In the second of my Riotville games I ended up facing Lee’s Bretonnians. I was exceptionally pleased by this, as not only had I been admiring his army on Riotvolle’s blog a few days earlier but it was the first time I’d played Bretonnians in 8th ed!
As with the previous game, I made very limited notes and missed some photos, so the write up is going on memory so it won’t be entirely accurate/has a dose of poetic licence.
Although I’ve listed it in the previous two posts, I’ve again copied the army taken for pick up readers.
The Herd of Bashor the Bloody
Bashor (General) – Beastlord – The Brass Cleaver, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation, Potion of Strength, Heavy Armour, Razorgor Chariot – 396pts
Zhurock the Mighty (BSB) – Wargor – Heavy Armour, Shield, Gnarled Hide, Beast Banner – 206pts
Wazzock the Lame – Bray Shaman, Level 2 Lore of Beasts, Dispel Scroll, Additional hand weapon – 142pts
38 Gor – FC, Additional hand weapon – 329pts
Tuskgor Chariot – 80pts
Tuskgor Chariot – 80pts
30 Bestigor – FC, Banner of Eternal Flame – 400pts
5 Harpies – 55pts
Razorgor – 55pts
Razorgor – 55pts
Total – 1798pts
I’ve given a rough idea of Lee’s list below. I didn’t have a copy of his list it so this is going from memory of items that popped up during the game. The units should be correct (I’ve guessing command options on some). The items are more or less correct but maybe not exactly on the characters stated, as, in the case of the lord, he couldn’t have all these items equipped as he would have been over the magic points limit. I’m also aware that the list is a chunk under 1800 points so I’ve obviously missed a few bits (perhaps banners).
Lord (General) – Armour of Agilulf, Talisman of Preservation, Crown of Command, Lance – 242pts
The Green Knight – 275pts
Damsel – Level 2 (Beasts), Warhorse, Dispel Scroll (?) – 144pts
Paladin (BSB) – Virtue of Duty – 104pts
10 Knights of the Realm – 264pts
20 Men at Arms – Full Command – 238pts
10 Peasant Bowmen – Braziers – 65pts
5 Mounted Yeomen – Musician – Light Armour, Shields – 97pts
8 Grail Knights – Standard, Musician – 334pts
1 Trebuchet – 90pts
The one thing that I will say about Lee’s knights is he was fielding them in standard ‘Empire’ formation, that is to say not in the ‘Lance’ (6*2 for the KotR and 4*2 for the Grail) and had been using this in all his games. We had a big discussion, together with Luke B, on the virtues of the Lance and why he should be using it. Despite this (and perhaps due to the unit trays he had) he still went with the wide formation for the game. However I think he will use the lance going forward and the difference (especially with the increase in Grail Knights attacks from doing so) may come as a nasty surprise to his opponents.
We were both rocking level 2 Beast mages and both rolled Transformation but both discarded it.
The Damsel ended up with Curse + Wyssans
Wazzock had Savage Beast and Wyssans
The scenario was the dreaded Watch Tower
This was the same as the previous game but with a tower dead centre for the scenario.
Learning from the mistakes of the previous game and knowing all that really mattered was the watchtower, there was no subtlety in my deployment, I started with my two big units, front and centre with enough space in between for Bashor and then everything else went at the ends.
I actually won control of the watchtower but as I didn’t have any units of 20 models or less, I didn’t put anyone into it. Winning control of the tower automatically gave Lee first go, but as he was praying, we diced off and Lee won the first go.
Turn 1 – Bretonnians
The Bret lines moved up cautiously with the knights ensuring they were well out of any charge range of the beasts. The exception was the men at arms, who marched at full speed for the safety of the tower, comforted by the presence of their betters on either side.
The Damsel kicked off the magic phase by casting curse on the large unit of Gor.
The incompetent peasants manning the Trebuchet hadn’t listened to the maker’s instructions and managed to misfire it so it was unable to fire this turn.
Turn 1 – Beastmen
Both Razorgor were ordered forward to block the impending charges of the two knight buses. The Bestigor and Gor units moved up in preparation to counter charge, the latter disdainfully ignoring the curse placed upon them. 9 Casualties later and a wound on Wazzock made them re-evaluate whether this was a wise decision! Bashor and one of the Chariots, also moved up in support.
The harpies also advanced to threaten the mounted peasants and one of the chariots positioned itself to counter any threat to them.
