Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

BattleLore (Second Edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Budgernaut's First Impressions rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Garrett
United States
Laredo
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
First impressions of BattleLore Second Edition
The only game I own of a similar price point is Runewars, so many of my comparisons will be between Runewars and BattleLore 2E.

Components
As I opened the box, I was a little amazed at how little cardboard there was. There were also fewer cards than I anticipated. After putting sleeves on the cards, I realized I had yet to see any of the miniatures. I found them tucked underneath the insert. My impressions upon seeing the two bags of minis were:

“Wow, that’s a lot of plastic,” followed by
“These things are HUGE!”

I had read about the sizes, but not having a strong war-miniatures background, the numbers didn’t mean anything, and even though I knew these figures would be larger than Runewars figures, I wasn’t prepared for how dominating the Legend units would look on the table. Suddenly painting these things became a little more intimidating.

To be honest, though, I feel like they could have gone with smaller cards, hexes, and miniatures and still had a great game. I can’t shake the feeling that all the plastic in the box is a bit … excessive.

Mechanics
This is the first “C&C” game I’ve ever played. I found the command cards to be an interesting mechanic that separated this game from other games like Risk, Runewars, Star Wars Miniatures, and X-Wing Miniatures. That made the game feel fresh instead of being just another miniatures game (or board game with miniatures, as the case may be). I found activating/ordering units to be quite intuitive, which was nice.

Combat is very straightforward. I made one roll with an Obscene and wiped out a full strength Yeoman Archer unit with a single attack. I found myself double checking the rules to make sure there wasn’t a defense step somewhere, even though I had read the rules several times before playing. Being able to just roll the dice, resolve the dice, and move on is really great. The game doesn’t bog down and you can just go from action to action. I really liked this aspect.

I like the retreat rules a lot. It gives you a reason to think about your positioning when you attack an enemy unit rather than just trying to get adjacent.

Lore cards were fun to use, and I liked the flexibility of drawing Lore cards or gaining more Lore tokens at the end of your turn. Being able to gain Lore during battle was also nice. The Daqan Lords pretty much sat on a pile of Lore the entire game because they gained so much Lore in combat.

Strategy
As a player new to this system, I made some mistakes and some novice observations. To be clear, I have only “played” one game where I controlled both sides. I randomly dealt 3 scenario cards to each faction. Then I randomly dealt one pre-constructed army card to each faction. I then selected the scenario based on the army card dealt.

Controlling the Daqan Lords, I fell into a trap. There were units in sections where I could not order them because of the command cards I held that could have moved to a victory banner if I had decided to discard a command card to move them as my one free order instead of ordering as per the instructions on the command card. It wasn’t that I forgot this rule, it was that I was afraid of losing tempo by ordering fewer units than my opponent. The end result was that I ordered 3 units that didn’t move me any closer to victory instead of the one that could have made a difference. Lesson learned: sometimes less is more.

I found that archers were disappointing. They are quite weak (2 dice), and for the Daqan Lords, it seemed one die always turned up a Lore token. Had they been Uthuk archers, that would have been great because they could poison, but as it was, the Yeoman Archers didn’t do so much, which was unfortunate since I had five of them on the field. I even used the Double Shot, Darken the Skies combo and it was a little lackluster. The one thing I love about archers is that they can attack without being countered. This is huge since many a Daqan infantry unit fell by the wrath of an Obscene or Flesh Ripper Brute counter.

Speaking of counters, I should have been using the Riverwatch Riders to attack and the Archers to secure the VP banners since the Riverwatch Riders can’t be countered. Instead, the Riverwatch Riders sat on VPs and didn’t do anything while Archers advanced and ended up adjacent to enemies anyway and were countered to death.

Managing Lore cards is tough. As the Daqan Lords, I had a hand of useful cards, but the condition for most of them was to eliminate an enemy unit, which I had trouble doing. Because I had a pile of Lore tokens, I ended up focusing on trying to use my Lore cards instead of focusing on VPs and that cost the Daqan Lords the game. It’s tough because Lore cards are a resource you don’t want to go to waste, but if they aren’t helping you get VPs (directly or by helping you take a VP banner) they shouldn’t be your focus.

