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Subject: Fun, but the hype is overblown rss

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Nathan Collins
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Canton
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This is a quick and dirty review as you can get the box content and what the game is from previous reviews.

I walked into my local Flgs to buy a gift for my boss and by sheere luck they were having their half off sale on big box board games. I picked up Battlelore for 40 bucks (and railroad tycoon for 30) because of everything I'd heard about the game.

We played the game that night and it was fun, but it wasn't great. At the end we found the game far too overblown and though meticulously designed, not well designed.

The setup
- The setup to this game took forever. At first, my wife thought that it was quick as we put all the flag bearers out. then we realized that we needed to find and put 4 pieces up for each of the flag bearers per mission. And we needed to set up the terrain which has one type of terrain on one side and one on another.one side and one thing on another side. Scanning through the instructions the first time, I saw no real use for the other figures other than life points. This is a big gripe because it means that a majority of the pieces in this game are there just for life tokens for the 20 or 30 flag bearer figures. This also means that over 75 percent of the set up really isnt that neccessary. It would have been so much easier to use some other type of instrument whether it be a disk that dials 1-4, dice, one alternative figure that has some type of 1 to 4 adjustment on it etc. After some time though, we did get it set up.

We finished setting up the board and then passed out the reference cards. Again, another design HUH?. Why didn't they pull a shadows over camelot and provide just a panal with this stuff on it. Front and back would have been more than enough space. Heck, each player gets the lore mastery sheet. There is some wonderful artwork on it, but if they took away the artwork, they'd have enough space to put the reference material on troops and weapons.

Initial instructions
The instructions were not as clearcut as they could have been and could have used some editing. I found myself jumping around the book quite a bit. There was also no clear cut meaning in the book for what an order is. For instance, one of the cards said attack, so we assumed for the first couple plays that we could only do the attack phase if we had an attack card. Which was another problem that a list of cards is not provided with the book.

I was also not a fan that the lore and wizards council are far removed from the main instructions. There is a lot of jumping back and forth as if you're playing the other two sections they reference changes from the previous section. I just don't see the lore and war council section as optional sections. They are an important part of the game. They should have written the instructions fully and list what you can do to play a quick and simple game.

As we began to play to the game we liked the nice and mechanics of the game but the organization of the instructions made the game really difficult at times. The play was also hampered by the large number of figures on the board. Many times you'll have 3o to 40 figures huddled together and it takes a bit to gauge which units are yours and which ones go with which flag bearer. Another solution for this problem would have been hexagon figure trays included.

The End
Halfway through the game, we wer efrustrated and took a break. Played some King of the Elves and Carcosonne and came back to the game that morning. We managed to write down some notes from the instructions,and when we played again that morning it was easy sailing. We had fun, but I am glad I bought this game for 40 bucks instead of 75 and, though i do regret buying this and not the much less expensive Lord of the Rings: Confrontation game.
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Tim K.
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You do realize this is heresy, don't you? Let the flames begin! devil
 
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Evan Stegman
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dontadow wrote:
... but the organization of the instructions made the game really difficult at times. ...
Well, yeah. Because you ignored the instructions.

The instructions say to first play scenarieos without mercenaries and lore. Once you are comfortable with that (i.e., don't need the instructions for that part) then add in the merceneries. When you don't need the instructions for them any more, add in the lore.

Basically, the instructions were organized to work well if you follow their instructions. You intentionally ignore that and then complain they weren't organized well.

If you follow the instructions, it works pretty well because you the sections are organized with that in mind.


I taught myself the game and then taught two other people how to play.

Both times I taught a new player, we were able to get in three games in about three hours in the first session.

I start with scenario 2. Have each player play each side once. At that point, they are pretty comfortable with the basic troop mechanics, I add in lore with just a level one wizard for the third game.

For the next session, I added in both the mercenaries and the spider (scenario 6) - keeping the lore at a level 1 wizard only.

For the next one, we will add in the other loremasters.

Trying to learn it all at once is just too much. It works much. much better if you learn a portion at a time.

A little patience in adding in game elements goes a long, long way in smoothing the learning process.
 
