Well, Sunday was the first outing for my late Roman Saga warband down at the club. I had high hopes for my new troops, but I wasn't sure how the various Roman abilities on the battleboard would play out, especially as many of them are linked to the Roman Impetus feature.
My opponent Clive had brought along an Anglo-Danish warband, so there was a bit of a historical mismatch there, but the game's the thing, so I wasn't really that worried about an anachronistic encounter.
My warband consisted of 3 x 4 Hearthguards, split into two groups of six, 2 x 8 Warriors One with bows) and 1 x 12 javelin-equipped Levies, plus the Warlord. I hoped that this would provide a balanced force.
We ended up playing two games and in both of them, I was massively defeated. I think that the reasons for this were twofold. Firstly, I rolled some truly terrible dice in both combat and as saving throws, meaning that my units ended up losing pretty much every melee, and twice seeing complete units of Hearthguards wiped out in one round of fighting. Secondly, my Saga Dice rolls simply didn't give me the dice I needed to access the right abilities to counter Clive's Anglo-Danes and also be ale to get my troops moving. Losing whole groups early on also meant that I was rolling fewer dice, which made it even harder to trigger the better abilities.
There was, of course, a third reason for my failures. My battle plans were no good. In the second game, my archers were in the wrong place to actually do anything, and in both games my spear-armed Warriors were placed to meet threats that simply weren't there and were therefore similarly isolated away from the action. I also decided to take the battle to the enemy, which was a mistake. I should have sat back and waited for them to come to me.
I think also that the Anglo-Danish abilities maximised the power of Clive's troops while, at the same time exposing weaknesses in the Romans.
Still, this was a learning experience, and the games were fun, well as much fun as they could have been seeing my troops come of worse in every combat with predictable regularity. Having to roll to save 9 or 10 hits on six troops, and then rolling nothing but 1s and 2s does get a bit annoying.
Anyway, it is back to the drawing (i.e. battle) board for the Romans, with some careful thought about how best to use the abilities. They are a lot harder to play with than the Vikings are.