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Saga Second Edition Changes: Report From Crisis 2017

Your favourite dark age skirmish game is due a huge update “early next year”: Saga Second Edition.

I spoke to Saga-creators Studio Tomahawk at Crisis 2017 in Antwerp. And, of course, played a game of the new Second Edition.

Here’s what I learned…

Saga Second Edition Changes: Overview

Yesss, like you we were very curious to find out what exactly the changes to Saga entail.

Fortunately, we found a very loose lipped Studio Tomahawk employee who spilled the beans! 😉

Here goes:

General Rules

Saga dice

  • There’s lots of changes to which units generate dice, for more on that see further below.
  • Having Saga dice on your battle board no longer causes you to deduct that number from how many you can roll at the start of the turn. You can roll as many new Saga dice as you generate, HOWEVER, you can still only have a maximum of 8 on the board at any time.
Saga Second Edition changes: Viking battle board

A snapshot of the new Viking battle board.

Movement

  • All units now have to move in a straight line. So if you make an M move, you go 6 inches in any direction, but in a straight line. No more bends or funny stuff.
  • Cavalry can choose to first move M and then turn for another move up to M (so their regular L move in total).
  • Any unit that is outside of L of the enemy can be activated to move M PLUS another free move that takes them to (at most) L of the enemy. This rule is intended to allow you to quickly move up units from the backfield (or move them around in the backfield) or from a flank. [Note: this one is still a bit vague to me – I’m sure the final rules will explain it more clearly].

Melee

  • Most changes here are in relation to Fatigue, described below.
  • One notable change is the new option for infantry units to “close ranks”: discard all attack dice and you don’t gain any extra defend dice. But you now cancel hits on 4+ instead of 5+. Not for cavalry, ranged troops or troops wielding 2-handed weapons.
Saga Second Edition changes: Reference Sheet

The new reference sheet reveals much…

Fatigue

  • Every unit is now considered “exhausted” at 3 Fatigue. There is no longer a difference in the number of Fatigues a unit can take, be they Levy or Warlord or anything in between.
  • Fatigue spending in Melee is now IGOUGO. So, instead of having the attacker spend all the Fatigue on the defender’s side first, you take turns.
  • There is no more limit on the amount of Fatigue tokens you spend on boosting or lowering a stat. If, for example, your opponent has 3 Fatigue counters, you can use all three to lower his armour, if you like. However, armour can never be lower than 1, nor higher than 6 (should you choose to boost your armour).

Units

Warlord

Your most important model is changing… bigtime.

  • The Warlord now generates only one Saga die.
  • His attacks are raised from 5 to 8.
  • The first hit on the Warlord is no longer discarded. Instead, he can choose to take up to three Fatigue counters instead (ergo, hit #4 will kill him, unless of course he already has Fatigue!).
  • The “With Me” rule is scrapped: the Warlord can no longer charge with another unit: if he does charge, he charges by himself – which is where the beefed up number of attack dice come in handy!
  • ONLY Hearthguard can now take wounds for the Warlord. Warriors can no longer do this!

Hearthguard

  • Generate 1 Saga die, as they were.
  • As mentioned, now the only unit that can take hits for the Warlord.

Warriors

  • Generate 1 Saga die, IF at 4 models or more! No longer hiding those 1-man warrior units in the corner of the board! (Well, you still can, it just won’t get you that Saga die like it used to!).

Levy

  • Generate 1 Saga die, IF 6 models or more. Yes, you heard it here, first: Levies now generate Saga dice! However, you have got to keep their strength up to benefit from that ability.
  • Levies now generate 1 attack die per 2 models in Melee (as opposed to 1/3 in first edition).

Cavalry

Rulebook

  • The older battle boards have been updated and will be re-released.
  • The rulebook will be cheap (maximum of €10) and will contain JUST the core rules.
  • In addition to the rules, Faction Packs will be released containing special rules and 12 faction battle boards each.
  • Era’s that have been confirmed for release: Age of the Vikings, Crusaders, Late Medieval and… Fantasy!

The release date, you ask? “Early next year” was what Alex Buchel himself told us. Hmmmm mysterious?!

Saga Second Edition Changes?

If you’d like to read more, check out the interview with Saga-creator Alex Buchel on the Studio Tomahawk blog right here.

Meanwhile, we’d love to know what you think of these Saga Second Edition changes! Excited? Bummed out? Let us know in the comments!

Henrik Becker

Henrik plays wargames in order to hold on to the last part of his masculinity, which is in constant danger due to the sheer amount of daughters at home. Favourite game is SAGA by Studio Tomahawk.

21 Comments

  1. Scrapping the “With Me” rule is a serious error. Leaders lead their troops in combat and didn’t go charging off on their own. Very GW inspired and a major backward step IMO. Not likely to encourage new players.

    • I don’t agree. For me, Saga has never been about realism. It’s a game and it’s not afraid to be one. It can be argued that “With Me” was too powerful. While I agree that realistically speaking your Warlord would not go charging off on his own, from a gamer’s perspective you are merely changing his role to “mop up operation”, letting the grunts to the heavy lifting.

  2. Thanks Henrik.
    Are you sure the price of the rules are 10 €?
    It’s a great report.
    Quino

    • Yep, they assured me this was the case. “Probably 9,99” were their exact words. Of course, you will need to buy the faction packs separately.

  3. And other cuestion?
    How many miniatures for Group of Levis, Warriors?

    Thanks again

  4. There is a limit for generated Attack-Dice mentioned on the reference sheet. 8 for ranged and 16 for melee. Is that flatout like it is?
    This would mean that more than 8 HG in one troop would be capped in their attack volume?

  5. Levies are unchanged. Those with ranged weapons have 1 per 3 models, while those without have 1 per 2. That’s right on the reference sheet…unless it’s a typo.
    Also, the melee sequence left out using the opponent’s fatigue. Another typo?

    • Levies with ranged weapons are 1/3 in melee. Levy without ranged weapons are now 1/2 in Melee. The guy from ST pointed that out specifically as a change, but I don’t have a first edition rulebook on hand to check.

  6. That looks good, a great improvement on first edition.
    It is clear that there has been some playtesting!
    Thanks for posting.

  7. As mentioned, the Melee summary has no mention of using fatigue… I hope this will be amended! A serious typo.

    • I assure you it’s still in place. When I played the game with the Tomahawk crew, Fatigue was there. Only now you can use multiple Fatigue to higher or lower a stat, instead of just one.

  8. Fatigue is used during the abilities step and the QRS suggests players alternate using their abilities and spending fatigue in any order they wish.

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