Monday, September 23, 2013

Focus On ... The Bretons ride out and Shoot!

Sometimes it's as though the supplements for the Saga wargame were released so quickly that it seems as if the player has jumped from those in the rulebook to those in "The Raven's Shadow" or "Varjazi & Basileus" very quickly. It's time to backtrack and take a look at the Bretons from the earlier release "Northern Fury".

Perry Unarmoured Spearmen Advancing / Attacking

The Bretons were descended from a group of peoples that fled England when the Angles and Jutes invaded. They fought hard for their land into the 10th Century. Along the way they faced Normans, Vikings, Franks, Carolingians and the Saxons. They used tactics inherited from their British ancestors.

Saga takes its inspiration for the Breton battleboard from the fact that the force represents one that uses hit and run tactics with lots of Javelins. Unlike the Welsh, who are primarily an infantry skirmish force, the Breton battleboard has been written very much with a strong accent on mounted troops with deadly missile delivery from those javelins. Melee is catered for by being avoidable to some extent.

The Breton Warlord and Hearthguard (Machtierns) are mounted with Javelins. The warriors (Soldiers) may be mounted and if so are armed with Javelins. The Levies (Skirmishers) also have Javelins. The mounted troops suffer an extra -1 to their armour in melee as they are primarily a skirmish force.

Crusader Miniatures unarmoured Norman Cavalry


Note: the Bretons Combat Pool can only use dice in shooting or shooting/reaction.

In All Directions: costs two uncommon dice. Acts as an Orders/Reaction to your enemies orders phase. All of your mounted units that are not within VS of an enemy unit can be activated for a movement (not to get too close to the enemy though!) before the enemy completes their Orders. Useful for reorganising out of the normal turn sequence.

Backward!: costs one uncommon or rare die. This ability allows a mounted unit in combat to disengage from combat before that melee is resolved. Brave 'Sir Robin' indeed....

The following are shooting abilities....

Strong Rain: for the cost of either an uncommon or rare die plus one of the enemies fatigue tokens you can reduce the target unit's armour by one. Useful indeed!

Saint Kado: costs a rare die. The target unit takes one fatigue for every two models you just shot and killed.

Lady Mary: for the cost of two common dice, the target unit does not benefit from any cover and the save is on a 5+ not a 4+.

Attack!: costs one uncommon die or one rare die to gain 3 shooting attack dice or one rare die to gain 4 shooting attack dice.

Brittany Forever: costs one rare or uncommon die. Allows you to re-roll any shooting Attack dice that rolled a 1 or 2.

The Shadow of Death: discard one die of any kind. You give up half of your shooting attack dice in return for the enemy unit losing 2 points of armour. Ouch! Combined with other shooting abilities you can really damage an opponent.

The Devil's Dance: discard one uncommon or rare die. Any enemy shooting is forced to discard their To Hit rolls of 5 or 6 (after any possible re-rolls).

Fight!: costs one rare and one uncommon dice. Although this is a melee ability it is actually an interrupt. One of your units in this fight immediately makes a shooting attempt at one enemy unit in the same fight. Very unusual and possibly turning a melee around or at least making your opponent think twice about engaging in melee when you have dice on this ability!

Artizan Arthurian spearmen


As you can see, the Bretons can be nothing short of deadly with their 'M' range Javelin missile fire, but at the cost of being able to spend all their dice on shooting abilities and risking activating just a single unit per turn.

The fact they can use one ability to react to the enemy Orders phase and another to leave combat helps a little. The enemy would need to minimise the impact of Breton shooting on any one of its units, possibly by attacking more than one Breton team at a time to lessen the impact of their activations for shooting. Alternatively, outranging them with Bows or Slings before engaging in combat is another option.

The Breton player need to deploy carefully and make best use of combinations of abilities at the right time. Bretons are not great melee units, so keep them out of close combat until the enemy is too weak to defend themselves.

If you ever wanted to field a "Wood Elves" type of force in Saga then this faction appears to be designed for you - without bows of course! Any feedback on the WWPD forum on models or tactics is always welcome. See the link below.

Gripping Beast 4-point Breton Starter Warband

Finding Breton models.

If you are interested in models for your Bretons, Gripping Beast do their Breton collection here. They also have their Dark Age plastic Warriors here.

Perry Miniatures do a nice line in Normans, some of which could serve as Breton foot warriors... here

Similarly, Crusader Miniatures make troops that could serve as less armoured cavalry... here.

Essex medium Norman cavalry... here and a page on Breton, Frank, Carolingians... here

Artizan's Arthurians might serve well for infantry.... here.

Wargames Factory have their plastic Saxon Fyrd infantry... here.

You might be able to make use of Conquest's plastic Norman infantry or cavalry here.

Crusader Miniatures Unarmoured Norman Cavalry Command

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