to invest in. I personally have kept my V1 battle boards ( just use V2 rules) but for you go straight to V2.


The Last Conformist16 Jul 2019 6:09 a.m. PST

I'm sort of undecided about Saga; I've enjoyed the couple games I've played but they haven't left me with a strong conviction I want to paint 50-odd 28 mm figures for it. There's so much else that calls for my time …

But I think the question you should ask yourself is, given your friend's opinion, are you likely to ever play it? If not, the quality of the rules would appear fairly irrelevant.

TacticalPainter0117 Jul 2019 1:19 a.m. PST

Saga provides a tactical game with plenty of decisions, my problem was these decisions occur mostly when the Saga dice are rolled. I found this phase in the turn sequence completely broke the rhythm of the game as all attention is suddenly on the battle board and the dice and not on the action on the table. I found it a horrible interruption which broke any sense of immersion in the action and the unfolding narrative in the game. It couuld very easily be an abstract board game. That and the fact the history is really just a bit of veneer meant the rules system left me unmoved. It's not ‘rubbish', on the contrary it's quite clever, but does it deliver historical wargaming and a good narrative? I think not.

dapeters09 Aug 2019 7:22 a.m. PST

Saga has always struct me as missed it's calling and should have been a Fantasy game which would be more in line with it mechanic. If it's a skirmish game that only because you don't need many figs. On the flip side a skirmish would consist of one or two units not all the army options from DBA or similar, then their are the campaigns.

GUNBOAT14 Aug 2019 1:20 a.m. PST

I have played a few games with out the battle boards just using the rules lots of fun more like a 100% wargame and not 50% wargame & 50% board game.
Saves a lot of time average 6 points game with the boards 2Hr
Last one we had 11Points with out the board 1Hr 10m
Give it a go.

ether drake14 Aug 2019 4:32 a.m. PST

I found SAGA fun and an achievable way to go about amassing a painted collection on the way to a bigger battle ruleset. It's easier to assemble a 6 point force then go all out to fill a 8' x 6' table.

I found Dux Britanniarum had more depth but messier rules. I'm hoping to try Dux Bellorum fairly soon.

Max Schnell15 Aug 2019 5:40 a.m. PST

GUNBOAT, that is a good idea.

edmuel200028 Aug 2019 4:35 a.m. PST

If you already have medieval figs, then SAGA is a great option for getting another use out of them (provided they are singly mounted). As has been pointed out, the abilities are framed as historical tactics, but in effect they could just as easily work as a set of magic spells--little or no connection to reality.

I will add that the proliferation of warbands, each with its own idiosyncratic battleboard and specialty figures (heroes, etc), universes and subsequent rule books each adding more special rules, the system is in danger of becoming bogged down in minutia, undermining its original virtue as a small figure count skirmish system.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2019 1:14 p.m. PST

Gunboat-- that is a good idea.
Ed2000-- agree it is a good way to use your figures. While I agree the risk of losing the original skirmish idea certainly exists, for most of the factions it really isn't a problem. I do like that each faction is different as it spices the game up without taking it over.
At the end of the day it is just plain fun if you accept it for what it is.


edmuel200028 Aug 2019 3:07 p.m. PST

Fair enough, Joe.

Best, Ed

Asteroid X02 Sep 2019 5:34 p.m. PST

Gunboat, I'm going to go back over my rules again!

Thank you for the tip!

Bowman10 Oct 2019 10:39 a.m. PST

….they haven't left me with a strong conviction I want to paint 50-odd 28 mm figures for it. There's so much else that calls for my time …

But surely you can find another game to use those 50-odd men with.

And now it has morphed into a magic game. I don't do magic. Rubbish indeed.

Not quite. There is a fantasy version of Saga, and there is the historical version, Saga 2. They are separate.

I am not a dark age expert the lack of simulation doesn't bother me.

Me neither. Look, you have a small warband of Saxons meeting a small warband of Vikings. They begin to fight. What great tactical mechanisms are you trying to emulate or simulate? It's not a large battle game like Hail Caesar or ADLG, or that ilk, where maneuvering is critical. Your tactical considerations on a small skirmish game are pretty simple. If you run your flunky troops against Hearthguard with Dane axes, things won't go well. If you fatigue the Hearthguard down sufficiently, then they can be destroyed. Or refuse to engage them and just shoot them from afar. It's not really a detailed simulation situation. We aren't refighting Hastings or Stamford Bridge here.

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