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Subject: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't read. rss

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Jeremy Carlson
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Well...I saw a forum post a minute ago. Some of you have probably read it. Is it time for a new #1 game? Will Battlelore be the one to kick PR's ass? Hopefully...no. I love PR, and lets leave it at that. Back to Battlelore. This review, like the title says, is for people who know the rules already. Cause I'm not going into them, and most of you already know them.

So I finally got mine shipped to me a few days ago. No, not with the Hill Giant, I was one of the cheap bastards who didn't want to pay $70. So I paid $46? Don't remember whatever ThoughtHammer charged for the pre-order.

Anyhoo....I opened the box, and I'm and dazed by what I find there. Bits coming out of everywhere. Fantastic. Everything looks freakin' beautiful. DOW really did a great job....for the most part.

Now, in that post I just mentioned? Well there was an argument between two guys, one of which I have come to respect because of what he posts, and I can't for the life of me remember his name (but he has the historical statue photo for an avatar). To him, I am sad to say, I agree with the other guy. Around 50-60% of my non-banner figs are bent. Honest truth. I knew that was coming from the posts I had seen, and it didn't bother me when I pulled out my first one...but then I noticed how many I was pulling out that were. Yes it sucks, and it brought me down. Will I fix them? No. Why? Cause that just doesn't seem like fun. But playing the game, even with the bent figs...that does.

Enough already, get to the point you say. Fine, here is what I like and don't like after 2 plays. The first game was Aquitaine, 1369(pg13), and the second was September 1428(pg21 - only we didn't play with the creature, we replaced it with a green foot unit - didn't feel like adding more rules). Both scenarios were great.

What I like:
Calvery are NOT overpowered (my opinion). I know everyone is saying that, but I learned a valuable lesson playing last night. You leave Calvery unsupported, because you gave pursuit to get in a second attack, and you get horse killed. Quickly. Calvery are awesome units, but they suck on the front line. Once I lost two units because of that stupidity, I figured out how to use my last one, and he started takin' names.

Less terrain types. I love that they simplified this. 2 is all you really need. How the units move determines, most of the time, how many dice you are going to use. Good improvement over MM44.

Morale is a BIG deal. Supporting your troops is one of the best parts of this game. Battling back is a HUGE deterant (sp? - sorry, my spelling sux) to your opponent when he/she goes on the offensive.

Lore is NOT overpowered. Contrary to some posts I've seen, I see no need to adjust how much lore you earn. There were perfect amounts of spells being cast. About 1 every 3 turns. Sometimes more, sometimes less. And the spells are game winning events. I cast chainlighting on a group of dwarves. Awesome spell. What happened? Not a damn thing. Didn't hit the first unit, so I couldn't go onto the next. Still a kewl spell if it did work.

The pace of the game slowed down. MM44 seems to take less than 45 minutes usually. Battlelore, for those two scenarios, took about 2 hours per game. Perfect length. Since it matters now that your troops are supported, you spend more time setting up your units than just attacking at the first thing you see...part of what I don't like in MM44. This is a huge plus in my opinion.

Balance. Nothing was a big factor in deciding the game. The dice rolls evened out, both sides were casting spells, but nothing was game threatening. This is one of the best parts of this game. The luck factor is overplayed...it really does even out. In MM44, I would say its the opposite. In BL, positioning and good decision making won out in both games. I knew exactly what I did right, and what I did wrong. Most of the wrong was timing issues. I held a card to long (like a cleric spell that could heal a unit - if I had done it the way I should have I could have saved a Calvery unit), or pushed an attack where I should have held formation. Always pay attention to your lore cards...and trust me, you will forget, and fight the urge to make that rush forward...most cases, that will get your units killed.

War Council. Making your own is fun, even though way more simplistic than everyone makes it out to be.

What I don't like:
Archers ARE under powered. Maybe this is just my impression from movies, since I haven't really read anything historical from this time perios, but I thought archers were pretty damn effective. In BL they are anything but. Sure they can ping guys, but they don't do much else. Archers won't usually wipe out a unit, and I find it hard to justify wasting an order to use them. I'd rather they were 3d with only 2 guys per unit. So they would suck up close, but would have more incentive to order them for ranged. As it is, I'm not liking them. I don't want the game to be entirely about infantry. I want a good mix, so I might adjust that for my games.

