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Subject: A Father's Review of Battelore rss

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Jason Tesser
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I wrote a review recently that some people seemed to find useful in which I reviewed Hammer of the Scots from the standpoint of a parent who wants to both play with his child and help his child to develop. I strongly believe that board gaming is a great way to accelerate a child's development. Games can help a child's reading ability as well as their comprehension of what they are reading. Games also help young minds to develop a sense of logic and ability to reason; in other words it teaches your child to think outside of the box, no pun intended.

This review is a review of Battlelore from the perspective of a parent. My son ,Aristotle(8 almost 9), loves to play games. I think most kids would if they were taught how to play properly and had someone who took an interest in playing with them. Aristotle has played many Euros from Settlers of Catan to Ra to Power Grid. On the war game side he has played games like Memoir '44 with expansions, Commands and Colors:Ancients, Axis and Allies(revised), War of the Ring and even Brittania(he plays green which is the easiest to play IMO). What he truly likes though is the war games where he can move his armies and have them attack and conqueror others and their lands. :-) A boy after my own heart. They say that when Alexander looked around and saw no more lands to conqueror he cried, while I am not sure that is 100% accurate Aristotle and I can relate when it comes to boardgames and commanding our troops.

The Rulebook.
The rulebook in Battlelore is truly one of the best rulebooks I have ever seen. Granted, sit down for this one, it is 80 pages but it is a very easy read. The artwork and examples in the book are superb. As usual I read the rulebook to get an understanding of the game in full so I could explain it to Aristotle. But in all honesty it is laid out so well he could have gone through it himself. I like the rulebook so much I would actually like to purchase another one.

The Components
I know there has been a few gripes by people regarding the components but all in all they are awesome. The complaints have mainly centered around the figures being bent and that the faces of the dice can wear off. The dice thing is not a problem as Days of Wonder will replace them for free. As far as the figures are concerned if you get any bent ones Days of Wonder has written an article telling you to dip them in hot water so you can set them straight and then dip in ice water which will cause them to stay that way. The detail on the figures is fantastic. Once you set the board up with the figures it is pretty exciting. As usual the Days of Wonder packaging is nice. Better then Memoir '44 which makes it hard to get the figures back in the plastic. Both the cards and the board are of a good quality. I placed my cards in deck protectors because I am strange like that. The game also comes with a scenario book and 2 war council sheets, all of which are of good quality.

The Gameplay
Aristotle and I have played both Memoir '44 with expansions and Commands and Colors:Ancients before, so we decided to jump ahead and add all the extra stuff and advanced play that Battlelore had to offer. If this is your first time playing with the system I would recommend starting with only the basic rules for at least a few games. That is one of the great things about this game. You can play the basic rules and then add on as you go. It can be very similar to Memoir '44, which is very light, to match ,and in my opinion(please don't shoot me guys), even surpass Commands and Colors:Ancients. Like Commands and Colors:Ancients you cannot just move your troops forward because units can battle back. Unlike Ancients you need to increase your morale to be able to fight back with the exception of Dwarven armies who can fight back without the extra support. This forces one to think about how you will move your armies for offense and for defense. If you do not move your armies well you will loose as I have instructed Aristotle many times. Battlelore also has introduced magic and a war council into the system. These two aspects make for great gameplay and a lot of things to think about. In the Commands and Colors system you play cards to order units in one of 3 area(right, center, left). Ordered units may move and/or combat. Now you also have magic which can change the tide of any battle in the game. It must be planned for by both the defender and attacker. You always need to consider that the enemy can have some trick up his sleeve. The war council basically determines what Lore(magic) cards make it in the deck. It can also determine the cost and potency of a Lore card. In the latter scenarios you can play where each player gets x number of points to spend on his war council as he wishes. This will control the number of command cards, lore card, and levels within the specific classes of lore. I promise it is all very cool.

Conclusion
Battlelore is a game that could work for a child's early strategy or war game and could also be great for a young experienced gamer. For the newer gamer you play with the basic rules and in no time you will find yourself adding the other stuff on. Battlelore will help a young mind to develop the following:

1. Reading Skills - Cards need to be read and understood to play. If your child doesn't get them all at first that is ok. Help him and he will remember for next time.
2. Planning - One of the most important things for a child is for them to learn to think about what they are doing. What will the consequences of this action bring. Battlelore will aid your child in understanding here.
3. Strategy - This goes along with planning. Your child will start to learn how to set a goal and strategize on how to achieve that goal.
4. Logic - This goes with most boardgames. The ability to but things together and organize one's thoughts.
5. The ability to think outside the box, again no pun intended here
6. The ability to read others - This can be an important skill in life and its most useful area is in boardgames.

