Ah, tale as old as time…

…some Frenchmen and some Germans met on a field and battered each other until almost everyone was dead. Even if these were Figurative Frenchmen and Figurative Germans – in Warhammer parlance, Bretonnians and Empire – it seemed a bit familiar. I long for the days of playing Tau when I had plenty of time to jot down notes in between moving four Devilfish around the board, but this is what I remember.

We started off with a mere 750pt skirmish, but our armies showed their flavour even at such low point levels.

Rolland’s force was a whole bunch of Very Important People and a whole bunch of Filthy Peasants. For the actual names of all of these people, you’ll have to ask him. He had:
-1 Knight-Commander who was kind of a badass.
-A unit of 12 or 15 knights. Really, they weren’t a unit, they were a procession: the Bretonnians have a special formation that allows everyone on the side of a unit to attack, so you can have a thin column making not-much-actual contact, but still powering through enemies.
-1 Magic user, who has something to do with the Lady of The Lake, the patron deity of Bretonnia.
-1 unit of Archers, taking a well earned rest from back-breaking turdfarming to die on the end of some kraut’s spear.
-1 unit of Men-at-arms, come to defend to the death the right of the ruling class to sleep with their virgin daughters.

My force consisted of:
-1 Captain of the Empire on horse; yelling, naturally.
-5 Knights; a mere five, representing the shrinking upper classes in our post-feudal burgeoning capitalist society.
20 Handgunners, wielding the fruits of a market spurred by innovation and learning, unburdened by such antiquated notions as chivalry and honour.
1 Great Cannon, ditto that last description, but taken to assholish extremes.
20 Armoured Spearmen; the emergent bourgouisie, rich enough to buy their own gear, not rich enough to buy their way out of fighting.
1 Priestess of Sigmar, because watery tarts distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Frank Frazetta-inspired barbarian kings handing out blacksmithing tools, obviously, is the way to go.

We rolled a Meeting Engagement, and both his peasant Archers and my Spearmen were off as Reserves. Through some mystickish power, Bretonnians can insist that their opponent goes first, which is what they did.

Fine, I didn’t bring a Great Cannon to defend. I shot at his horses with cannon and muskets and didn’t kill too many. I really should have given myself more space… More importantly, my Priestess conferred the Unbreakable quality to my unit of handgunners.
In response, the knights lined up to charge into the musket unit next turn. We started a long streak of my Priestess effectively shutting down Rolland’s magic too, which is really what Sigmarites are best at.

After that initial posturing, Rolland’s Knights poured into the handgunners, who despite being mauled wouldn’t run. The Priestess did some great things, slowing the otherwise powerful knights until my own slow, badly managed cavalry could line themselves up to counter-charge. The Bretonnian champion slaughtered the Great Cannon crew and the Priestess and gunners eventually fell to the knights.

My Knights eventually struck back at the Bretonnian cavalry, chasing them down and my unit of Spearmen put the Champion to flight, chased him across the board and ran into the Bretonnian Archers who they similarly chased off. The Champion rallied, however and powered into the unit of Imperial Knights, killing those that survived the scuffle with the Cavalry column.

At the end of the 6th turn, the Imperial Spearmen were the remaining Empire unit on the board, trying to chase the fleeing Mage/Lady while the Bretonnian Knight was wheeling his horse around the part of the battleground strewn with corpses. Even though the Spearmen were still a large unit, in terms of points, Bretonnia had more left on the table. As I said, these were Very Important People. I didn’t even get points for taking the peasant’s standard because it is as worthless as the turdfarmers who died defending it. Bretonnia claimed the day.

I was impressed by my Priestess and by the importance of Standards and ranks when figuring out who won a combat. Some of the Bretonnian magic stuff is crazy good and there is something to be said for an army with such a large number of 2+ saves.

We did a lot of stuff wrong; I was nerfing my Cannon by not doing the multiple wounds right (those hit are apparently blown into very dangerous bits that go on to damage other people) and I messed up how magic was done (it really is a weird phase). I’m fairly certain we weren’t moving existing combats correctly either – there must be a pile-in equivalent. Hopefully we’ll get the hang of it – our next plan is for 850pts.

Revenge is a dish best served with far too much lukewarm pickled cabbage.