Poles Apart: Saga Age Of Crusades Polish

So, there’s a new boy in town in the Saga Universes. He’s a bit bigger, better dressed and armoured than the old guy and MUCH more religious. Yes, Studio Tomahawk have updated their Crescent and Cross Supplement and the result is Saga: Age of Crusades!

This supplement has been around for a few months now, enough for us to pore over at B&B. Some of us are in the fortuitous position of having armies painted and  available from other game systems (my Byzantines), some have armies purchased (Mike’s Saracens) and some have their armies planned out (Rob’s Teutons and Mike’s Baltic Crusaders).

All of the lists look cool and characterful, playable in different styles much as their Age of Vikings counterparts are (more on Age of Vikings here).

Now, as I have mentioned above, I have an army for this Saga universe anyway: my Byzantine army already fights in the Age of Vikings under the pseudonym Last Romans. So why am I in the market for another army, besides sheer devilment?

The real reason is, as a lover of history, I know that whilst the Byzantines definitely had a lot of argy-bargy with the Saracens over the years, they never made it as far north as the Baltic. Meanwhile, Rob’s Teutons and Mike’s Baltic Crusaders never made it as far south as the Balkan outposts of the Byzantine Empire. Therefore, I needed something a bit more northern.

   Byzantines/Last Romans. Depending on Age!

Two of the factions particularly caught my eye: Poles and Era of the Princes Rus (known in Saga as Eastern Princes, collectively with the Kingdom of Lithuania). I really like the Gripping Beast Era of the Princes models, whereas finding specific Polish models for the period C.1100-1250AD  was virtually impossible!

Still, I like the background of the plucky Poles, who actually had a pretty massive kingdom at one point. I ended up ordering Osprey titles for both the Russians and the Poles. Even after this, I couldn’t choose, so I let logic decide…

The Poles use the Continental Saga dice. These are the same red dice that I use for my Carolingian army in the Age of Vikings, whereas if I went for the Rus I would need some snazzy new dice. Saving myself £15, the decision was made!

Functionally, the Poles are much more offensive than the other armies I use, who base a lot of their power on manoeuvre and shooting. The Poles are much more an army that attacks and actively seeks to engage their opponent, with lots of abilities that give extra attack dice.

But it is not all about the Knights, like with some of the other Western armies in the Age of Crusades book. The Polish Levy and foot warriors have some powerful abilities too and are much  more survivable than you would expect them to be!

Therefore, a mixed force was needed if I was to take advantage of the abilities below. I wanted both spear and bow levy, as well as a large unit of footmen with great weapons and mounted warriors. Finally, I wanted two large units of knights… because why play Poles and not have knights?!

Finding Polish models wasn’t easy. the majority of suppliers’ Polish forces are the 16th Century type (Winged Hussars etc.) or Napoleon’s Polish regiments. Fortunately, 1st Corps do a generic Eastern European range, meant for Poles, Hungarians and Romanians.

From the prints in the Polish Osprey book, I saw that the Poles wore much more Western gear than these other nations, influenced by the nearby and powerful Holy Roman Empire. Therefore, I mixed their Eastern Europe packs with some Western European packs for the same time period.

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So as you can see, currently I am in the assembly phase. Many of the knights and most of the foot warriors still need weapons adding, and nobody has a shield. Hopefully, though, this gives you some idea of the minis and army composition.

Rather than approach this army from the history/gameplay/army building angle, this time too I will try and cover some of my painting techniques as we progress.

As with any project, I always try and set a vague target date for completion. With holidays fast approaching, I think mid-October is a good estimate. Even if there are some 15mm distractions on the horizon…

Wish me luck!

Do you play Saga; age of Crusades? Do you have any advice or favourite armies you want to share? Do you prefer Flames of War and think Adam should switch and do this project instead?

Either way, please drop your thoughts into the comments below.

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