Dwarves and Goblins. Sounds great right? NO. Dwarves are insanely powerful by being bold all the time. But that is their ability. Nothing else. I wish they had another ability instead of being bold. Not sure what, but something. Goblins suck all forms of ass. In the second scenario I played, I had the goblins...which face off against dwarves. Not good. They don't move quick enough to get up the board. Cause once you lose a unit in a supported group, you are going to be retreating like crazy. I lost that game 6-5. The last four units were goblins. My final move was retreating away from my opponent, but by then it was too late. He rolled two flags and it decimated my units. I should have retreated way sooner.

War Council...I know, its in my things I like part too. But there is more to dislike than love here. First, it is more simple than it seems. It is better to have a higher level commander, but really no incentive to have a higher level Lore Master of another kind. Most spells don't rely on a level, and if you don't have a particular Master, the spells you draw for that are almost worthless cause they cost so much. I picked a level 2 Commander and Cleric, and a level 1 rogue and wizard.

The Warrior's spells suck. Except for the 13 cost one. That one is insane. Otherwise, I saw no reason to have a warrior. Rogue and Cleric have some cool stuff though. I would like to see card expansions that are effected more by the Master's level.

I don't really care about the creatures. Not a bad or good thing. They just don't interest me. Throw in some dragons...then I might change my mind.


Sooo... What am I going to rate this game? A solid 8. DOW did a fantastic job here. Except for the dice problem they are correcting, and the bent figs, this is a seriously beautiful game. Its got a lot more depth than MM44 just because of the Morale rules. This game does have its weaknesses, but BL is so easy to adjust to your liking, that it pretty much doesn't matter. The balance is really good, and the luck factor evens out throughout the game, that I didn't feel like I lost because of it. Yes I had some bad rolls, but I had some awesome ones to. The lore cards didn't decide the outcome either, they just gave you limited advantages. I feel that I won(first) and lost(second) the games because of my decisions (held a card too long, made a stupid move with Calvery...), not by luck.

I can't give it a 9 or a 10, because I'm not always going to want to play this game. Some of things I've listed in my dislikes, such as dwarves, goblins and archers, though, affect my opinion. I highly recommend this game to all of the people like me, who while like MM44, but find it lacking. This is the step up you were looking for. For people that haven't played a Command & Colors game, I recommend trying it first, cause this game is very expensive, and shouldn't be an impulse buy.

For those that own and have played this game, PLEASE disagree with me, so I can see what you guys see that I might not have.
 
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Joe Stude
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
I had the same feeling about ranged combat in C&C Ancients: feels mostly pointless. The last game I played I think I inflicted one hit in probably 5 or 6 attempted ranged attacks. You get to the point where, as you said, you almost don't even want to waste orders on them.
 
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Joshua Wolf
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
I'm curious how you spent 2 hours per scenario. Even with switching sides and replaying, this seems like a lot. My first few plays averaged about 45 mins/game. I played Agincourt a couple days ago with someone who had never played before (though he was familiar with the C&C system), and it was about 1/2 hour from setup to finish.
 
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Matt Keyes
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A ranged attack in C&C:A isn't pointless - if you are attacking heavy cavalry (3 units) that has a leader, one hit (EDIT)kills removes one step from a 3 step unit PLUS causes a leader check. If you opponent doesn't move, then fire again next turn. Pretty soon you could have 2 trophies.

i'm not the history expert, but, while archers did play a big part in military history, they generally were not what turned the tide of a battle. Other gaming systems reflect this as well... for instance, if you play any of the Total War PC games, you'll see how archers can be effective but that they generally won't win a battle.

In C&C:A, i tend to use light range units to pepper the opponent's front lines. When those lines advance, my ranged units evade. Of course, in Battlelore there is no evasion, but there is a longer range (4 is the range for archers i think? i don't have the rules in front of me). They can be useful to pepper units from long range, especially if you roll retreats on non-bold units, but unless a unit is weak you won't take trophies with them. Like Goblins, however, they do have their uses - they just aren't a central piece of an army.
 