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Jim Patterson
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A couple of thoughts.

dontadow wrote:
The setup
- The setup to this game took forever. At first, my wife thought that it was quick as we put all the flag bearers out. then we realized that we needed to find and put 4 pieces up for each of the flag bearers per mission. And we needed to set up the terrain which has one type of terrain on one side and one on another.one side and one thing on another side. Scanning through the instructions the first time, I saw no real use for the other figures other than life points. This is a big gripe because it means that a majority of the pieces in this game are there just for life tokens for the 20 or 30 flag bearer figures. This also means that over 75 percent of the set up really isnt that neccessary. It would have been so much easier to use some other type of instrument whether it be a disk that dials 1-4, dice, one alternative figure that has some type of 1 to 4 adjustment on it etc. After some time though, we did get it set up.
There's some truth to this in my experience. Having a good organizer or at least separate bags for the figs helps some, but this is always going to be a fairly heavy set-up/break-down game, and that's not going to appeal to everyone. DoW could've used something else to supplement the flag bearer figures, and you could still do that, but, like what they did or not, they went for a visual/minis approach.

Quote:
We finished setting up the board and then passed out the reference cards. Again, another design HUH?. Why didn't they pull a shadows over camelot and provide just a panal with this stuff on it. Front and back would have been more than enough space. Heck, each player gets the lore mastery sheet. There is some wonderful artwork on it, but if they took away the artwork, they'd have enough space to put the reference material on troops and weapons.
Someone will probably develop that sort of player aid pretty soon. The intent was to only give you the cards you needed for a particular game. Don't have any elevated terrain? Don't set that card out. However, I do tend to agree with you. This reference card system, which worked really well in Memoir '44, gets a bit cumbersome here, as there are a lot of reference cards.
 
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From reading this review it sounds like you:

1) Have never played or are familiar with any of the other Commands & Colors games;

2) Did no research on BattleLore prior to purchasing it;

3) Jumped straight into one of the later advanced scenarios without learning the rules through playing the beginning scenarios.

All I can say is that you were lucky to get this game at half-price and seeing that you regret buying it you can now probably sell it for a profit.
 
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Mark Bigney
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Yeah, Battlelore isn't for everybody, and the set-up time (though not the tear-down time, in my experience) is a bit of a drag.
But the game is only confusing, and the reference cards too cumbersome, if you jump in to scenario 6 or later with no prior C&C experience. I would recommend trying again with Agincourt, or just flipping it for a profit as already suggested.
 
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Bill Bennett
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If you want to seriously improve set up time, organize the miniatures. I have mine organized into four containers, two for each banner-type, and we can set up a scenario from scratch with a full War Council in about 10-15 minutes. The organizing takes time, but you'll save it back quickly with the time saved setting up scenarios.

I thought the reference cards were a good idea. After the first couple games, you don't need most of them, so you can leave them in the box. I think it was part of their notion that the game would be learned incrementally. Which goes to your comments about the rules. From the way you described your experience, I don't think you were playing it from the most basic scenario and building up to more complex rules. The rules are structured to build up from one section to the next, which works well if you follow their strategy for learning the game.

As to the "Attack" confusion and ordering, it does clearly state in the command card rules that you use cards to order units to move and/or battle. And, of course, the game doesn't call it an Attack Phase, it's called the Combat Phase, where the turn sequence says you "Battle one ordered unit at a time." I think if you just read throught the turn sequence on page 10, you should have a pretty good idea of what it means to order a unit.

Ultimately though, it just might not be your kind of game. And if that's the case, I know a lot of folks who'd be interested in a cheap, used copy of BattleLore.
 
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John Lopez
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So, anyone for some Advanced Squad Leader? Oh, you don't need to follow that programmed instruction garbage, let's just dive in!

 
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Joshua Wolf
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The first thing I did with my box was separating and bagging my figures by unit type. Makes setup a breeze.
 
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Chris Bailey
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Josh, that avatar is hilarious!
 
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Ubergeek
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Out of curiosity, what's the name and location of the FLGS that sold you the game at that incredible price?

Thanks.
 
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Josh
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Setup straight out of the box takes time. However, each individual game is rather short, which means that you can just set the figs aside in groups as they're killed during your first game, and then setting up subsequent games is really quick.

As someone who was generally familiar with the C&C system, but hadn't played one before, I'm glad they took the time to introduce concepts incrementally. The rules needed to play the first scenario are really easy, but the addition of the morale and follow-on rules increases the complexity quite a bit. It was a great call on DOW's part to make the rules and scenarios modular.

