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Subject: First Impressions rss

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James Forsythe
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My FLGS (http://www.geeksandgamersonline.com/) managed to get in a pre-release copy of Battlelore and I got to play it last night. This will be brief, as I am packing for a flight, but thought I'd give my first impressions.

The game is definitely more similar to C&C Ancients than Memoir '44. In Memoir, everything has range, and taking cover in terrain is a key strategy. Here, very few units are ranged, and with the battle back rules, it is VERY important to keep in formation and keep your guys bold. So my first reaction was that I am still glas I have Memoir '44 because this is a very different game. However, if I had C&C Ancients, I'd be regretting having bought it (production value is SOOOO much better with Battlelore). Of course if you hate fantasy and love historical battles, then you still may prefer C&C Ancients (or have an aversion to plastic).

We played a scenario with the spider, and with each of us having a level 2 wizard. So there was lore, but the cards were limited. What I found most interesting was that with the lore cards, you can set up some combos of lore/command cards. For example, I played Darken the skies (archers attack twice) with Magic Missile (archers fire with an extra 2d, and hit on lore). This made the archers effectiveness go up by a factor of 8!!! Also there was a card that allowed battle with an extra die in melee, so I combined that with one that activated 5 blue guys, etc. My opponent attempted to teleport one of my guys out of my formation - this would break up the formation, and put this lone guy in a spot surrounded by the enemy. Luckily I was able to cancel that card with a counter spell. I found that the lore seemed to be balanced with the units. That is, the use of lore was key to the strategy, but it did not prevent you from having to use good maneuvering of your units. It seemed to add a another dimension to the card playing aspect of the game.
 
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Matt Keyes
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Thanks for this post. i would be interested to see if anyone else thinks BL is irrelevant if one owns C&C:A.
 
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the_grip wrote:
Thanks for this post. i would be interested to see if anyone else thinks BL is irrelevant if one owns C&C:A.


Actually, I think he was saying that BattleLore renders C&C:A irrelevant, unless you really dislike fantasy and/or plastic.
 
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Matt Keyes
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Right... i took it as an either/or (i.e. they are roughly the same game with a different "face")
 
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Joseph McSweeney
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I was the opponent with Jim in this game. Here are my initial impressions. I have C&C and MM44 and would recommend those games based on theme and differences in play. C&C and Battlore are similar, however there are differences as well. I have not found the leader abilities within C&C in Battlore yet. (I have only played the one game so far). There are other things within Battlelore that I need to get a better feel on. The lore cards can cause dramatic swings during the game which some "planners" may not like. The pieces do have different flags, but it is easy to get confused as to where your guys are because the pieces are all the same color unpainted.

I will be glad to have all three once Battelore is available.
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Hmmm. The ranged thing bothers me a little. You are saying that units in Battlelore are NOT like MM44 units, in that, tanks are: 333, and infantry are 321. It would seem that from what you are saying, in Battlelore, units are either Melee (adjacent) or Ranged (up to what ever hexes). Also, from what I am interpreting here, you are saying terrain doesn't really effect how many dice you roll. Does terrain modify anything, such as Morale?
 
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W. Eric Martin
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joemac2 wrote:
The lore cards can cause dramatic swings during the game which some "planners" may not like. The pieces do have different flags, but it is easy to get confused as to where your guys are because the pieces are all the same color unpainted.


Joe's spot on with both of these comments based on my single playing of BL to date. I think experience with the game will take care of both of these issues. The Lore deck is small, so after playing the game once or twice, you'll have an idea of what to expect from your opponent, especially since you can use the end-of-turn lore action to look at two cards, giving you info on what the opponent doesn't hold.

I found the variety of troops confusing, but I think additional plays will solve that problem. BattleLore has a ton of things going on at once, so despite the urge to jump into a complex scenario, players might be better off starting with something simple to become comfortable with the troop movement and battle values.
 
