A Few Words about SAGA and the Norse Gaels

I walked away from ancients years ago. I didn’t like the competitive matchups the rules fostered. I’m a scenario person, dislike tournaments and there really wasn’t a lot of agreement on a set of ancient rules. I did go whole hog, well really the whole pigpen on the Hundred Years War, but they’ve been idle since before the pandemic.

A couple of months ago I reached out to some old game buddies to see what they were up to. They were playing SAGA: Age of Vikings. I knew of SAGA, that it was supported by Gripping Beast miniatures, but not a lot. more. I drove over to Scott’s house to watch ’em play a game. It looked fun, different. The dice, the battle boards offered nuance and complexity and it gave me an excuse to try something new–which I really need like a hole in the head–but I was in.

Got the rules, a Norse-Gaels set by Gripping Beast as well as a box of their plastic Irish. Norse-Gaels are those Norwegian Vikings who occupied the western isles off the coast of Scotland and many areas of Ireland. They established the Kingdom of Dublin. So the army is a mix of Vikings, Scots and Irish so who can’t like that?

SAGA armies are allowed points. Each unit is worth one point. The quality of the unit determines its size. The good troops, or Heartguards, are usually four figures. They are the hard bitten Viking raiders. They wear chainmail and are bad-ass.

The next unit type is Warriors. They are the bulk of my army and are composed of Irish bonnachts. The bonnachts, like the Hearthguards are either javelin armed or axe-armed and have eight figures. Axe- armed troops are considered heavy weapons, but have reduced armor value because they can’t fight with a shield. Javelin-armed troops are considered missile-armed. Not quite as cool as bow or sling armed, but there are stories of the troops punctured by javelins.

The final type is the peasant type, considered by the Norse Gaels as “slaves,” but I like to think of them as good old Irish kerns.

I’ve played a couple of games with them. They are interesting. A mix of shooters and hackers for sure. I’ve also learned a bit more of their Battle Board from a SAGA Thorsday YouTube video


I’ve had some success, but hope to try out what I’ve learned soon.


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