I guess it's up to each individual to decide if the hype was overblown or not. While there is no doubt the game was hyped, so far for me it's been deserved. I'm eager to see where this system goes.
 
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Neil Sorenson
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dontadow wrote:
Halfway through the game...
You mean at the 20-minute mark?

But seriously, that's cool that you were amused by the game but not overjoyed. I think Puerto Rico is a "fine" game but certainly not something that I have ever asked to play (and never will) but to others it represents gaming perfection. Whatever that means.

But in rebuttal, a lot of your gripes seem pretty easy to fix... don't care for the extra figures? Use tokens or dice, as you suggested. Don't like individual reference cards? Photocopy the bunch to a double-sided sheet. Etc. etc.

Your complaints seem to focus on shortcomings in the components rather than the gameplay itself.
 
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Nathan Collins
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EvanMinn wrote:
dontadow wrote:
... but the organization of the instructions made the game really difficult at times. ...
Well, yeah. Because you ignored the instructions.

T
We played the first few rounds just using the basics and yes this was confusing. There is lots of page flipping and it doesnt follow the natural order of the game. And this is before the lore section

We figured we'd only be able to play this game once so we played a few rounds normally, then a few rounds with lore. Heck, we were a bit bored with the game without the lore as our 30 dollar risk provided more wartime thrills. We also didn't want to play the entire game and then realize that the "full game" changed the rules we already were familiar with.

It wasn't as much as a problem of understanding the game, as much as it was that the instructions to help us understand was not layed out 1. 2. 3. Nor was it layed out in an if/then scenerio.

Hampering efforts was ,oving all the pieces around the board that really takes time away from playing the game. Essentially, I have to move the flag bearer and a figure representing each of his life. It was just frustrating considering there was no mechanic to do anything else with those figures.

Again, out of the three games we played that night this one ranked the least fave to get through. Plus a big part of the strategy seems to be lucking up enough to get the right colors on the dice.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Set-up and gameplay tip: Only set-up the Flag bearers. Each time a unit takes a hit, add a man to it (doesn't matter what sort of man, though I like to keep infantry and cavalry seperate). If a four man infantry or three horse cavalry takes a hit, it is dead.

The hype is a bit overblown on this one. It is certainly not going to overtake Puerto Rico before Christmas! Or after Christmas for that matter. In fact I left it in my termtime room today as I have better games to play over Christmas. But its still a neat little game system, and I'll come back to it in the New Year.
 
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Nathan Collins
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Philip Thomas wrote:
Set-up and gameplay tip: Only set-up the Flag bearers. Each time a unit takes a hit, add a man to it (doesn't matter what sort of man, though I like to keep infantry and cavalry seperate). If a four man infantry or three horse cavalry takes a hit, it is dead.

The hype is a bit overblown on this one. It is certainly not going to overtake Puerto Rico before Christmas! Or after Christmas for that matter. In fact I left it in my termtime room today as I have better games to play over Christmas. But its still a neat little game system, and I'll come back to it in the New Year.
I like this idea. We were actually thinking of doing something like this (or use small shadowrun dice as counters).

Also, we were playing scenerio 1 (french vs english) , using the lore master level 1 wizard setup a few turns in. This is the suggested sceerio from the book. The lore master part was easy to follow and I felt could have been included in the beginning. Again, the confusion came from the location of where explanations was on the card and in the book.

My goal is to play this game again tonight and incorporate some of the /fix/ techniques to speed up set up.

I did want to make clear that we had enjoyement playing the game once we had our own set of rules and fixes for the design features of the game (not the mechanics), however a game that has an 8.7 rating we hoped would be a game that can be enjoyed by every gamer. The basic game was a little dry but the lore master element was cool as were the spells. Tonight we'll try the war college.
 
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Dan Bigmore
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dontadow wrote:

Hampering efforts was moving all the pieces around the board that really takes time away from playing the game. Essentially, I have to move the flag bearer and a figure representing each of his life. It was just frustrating considering there was no mechanic to do anything else with those figures.
Really? I just grab all the figures in one clump and push them where I want them to go. And I've got small hands...

As to some other method for tracking "life points", personally I think I'd find it considerably more awkward to spot the strength of each unit "at a glance" if I had to read some value on a dial or dice, than just see which had the most/least figures. Each to their own though.
 
