The Fighting Uruk-Hai

I'm a little annoyed with myself for going down this rabbit hole. It has taken up three painting days and I've got nothing else done on the projects that I really need to get cracking on, like support platoons for my US rifles I intend to use in WWPD's Operation Overlord global campaign.

Having said that, I'm pretty jazzed about playing my Uruk-hai in a game of Saga. I've got 5 points done, and I need to work on a point of Uruk pikemen for my last one. In the end I'll have four points of Uruk fighters (Hearthguard) and two points of Uruk pikemen (Warriors). If  time and budget allow I'll add some berserkers, siege engines and Uruk sappers, and crossbowmen. For now, I'm happy with a simple mix of spears and swords.  

My army is one based on the siege of Helm's Deep. I have, in my mind, four distinct Isengard "armies" each with a distinct type of play. These armies are Trackers (Lurtz, UglĂșk & friends), Warg Riders (Sharku, etc), Uruk Raiders (burning the Westfold with their wildmen allies), and the Army of Orthanc (the Uruk field army at Helm's Deep). Of course you can probably include a 'home army' of goblins, orcs, and traitor men as well.

Of these armies, I'm the biggest fan of the Helm's Deep besiegers. The scenes were pretty awesome in the movie, and when I was playing LotR:TCG, it was one of my favorite decks to play; full of berserkers, siege engines, and angry Uruks.

So, how does one play Uruks in Saga? Well, there are several ways. The most simple is to use the Viking battleboard and army list. It's got everything from making your Uruks tireless to raging Berserkers. It seems to fit well in my mind conceptually as a representation of the Uruk-hai.

The second way is also relatively easy thanks to fellow blogger Xelee's hard work in bringing together some fine LotR-related battleboards (visit his blog here...). He has done a fantastic job putting together a few battleboards for his local group. I found them on the StudioTomahawk Laboratory forum and this is what got me thinking about LotR Saga in the first place. Xelee's battleboard is an excellent example and if you are looking for a battleboard representing Isengard as a whole, look no further. However, for my purposes I want to have a more nuanced battleboard tailored to the Army of Orthanc.

So, to that end I've created a new battleboard specifically for the Army of Orthanc by blending the normal Viking battleboard with a few new LotR abilities. I hope to have some playtests with it soon, but if you happen to have some feedback, please drop it in the comments below so I can improve it! Especially the Berserker rules... I might have gone a little off the rails there! :)

Thanks for reading!

Even now I can smell the sweet scent of the smoldering Westfold on the wind!

The Factions: The Army of Orthanc

Leading the thousands of Uruk-hai warbands at the Battle of Helm's Deep were the Captains of Orthanc. These fierce warriors lead your warband. The Captains are supported by loyal Lieutenants who are among the most able and tireless warriors of Isengard. These are your Hearthguard. The nameless rank and file of the Army of Orthanc is the Uruk-hai. They are the core of your army and make up the Warriors of your warband. Serving the army are the denizens of orc and human traitors. The Uruk-hai recognize them as weak and inferior, but they have their purposes. These are the Levies of your army.

Faction Rules

Pikes: Some Uruk-hai may be armed with pikes. They are subject to the following rules:
- When engaged in melee, a unit equipped with pikes do not use shields and so suffer a 1- Penalty to its Armour value in both Melee and Shooting.
- In order to engage a unit armed with pikes, mounted units must immediately take a Fatigue.

Uruk-hai Hearthguard may be armed with pikes. If so armed they are considered to be armed with pikes at all times, so the benefits and draw-backs above apply all of the time.

Berserkers: One unit of Uruk-hai Hearthguard of exactly 4 models may be designated as Uruk-hai Berserkers armed with great swords. Uruk-hai Berserkers gain two additional Attack Die for each Fatigue token on both its target unit and on itself in Step 4 of Melee combat (note: this is after Fatigue is spent for this melee). However, due to the lack of protection, Berserkers have their Armour rating reduced to 3. Finally, an Uruk-hai Berserker completely ignores the effects of being Exhausted.

Uruk-hai Warriors may be armed with crossbows or pikes.

Orthanc Levies may be armed with bows.

The Army of Orthanc
Lieutenants of Orthanc
Dice: Any
Discard any die to activate a unit of Hearthguard or a Warlord.
Black Shapes Crawling
Dice: 6
Discard a FATIGUE from your Warlord and from all units within M of him.
Still They Came
Dice: 4 or 5
At the end of the melee, before any FATIGUE is added or any unit disengages, immediately resolve another melee with the surviving figures.
Uruk Warriors
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 or 6
Discard any die to activate a unit of Warriors.
You Do Not Know Pain
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 4 or 5
Whenever a Uruk-hai Berserker is to take a wound during Shooting, that Berserker unit immediately gains a FATIGUE instead.
You Do Not Know Fear
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 1 or 2 or 3
Your Opponent cannot spend FATIGUE on your Uruk-hai units during this Melee.
Servants of the White Hand
Dice: 4 or 5 or 6
Discard any die to activate a unit of Levies.
No Dawn for Men
Dice: Any
Gain 3 Attack Dice (4 if the die discarded was a 6).
Reduce your unit's Armour by one.
Beyond All Hope
Dice: 6 PLUS 4 or 5
Immediately remove from the game one enemy unit of Warriors or Levies with 3 models or less.
Activation Pool
Dice: 6
Discard this die to roll two extra SAGA dice.
Ranks Without Number
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3 PLUS 4 or 5
Gain one Armour against this enemy Melee activation. 
Cloud of Arrows
Dice: 4 or 5 or 6
Re-roll any Attack Dice that failed to hit the target.
Attack Pool
Dice: any
Discard one die to gain one Attack Die (two Attack Die if the discarded die was a 6)
Broad Swords and Thick Armour
Dice: 1 or 2 or 3
Gain one Armour against this enemy Shooting activation.
Devilry of Orthanc
Dice: 6 PLUS 6
Select one of your Uruk-hai Berserkers. All non-warlord units (including Friendly ones) within M of the Berserker immediately take 5 hits. Then remove the Berserker from the game.


  1. Jeez, I started assembling my Ro-Normans 6 months ago and in 3 days you already have 5 points painted... :)

  2. They are looking lovely!

  3. This is a very interesting concept, I've been thinking about SAGA a lot lately and it seems that the system allows for a lot of alternative periods or universes to be played. Now my mind is racing with thoughts of SAGA: Westeros.

  4. Fascinating! I love what you've done here!

  5. Awesome. You even went to the trouble of making a battleboard. You are really getting into this project.

  6. Dang. Something else to distract me! Well done... ;-)

  7. As a result, the Fifth World Fighting Tournament ensues. I must admit the plot in the game is convoluted. Taruhan Online


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