As promised, this time I want to introduce you to the Book of Battles, in many ways this is the best and most innovative book in the series, with probably the shortest description. Why don’t the other rule writers take a look at this book and adapt some of the ideas.
Like all books in the series this starts off with a section on How To Use This Supplement then follows on with Determining The Winner and Setting Up The Table, it is then that the really interesting part starts with a simple chapter called Skirmishes. Just looking at the contents page it has one scenario called Battle of Heroes but this is where the innovation kicks in, providing the players with 7,776 variations on that scenario.
By rolling a D6 against each of 5 options in the Methods table we generate The Scenery, the Forces deployment, the Length of game, any Special rules to be used and finally the Victory Conditions to determine the winner. Each of these options are then described in the following pages.The next Chapter, Battles has 10 scenarios that offer the players some additional tactical challenges and some additional rules that will be needed to exploit this chapter to the full, including; Objective markers, Rivers Baggage and Entering and Leaving the Table
The 10 scenarios are:
- Prized Possessions
- Claiming Territory
- Feasting and Pillaging
- A Tale of Challenges
- Guard the Loot
- Old Feud
- The Crossing
- Change of Plans
If that was not enough the next Chapter brings in four new scenarios under the heading of Legends. These have been primarily designed for friendly games, bringing a narrative element to the game with an emphasis on the story they tell:
- Catch Them All
- Urban Uprising
- Encounter in an Unknown Land
- Brothers in Arms
As previously new rules are introduced that are intended to be used with the scenarios, but equally can be used in our other games.
The penultimate Chapter, Mass Battles allows a more chaotic way of playing SAGA with 3 or 4 players, both in team or a confrontation where they can all play as they want. This also allows for a element of treachery.
- Brothers in Arms
- Battle Royale
- Wooden Oaths
These three new scenarios, again with a few new rules are presented along with a Mass Battle terrain Table.
The ultimate Chapter, Sagas does not offer any scenarios but is a tool that allows the player to provide a career where the warlord gains experience over a number of games. This experience can be used to gain new talents and also introduces a handicap system so that the player with less experience is not completely overwhelmed.
I cannot praise these two books, The Rules and The Book of Battles too highly, they provide the tools by which we as players can enjoy the experience that is SAGA. With 7,794 scenarios I don’t think I will ever play them all. Incidentally there are another set of 6 Victory Conditions that can be downloaded free from the Gripping Beast site, that gives us a staggering 46, 674 options.
Hopefully this article has encouraged you to look further with SAGA and next time I will look at the first of the SAGA Universe I will be covering, The Age of Vikings.