Thursday, April 3, 2014

Byzantines on the Steppe

The day started with a number of unfortunate events - I lost my new glasses, almost set the kitchen on fire with a mislaid oven mitt - so I probably should have listened to omens and stayed off the field of battle.  But I was playing the Byzantines and good Christians should pay no mind to such superstitious nonsense.  But still...

We had to escort a pair of diplomats across the steppe to a friendly port on the Black Sea.  With us, was a unit each of Khataphracts, spearmen and levy.  We also had two units of archers and a sword for hire unit of steppe mercenaries from my own meager pay to guide us.

The escort pieces are in this case, two diplomats surrounded by bodyguard.  

The Khataphtacts take the left flank and archers and steppe nomads take the left.  Ahead of us, slave foot archers are in the center with warrior nomads at the wing.  The 3 points of warriors are broken into 4 units of 6 

With the heavy cavalry charging forward, a group of toxatoi move between a ridge and the raised road for cover. 

The khataphracts charge the steppe warriors, knowing that they will collapse immediately under 

The targeted unit immediately flees before contact is made thank to The Steppes ability on the battle board. As smart player of this faction will always keep a die on this ability

Next turn, my plan is to load up two activations for the hearthguard, so when one flees, I will hit the other.  However, thanks to the Wild Cats ability, another warrior unit from across the table pops in and I am now surrounded.

The heavily armored cavalry (6 v. shooting) had withstood missile attacks, but a string of lucky rolls from 3 units wiped them out.  

The Warlord and surviving units circle up and spend some defense dice.  At this point two hours in, I had to call it a game because of some commitments later in the day.  Unfortunately, I have no pics of my other archers still on the hill with no casualties, and picking off any models within range.  Possibly, the escorted units could have made it to the end of the road especially with a double activation.  Overall takeaway: if fighting the Steppe Tribes with Byzantines or Normans, have at least two units of hearthguard cavalry positioned to catch fleeing warriors in a pincher.  That, or shut down their activations with the Pagan Rus abilities.  


  1. Very cool looking game and figures - using SAGA no less. Awesome

  2. You had me laughing out loud on that one! I have to ask my wife to find my glasses when I lose them, cause I can't see, all the time. Also burned up two pots on the stove (not at the same time) because I wasn't paying attention to what I was supposed to be doing. Nice battle report and you have some nicely painted figs as well. Your opponent is a long time friend, you couldn't ask to have a better person to game with.

  3. It was a great game, we had good fun.

    Alan, you did the best I've seen playing the "Escort" scenario as the escorting side. I've played this one 3 times and watched 2 other games at "Siege of Augusta" and so far you have come the closest to a win. In fact you most likely would have won if we had, had a bit more time.

    The Steppe Nomads are a fragile faction to play. They do not melee, nor do they take shots well. Once you figured out that your weakest units (shooters) were your best units against the Magyars, we were too near the end of our time to take advantage of it. Lucky for me!!

    Thanks for the great game. We need to do another sometime soon..... Have anything that can fight my Welsh?