Saga: Age of Magic – Long Live the New Flesh

Last weekend I got together with The BazPaz in his newly prepped indoor/outdoor gaming space for some socially distanced gaming. Having talked about it for a couple of years, we decided to give some of our recently painted figures a run out in Saga: Age of Magic, our first ever look at Saga of any variety.

My force was made out of some of the various ghoul figures that I have been painting recently, fielded as an “Undead Legion” Saga force. The Bazpaz used the lovely faery force that he has been working on for over a year now, on and off, made up primarily of Citadel Sylvaneth, with some Wargames Atlantic Fauns, as a “Lords of the Wild” warband.

Neither force had ever hit a gaming table before, and no game of any variety had ever been played in that precise location before, so it was a session of firsts.

The poorly photographed Grymwatch advance up the East flank

Saga has a significant amount in common with Warcry, another game that I really enjoy. Without going into too much detail, each game has a resource management element based on assigning a number of dice at the start of each turn. Mechanics like that can sound dull, but when they are used to make your feverish, naked cannibal half-dead post-humans pay no heed to casualties and chow down on their opponents at a critical juncture, they are a lot of laughs.

The Bazpaz drafted a number of the “spite” models included in the Sylvaneth range to make up a “Swarm”, exclusive to his “Lords of the Wild” faction.

Saga does a very good job of providing a solid, common base of rules that can be picked up fast, so that the players can focus on actually playing the game. I love this approach to game design. I am very excited to play more Saga soon, and I am tuning my hobby time towards it.

All in all an excellent gaming visit, after a significant social drought. I’m already prepping more Undead Legions for next time.


17 Responses

  1. Nice game report, and I agree with you about SAGA, it’s a system that lets you focus on playing!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I miss the days when my gaming group and I had an encyclopedic knowledge of our regular games, which allowed us to focus on the game rather than the rules. That time has passed for all sorts of dull grown up reasons.

      Games like Saga allow us to get back to games like that again, focusing on the story and gamePLAY rather than examining long lists of exceptions.

      I’m glad to note that you have a similar, sensible viewpoint davekay 😀

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent! Two cracking warbands there & good to hear your view on Saga! I’m tempted to take a butchers…

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is early to get too carried away with it just yet, but signs are good.
      Different people want different things from a gaming system too, so it is difficult to know.
      Some people dislike some of the boardgame like aspects of the battleboard and Saga dice aspects for example, but I like them.

      I’m planning another session in a few weeks, so I will have a more rounded opinion after that I expect.

      Thanks for the feedback Alex!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mrs. GG and I liked Saga when we first tried it but after a couple of games it felt a bit too “gamey” for us, if that makes any sense. Mrs. GG is keen to give it another try in the future though.
    And it looks like you have had Great fun with it!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We did have good fun with our first Saga session GG101, I’m itching to play again.
      As I mentioned to Alex above, different people want different things from games, either as part of the game mechanics themselves, or aspects that occur at slight remove from the game itself, so I can grasp why Mrs GG wasn’t interested in the “gamey” aspect.

      I on the other hand really like that sort of fusion between tabletop wargame and boardgame style mechanic and it mitigates some of the parts of tabletop wargaming that bug me (misguided attempts to increase “realism”, the idea that army list building means that 1. the player is smart and 2. makes the game fun (it doesnt) for example).

      Additionally, the separation of church (rules) and state (miniatures) in games allows me to wishlist my painting plans, rather than stick rigidly to a format dictated by a sales department. I 100% understand why these things exist – businesses need to make money – but I just want to play the miniatures that I want to paint and play games with them, so games like Saga (and Frostgrave and Stargrave etc) have huge benefits for me too.

      Thanks for the feedback GG101, hopefully Mrs GG enjoys Saga more if you try it again.


  4. Glad to see you back gaming!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice reference to beetlejuice in the last shot…is that related to your undead force or something else?
    As usual, a fantastic looking game with gorgeous models and scenary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use a specific notebook to record games by game system or, more often, by faction. I write a *very*brief record of the forces that played, the players, the date and aim to get my opponent(s) and I to make a quick note of anything memorable.
      The “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” is the notebook that I chose to record the progress of my recently painted undead, as I enjoy trying to add to the theme of the force too, for fun.

      I’m glad that you liked the brief report Daveb!


  6. Thanks for sharing. I like reading about all these alternative games. I see it as the future of my gaming time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I try to never say never about games that I used to play. There is certainly room to squeeze more enjoyment out of some of them yet.

      All that said, games with smaller miniatures counts (Saga only barely counts in this regard really), that have modern and clean rules design, that are miniature agnostic and that experience less rules churn than more mainstream lines have been the sweet spot for me for over fifteen years now.

      I hope that you get similar satisfaction from games like Saga, although to be fair, while it doesn’t compare with the biggest names in the industry, Saga does have a pretty good following I think.

      Thanks for the comment Hobbs!


  7. Great to see, that you are back gaming. Great forces, too. That sprite swarm is a nice idea and the ghouls look very nice, too. I am quite interested in getting back into skirmish games, as I think my days of army level games are over (I can’t spend 5h on a game anymore). I may give Saga a try. Does the fantasy version have those army boards, too?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is fun to be able to play some games again d&b, although exams and work are doing their best to get in the way…

      Thanks for the feedback on the figs. I will pass the comments on the sprites on to The Bazpaz.

      Saga is a little bit awkward to initially get into, in the name of being modular. Minimum requirements (beyond miniatures, D6s, measuring implements, a table etc) are:
      Saga Rulebook
      Saga: Age of ???? book.

      Each Age of ??? book includes all of the rules and battle boards for that setting.

      Age of Magic includes six battle boards, designed to handle pretty much any fantasy trope you like.

      One additional caveat: Age of Magic is a little more involved than the other Saga settings.
      This is very far from an insurmountable level of complexity for any experienced gamer, and Saga prides itself on lean, intuitive rules…BUT… AoM does build on core concepts in ways that are much easier to grasp with a few less fantastical Saga games under one’s belt.

      With that in mind I have been working on some Dark Age Irish figs for Age of Vikings to work on the basics and I plan to expand the army into Irish myth to bring it in to Age of Magic.

      I hope that helps!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds good. I enjoy a bit of complexity, but not so much that I have to relearn the game if I didn’t play for a few months. I also like the miniature agnostic aspect. I have definitely enough undead. Even better, when my frogs are finished I could field a warband. How many minis do you need per side? Doesn’t seem like many at all.

        Liked by 2 people

        • About 20 to 50 per side, approx.

          Games are usually 4 or 6 points per side. Each point generates a 4, 8 or 12 strong unit, depending on quality.

          If you have a Warhammer sized force of any stripe in a table ready state, then you have more than enough ready to pick several forces from.

          Liked by 1 person

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