Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Fredricksburg, VA
I would say empire for a few reasons. First, somebody said earlier that the Lady would actively take part, where Sigmar would not. Im not sure if you actually read the fluff, cause he certainly does. In previous editions the whole reason to take Karl Franz was the fact that for one turn Sigmar would come and posses him, turning him into the most retarded character in the game for a turn with a 10 for all stats. It was even backed up by the fluff in both the rulebook and the Empire book at the time. So clearly, that argument is moot.
Second, I dont quite understand how a castle would really stop the empire from invading Brettonia if they set their minds to it. Cannons folks. Im pretty certain they could take out the walls in short order, and with the sheer amount of artillery that the empire has at its disposal, they could shell the defenders without even having to get close. It wouldn't be nearly as bad as if the Brettonians had to try and lay siege to en empire fortification.
Third, I think that people dont quite understand the worth of state troops. In game terms sheer numbers would eventually wear down the knights. In a historical light, well trained foot almost always defeated horsemen. The romans built their empire on it. The Swiss mercenaries of the renaissance built a reputation for it. In Machiavelli's discourses on Livius he goes over the same argument. While a horse is a great shock factor, its not going to do much when confronted by a couple of spears braced on the ground.
Fourth, given time to prepare the battleground an empire army would be able to create ditches or palisades of stakes that would be incredibly helpful against the knights. If the Brettonians were given that same time it would do little in their favor. They could dig ditches for their peasants, but for them to be effective they would have to leave them and begin the long walk through the artillery of the empire anyways. The knights benefit from a wide open battlefield, but if the empire can stall them with something like flagellants or a a large unit of state troops, their flank is exposed and they have little offensive capability in prolonged combat.
"Stand aside everyone! I take large steps!" -Miles Gloriosus