Grow your Gnome: Saga Age of Magic

In my last post about the gnomes and night folk from Northumbrian Tin Soldier I talked about their adventures in Frostgrave. However, the collection has grown significantly and there is another bunch of models on the painting table. These characterful sculpts have absolutely captured my imagination and I really want to see them on the table more often, so when a friend suggested giving Saga Age of Magic a try I jumped at the chance.

What is Saga Age of Magic?

Saga is a skirmish game that uses forces of up to about 50 models. There is a core Saga rulebook that deals with the main mechanics (how to move, how to fight, etc.) and then additional books that provide the rules for armies from various settings. There are historical books covering the ancients to the crusades and then there is the fantasy rule set, Age of Magic.

At first glance what really stood out to me is how the factions are structured. Thought has clearly gone into how the system can provide options to field pretty much any fantasy army from any range without creating hundreds of different unit entries. There are six factions which all loosely align to fantasy factions we know and love:

The Great Kingdoms – think knights, griffons, high elves, gnome paladins on toads

The Lords of the Wild – think woods elves, tree people, centaurs

The Horde – think orcs, barbarians, marauders

Masters of the Underearth – think dwarfs, rat people, goblins

The Undead Legions – think we all know what this one is about

The Otherworld – think demons and angels

Each faction then has about 10 different unit options and some legendary units to give some extra flavour, which for me is what fantasy wargames are all about.

After giving the army options some thought I decided my gnomes would be best represented by The Great Kingdoms. Primarily this was because I liked the idea of my toad riders as paladins on winged mounts (who needs a Pegasus?)

How does it play?

The first two games have been great fun. Saga’s mechanics are very different from anything I’ve played before. The game uses an activation approach whereby units generate dice which are then used to activate troops and unlock special abilities. The special abilities vary between factions and reflect the way they fight.

This creates an interesting resource management challenge which impacts every aspect of the game. How you structure your army impacts the number of dice you get, and the number of dice impacts what units can do. It’s the first game I’ve played where its highly unlikely all your units get to do something every turn.

Add to that a fatigue mechanic that can have a massive impact on combat and you have a really interesting and engaging game. All in all, I’m really excited about adding this game to my “will play regularly” list and already eyeing up the adjustments I need to make to my army to have a Masters of the Underearth army option as well.

Introducing the Gnomes of The Great Kingdoms (an 8 point saga force)

Warlord and The Conclave
Gnome Berserkers and Fairy Hunters (2 points of hearthguard)
The Iron Expedition and Sir Grimbold (1 point of warriors and paladin on winged mount)
The Golden Guard and Lord Awegust (1 point of warriors and paladin on winged mount)

Published by Eddie Bar

Fantasy storyteller, reader and wargamer.

3 thoughts on “Grow your Gnome: Saga Age of Magic

  1. Brilliant looking models. I recently got the SAGA Age of Magic rules and want to try them as well. I’ve played the traditional dark ages version a number of times (Vikings, Saxons, etc) and it’s a lot of fun. Tremendous mid-weight wargame with very engaging mechanics via the battle boards. Hope your Gnomes kick ass!


    1. Thanks, they are really fun and I’m hoping to add a couple of bits to give me the option of fielding them as Lords of the Underearth to give more options. I have to admit I’m hoping to use this as a push to go the other way and get some historical minis painted to play Age of Vikings or Crusades.


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