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W. Eric Martin
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hughthehand wrote:
It would seem that from what you are saying, in Battlelore, units are either Melee (adjacent) or Ranged (up to what ever hexes). Also, from what I am interpreting here, you are saying terrain doesn't really effect how many dice you roll. Does terrain modify anything, such as Morale?


Speaking from one game of experience, the units in the scenario I played were either melee (foot troops and mounted) or ranged (archers). Terrain does affect the number of dice you roll, but unlike Memoir in which the terrain subtracts from the number of dice you roll, the terrain puts a cap on how many dice you roll. This makes heavy units (which normally roll four dice) less effective when attacking into certain terrains.
 
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Ken Takacs
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I disagree that BattleLore would render Commands and Colors: Ancients irrelevant in any way. The two games represent battles from different eras with different troop types. One is a pure wargame, while the other incorporates a fantasy element. In addition, I noticed significant differences between the two games such as the use of leaders on the map in CC:A and the fact that all CC:A units can battle back (they do not have to be bold). The differences provide a different feel for each game.
 
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Raymond J Dennis Jr
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I'm the Owner of "Geeks And Gamers" and the one running a "Days of Wonder Month" in celebration at my store to promote this awesome game. And I can't tell you how excited and appreciative of Days of Wonder I am. I really appreciate the fact that they are giving the FLGS the Promo Hill Giant figures and not the Online stores and I think it's a smart move on there part. I'll tell you why(and I know from the other post I'm proably asking for it). If I'm a gamer I'm gonna get the game all ready, proably online cheap like most gamers do but "Days of Wonder" has to be sayiong to it's self, how do I get kids or new players involved in our game so we can grow our fan base? Do a push at the local stores so when Joe blow and his wife come into a store during Christmas season they buy it for their kid. There is more of a chance at my store that I will bring in someone that is not a gamer so why not do a promo in the stores to help push the game there.

The other thing that I am really impressed with, is that I was really excited about Battlelore and wanted to do something at my store to promote it so I came up with this "Days of Wonder Month" where we are going to demo "Days of Wonder" games all month and offer a $10 discount on them, leading up to the release of "Battlelore". I called "Days of Wonder" hoping to get a little help with the promo. Never dreaming that they would give me a pre-release Demo "Battlelore" copy for me to use to Demo the game through out the month and some promo Primer Books. So if you are in the area(Meredith , NH) feel free to come to the store during the weekends in Novemebr to try out some Awesome Days of Wonder games, including Battlelore starting November 10th on. You can get all the details on my website( http://www.geeksandgamersonline.com). I have nothing but praise for "Days of Wonder", I have always found their games to be of the upmost quality and top notch, now I know why. They have Top Notch quality people working for them!!

OK Now that all that is out of the way here's what I think of the game so far: It Rocks and is Awesome!!! I have demoed it three times now and have read all the rules.

I suggest that some people that have certain questions about the attack values and movement download the Primer available on "Days of Wonder's site( http://www.battlelore.com/index.php?t=content&sub=intro&rid=... ).

The game has some similiarties with "C&C:Ancients" but that's it some not all and in no ways makes "C&C:Ancients" obselete. I love that game too and plan on getting the expansion for it too. I own all the C&C games, "BattleCry", "Memoir'44" and all expansions, and "C&C:Ancients". I enjoy them all and see them as different games with a similar mechanic.

Now here are some of my thoughts on "Battlelore" after my first play(I've played twice now and demoed to Jim and Joe the game so far - see above):

I choose game number 6. I wanted to have Lore and Mercenaries. I took the side with the Goblins and my friend Jesse took the side with the Dwarves and the Spider. We were also each LVL 1 Wizards which gave us 1 Lore card to start with a max of 2 cards and 1 Lore token to start out.

Jesse had never played any of the C&C games. So I explained the basics of the system, the units, command cards, the banners, etc then went on to explain the special units(Dwarves, Goblins, and the Spider) and finally explained the Lore cards and tokens use and aquiring them. This was really easy due to the cards, they have everything on them. Jesse got the hang of it really quick and was supporting his tropps so they were bold and casting spells before you knew it.

