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Subject: Misc Musings on Making the Expansions Ace rss

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and symo
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Been playing and thinking alot about Battlelore 2nd Ed lately. When Fantasy Flight announced the 2 expansions for Battlelore 2nd Ed, I was kinda bummed. What I wanted was new factions to change up the experience and new figures. But I’ve been thinking about it more and the expansions give Fantasy Flight the ability, as they have done so successfully with their LCGs, to evolve and refine the core experience around what works and is fun. This model lends itself extremely well to BLSE.

Here’s why - BLSE is an enjoyable take on the C&C system. With only 3 figures per unit and the defending unit's mandatory battle back, combat plays faster and harder than its older C&C siblings. But it's the objective rather than unit focus that is BLSE's biggest point of difference. Tactically the objective structure encourages deploying units that are strong at camping on an objective then deploying units that can support the camped unit. You also to have ‘objective breakers’ – units that can remove an opposing unit and take its objective position.

Not readily apparent is that this focus makes BLSE a front loaded experience. It is critical that you digest both your, and your opponent’s objectives then work out how best to deploy units than can hold your objectives, take opponent’s objective and units that can support those goals. BLSE is a toy where the work is in wind up. It's then just a matter of setting it loose. In contrast, other C&C games, with a unit destruction scoring mechanic, the strategic focus is ingame and dynamic, constantly adapting and shifting as units take damage becoming new priority targets.

So how does this affect the expansions? Ultimately, BLSE’s objective focus is also its weakness. There are only so many ways units can be deployed and objectives held and taken. It takes some plays but ultimately the objective system will be assimilated and mastered. However, the play itself suggests new options.

I would love the new units in the expansions to refresh the objective system. For example, mages who can move objectives, perhaps units that can destroy objectives or units that generate new objectives. How about objectives that have limited VP or objectives that then activate new objectives? These ideas are just the first cabs off my mental cab rank but with the right constraints these would bring the shifting dynamic emphasis of unit targeting to the objectives in BLSE. With new objectives triggered a new race begins.

Playing these dynamic objectives would trigger a new round of design thoughts. The possibilities are incredible. And this is not even considering the mechanics of new factions.

Let’s hope this is what Fantasy Flight is thinking. I see an exciting new model that would make BLSE a juggernaut. A boardgame, that through its expansions has the ability to grow in the same way Netrunner and Game of Thrones LCGs have.

Fingers crossed.
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David Bezio
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andsymo wrote:
I would love the new units in the expansions to refresh the objective system. For example, mages who can move objectives, perhaps units that can destroy objectives or units that generate new objectives. How about objectives that have limited VP or objectives that then activate new objectives? These ideas are just the first cabs off my mental cab rank but with the right constraints these would bring the shifting dynamic emphasis of unit targeting to the objectives in BLSE. With new objectives triggered a new race begins.


I like these ideas...but I would want them incorporated into scenarios (or some sort of scenario generation or campaign system), but not units themselves.

My biggest "fear" for BL2 (beyond it not continuing to be supported) is that they will fall into the trap of so many other games (miniature, board, card) where they feel each new unit needs to be more powerful, cooler, and dramatic than the ones that came before. IMHO, what makes BL and BL2 such great games is that they have always made the unit special abilities very subtle. They contribute to the plan when used correctly, but they never, individually, take the place of smart tactical game play.

I don't want to devise a brilliant 3 turn tactic to take a town (for example), only to have a mage transport the town the turn before I get there. A game of BL is to (relatively) short to have 2 or 3 turns worth of planning and tactics totally thrown away because of some units super-power. A battle with ups and downs is fun...a battle with constant frustration wouldn't be. MHO
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Frank Müller
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I am not sure if I didnt like the first BL better, at least some aspects. Why?

-because it felt more like a battle between 2 armies which stand in front of each other.

-optically the 4 figs per unit was in BL1 more like a tabletop unit. Square and ordered looking. Now with irregular 3 units its more like a skirmish. I dont have the feeling that I am playing an open epic battle to crush my opponents troops. I am feeling more to win by fullfilling very narrow focused scenario objektivs like it is in M44. BL1 was true classical agincourt while BL2 feels sometimes like "Robin Hood and his 12 merry men must sneak in a fortress in not more than 4 turns".


-Not everything is bad in BL2. For example the magic system has vastly improved. While I loved the gernal feeling of BL1 battle, I hated its magic subsystem. Not so in BL2. The magic is very polished. and of course the quality of the minis is much better than that of BL1. Also the rules are much clearer.

-so what must they do to in the next expansion to enable a re-experience of BL1 epicness? IMO they must develope a set of premade epic scenarios depicting historical battles in their fantasy setting without the random scenario cards. And they must put out an epic addon with double map scenarios.

-
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and symo
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grubman wrote:

I don't want to devise a brilliant 3 turn tactic to take a town (for example), only to have a mage transport the town the turn before I get there. A game of BL is to (relatively) short to have 2 or 3 turns worth of planning and tactics totally thrown away because of some units super-power. A battle with ups and downs is fun...a battle with constant frustration wouldn't be. MHO


I wholeheartedly agree and I would trash any idea that was overpowered or frustrating. The mage example you propose - that would be annoying. Perhaps they need to occupy the hex for a turn before activation. I just think there is something fundamentally interesting in the raw idea.

You raise an interesting point about the length of BLSE games and I sometimes feel the set up time is disproportionate to the ingame time. I would be interested to know how others find the balance.
 
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David Bezio
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andsymo wrote:
[q="grubman"]
I sometimes feel the set up time is disproportionate to the ingame time. I would be interested to know how others find the balance.


I personally don't mind the setup time at all. BL1 took a while, but with BL2 75% of setup is already "playing", what with all planning and strategizing: building an army, reading the scenarios, planning deployment, picking cards all to serve your purpose and battle plan.
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