All this and you get to run knights, infantry, goblins, and dwarves around a board in combat. What could be better.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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So do your son's friends call him "Ari"?
 
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Jason Tesser
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Sometimes :-) But mainly we call him Aristotle and his brothers call him Aristotle
 
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Carlos Araujo
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Nice review. Very interesting approach!
 
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Peter Appleton
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LORDs_diakonos wrote:
Sometimes :-) But mainly we call him Aristotle and his brothers call him Aristotle
Dare I ask what the brothers' names are? Plato and Socrates?

One of my friends called his kid Xeno and I'm sure he'll never live that one down at school.
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TeufelHund wrote:
One of my friends called his kid Xeno and I'm sure he'll never live that one down at school.
Can he even get to school? First he must get halfway, but before that, a quarter of the way! And so forth.
 
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Paul Imboden
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No mother would want to give birth to Zeno.
 
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Mark Bigney
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sbszine wrote:
TeufelHund wrote:
One of my friends called his kid Xeno and I'm sure he'll never live that one down at school.
Can he even get to school? First he must get halfway, but before that, a quarter of the way! And so forth.
Nice.
 
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Damon Thomas
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Nice review, from a very valid point of view. My son is also 8 years old and loves any chance to play games with me. I've already got Battlelore wrapped and under the tree from 'Santa' and am looking forward to some fun time with my son. I agree with your thoughts on some of the developmental skills that can be learned by playing alongside younger players. I'm continually amazed at times when my son will pull off some strategic move that I didn't see coming.

 
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Mike Ditchburn
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I run a board game club for kids at the library where I work and I think a lot of parents are surprised at how their children are capable for learning fairly complex games and strategies even at a young age. I've had a few parents look at the games we play and assume their child is too young to understand them only to have the child pick up the game fairly quickly. People really underestimate children far too often. With the right motivation children are capable of way more than people expect of them.

I also believe that board games can really help children in so many ways. Along with logic, reading and problem solving skills, many of the games we play force the children to interact in a way that I believe is helping their social skills (forming in-game alliances, trading resources with other players, learning to lose gracefully, etc.)

Unfortunately Battlelore is only a 2 player game and isn't really useful for my game club (with around 25 children in it).

Not that that has stopped me from buying it for myself.
 
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Jason Tesser
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TeufelHund wrote:
LORDs_diakonos wrote:
Sometimes :-) But mainly we call him Aristotle and his brothers call him Aristotle
Dare I ask what the brothers' names are? Plato and Socrates?
Zane who helps with some games and is starting to play simple stuff, he turns 4 in 7 days, and Eiljah who is only two. He doesn't play too many board games yet. He can kind of play Kids of Catan. :-)
 
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skudfisher wrote:


Unfortunately Battlelore is only a 2 player game and isn't really useful for my game club (with around 25 children in it).

Not that that has stopped me from buying it for myself.
Remember if you buy 2 copies you can have 4 kids play at once, and I *believe* with 3 copies 6.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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skudfisher wrote:
many of the games we play force the children to interact in a way that I believe is helping their social skills (forming in-game alliances, trading resources with other players, learning to lose gracefully, etc.)
I agree for the most part, but the flip side is that some kids tend to live in their games more than they do in reality. And don't get me started on computer games...
 
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Christopher Marx
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Hungadunga wrote:
skudfisher wrote:
many of the games we play force the children to interact in a way that I believe is helping their social skills (forming in-game alliances, trading resources with other players, learning to lose gracefully, etc.)
I agree for the most part, but the flip side is that some kids tend to live in their games more than they do in reality. And don't get me started on computer games...
Any hobby/activity/behavior can be taken too far, to the point where it becomes unhealthy. There's no evidence to support the assertion that games, board or computer/video are worse than anything other random thing. Some kids live too much in their books. Some kids live too much in thier friends. Some kids live too much in thier sports team. Some kids live too much in x, where x is something that kids do.

That being said, there is significant evidence to support the assertion that playing boardgames with kids has substantial developmental benifits in the vast majority of cases for any number of reasons.
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Jason Tesser
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crumbb wrote:
Any hobby/activity/behavior can be taken too far, to the point where it becomes unhealthy. There's no evidence to support the assertion that games, board or computer/video are worse than anything other random thing. Some kids live too much in their books. Some kids live too much in thier friends. Some kids live too much in thier sports team. Some kids live too much in x, where x is something that kids do.
LOL I didn't realize that only applied to kids. Not sure what that says about me. :-p
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Ronald Estes
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Interesting perspective, Jason. Well done!
 
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Phil Hesketh
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Interesting review, thank you. I play lots of games with my eldest two children aged 6 and 8. It always surprises me that they pick up games so quickly. Your review has encouraged me to try some of the games I have thought they will have difficulty with. I wish this game was around when I was eight ..!
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