Saga Macedonians vs Athenians

Progress has been middling with the war in the East. The local Greeks are getting uppity so the Macedonian home guard now square off against the Greek City States.

A brief digression on the rules changes in 2022. With a bit of cutting and gluing these will fit on top of or at least close by the errata’d rules sections in the base rules book. Most changes are minor but the free shooting of javilins and composite bows have been clarified. These and the shooting of sarissa are free activations that cause no fatigue but the red box on page 30 still stands. ‘An activation that does not cause fatigue does count when working out whether later activations cause fatigue.’ The implications of these rules together is that a javelin unit could shoot or a sarissa poke once with no activation die required. If the unit were to move then shoot there would be no fatigue. On the other hand if the unit shoots then moves there will be a fatigue because the shooting still counts. This chaining of fatigue and non-fatigue action crops up in other situations notably when the Greek City States activate their line of battle as a single line. There have also been changes to the battle boards and army rules but thankfully none for either the Greek Cities or Macedonians.

The core to the Greek army is a line of battle. That is a cluster of phalanx units that are all within VS of each other. This give a number of useful Saga board benefits. The phalanx units are generally hoplites but some of the city state boards give the bonus to other unit types as well. If the line of battle breaks into smaller groups then the relative benefits will be fewer. Hearthguard and larger units count as more for the size of the line of battle but that only affects ORACLE. All other abilities depend on the number of units in the line not the size of each. This makes the size of the line less important than it may appear and could benefit having more smaller units in the line but not too small as a unit needs to generate a dice to act as a phalanx. The Greeks are about to learn this the hard way here.

It makes sense for any opponent to try to break up the line by inflicting casualties on the central units so these no longer generate Saga dice, do not count as phalanx and drop out of the line of battle, making 2 shorter and less effective lines. This will encourage putting the best units in the centre of the line of battle not in their historical place of honour on the right. Uneven or dangerous terrain will also break up the line. Unfortunately for the Macedonians they too want a relatively uncluttered board for their phalanx and cavalry. To get good with these factions might involve working out how to deal with bad terrain and use it to their advantage rather than hoping it goes away.

The Macedonian list will stick to the same load out as the Indian and Persian games. There must be a better force choice but keeping to a consistent army makes it easier to get a feel of how their board handles. With some commitment to the cause Victrix Greek Heavy cavalry that had previously been modeled as javelin and shield have been re-built as Macedonian lancers. The Greeks run as Athenians which makes their Hearthguard deploy as a single unit. The Macedonians also maximise a unit of 8 Hearthguard; both with a base of 16 melee dice.

The armies line up, avoiding the bad terrain. In the latest rules the 1st player gets a full dice pool but the 2nd player has 3 dice to roll and put on their board before the game begins.

Both sides move up.

The Athenians are not quite close enough to get into melee on their turn without pulling a fatigue first. This may have been a mistake. Sitting just in sarissa range of a phalanx can hurt. The only loss so far is a bowman to javelin shooting.

This is rough, with a combination of shooting from the bowmen, a poke from the white tunic sarissa, a charge from the red jackets and then another poke from the reds and an entire unit of 12 hoplites is off for an early bath.

The red jackets are pushed back by the Athenian hearthguard.

The Macedonian hearthguard charge into the other unit of 12 hoplites, 1 survives. With only 1 decent phalanx unit many of the Greek battle board abilities are of little use. The writing is on the wall.

The Greeks go for the Macedonian warlord but only push him back.

It is only a matter of time. The Macedonians tidy the line and engage in some prodding.

The Greek hearthguard push through and take out the Macedonian warlord with the help of some javelin shooting

The Macedonian hearthguard return the favour and its game over.

At last we seen Macedonian units doing what they are supposed to do. Some effective prodding by the sarissas and serious melee work from the mounted units. The Greeks have little choice but to close in and that is what Macedon wants. This was not so easy against enemies who stood their distance and shot or kept running away. Mounted hearthguard can be very powerful especially if their board has the right buffs (Macedon does, SLAYERS, XYSTON and PRIDE) but can suffer badly from bowshot due their missile armour of 4.

As for the Greeks units of 12 are wasted in battle lines FORM LINE will move the lot with 1 die of any face and MARATHON will let it run once without generating a fatigue. Save the dice for combat abilities rather than moving. ASPIS is almost always worth putting up if the enemy has any missile units and the die can be spared. Alas in this battle a poor choice of big phalanx units and a lack of rolling rares (to activate ORACLES) meant that the Greeks were constantly low on Saga dice.

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One thought on “Saga Macedonians vs Athenians

  1. I’m agree, 12 men phalanx are not good for dice generator, I would try 10 men, so my next list is 6 Hg, 10-10-8 Warriors and Thokaritai Mercs šŸ˜‰

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