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Shane Tapp
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I don't understand the dislike of the archers... they fire on targets FOUR hexes away. For all points and purposes, you could conceivably roll more total dice with them than a unit of blues or reds that are in melee combat because they WILL suffer casualties. I suppose it is a matter of tactics. Also, there are some pretty darn mean lore, command and tactic cards for archers.

For example:

Eagle Eye: http://www.battlelore.com/index.php/?t=content&sub=lorecards...

Magic Missles: http://www.battlelore.com/index.php/?t=content&sub=lorecards...

Take Aim: http://www.battlelore.com/index.php/?t=content&sub=lorecards...

I could name more like Darken the Sky (insanely powerful archer Tactic card)

Also, you can place your archers in a forest to reduce the number dice rolled against them to 2. While you already use 2 battle dice, this is nothing more than a HUGE benefit for the archers.

To me this game is very well rounded...for every strength there's a weakness and vice versa.

I honestly think you will find the more you play, the more balanced the game becomes as you recognize different ways to accomplish things.

Thanks,
Shane
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Quote:
since I haven't really read anything historical from this time period


Its a fantasy game, they can mess with history for whatever reason needed.
 
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Blue Jackal
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Archers were (and are in Battlelore)pretty weak... UNLESS you're talking about English longbows, which came about somewhat late, I believe.

Nonetheless, I like spending orders on archers. Because sometimes you've got a card you want to cycle (be it Scout, Leadership, whatever), and you don't necessarily want to engage.

For example, one scenario (A Complex Web), I have archers and cavalry on one side of the field, I don't want to bring my cavalry close enough so they can be targeted by the opponent's archers, because I'm not ready to commit to an assault.

So, I plinked away for a bit.

So they have their use... of course, sometimes their use is going to become "stand in back to support my other troops."


You've got a point about Dwarves, they seem too awesome... I think "A Complex Web" might be a bad scenario since there's just way too many Dwarves. A couple units of Dwarves, with the opposing side having a Creature, would be much more reasonable.
 
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Jon Quinn
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We're going through the scenarios in order. We're on the third (goblins introduced). We're playing 2 games of each scenario before going to the next, switching sides each game.

On time: Our games last about 30-40 minutes each. Set up adds another 5 to 10 minutes (though it is quicker to reset up the second game of each scenario because the approriate pieces are already out).

Goblins - I think it is just a matter of learning how to use them, exploiting their natural talent and minimizing their weakness. Incidentally, in the last game, that weakness turned into a plus. Goblin lizard riders swept in from their maxumum 4 hex distance, attacked my bold human unit, destroyed a figure, were counterattacked by my bold unit, retreated four hexes on two flags back to their original hex far away and safe, lost none on the retreat (only a 1 in 6 chance they would for each hex retreated through). Sniveling goblin cowards! They acted like I imagine goblins would act, and did it well. But their real strength lie in their medium infantry's move and attack.

Archers - it may have been an anomaly, but in the first scenario archers play a big role. Because it was my first game of BL, perhaps what happened weighs more heavily on my estimation of their value than it ought, but they were deadly!! With "darken the skies" several enemy archer units nailed a full sized unit of cavalry of mine wiping it out at distance and caused some damage to other units of mine as well. They did exceptionally well, so maybe that was a fluke. Or maybe the archers just had bad luck in your two games.

Have not used the lore yet since we are going through the scenarios in order, but I have read the cards and look foreward to using it.
 
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Dan Bigmore
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
hughthehand wrote:
Goblins suck all forms of ass.

Thanks for the image. gulp
 
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Joshua Wolf
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
One effective use of archers, IMO, is to fire on flanking support units for a Bold unit you want to engage in melee. The archers can't do a lot of damage, but they have a 1:3 chance of forcing a retreat and making the target for your melee units no longer Bold.
 
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Mark Bigney
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Cavalry: mounted soldiers.
Calvary: hill on which Christ was crucified (aka Golgotha)
Calvery: I have no idea.
 