The Uthuk, on the other hand, had a grand time of using Lore cards. At the end of the game, they had zero in hand. In fact, as the Uthuk player, I played opposite of how I played the Daqan Lords. My scenario let me get a VP if 2 or fewer Uthuk units were on clear hexes. I used the Chaos Lord Lore card that lets you move him and attack with him during your opponent’s turn for 6 Lore, except he was so far back, I used him just for movement. But that meant I didn’t have to waste an order moving him to the adjacent hill hex since I could just spend 6 Lore to do it on my opponent’s turn. This was a crucial turning point in the Uthuk Y’llan starting to really take the lead in VPs.

Final Thoughts
It’s a fun game. I can’t wait to play against a real opponent. Still, I wouldn’t say it’s the best game I’ve ever played. If I were forced to sell a game this instant and had to choose between this or Runewars, I’d sell this because I really like the complexity and strategy of Runewars and at the end of the day, I suppose X-Wing already covered the tactical skirmish itch that BattleLore 2E scratches. But when I want to play in the Terrinoth setting, there is no denying that BattleLore 2E will get me fantasy clashes of armies with shorter setup and shorter sessions than Runewars. That alone has earned it a place in my collection.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Damon Asher
United States
Jefferson
MA
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nice write-up of your thoughts. This article would be at home in the Reviews section!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garrett
United States
Laredo
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks!

Yeah, I did it in a review format, but have read enough responses to reviews to know that one play-through does not give a person enough experience with a game to truly review it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Peter Cooper
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Mage Wars: Beastmaster's Pet
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Budgernaut wrote:
Thanks!

Yeah, I did it in a review format, but have read enough responses to reviews to know that one play-through does not give a person enough experience with a game to truly review it.


As I was reading through your piece, I thought the same until you said you had only played it once.

I think the Uthuk archers are rubbish, but my son thinks they are brilliant. I would happily choose an army without archers at all, but they aren't bad for taking objectives and shooting from them.

I am sure that when you have played a few more games, your review will be great.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Lewis
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
NFHS Football & Basketball
badge
Dread Our Coming, Suffer Our Presence, Embrace Our Glory (Solonavi War Cry)
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Uthuk archers alone aren't very good, but they can be great support units; activate them along with other units, have them shoot first, and have them poison the target of the other units (and any hits can be just gravy).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garrett
United States
Laredo
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
On the topic of strategy for beginners, something I'm starting to notice in hindsight but haven't been able to implement is using your orders to move units to a new section so you can order them the next turn. This happened last night in my second game when I ordered a Rune Golem in the center. I moved it onto a hill, but there was another hill I could have reached that was in the right section. Plus, I had a Patrol Right card and an Attack Right card in my hand, so had I played with more forethought, I could have moved my Rune Golem into a better position.

And I also tried the Uthuk's archers. It ended up that I poisoned a Rune Golem and issued 2 retreats with archers the whole game. They didn't do anything else. I was more invested in moving my Chaos Lord, Obscenes, and Flesh Ripper Brutes.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Roper
South Africa
Hout Bay
Western Cape
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Budgernaut wrote:
.. I had a Patrol Right card and an Attack Right card in my hand, so had I played with more forethought, I could have moved my Rune Golem into a better position.

And I also tried the Uthuk's archers. It ended up that I poisoned a Rune Golem and issued 2 retreats with archers the whole game. They didn't do anything else. I was more invested in moving my Chaos Lord, Obscenes, and Flesh Ripper Brutes.


You have hit on the two aspects of any Commands and Colors game that most casual players miss.

1)Develop and adapt your strategy according to the hand of cards you hold, don't just play the strongest card each turn. Also be willing to hold back, playing weaker cards to manoeuvre, whilst waiting for a decent hand, through card draws, before launching an attack.

2)Combined Arms. Use your ranged units to force retreats and your more mobile units to mop up. Bring the Heavy hitters in for the final blow.

I have not played BL2e and I am sure that the strategy will differ from other games in the series, but those two basic pointers should hold true.

