There's two interesting new skirmish rulesets out (or on the verge of coming out) set in the Dark Ages: SAGA by Studio Tomahawk/Gripping Beast and Dux Brittaniarum by Two Fat Lardies. SAGA is set in the later period around 1,000 AD while Dux is set in the age of Arthur around 500 AD.
Anyone who's ever played Avalon Hill's classic boardgame Britannia can probably understand the fascination of this period. Not only was Britain invaded by consecutive waves of invaders, there's also an epic quality to these small bands of adventurers carving out their kingdoms on foreign shores: Hengest & Orsa, Swein Forkbeard, Harald Hardrada and of course William.
On the opposing side are always the desperate invaders-turned-incumbents like Arthur, Offa, Alfred and Harold Godwinson. Their tragic fates lend a melancholy quality to the age.
You can also understand I was immediately taken in by the prospect of playing scenario based skirmishes with a limited number of miniatures rather than sizeable armies that would take ages to collect and paint.
I've ordered a German/Anglo-Saxon starter armer of 44 figures from Gripping Beast for Dux, and a first bunch of 40 plastic Vikings for SAGA. The miniatures are fine, and very good value for money as far as I'm concerned. I liked the Germanic sculpts better than the other Arthurian factions I think are interesting, like the Picts and Scots. Vikings are just the coolest miniatures around for SAGA.
Now, knowing my time restraints, I intend to have them painted rather than take that on myself. This is a big decision, but I think the right one. Time is shorter than money, so I need to outsource and focus on what I do best, which is reading.
This means I have a bunch of books stacked up, and as you could see in my previous post, it is still growing. There's a few Ospreys, to get me running, like the Anglo-Saxon Thegn, Vikings, Arthurian Fortresses etc. There's also a few books with interesting articles on Dark Age warfare and finally a few broader monographs on the Age of Migrations and the Anglo-Saxons. Most of the latter cover both the Arthurian and the Viking period, so that's efficient information collection, eh?
I hope to put on a first few reviews shortly.