Deciding to not risk his remaining wound, Wazzock didn’t cast anything.
Turn 2 – Bretonnians
The KoTR smashed into the Razorgor in front of them, ripping it apart in short order. Digging in their spurs to overrun into the horde of Gor, the mounts bulked at the idea, shying away after they caught the rancid scent of the foul beasts.
The Grail Knights likewise made short work of the mutated boar blocking their path but their battle hardened mounts were used to all manner of foe and didn’t stop, slamming straight into the great weapon wielding beasts.
The Green knight burst forth from the rock backing onto the house and lined himself up to join the main combat.
The Men at arms sighed with relief as they ran into the tower and started to bar the doors and windows to try and avoid as much of the fighting as possible.
The Damsel again cast Curse onto the Gor but this time rocked unsteadily in her saddle as the detonation from the miscast, wounded her in the process.
The bird women shrieked with rage as they lost one of their number to the yeomen’s bow fire.
The Peasants finally worked out how to fire the Trebuchet but being both illiterate and innumerate they were unable to calculate how to hit anything and it was by sheer chance that their shot clipped the corner of the Gor.
Turn 2 – Beastmen
Again ignoring the curse that had been cast on them, the Gor charged into the knights. This time they only lost 3 of their number to dangerous terrain, though one of these was poor Wazzock, who managed to snag his leg in a rabbit hole, fell over and snapped his neck.
Bashor and a Tuskgor chariots also charged into the flanks of the knights to support the fight and despite swilling his potion of strength, the lady smiled on the Knights and they lost just two of their number. In return, half a rank of the Gor were killed.
Still enraged that they had lost one of their number to cowardly bow fire, the Harpies charged at the Yeomen. The mounted peasants proved a much tougher foe that they anticipated (the lady was watching them) and they only slew one of the humans for the loss of 2 of their number.
The unengaged chariot wheeled round to cause the Green Knight problems in later turns.
The lady was definitely watching over her chosen champions and the Bestigor only cut down 1 of the knights for the loss of 4 of them. They took comfort in weight of their superior numbers, confident that the mounted humans would fall shortly.
Turn 3 – Bretonnians
With their charge advantage gone, the Grail knights only managed to kill 2 of the elite beasts but took equal deaths in return.
In the skirmish between the Yeomen and Harpies, the mounted peasants gained the upper hand as they slew another harpy and the last one fled, convinced that a vengeful lady was after her, only to be run down.
In the main event, the Green knight charged the rear of the Gor and between him and the Knight Bus, only a few Gor were slain, though the number of attacks the Gor were putting out, started to make their mark and two of the knights succumbed to the mass attacks.
The damsel, not liking the chariot poised to attack the green knight, once again cast Curse of Anraheir. For the second time she miscast and this time she was unable to escape the magical feedback that ended her life. Both armies were now bereft of magical support!
Once again the Trebuchet misfired and wouldn’t be able to shoot for this turn and the next as the down heartened peasants cleared the mechanism of the serf that had been caught in it.
Turn 3 – Beastmen
The combat between the army’s elite units continued with the Bestigor losing another 3 of their number in exchange for one Grail knight.
The other combat went horribly array for the Beastmen, with the knights of the realm (complete with the General, BSB and the Green Knight) going to town on the Gor, whilst in return saving almost everything thrown back at them (the general took a wound and just one knight was killed). It was too much for the Beastmen and they all fled. The Knights decided to chase down Bashor and once again he was bought down from behind. The Gor and Chariot both escaped but the now much reduced unit, was perilously close to the edge of the battlefield with the Green knight breathing down their neck.
Turn 4 – Bretonnians
The Green Knight finished what had been started the previous turn and charged the already fleeing Gor and that routed them off the table.
With the main enemy combat block gone, the General’s unit reformed to move round the building to help out the Grail Knight Combat. Things were looking grim for the remaining Beastmen forces.
The Yeomen charged the rear of the chariot that had previously been cursed. Although both sides failed to do any damage, being charged in the rear was too much for the chariot and it fled but the ‘wannabe’ knights failed to catch it.
Aware of the other Knight unit lining up to flank them, the remaining Bestigor got their act together and went to town on the last of the Grail Knights. The lady chose this moment to take her eye off them and the remaining champions were hewn apart. The elite beasts reformed to either charge the Bretonnian General and the KoTR unit or the Men at Arms in the tower.