He never was really successful in using his Spider, I killed it on a prusuit maneuver late in the game. I found the goblins to be a pain. Their special ability is that they can move(charge) two spaces(this incledes Bule & Red Banner inf guys) and still attack full strength, which is an ok ability but they have the drawl back of being Frightened units, which means they have to retreat 2 spaces when a flag shows up for each flag and for each space they retreat you roll a die and any matching banner colors you lose a unit. I found that they basically kill themselves... LOL Now the Dwarves as far as I can see don't have a down side. Dwarves are Bold, so they don't need support and can ignore a Flag and battle back, if it's supported it can ignore 2 flags. No downside at all. So my advice is only charge Goblins in where you are moving them into support or when the odds are in your favor.

Anyway we had some cool spells going off. I had a teleport spell where I droped a one unit Green Banner foot unit behind enemy lines and took out a one unit guy that Jesse had retreated earlier to get out of the way, very cool. Like Jim said there are some neat combos and so far I have only Demoed it with a Wizard in the War Council. Speaking of the War Council here is how it works if you are making up your own War Council:

You set up a lvl, say 6 and you put lvls in different areas. Say 1 lvl in a creature, 3rd LVL Cleric, 1st LVL Wizard and 1st LVL Commander. now if you are the only one with a LVL 3 Cleric you get to put out a special terrain that does something, I believe it's called a Stronghold. For instance Cleric has a terrain piece that is a well and you can take a unit to there and get them healed to full strength and then the terrain goes away. the terrain also has some base properties. Ok so back to making your War Council. The War Council is interesting in the fact that if you both have the same guy in your War Council you put 14 cards of that type say Rogue in the Lore deck but if I pick the Rogue and you don't only 8 cards go in the deck and if there is a War Council member that we both don't pick only 5 of that type go. So if Neither of us picked the Warrior there would still be 5 cards of that type in the lore deck. There are 15 of each type to make up the deck total. So it makes some interesting choices. I might not put in a Rogue so only 8 cards would go in for you. I think if I am playing I will have the people pick there War Council separately just to avoid this issue. Anyway if you pick a Lore card you don't have access to you can still cast it but it cost three extra Lore Tokens and it is cast as a lvl 1 spell.

Maneuvering and combat remind me a lot of "C&C:Ancients" but as all ready been said there is no leader aspect to "Battlelore".

Other comments: I am really impressed with the packaging, except the guys that don't have banners. They get a little squashed but I understand you are dealing with a form factorand space limits. But really everything is fantastic. It takes a decent amount of time to setup. The rule book is very nice but the first part of it can basically be skipped by anyone who has played Memior'44 but it does a great job for the new palyer, as does the scenario book. I am a little bummed that the first 4 scenarios are just basic ones and it's not until the 5th that they add a lvl 1 Wizard and Lore and not till the 7th for the full War Council.

I understand why and it's no big deal you can play any of them the way you want with custom War Councils and there will be plenty of scenarios available on the web, specially with the access of the scenario maker on DoW site. I really enjoyed the game and found it got easy to remember green 2 dice, blue 3 dice, red 4 dice and a few exceptions based on your weapon. Also the way they handle terrain is a lot easier in this game. instead of -1 for a certain unit and -2 for an other unit it plays out this way; you have a max dice roll for attacking in and a max dice roll for attacking out no matter what the unit is. For instance the woods have a max of 2 dice attacking out and 2 dice attacking in the woods from the outside, Elevated Terrain has max 3d attacking from and a unit attacking an elecvated has a max of 2 d. Kinda different but works out well once you get use to it(I believe "C&C:Ancients" does terrain this way too). Anyway I had a great time and see many possibilities with this game. Oh and by the way Jesse beat me 6 to 4. Darn Goblins!!!