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Matt Keyes
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Typo: when i've had too much caffeine and i'm posting at work

Thanks for the correction (mine was the "Calvary", i.e. charging hills)
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Josh...you set up a game, taught a guy the game, killed 6 units, probably answered a lot of questions, probably had to double check a couple of rules, all in 1/2 an hour? Were you guys drinking that high-speed internet stuff? I played Wizards and Lore(pgs 12-13) the first game with a newbie, and no way could that be done in 1/2 hour.

My reason why I say archers are not that good: Haven't checked the other scenarios, but the two I played only had green banner archers. If they move, they only battle at 1 die. The second scenario I played(pg20-21) has a lot of terrain that blocks line of site, so they pretty much have to move. So I just spent an order to move the guy, and roll 1 die. I'd rather spend the order getting my foot into bold formations and move them up. Archers also don't have bonus strike, so you are only going to hit on the banner color. If you are playing well, your guys will be bold as often as you can make that happen, so retreats are also not going to happen too much. Like I stated, I would prefer a 3d at ranged, and maybe a 1 at point blank (knocking another arrow won't happen as fast at close range) and give the unit 2 guys instead of 4. Again, this is just my opinion, so keep the disagreements coming. If there is a better way to play these guys, PLEASE let me know.


Goblin foot - great...they can all move 2 hexes and MUST battle if they do so...in the scenario I had, it was against Dwarven Blue Banners. So I attack with 2, he battles back with 3 - no matter what. If Goblins aren't bold, he rolls a flag, I retreat 2, AND take panic loss checks. This is after a turn or two of him moving up, cause blue can move two also. A situation came up where he made one of my units retreat, making the other two non-bold, then smacks a second unit for one hit, and two flags, I retreat 3, take 1 hit because of that, and then he rolls again for my panic loss checks. GOBLINS SUCK! Again my opinion.
 
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Ramon Zarate
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Since you beg us to disagree:

Archers are support units and they are powerful enough, they can get a couple of shots on advancing infantry, a retreat is a lot to take for the attacker and a couple of casualties otherwise is great help once melee gets going. I only wish LOS rules were less restrictive, like allowing archers to shoot over units (which I think would make sense).... but then maybe they would be too powerful.

Archers are also good to make preasure on your oponent to advance, if he does not respond he will start getting easy casualties, then charging a weak unit on the right spot can mean disaster.

Goblins are weak but they come in packs as they should, they retreat a lot but I find they die less that what I'd like em to, and I've seen them giving a hard time to my dwarves specially considering the numbers, just don't insist on attacking with weak units. I think that finding dwarves over powered and goblins very weak involves not trying to hard to use units in a diferent way and ignoring the fact that balance can also be achieved in numbers.

And finally, for lore masters of higher level, you could argue that paying 3 extra lore for cards out of character is not a big deal so there is no real incentive to balance your characters.

Now I don't really belive my last paragraph, but I belive that having a higher level character helps a lot, for example, take a high level cleric (which people seems to feel as a weak option), if you ever get the spell that makes hills or forests attack units on them or adjacent you will tipically make a lot of damage (as people insists on keeping units close to such features), I've seen it in our games and it really hurts. So even if level spells are not that aboundant they do become quite powerful and I think is worth the tradeof, nothing is guaranteed but that makes decision meaningful.

And finally, you can afect how many character type cards are in play by choosing to not have certain classes, so having two level two characters and a level two commander makes much sense to me, the cards for those two characters will be far more available than the other classes and your oponent will have serious reasons to fear your speells, not to mention that higher level characters give you access to more lore cards in hand.

So there, I disagree.
 
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Samuel Höglund
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Ever heard of battleback? Archers don't care!
 
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Erick Sais
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I use archers and cavalry together as much as I can. Archers to widdle down the enemy and cavalry to mop up.
 
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Matt Keyes
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Since we're on the topic of typos...

i don't want to sound like a jerk here (hey, i had my typo pointed out), but i thought this was hilarious in concept:

Widdle: To Widdle is to play guitar fast. This is generally with reference to electric guitar, and in particular, more apt when applying it to someone from a rock or metal genre.

