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My copy of Age of the Wolf arrived this last Thursday. I've read though most of it and I have to say that it's really quite good. Below is a (sorta) quick overview.

 

Mustering Your Warband

 

When beginning a campaign, the first step is to decide whether the campaign will take place in the West or the East. This dictates which warbands are available for players to choose from. Vikings, Joms and Normans can play in either region.

 

Next, each player creates his or her Warlord by selecting the Warlord's 'motivation' and randomly determining the Warlord's 2 Traits and 1 Special Rule. A Warlord's motivation is what he (or she) wants most: Land, Wealth or Reputation. As the campaign proceeds a Warlord will need to increase all three of these resources, but by possessing more of the preferred resource than the other two, the Warlord can earn bonus Campaign Victory Points.

 

There are 18 Traits. Each affects either the Warlord's campaign play or how the Warlord operates on the battlefield. For example, a Warlord with the Golden Hoard Trait begins the campaign with 3 additional points of Wealth.

 

There 13 Special Rules are buffs for your Warlord or Warband. Some, like Bravery (ignore the first Fatigue point each turn) affect only the Warlord while others, like Scouts (all Levy units generate SAGA dice), apply to the Warband.

 

Next, you muster your troops. Each Warlord begins the campaign with a 4 point warband. When deciding how to spend those four points you should keep in mind that these units will remain on your roster until destroyed.

 

The next step is to determine your Warlord's Power by adding your resource totals to the number of units in your Warband (each Warlord begins with 2 Land, 2 Wealth and 2 Reputation). Regardless of Campaign Victory Points (CVPs), only Warlords with a Power of 15 or greater can win the campaign. Moreover, having a high power can also earn a Warlord extra CVPs.

 

 

Campaign Seasons

 

The campaign is played over six campaign seasons. A campaign is period of time determined by the players (e.g. 1 week). During a campaign season a player can play as many games as he or she can fit into his or her schedule. There are also rules for players who choose to skip a campaign season.

 

At the beginning of each campaign season each Warlord selects a strategy for the season -Defend, Raid or Campaign. When players face off they determine the scenario to be played by cross reference their strategies on the Campaign Events Table. This tells them which Scenario Table to roll on. All of the scenarios come from either the SAGA rulebook or from the 5 new scenarios in the Age of the Wolf.

 

Warlords that chose to Defend cannot initiate a battle (but they can be the target of a battle). A Warlord that Defends stays home and focuses on trade and recruitment. As such, selecting Defend earns the Warlord one extra point of Wealth, an opportunity to recruit, and a chance to form an Alliance with another Warlord.

 

 

Post Battle

 

After each battle, the two Warlords calculate spoils, determine casualties, recruit, and finally, roll on the Fate Table.

 

The victor's spoils are extra resources and CVPs. A victorious Defend(er) gains one point of Reputation. A victorious Raid(er) gainst one point of Wealth. A victorious Campaign(er) gains one point of Land.

 

If a Warlord was slain during the battle, the player rolls on one of the Casualty Tables to determine if the Warlord is in fact dead, injured, captured or receives a Heroic Wound (increase Reputation score by one). If a Warlord dies the player can replace the Warlord or create a new warband from scratch. The new warband must be a different faction.

 

Unit casualties are simple to calculate. A unit "permanently" loses one model for every four models (rounding up) taken as casualties during the battle. Hearthguard are tough, so they take their first "permanent" casualty only if the unit suffers 5 or more casualties during game play. I've placed quotation marks around the word permanent because these casualties can be replaced during the Recruitment phase.

 

During the Recruitment phase the Warlord can replace battle losses for one unit (and only one unit). A Warlord may recruit up to four Levy, two Warriors or one Hearthguard. Spending a point of Wealth doubles this number.

 

After a battle each Warlord rolls on the Fate Chart. There are 15 different results on the chart and some are bad (e.g. Revolt! -Warlord loses 1 reputation, takes permanent casualties to one unit, and must spend the next campaign season defending) and some are good (e.g. transform a Levy unit into a Warrior unit or a Warrior Unit into a Hearthguard unit).

 

The final post-battle phase is Merge Units. Any units that have fallen below four models may be merged with another unit of the same type. Units can never exceed 12 models.

 

 

Other Stuff

 

Additional rules include buying Land, paying Danegeld if you can't or don't want to fight a battle, alliances, war banners, hiring mercenaries, and likely a few other things that I've forgotten to mention.

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