My second demo of this scenraio I won using the Goblins. I learned from my game before how to keep them together, supported so they would be Bold and could Battle Back. I also found I could maneuever mounts around very well so I could attack from the rear surrounding units so that flags would be losses. I find the Goblins to be a great unit you just have to use them well. I believe Jim was the Goblins and won against Joe with them. They add great fantasy falvor to the game so even though I think the dwarves are more powerfull in some ways the Goblins with their charge have their uses you just have to watch out for them being frightened!

Over all I am really excited and impressed with this product. It reminds me of some of the Games Workshop big games of the past and I can't wait to see what and where they take the game. I am dieing to make my own War Council and also throwing in the Hill Giant to a scenario. Maybe giving both sides the Hill Giant and having them fight over one Rock Pile. There are going to be so many different scenarios created when they release this and people get access to he scenario creator. Plus with the new content they release monthly or the expansions, this game has a lot of potential. I know I will be playing it like crazy and pushing demos on anyone who comes through my store. I think it's an awesome game and hope to get many people into the hobby with this game this Christmas!




 
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James Forsythe
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Let me clarify what I was saying regarding the overlap between C&C Ancients vs. Memoir '44 vs. Battlelore. I wouldn't say any are irrelavent. It depends on what themes you like as well as some differences in the mechanics. Now, the biggest overlap between the three is Battlelore and C&C Ancients. But I agree with the poster above. There are differences in the mechanic such as leaders (C&CA) vs. Lore (Battlelore), battleback all the time (C&CA) vs. only when bold/supported (Battelore), and then the racial abilities. Oh, and in C&CA, the light units can evade. I would also agree with Eric that the lore may make things more chaotic in Battlelore than C&CA, although I am not prepared to say that definitively after one play. Of course, you can play without lore. I also have no idea what the C&CA expansion adds. For me, I like the theme and production value of Battlelore more than C&CA, so I am happy I did not pick C&CA. Also, Battlelore adds Lore and Creatures, which I think add a lot of depth/theme. However, I can certainly see people prefering C&CA because of theme and even some of the mechanics. I can also see die-hards having both.

What worried me was that after buying all the Memoir expansions, the game would sit on the shelf once I bought Battlelore. But after playing Battlelore, I definitely don't think that is true. I see playing Memoir quite a bit since it has a very different feel to it beyond the theme. And I see playing Battleore a ton as well. With at least 20 plays of Memoir under my belt, I rate it a 10, and I think Battlelore will become a 10 for me without pushing aside Memoir.
 
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James Forsythe
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joemac2 wrote:
The pieces do have different flags, but it is easy to get confused as to where your guys are because the pieces are all the same color unpainted.


Just a clarification. The bases are different colors based on race. So between the flag color, symbol, and base color, you have all the info you need. The sculpts themselves are only necessary to look good. It took me a bit to realize this, so I got confused over who were my goblins and who weren't.
 
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Andy Daglish
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Battlelore and CCA represent a vastly better design than M44, mainly but not entirely because of evasion and battle back. The relative quality of the scenarios should be proof of this. A final insult for M44 is that it will almost certainly have less connection with its subject than Battlelore. I see a sad new scenario, where our erstwhile M44 fan is surrounded by games of CCA, Battlelore, Combat Commander and Tide of Iron.
 
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Jon Karlsson
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FuzzySilk wrote:
I learned from my game before how to keep [goblins] together, supported so they would be Bold and could Battle Back.


How do you make goblins Bold? Since they start out Frightened you need to beef them twice. One is, of course, from supporting them with two units. What's the other? (Supporting with three units?)


And another question: Can you tell us anything about the rules for building own scenarios? (If they exist, for example. )
 
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Shane Tapp
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Jon Karlsson wrote:
And another question: Can you tell us anything about the rules for building own scenarios? (If they exist, for example. )


Check out the primer on the DoW website. They are going to include an access number for a scenario generator in the game

http://static.battlelore.com/lang/english/images/bl_primer.p...

quote from the "What Comes in the Box" portion of the Primer: A Web Access Number that opens the doors to a vibrant community of players, countless additional adventures, and even free access to Days of
Wonder's Online Adventure Editor!
 
