Follow up report:
Played the uber-tournament at GW on Saturday. List was:
Lvl 4 Prophetess (Life), Barded warhorse, Silver Mirror, Crown of Command
General: Lord,Gromril Helm, Holy Icon, Mantle of Damsel Elena, Shrieking Blade, Bwarhorse, shield, Questing Vow
Heroes (696): BSB: Paladin, enchanted shield, Relic Sword, Bwarhorse Virtue of Duty, Grail Vow
Paladin, Virtue of Confidence, Gauntlet of the Duel, Gold Sigil Sword, Bwarhorse, Questing Vow, Shield
Damsel Lvl 1 (beasts),warhorse, Dispell Scroll
Damsel Lvl 2 (beasts), Chalice of Malfleur
Paladin, Virtue of Heroism, Dragonhelm, Grail Vow, shield, lance, Royal Pegasus
12 Knights Errant, musician, standard, Lichebone pennent
11 KotR, musician, standard
20 Peasant Bowmen, musician, standard, braziers
20 Peasant Bowmen, musician, standard, braziers
16 Peasant Bowmen, musician, standard, braziers , skirmish
4 Pegasus Knights, musician
10 Questing Knights, musician, standard bearer, banner of swiftness
7 Grail Knights, musician, standard bearer
Trebuchet w. Yeoman Craftsman
Tournament started at 10:30, finished at 6:30. In that time, we fit in three BIG games comfortably, with plenty of time between for breaks, lunch, filling out game reports, taking on / putting off fluids, etc. The new version plays very smoothly.
The first game I played was against a veteran O&G player, in the meeting engagement scenario. This one is a diagonal deployment, with the two zones only 12" apart. It escalates very quickly to combat, with little time to manouvre, and equires the first dployer (me in this case) to deploy their entire army. This, I'm finding, is a bad thing for Bretonnians, where being able to pick the terms of combat is critical to success. I gave up a solid loss. As it happens, my opponent won prettiest army, primarily on the strength of the terrain peice he brought (as the entrance fee to the tourney). Fantastic job on his "Waaaghsteraunt - that's it in the background, but you'd need closeups to do it justice. Crazy amount of detail went into it - my fav was the snotling picking shrooms in the mushroom patch.
Second game was a minor loss to Dark Elves, which would have been a draw, except I misunderstood the secondary objectives for my side. It was the dawn attack scenario, which has a randomised deployment. I again deployed first, and again struggled with trying to control my army as well as I needed. Probably my most fun game of the day, against a fantastic opponent who went on to win favorite overall opponent. He got my vote. Visual highlights included his massive (60 strong) unit of spearmen, which take advantage of both the Horde rule in the new game, and the inherent rules for elves and spears, which meant most of his unit got to fight. One of the cooler exploits of a high-point game I saw. You an see it here, just as it was about to crash into my peasant bowmen - saved by the bell on that one. The knight unit in the picture was already gone.
Here you can see the situation on my right - the two hydras at the back had been killed, and my remaining knight lances were about to sweep across the table. It was actually a game where we both would have liked to see another turn or two, as things were very much still in the balance.
Last game, I massacred a high elf army in the Blood and Glory scenario. This one involves hunting banners (1 point each) and generals (2 points). I brought my opponent down to four points, while keeping a margin of nine, and met my secondary objective of keeping my general alive, while denying his (taking a banner). Bretonnian rules helped me here, as while he took a peasant banner, dirty peasants don't count. I think I played well this game, kept the scenario objectives in mind, and since I had more control over deployment, was able to plan, coordinate, and execute combined unit strikes with my knights. Which, when done well, hit like a train. Below you can see some lances about to shake off a unit of bowmen, and then finish off the units in the background, before swinging around to hit the spear unit in the right of the picture. That evenually was smashed by a combo of four lances.
1) Brets are fantastic at focused violence - high armour and toughness aren't a huge issue. Where I struggled was against big units with lots of attacks. My O&G opponent just had too many blocks of high attack producing orcs on the table, and because we deployed so close due to scenario, I couldn't use my mobility to avoid / concentrate (which I did in the third game). Same problem against my second opponent, and his 60-odd, cauldron-buffed spear horde. Ordinarily I would drop rocks on it, but he was threatening with enough other killy stuff that I didn't have the option. I'm going to need to figure out how to deal with a threat saturating opponent.
2) Magic. I love it. I love the lore of life. I really love regrowth with Throne of Vines up, which allows me to reliably regenerate 2-3 knights. However, unlike every damn opponent I played, I don't seem to have access to multiple use items that grant power dice, extra spells, dispell bonuses, and general magic buffery. This means I only seem to get spells off on turns where a) I roll a crapload of power dice, and b), I generate a "boom" spell for my prophetess (like Dwellers Below, which can gut an entire unit), which prompts opponents to hold on to dice in order to dispell. I just don't have the tools to shut down opposing casting, or to force through my own. This makes me sad.
3) Trebuchet. God I love this thing. Hands-down MVP. Nuked at least two units per game, except in the second, where it was blade-winded to death in the first turn. Apparantly, my opponent was familiar with what they could do. Don't much care for this spell. Going to have to pick up another trebuchet soon.
4) Items that grant extra mobility - charge dice, movement, pursuit dice, are key for Brets. While our armour does give us lots of durability, it only takes one turn of bad dice (4 out of 6 ones on questing knights one turn - ouch!) to gut a unit. Widespread use of lances means we need the charge (one of the few armies in this edition for whom getting the charge remains critical), and if we do break the opposing unit, we must destroy in pursuit. Anything that mitigates the chance element here is huge.
5) Deployment is huge for Brets. There are things out there that I just haven't found the tools to deal with; see point one. I don't even know if we have the tools to deal with them. Other than trebs, how do we handle spammed high units with a high number of attacks? Winning for Brets seems to depend on being able to avoid those threats, and concentrate on ganking everything else in their army - to whit, my third game, where my opponent's swordmasters and white lions only saw combat with a unit of bowmen, while my treb and knights ganged up two or three to one against pheonix guard, spearmen, and bowmen. Scenarios where I have to put down my entire army first (first two games) are bad for Brets - if gives my opponent too much control over how the fight proceeds. Not sure what to do about this. Ordinarily, I'd look to use a tarpit unit (such as a deep Men at Arms unit or Grail Relique), but unless I can get that tarpit where it needs to go, it's a waste. I might try running some small units of mounted peasants. They're the cheapest option I have for quick speedbumps.
Overall, I had a really good time. Three good opponents, three fun games, learned lots, and improved each game. Looking forward to plenty more.
Last thing is a set of progress shots on the Brets. Some new knights to show.