The Saga of the Irish

I have had all the usual wargaming interests, I suppose; Seven Years War, ancients, Renaissance, WWII. As I thought of it recently, I did realise that some of my interests were more obscure than the general gaming ones; I always liked naval wargaming, and preferred WWI to WWII; preferred the Seven years war to Napoleonic gaming which was all the rage; more interested in the Italian wars of liberation/Six weeks War/Franco-Prussian war than in the ACW. My friends have noticed this tendency toward obscure subjects, and have been ridiculing me for it (and other things) for years. They would, probably, play the Chaco war game I have been thinking about, though so maybe their ridicule is not completely deserved.

Despite all this, there are a few periods to which I really have a complete indifference. Not an antipathy; I do not dislike them, I just cannot be moved to care. Modern, post WWII games fall in this category, and ACW, and Dark ages stuff. Even when, years ago and dinosaurs roamed the earth, we were all buried in WRG followed by DBM ancient and medieval stuff I had no interest in the dark ages. Happily paint and play Chariot bound Yul Brynner type Egyptians, or Sumerians complete with donkeys, but no interest in the dark ages.

So of course, the current local gaming horizon, Saga and Longstreet, is more or less an arid wasteland for me. Being a good gaming citizen I play the games. I chose the Irish in Saga, and thoroughly annoyed everyone by shooting at them out of terrain features which had no-one in them.

After a long delay, I was moved to paint a Saga army, rather than using a rather motley collection of other people’s cast offs (the ACW guys I promised have taken even longer, I just finished them). Even then I did not buy new figures; I poked around in the lead mountain until I came up with a bunch of Redoubt Miniatures renaissance Irish I had bought lord knows how many years ago and a for long forgotten purpose. I did invest in some dogs, because I could not find any in the lead mountain (quel surprise).

So here we go. Saga Irish ArmyHere is the entire war band; it escapes me now as to how many points there are… 6 or 7 maybe, because there is a a couple options. I even got enthusiastic and painted a wagon (I read there was a scenario with a wagon. I painted the bloody thing before I was informed that all the local guys hated the scenario). I messed around here with the water based oils again, and rapidly found that the sculpting on the Redoubt figures was very unrewarding of oils, so retreated rapidly to the comfort of acrylics.

While I spent my teenage years in Ireland, I am functionally illiterate in the language, so cannot tell you if the labels the nice folk at Gripping Beast have hung off them are accurate. But here are the bits and pieces.

Here we have the Fianna and the Bonnacht. As I think of it, I am not sure the Saga folk use the term Bonnacht, or if that is a renaissance one.Fianna and Bonnacht In any case the Fianna are the hearth guard types, and Bonnacht are the warriors. I used gallóglaigh figures for the Fianna in armor with axes, and the lads with the javelins and wicker shields for the bonnacht types.

Individually based as more or less required in the rules, and if they are not properly dark ages, they look ok, and at least I can tell which is which. One unit of 8 hearth guard, and two of 8 warriors (I guess, if memory serves, thats 3 saga points)

Then we have the Kerns and the Curaidh. Kerns and CuraidhThe Kerns are the unfortunate peasants who have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and have been conscripted.

The Curaidh are some sort of individual sociopath, a warlord-lite warrior guy in rules terms, who runs around on his own causing trouble. A sort of  nod to the Irish champion sort of thing, I suppose.

I have 3 of them painted here, but I recall only using two, so I have a spare. They are the chaps on horses. They each replace a hearth guard from the 8 I have pained above, so more over production. My enthusiasm will be the end of me.

In front of them, (most likely being driven into battle) we have the unfortunate Kerns (levies) shown by not having shields, and generally being a motley assortment of whatever guys I had left over.

Leading the lot (at least for presentation purposes, in any game I played the lead from the very rear) is the warlord, complete with piper. Yes, again, I have no idea if Dark ages Irish had bagpipes. I liked the figure; I like the warlord figure also. Canine contingent

Finally, we have the bunch the RSPCA are going to get soggy and hard to light about; the dogs, complete with wagon full of kibble.

Honestly I have no idea if the Irish used packs of dogs in battle. Nice idea though, so here are the pooches, with Igor, their kennel master (yes, Igor is not an Irish name. But the guy looks like an Igor, so Igor he is). They get to move around really fast, if I recall, and die a lot. Painted in grey, as proper wolfhounds, of course, except for the one brindle one, which is a homage to our own pooch, a mastiff/Irish wolfhound mix, who the local lot know well and would be completely useless in any sort of fight  because she would be too busy greeting the nice men with licks and a wagging tail to actually bite anyone. I tried to remember who was the vendor for these figures, but it completely escapes me. Google should be your friend, there cannot be too many people selling 28mm packs of war dogs.

So there we go, an Irish war band. I have had them painted for a while, but Saga seems to have died down a little locally in the face of the ongoing Longstreet campaign; I do hope to use them sooner or later though.



  1. Pingback: The Irish SAGA continues | Tales of cunning (losing) plans for gaming
  2. Ann Philipoom

    My name is Ann and I live in the Netherlands. Can you please tell me how and where I can buy such a wonderful pack of wolfhounds? My husband and I collect anything and everything wolfhound related and this would make him a nice gift.

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