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Niels Taatgen
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Jon Karlsson wrote:
FuzzySilk wrote:
I learned from my game before how to keep [goblins] together, supported so they would be Bold and could Battle Back.


How do you make goblins Bold? Since they start out Frightened you need to beef them twice. One is, of course, from supporting them with two units. What's the other? (Supporting with three units?)


Units can be both bold and frightened, so they when goblins are supported, they ignore the first flag but run like mad when there is a second.
 
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Jon Karlsson
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tstapp1026 wrote:
Check out the primer on the DoW website.


I see. So, no scenario/army building rules in the box, then?

I own Memoir and C&C:A, and I've fiddled a little with rules for points-based scenario building for Memoir and found it very hard to get it working. Especially, it was hard to make a system that gives interesting terrain on the board, so it would have been interesting to see how the Pros solved that.
 
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Raymond J Dennis Jr
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niels wrote:
Jon Karlsson wrote:
FuzzySilk wrote:
I learned from my game before how to keep [goblins] together, supported so they would be Bold and could Battle Back.


How do you make goblins Bold? Since they start out Frightened you need to beef them twice. One is, of course, from supporting them with two units. What's the other? (Supporting with three units?)


Units can be both bold and frightened, so they when goblins are supported, they ignore the first flag but run like mad when there is a second.


Yes this is not exactly stated in the Goblin section of the Rulebook. There is an example of them being supported and ignoring the first flag. They had three flags so they retreat 4 spaces(2 per flag) in the example. So even though it was not stated I deduced that Goblins when supported are Bold allowing them to ignore the first flag. There was some talk and thought that them being supported would only make them Normal but Normal would not ignore the first flag. There was nothing written stating that they would be bold and could battle back when supported but because of the picture example the way I am playing it is to have them be Bold when supported and allowing them to battle back in this position. When they have more then 1 flag against them and they are supported they will retreat two for ever flag above one. Now maybe this is wrong but I can't find anything else in the Rulebook. I have a feeling it will be in a Faq after the game is released.

My first game I played with them always being Frightened and then I found the pic of the support but still there is no directions on this in the Goblin section or anything written specifically about support of a Frightened unit only going up to Normal or Bold. Feel free to make your own conclusions.
 
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Niels Taatgen
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FuzzySilk wrote:

My first game I played with them always being Frightened and then I found the pic of the support but still there is no directions on this in the Goblin section or anything written specifically about support of a Frightened unit only going up to Normal or Bold. Feel free to make your own conclusions.


It came up on the Battelore blog: see http://blog.battlelore.com/2006/10/03/morale-a-good-thing-to...
where Eric from DOW says:

eric Says:
October 3rd, 2006 at 11:08 pm
A Goblin that is supported would be able to ignore a flag (and possibly battle back for the presence of his brethren temporarily makes him Bold). But any flags above and beyond that (on the same dice roll) would force him to retreat 2 hexes per flag, and make Panic Loss checks as appropriate. As you correctly guessed, by nature, Goblins have are an easily Frightened bunch and they have a tendency to run back toward their lines…
 
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forsytjr wrote:
Oh, and in C&CA, the light units can evade.


Ooh. They can't in BattleLore?

I foresee many Light units getting mauled terribly. Evading is their saving grace in C&C:A.
 
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Barry Kendall
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Alexander, this is just a guess, but perhaps Evade is not a standard ability for Lights in Battlelore in order to allow for greater unit differentiation down the road.

I can see how Goblins would not be permitted to Evade, which is a tactical maneuver carried out by well-trained or experienced light troops (foot or mounted). Temperamentally, Goblins, from the fantasy lit I've read, seem to be opportunistic, aggressive while possessing a perception of advantage but fragile when seriously threatened--and given to squabbling, even amongst themselves, which would make evasive maneuvers in the heat of battle problematic.

