mercredi 17 septembre 2014

Saga - The Grand Melee 2013 : Flashback

English version

The next weekend - 20 & 21st September 2014 - A new edition of SAGA - The Grand Melee will take place in Strasbourg Lingolsheim, in the Grognards d’Alsace club. Flashback to the 2013 edition and with the winner: Kurt Engelreist from belgian Red Baron club.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 1 :
Last 21st & 22nd September 2013, the Studio Tomahawk organized in Strasbourg - Lingolsheim, in Grognards d’Alsace association, the first edition SAGA - The Grand Melee.
Why did you come from Belgium to participate ?

Kurt Engelrelst :
“La Grande Mêlée” was a unique opportunity to meet, discuss and play against 40 other SAGA enthusiasts.
What I find most exciting about tournaments is playing against new opponents. I know the guys from our club, The Red Barons, really well and that makes our games sometimes more predictable.
At a tournament you can see how other players are using the different SAGA boards and sometimes learn new insights.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 2 :
You shined with Jomsvikings, can you remind us of the composition of your 6 points budget  band ?
Had you planned to play another band or another composition ?

Kurt Engelrelst :
I received a Jomsvikings starter pack as my price for winning last years Strasbourg-Lingolsheim tournament. I had them painted very nicely by a younger club member. I’m not so accomplished as a painter myself, I prefer the gaming part of the hobby. So I never had any doubt about the Jomsvikings, they had to return at least once to their place of origin. My Jomsvikings warband had 2 points Hearthguard in a unit of 8 and 4 points Warriors, 2 units of 12 and a unit of 8, led by a standard warlord.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 3 :
why such a choice ?

Kurt Engelrelst :
First I thought of playing with the hero Sigvaldi and 20 Hearthguards. They have an Armor of 6 against shooting and I was very worried by the horse archers from the Varjazi & Basileus supplement. Playing a lot against Alex Meyers does that to a man. But after I read the new tournament rules, especially the strength score of each warband and how that would affect the points scored, I soon decided to use this rule to a maximum and go for a warband with a strength score a low as possible. That’s why I exchanged most of my Hearthguards for Warriors and ended up with a strength score of 1. I would have gone for an all warrior warband and a strength score of 0, but I simply didn’t have enough figures for that!

Studio Tomahawk - Question 4 :
I imagine that to achieve such mastery of the game and the mobilized faction, it takes a few training workouts. How often do you play SAGA for a week or a month?

Kurt Engelrelst :
Actually I hadn’t played SAGA since Easter 2013 during a tournament in Paris. In preparation for La Grande Mêlée, we played 3 games in the club. SAGA is a game you can easily come back to.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 5 :
How long, you need to "settle" the composition of your warband and thinking it will be the more effective in competition?

Kurt Engelrelst :
In preparation for La Grande Mêlée I played 1 game with the Sigvaldi and 20 Hearthguards composition against Alex’s Byzantines, it didn’t feel good and I lost. During the beer session afterwards I decided to go for the Warrior’s composition instead. I played a second game a week later against Anglo-Saxons, everything fell into place and I had an easy victory.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 6 :
What was the moment the hard competition and why?

Kurt Engelrelst :
My most difficult game was the fourth against Pagan Rus played by Yann Picard. Yann played “The Great Winter” every round. I had a very hard time moving and couldn’t scoring enough points. The game ended in a draw, my only «non-win» during the weekend.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 7 :
What was your best memory of this 2013 weekend?

Kurt Engelrelst :
The Quiz Saturday evening was absolute great fun and again showed the highly competitive spirit of us wargamers.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 8 :
You seem to be a hardcore fan of SAGA, what attracted you to this rule?

Kurt Engelrelst :
What attracts me most in SAGA are the endless variations in the game. After all the games I played I can still easily find new factions to try, new compositions to experiment with. I know off no other game that gives me that many options and so much pleasure experimenting.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 9 :
To rub you the last few years, you're a regular podiums particularly during clashes SAGA, do you have a secret ... Otherwise, any advice for players who dream of SAGA as glorious and consistent results during the next week?

Kurt Engelrelst :
Unique among wargames SAGA has three different game elements you need to carefully balance: the tabletop, your faction board and the scenario:

1- First, the tabletop :
At heart SAGA is still a classic wargame with units moving around the tabletop. There’s arguably nothing more important in a tabletop wargame than the deployment at the beginning. Plan what you want your units to do in the first rounds and place them and the terrain accordingly.

2- Your faction-board :
Know it well, but don’t get obsessed by it. Trying to use that one super combo each round makes you very predictable and perhaps uses up to many useful dice.

3 - The scenario :
Most often overlooked, each tournament I meet players who haven’t studied the scenarios. Sorry, but they have almost certainly lost the game before the first dice is rolled. Study how the victory points are gathered in every scenario and adapt your deployment, unit composition and faction-board use accordingly.

Studio Tomahawk - Question 10 :
Do you intend to defend your first place in 2014 edition?

Kurt Engelrelst :
Of course, but after 2 consecutive wins in Strasbourg I wouldn’t mind if someone else wins it next time. Perhaps another Red Baron? 

Thank you Kurt and good luck for this weekend!

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