Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Manzikert comes to Lancaster

Not a bad night last night albeit still not what I would call summer, I had a Saga campaign game to fight, we had to move rooms due to our usual room being decorated and the smell of fresh paint prompted horrible memories of the missus wanting jobs done.

I was leading my Byzantine raiders in an attack on Fran's Carolingians, after my surprise win in the last game I was if not confident fairly positive about the upcoming struggle. My first choice was a bad choice and I forgot completely how the army had faired in a training game, I went for mounted archers for the Hearthguard, I mentioned before the real army had a lot of archers both foot and mounted but this seems to have been ignored by Saga, at least in respect of their Saga abilities. We had to split our forces into two, so I put my foot archers and some Hearthguard on the left with the heavy spearmen, more Hearthguard and the Warlord on the right, my plan was to shoot to death the enemy opposite my left and then turn my men to help on the right.

The Byzantines get to put down some Saga dice before the game starts and I expected Fran to be aggressive and put them on defensive abilities, big mistake. The game started fairly well for Fran and his peasant mob with javelins started to cause casualties to the Skutatoi, not bad for a pile of Wurzel Gummidges. I  tried to get to grips with the peasants but found I couldn't do everything I wanted to, so I moved up my own archers on the left only to find they had all brought rubber arrows. The second turn proved horrendous for me as the mob slew every one of my spearmen, I also lost half of my Hearthguard on the left, so much for having numbers in shooters.

The Byzantine line, all show and no substance.
Useless archers.
Desperate charge which failed.

I threw a desperate charge into the javelin Levy, but didn't kill enough and only pushed them back, they retaliated in the next move by almost wiping out the horsemen who had charged them with another accurate volley, one man retreated. This left me with nothing to throw at the enemy who remained virtually untouched, while I only had one half decent (in numbers only) unit left, my useless archers, Fran offered to accept my sword and I handed it over. He also offered a 'fun' game as I had been defeated in record time but I had had enough fun and probably would not have recovered from any more.

The Battle of Manzikert in 1071 went down in Byzantine history as 'the terrible day' this was mine.

We had an interesting discussion on the game as we cleared thing away and Fran basically saw the game in the same light as myself although he has stuck with it and now enjoys it. Once again rightly or wrongly I found myself at the mercy of the enemy 'board' as against my seemingly useless one, it also did not help that I had set up for defence and Fran did not attack, and yes, his die rolling for shooting was exceptional. At the end of the day it was still my own fault I was fairly trounced and given a lesson, Fran hardly broke sweat. There was only one more game last night so it was pretty empty, I hope to kick off a Bolt Action campaign next week so will have to confirm it with Simon.

Nothing else on the go at the moment, I do have some new cavalry to prepare and will probably get on to that this evening. I am building up a large wish list in my head and am fighting against getting deeper into WWII, Rubicon are not helping with new kits and hints of what is coming in the future, Tiger II anyone?


  1. Crumbs George, that was a walloping!
    Some of the boards and factions are definitely to be taken with a pinch of salt. Saga is mainly IMHO a board game with a few toy soldiers. It was fun for me back along a while, but I have kinda moved on.
    Looking forward to seeing you get the BA campaign off the ground!
    TTFN Matt

  2. I can always retire behind the Theodosian walls thankfully. Didn't know what hit me.

  3. Bad luck there George, but if it's any consolation, I fared much worse on the Western Front on Monday. Must have been the shortest game in memory, so short I didn't blog it as there was little to photograph. Re. Summer, I think we had that last year.

    1. My condolences Phil. Re summer last year, first decent year since 07 or something, so we have a long wait. Global warming, meh.

  4. I think we can all feel your pain at a good thumping. Still, onward and upward is the way!