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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Thursday 3 December 2020

Saga - Age of Hannibal

 This is a newish 'universe' for the Saga rules system, a set of rules that I haven't used for a while. The Carthaginians were my very first wargames army, so I have soft spot for them and Hannibal, who is arguably the best ancient commander. 

This is a hard backed supplement (plus battle boards), so you need the base rules, which are short and good value. The pricey add ons are the dice, although you can substitute D6s. In the book, you get a short historical overview of the period followed by new rules, which include elephants, sarissa, chariots and the dreaded flaming war pigs. Well dreaded by elephants apparently. This supplement introduces the concept of 'ruses', which introduce strategy and subterfuge into the game. I haven't tried them yet but they include generic ruses and unique ones for each faction. 

The main chapters cover the six armies, or factions as they called in Saga, plus mercenaries. The factions are Carthaginians, Rome, Gauls, Greeks, Numidians and Iberians. For each faction, there is an overview, specific rules, army lists and the legendary units based on famous commanders. You also get a guide to using the faction and the special abilities on the battle boards.

Finally, there is a chapter on Saga Epic, which are big battle rules using 12 to 18 points a side. Essentially this is three warbands brought together. I haven't tried this but I view Saga as a skirmish game, so if I want a big battle I will probably stick to Hail Caesar or ADLG.

I do like the basic mechanisms in Saga. The challenge for a wargaming butterfly like me is learning the special abilities on the battle board that make each faction unique. However, in small 4-6 point game, you don't get enough dice to make much use of them anyway.

I have played three games so far. First up my favoured Punic Wars with the Carthaginians and Romans. I am not convinced that the Carthaginians would have taken an elephant on a skirmish but it's fun. 

Who would be a legionnaire? If elephants are not bad enough, a giant cat joined the game.

Then the Romans faced off against the Gauls. Chariots in the mix this time.

And finally, the Galatians decided to visit Greece. I couldn't find my Greek temple in the scenery store, which was irritating as they infamously looted Delphi. 

Three fun and fairly quick games. Before the supplement arrived I had a warm-up game with my Rus armies. Not enough Mongols to provide a historical opponent for the Rus Princes, so it was followed up by another outbreak of wargamers disease. Gripping Beast's gain .....

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