Two more test tournaments of the two Tawlbwrdd setups were done to find a best choice for the World Tafl Federation Championship Tournament 2016 round 1.
Both setups were found to work all right, the game balances being -1.13 and -1.17, and both setups gave many good games.
I went through all the games using the Replay function, and this is my opinion:
Hist. Hnef. Lewis cross 11x11
This attackers' setup fits well with the ap Ifan text "... twenty-four men seek to capture him [the king]. These are placed, six in the centre of each side of the board and in the six central positions."
Gathering all attackers in edge center blocks and thus leaving eight open lines and maximum empty space in the corners, could make one believe that the defenders can slip through all this open space easily.
The test games showed, however, that it's very hard for the defenders (white) to escape. I had a number of games against high rated players, and my experience was that for the defenders the game is very tight and slightly random, meaning that you might be lucky enough to early catch the opponent in a position where his moves can be forced all the rest of the game until white victory, and if you do just one white move differently it all falls apart and white loses.
White's toolbox lacks the Millar Gambit with this setup (attacking f3 ao.), and one player mentioned that he misses it.
Hist. Hnef. Bell 11x11
This defenders' setup fits well with the ap Ifan text "... a king in the centre and twelve men in the places next to him ...".
This setup allows for the Millar Gambit, and going through the games one finds a lot of interesting and varied game play. This is a game which can take many directions.
The two setups could do with further testing, but for now it seems that the Bell setup would be the best choice for the Championship round 1.
Other players' comments from the small forum:
2016-07-03 11:00:22 Tuireann: I think Tawlbwrdd 1 [Bell] creates more interesting games [...] and I have made some pretty unbelievable victories from behind on Tawlbwrdd 2 [Lewis cross] as black.
2016-07-05 18:51:14 Sigurd: Between Tawlbwrdd Bell & Lewis Cross it's close, but I'll go with Bell at this point. More games of each are needed though. I'm hoping they both hold up.