Turn 4 – Beastmen
One of the chariots charged into the Green Knight and the other one rallied.
(Edit: The photo show one of the chariots charging the Green Knight. Either this charge occurred when it shouldn’t have done as both chariots should have rallied or it happened in turn 5. I’m guessing the later and the mistake is just in this report and due to the fact that I had forgotten to take many photos to accurately record it. As I had already made the Diagram Maps before I noticed it, I’ve left it in this report as the chariot had charged when it shouldn’t have done).
With no sign of indecision, the Bestigor charged into the KoTR. Without the benefit of their lances the Knights were only able to take down a few of the beasts but the lady’s blessing held strong and the great weapons failed to cause any damage.
Turn 5 – Bretonnians
The Yeomen move up ready to support when they felt they could offer an advantage without risking themselves.
The Green Knight finally beats the chariot and promptly runs it down.
The Knights of the Realm were up against much tougher opposition than they had previously faced and even the lady was unable to prevent two of their number being cut down. Under the General’s steely gaze the knights held their ground.
Turn 5 – Beastmen
With their blood up, the Bestigor lost control and flew into a frenzy. Sensing the impending massacre the remaining chariot smashed into the flank of the Knights. Between they cut down the remaining knights and the BSB and left the General alive on a single wound. Once again the Crown ensured that he did not run.
Turn 6 – Bretonnians
Seeing their liege in trouble, the Yeomen ‘bravely’ charge into the rear of the Chariot to save the beleaguered lord. The peasants are completely outclassed and are all slain as is their master, who was unable to defend himself against the wave of savage attacks. With no one else in sight, the blood drunk beasts turned their attention to the men they scented, hidden in the tower.
Turn 6 – Beastmen
In the final move of the game, the frenzied bestigor assaulted the tower. They crashed through the door and hunted down the garrisoned men, slaying 16 of the men is short order. The final 4 had holed up on the roof and blocked the trapdoor preventing the beasts getting to them, thus holding the tower and winning the game!
(Holding the tower, meant the men at arms gained Stubborn and so, although they took a pasting, they only had to roll under their pitiful leadership of 5 to hold both their nerve and maintain control of the tower annnnnnd you guessed it, with a 3 the lowly peasants saved the day for Bretonnia!).
Post Battle thoughts
Well, this was by far and away the most enjoyable game of Watch tower I’ve ever played. Coming down to the wire and it being the peasants who managed to hold on, was just too funny and a great way to end what had been a fantastic game. Having a crowd of other players round the table to witness it and get caught up in the tension of the roll, was the icing on the cake.
Overall I was happy in the way I played and definitely in how I deployed. The more I play them, the more I think you have to just ensure all your units are laid down with almost a disregard to your opponent, especially in a scenario such as this. The BSB and General bubbles are just too important to faff around with Chaff first, especially if their placement might impeded these auras.
So what would I have done differently? Well, I’m not sure I needed to move the Gor in my first turn after Curse had been cast. Losing 25% of the unit to dangerous terrain was a serious blow and meant that they lost steadfast too quickly. In fairness it probably averaged out with the second turn move where I only lost a couple of them. It was also sods law that I lost my shaman from the dangerous terrain tests. It just shows why I rate Curse of Anraheir as one of the best spells in the game. Not only can it impact your movement and punish opponents if they ignore it but the -1 to hit modifier it also imposes is excellent.
With only magical attacks able to affect the Green Knight, I should have ignored him with the chariot and kept it focused on supporting the harpies. However I forgot that rule about him and who knew Lee would roll so hot with the Yeomen saves and that the harpies would be so poor on their attacks. I still think that statistically they should have cleaned up the mounted peasants (though when has any player rolled statistically correctly lol).
The one thing that didn’t come across in this report was the number of saves that Lee was making. In particular the ward saves from the blessing of the lady. I’ve never seen the like, it truly was something else. The Grail Knights really were favoured by the lady all game and the Knights of the Realm only fell apart when the Bestigor gained Frenzy.
I should have also of targeted as many attacks as possible into his general at all times, as the Crown of Command kept making a huge difference when he failed combat.
So that was my final game of a thoroughly enjoyable day. I really can’t recommend attending Riotville enough. As I said before, it isn’t a competition but just an excuse to roll some dice with some likeminded 8th edition fans and who here doesn’t like that kind of action.