Cheers
Chris
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jason Burke
United States
Illinois
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Budgernaut wrote:

I found that archers were disappointing. They are quite weak (2 dice), and for the Daqan Lords, it seemed one die always turned up a Lore token. Had they been Uthuk archers, that would have been great because they could poison, but as it was, the Yeoman Archers didn’t do so much, which was unfortunate since I had five of them on the field. I even used the Double Shot, Darken the Skies combo and it was a little lackluster. The one thing I love about archers is that they can attack without being countered. This is huge since many a Daqan infantry unit fell by the wrath of an Obscene or Flesh Ripper Brute counter.


Archers in Battlelore (1st and 2nd Ed) have always had a major luck factor involved in using them since they'll only affect an opposing unit 2 out of 6 times per dice roll (hit or retreat). In 1st Ed. archers only rolled 1 die if they moved, so there's a restriction that's not in the 2nd Ed. Which makes them more useful. And, the Uthuk archers have the poison effect so they'll cause some type of effect 50% of the time. While the Daqan archers have the double shot ability (which used to require a command card), and with Darken the Skies they can shoot up to 3 times if they don't move (toss in the Enchanted Arrows lore card, and they can be nasty).

So, while they are more luck based than the melee units, they are still very useful in a number of situations. In 1st Ed. you didn't have the choice of not having them, so you learned to use them to their best effect. More often than not, They'll soften up opponents that are moving into melee with your units (bloody them up for Flesh Rippers), or force opponents off of strategic points and disrupt supporting units with retreats.

Also, in Battlelore 2nd Ed. you really have to take the special and stacking abilities into consideration. Take the Citadel Guard for instance, I will always want to get in the first attack with them, force a retreat (either with a flag roll or their special ability) and then use their pursue ability to get in a second attack (and force a retreat again, so they can't counter). Once they get stuck in with an opposing unit, they'll be cut to ribbons (especially against cavalry or elites/legends).

I wouldn't sell it just yet . There are a lot of subtleties in this game now that didn't exist in 1st Ed., and it'll take a couple plays to get it all figured out.

Regards.

PS: Runewars is a great game. Sadly, most of my play group doesn't have the fortitude to sit down for a 4 hour game. Personally, I love it. But, this fits their style more.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garrett
United States
Laredo
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just played my fourth game tonight and it was blast! I find that I'm enjoying the game more and more with each play. The Uthuk Y'llan have stil won every game, but the Daqan Lords got a lot closer this time. This game was particularly fun because I got some very exciting Lore cards. The Uthuk archer one that poisons enemies within 2 hexes was awesome fun! In fact, during this game the Viper Legion units were the most valuable players. And they poisoned almost every enemy on the board! It was great fun. It's really interesting that they were so useful this game when a game or two ago I had written archers off as useless. This definitely speaks to the replayability of this game.

Another fun Lore card moment was when I moved the Chaos Lord on the opponent's turn and destroyed their last cavalry unit right before they ordered it to take a VP hex that had become unoccupied.

The Daqan Lords used that Lore card with the Siege Tower on it that gives you a Strike, Pierce, and Morale on each attack for the rest of your attack step that turn. They combined it with an Attack Left order (3 units) and Pursue 1 from the Citadel Guards to take back two VP hexes.

This game is just thrilling. After this post I don't think I can call my thoughts "first impressions" anymore, but my opinion of the game has drastically increased since my first game.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alex Pile
United States
College Park
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Budgernaut wrote:
This game is just thrilling. After this post I don't think I can call my thoughts "first impressions" anymore, but my opinion of the game has drastically increased since my first game.


I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. Like you, I haven't played 1ed and I don't have significant experience with the C&C system.

Now that you've played the game more, I'm interested in seeing a proper review from you.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garrett
United States
Laredo
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hey, thanks! If I ever get around to finding an opponent, I'll be sure to write a review. As it stands, however, I've played the beginner scenario once with my wife. A few nights later I had a full game set up and when she came downstairs and saw it she said, "Oh. I thought we were going to play Rune Age." Basically what I'm saying is, if I'm going to find someone else to play with, it's not gonna be my wife.

With that said, if anyone in the Tucson, AZ area wants to play, PM me and we'll see if we can set something up.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.