Whittle: Cut small bits or pare shavings from; "whittle a piece of wood"

Again, not trying to sound like a jerk - i just had this hilarious picture of goblins rocking out to a headbanging tune to encourage some cavalry (or calvary if you read my earlier post ))
 
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Joshua Wolf
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hughthehand wrote:
Josh...you set up a game, taught a guy the game, killed 6 units, probably answered a lot of questions, probably had to double check a couple of rules, all in 1/2 an hour? Were you guys drinking that high-speed internet stuff? I played Wizards and Lore(pgs 12-13) the first game with a newbie, and no way could that be done in 1/2 hour.


Pretty much- maybe it was 40 minutes. He had played Memoir and Ancients, so the underlying system was already familiar, and everything else he picked up from the reference cards. Doing the Agincourt scenario keeps Lore out of the picture, which makes the rules very, very simple. No question that bringing Lore into the picture stretches out the game a bit, but 2 hours still seems out of hand to me, like you're putting too much thought into your moves or second-guessing the system too much.
 
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Evan Champie
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Personally, I like the warrior. Fearless, the Run cards, and Bonus Attack are pretty good!
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Josh, I love your avatar. Makes me laugh everytime.

Well, it seems I'm in the minority on this stuff. Once again though, the scenario I played had a ton of terrain, so everything was blocking line of site. I'll see what I can do with the archers next time. Adding lore did add more time to the game. There is way more thinking when you have the lore cards in your hand. Another reason I like this game, the timing of when you play them is very critical.
 
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Gisli Sigtryggsson
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Re: For those who know the rules already. Otherwise don't re
Just want to reemphasize the importance of units with ranged attacks. Battle backs are free attacks for your opponent, so anything that lessens the chance of a battle back (read archers whittling down strength of a unit so that it can be eliminated in close combat) is VERY important and combined with sound tactics, wins the battle every time.

There is a underestimated difference between a full strength unit and a unit at a strength of three, or two.


 
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John Benn
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I think that Green human archers are not going to be the end of the story as far as missile units are concerned (Elves, Long Bows, Catapults, etc...) and they're a powerful enough starting point.

Green archers are more of a strategic asset than tactical game winners. As stated earlier, you can soften up units for other units to clean up, they're good for using extra left-over orders, they have good survivability in forests, and never have to worry about battle back. There are also some sweet cards like Green Banners and Darken The Skies that allow you to make good use of them.

If you're expecting Green archers to be the main thrust of your assault you'll probably be disappointed, but what I don't understand is why people are complaining that a bunch of Green units can't win you the game. Is that a big surprise or something?
 
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Philip Thomas
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Green archers are not that good. On the other hand in the right battlefield they can be a lot more attractive. I'm working on a scenario atm where there is a river of acid through the middle of the board. Doesn't block LOS, but has a chance to damage units moving through it. The other terrain is just hills, not much grows in an acidic valley. One side was using Undead units (as per the Variants forum), which are sloow... Much of the test game was spent shooting arrows at each other...

On another note, crossbows maybe slightly better than common bows, again depending on situation. Its a pity there aren't more scenarios with them.


I too would not give Battlelore a 9 or a 10. However, as I'm unlikely to actually play a game with anyone, I won't be rating it.
 
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Greg Lundry
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I'm going to throw this in just for the fun of it. Didn't see it mentioned earlier. Jeremy, even though it is fun playing with bent figures, it's also very easy to remedy. I got my boxed set in yesterday, and yes, almost half were bent. I boiled my water, made my bowl of ice water to go along with it, and then got lazy. I dumped the whole set into the hot water, waited one minute (if that), and then used a big spoon to put them into the ice water. I didn't rebend anything, but the majority bounced back into mold shape before they came out of the hot water. Use that same spoon to dump the set onto paper towels, and a few hours later, you have unbent, dry miniatures. I do hate having to wait that few hours to play my first game, but there's my 2 cents. Back to the trashing/defending of BattleLore. Happy New Year!!!meeple
 
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