On the other hand, down the way we might see units of Rangers, Elven archers, etc. which would be quite capable of using Evasion tactics. I don't know what form the monthly supplements and later Expansions will take, but my guess is that we will see both individual "Creatures" along the lines of the Hill Giant and Elemental (for example, Trolls) and supplemental Units like Rangers or Scouts, Dwarf Miners, etc.

By making Evade a quality special ability of certain unit types, it becomes an added distinction rather than a common ability, as it is depicted in C&C:A for Ancient Light types.

Just a guess. Doesn't this game sound lovely? I know it has been a gleam in Richard Borg's eye for a number of years and has been very thoroughly playtested.
 
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James Forsythe
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sanguine wrote:
forsytjr wrote:
Oh, and in C&CA, the light units can evade.


Ooh. They can't in BattleLore?

I foresee many Light units getting mauled terribly. Evading is their saving grace in C&C:A.


Right - none of the units in the base game evade. However, light units can move two and battle, vs. move one and battle for medium units or move two and not battle, then heavy units move only one and battle. The dice are 2,3,4 respectively. I see the light units as support from behind (to make the units in front bold), or to make swift strikes on isolated units.

Yes, evade could be held out for future units - lots of possibilities left.
 
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James Forsythe
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jgerman wrote:


Horse shit. If that were the case there would be absolutely no harm in providing the promo figure to online purchasers where the "gamers" are purchasing it.


I know Ray asked for this response by saying thanks to DOW to helping out his store, but lets try to keep on the topic of first impressions. There are plenty of places to post this debate such as the Hill Giant thread.
 
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jgerman wrote:
FuzzySilk wrote:
And I can't tell you how excited and appreciative of Days of Wonder I am. I really appreciate the fact that they are giving the FLGS the Promo Hill Giant figures and not the Online stores and I think it's a smart move on there part. I'll tell you why(and I know from the other post I'm proably asking for it). If I'm a gamer I'm gonna get the game all ready, proably online cheap like most gamers do but "Days of Wonder" has to be sayiong to it's self, how do I get kids or new players involved in our game so we can grow our fan base? Do a push at the local stores so when Joe blow and his wife come into a store during Christmas season they buy it for their kid. There is more of a chance at my store that I will bring in someone that is not a gamer so why not do a promo in the stores to help push the game there.



Horse shit. If that were the case there would be absolutely no harm in providing the promo figure to online purchasers where the "gamers" are purchasing it. Joe Blow would still see the promo figure, the "gamers" are kept happy because they are the collectors. We don't even have to get into the nonsense about the game stores bringing more people into the hobby.

It's a marketing gimmick on DoW's part. They are a) trying to gain the goodwill of the brick and mortar stores and b) driving those "gamers" that won't purchase from a brick and mortar to buy from them, with no middleman mind you, rather than an online discounted store.


Dog crap. Providing a local merchant with a promo item is no more a gimmick than DoW selling to online retailers who they know will deep discount. DoW already has goodwill in both venues and the notion they are "driving" anyone is absurd... unless you have such a low opinion of the gamer mind that you think it will mindlessly buy because of a .10 hunk of plastic.

DoW desires people who haven't yet been exposed to their games to get that exposure in live demos which, in case you hadn't noticed, online discounters suck at. The promo item is even less an incentive for established gamers than a 35% discount. Unless, of course, one is greedy and cheap causing them to view anything that doesn't suit their fancy to be a coercive trick.
 
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Ummm...to keep this on track...

So, from the reading here it sounds like BL works like C&C and M44 in that you can't actually 'build' armies for the scenarios provided, but instead would have to use the scenario builder to set up alternate army layouts. Is that an accurate read?

I know this is the only thing I'm disappointed about right now. I was truly hoping for a full bridge game between board and minis gaming where I could select what forces I would be using.
 
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