Recently I meet up with my friend Dai from Lost, Damned, and Stunted, for a long over due catching up and game night.
We both had an itch for something Skirmish level and Dark Ages-ish, so I suggested Blood Eagle.
This is a rule set that came out in early 2016, and I bought it pretty quickly because I liked the idea of a Dark Ages Skirmish game.
3 Year Later it's time to dust it off the shelf for it's first game.... bout time.
Since I had the rules and the figures, I made up two army lists of 300 points from the Viking and Saxon options, and headed over to Dai's place. He provided the terrain. Blood Eagle (BE) plays on a small 3 x 3 table.
A Troublesome PriestAll Skirmish games need an narrative. BE is very much a skirmish game. About 10 figures a side, each figure can be unique... fast furious combat.
In our first scenario, set during the time of that England was split between the Saxon Kingdom of Wessex and the Danelaw, a priest sets off from a Saxon Village to go convert the Viking heathens.
Obviously this will get him killed and/or martyred.
But he must be beloved somehow by the local Saxon Earl, I dunno, maybe the priest instructed his son in Latin or something. The Earl taps one of his Thegns, who brinks 2 Huscarls and some local militia types and they head off to retrieve the priest before the damn fool gets himself in trouble.
Of course, the Vikings across the way hear of this priest coming and preferring their own gods, heathens that they are, come to stop him through death or capture. The Viking Jarl brings his champion and berserker, and some of his experienced warriors.
The game begins with the Priest in the middle of the board, and the two opposing warbands entering from the sides. He will stay still until contacted base to base by someone and then will follow that person around (either as a hostage or a rescue).
|Priest in the Middle of the board,my brave Saxon's coming in from the bottom ad the dirty vikings|
coming in from the top.
|"There is our priest! Go get him!"|
|It becomes a general melee! And like most Dark Age skirmish games,|
You don't know who is on whose side just by looking at them
|Disaster! My Earl and his Thegn go down on the same turn!|
(miniatures on their sides)
With my leaders dead, and only a few warriors left alive, the dirty Vikings make off with the Priest.
Who knows what fate now awaits him? I wouldn't want to be him for sure...
With time for another game, We set up another quick scenario using the same lists: this time the Saxons are defending the house full of women and children and other riches from some terrifying Viking raiders.
|Next game! The Saxons defend the house.|
The Saxons make a defensive ring because the Vikings can enter from anywhere.
the Viking win if they get 3 models inside the house, or kill all of the Saxon warband making it impossible to be stopped.
Which they did.
and quickly too, it was a short game and I only managed to take that one picture.
Overall, it was a fun night and it was great to see my friend Dai again, get in a game night, and eat some really bad gluten free pizza. But I was hungry so I ate it anyways.
But What Did You Think About the Game? Thoughts on Blood EagleThe game played well. It comes in as enjoyable as Lion Rampant, and is kinda that scale. I liked it better than Saga just because we had all the rules figured out in 10 mins. though the game is not particularly deep. The decisions are mostly about which figure to activate first and the tactics therein. There are some things that become more apparent after playing. I used my Saxons all wrong: I should of used my lesser quality troops as 'a mob' to take down the more skilled and better armored Vikings. The games are kinda bloody and fast, it's one of those games that you play twice in an evening.
Shooting is kinda useless unless you specifically kit out a figure's stats to make them really good at it. I actually like this, as I don't want my games of Dark Ages combat to be about some joker with a bow. It is kinda weird that you would almost always arm your guys with spears because in the rules they're better than swords. But hey, really the ideal way to create a warband would be to pick out some of your coolest looking miniatures and stat them out as you see fit.
The game comes complete with many scenario ideas and army lists, and what I really like is that the book lays out the complete point system so you can make up just about anything.
Till next time, hope to be back soon.