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Now, before you continue reading - understand I have yet to play a game of fantasy. After much 40k - I finally have switched sides.
Anyways, After getting a little reading done on the rulebook, I got through the section on movement and formations. I didn't know before that you could change the ranks and files of your unit.
However, as I start to build my Brettonian Battleforce, the creation of movement trays occurred to me. However, if I were to set my units up on a decorative movement tray - that means it would make formation altering much more difficult. So, other than speed and ease of wheeling/movement, wouldn't a movement tray incur to your disadvantage, being that you are unable to manipulate your units formation in accordance to the happenings of the battle?
Movement trays can be used for the central bulk. So you can move the group then any spare models outside of it. It's useful for moving a uniit you generally use in a single formation - it's not very often I particulary alter formation on a regular basis. Perhaps archers if I move off a hill and need more frontage.
Fantasy: Wood Elves, Dark Elves, Beastmen and Tomb Kings.
LotR: Misty Mountains and Rohan
They aren't really a great disadvantage, you can work around it. For your units of knights you'll probably only ever want them 3 wide anyway, for other units you'll only rarely change formation. If you do and they get wider, you put guys outside the trauy. If they get narrower, you ignore the part of the tray the models aren't on. For all intents and purposes you ply as if the movement trays aren't there, they're just there literally to ease movement.
http://www.armyroster.com Check out my ToP WIP in the projects section!
You can always just take them off the movement tray...
Think about it. If you don't use a movmenet tray at all, your oponent is going to want to lynch you after he watches you move your regiment of 30 Men at Arms model-by-model into a new position. Every... time... they move.
However, if you have a movement tray that is say... 6x5, you can move those 30M@A that much faster. If you want to switch to 2x15 (which is quite rare) you could just remove them from the base, and put them in the new formation. Yeah, it will slow you down, but atleast 95% of the time, you have a tray.
It could be a disadvantage to you, because you may not remember that you can reform. But really, it's rare that a regiment will leave the formation which it was deployed in. And remember- all distances are measured from the bases within the tray, NOT the tray itself (because as you take casualties, you may stop filling up the base.