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David
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dontadow wrote:
EvanMinn wrote:
dontadow wrote:
... but the organization of the instructions made the game really difficult at times. ...
Well, yeah. Because you ignored the instructions.

T
We played the first few rounds just using the basics and yes this was confusing. There is lots of page flipping and it doesnt follow the natural order of the game. And this is before the lore section

We figured we'd only be able to play this game once so we played a few rounds normally, then a few rounds with lore. Heck, we were a bit bored with the game without the lore as our 30 dollar risk provided more wartime thrills. We also didn't want to play the entire game and then realize that the "full game" changed the rules we already were familiar with.

It wasn't as much as a problem of understanding the game, as much as it was that the instructions to help us understand was not layed out 1. 2. 3. Nor was it layed out in an if/then scenerio.

Hampering efforts was ,oving all the pieces around the board that really takes time away from playing the game. Essentially, I have to move the flag bearer and a figure representing each of his life. It was just frustrating considering there was no mechanic to do anything else with those figures.

Again, out of the three games we played that night this one ranked the least fave to get through. Plus a big part of the strategy seems to be lucking up enough to get the right colors on the dice.
So you didn't like the game because you didn't play it properly?

I mean, for the love of God, you threw the Lore rules in half way through a game! And you only played a few rounds? Rounds should be moving fast, it usually takes about 4 turns or so before you even engage the enemy.

If you don't like the game, that's fine. But at least play the actual game before you review it, instead of your own screwed up version of it.
 
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Nathan Collins
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Shryke wrote:
dontadow wrote:
EvanMinn wrote:
dontadow wrote:
... but the organization of the instructions made the game really difficult at times. ...
Well, yeah. Because you ignored the instructions.

T
We played the first few rounds just using the basics and yes this was confusing. There is lots of page flipping and it doesnt follow the natural order of the game. And this is before the lore section

We figured we'd only be able to play this game once so we played a few rounds normally, then a few rounds with lore. Heck, we were a bit bored with the game without the lore as our 30 dollar risk provided more wartime thrills. We also didn't want to play the entire game and then realize that the "full game" changed the rules we already were familiar with.

It wasn't as much as a problem of understanding the game, as much as it was that the instructions to help us understand was not layed out 1. 2. 3. Nor was it layed out in an if/then scenerio.

Hampering efforts was ,oving all the pieces around the board that really takes time away from playing the game. Essentially, I have to move the flag bearer and a figure representing each of his life. It was just frustrating considering there was no mechanic to do anything else with those figures.

Again, out of the three games we played that night this one ranked the least fave to get through. Plus a big part of the strategy seems to be lucking up enough to get the right colors on the dice.
So you didn't like the game because you didn't play it properly?

I mean, for the love of God, you threw the Lore rules in half way through a game! And you only played a few rounds? Rounds should be moving fast, it usually takes about 4 turns or so before you even engage the enemy.

If you don't like the game, that's fine. But at least play the actual game before you review it, instead of your own screwed up version of it.
The game is only average to me ( I did not say I hated it) because the instructions for the base game are not in a clear chronology of how things work in the game. I am sure I played the game properly. The lore element was actually quite easy to follow. Heck, all it is is a level 1 wizard and you get tokens and cards every turn. Again, the problem comes in figuring out the terminology. The instructions seem to be written for someone whom has played memoir and not from a person new to the system.

We played a few rounds of the basic version and it was just ok. The randomness of the dice and the cards really makes the game feel very random. We added the lore mastery because we were obviously not getting the full game from that experience. The lore mastery part made the game more enjoyable, but we still got hung up trying to follow the base instructions and terminologies from the book. We managed to figure out the lore mastery part with one quick read.

I just thought that a game with such high a rating would have a universal appeal for all gamers. I've rarely met a person; gamer or non-gamer whom didn't like any of the other top ten games from settlers to peurto rico to ticket to ride. This was the first game that I found fun, but not as fun as anything else I've played. I found risk games more strategic.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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dontadow wrote:
I saw no real use for the other figures other than life points.
Just like Warhammer Fantasy, except you didn't pay $3.75 per life point for a unit with 25 life points.
 
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dontadow wrote:

I just thought that a game with such high a rating would have a universal appeal for all gamers. I've rarely met a person; gamer or non-gamer whom didn't like any of the other top ten games from settlers to peurto rico to ticket to ride. This was the first game that I found fun, but not as fun as anything else I've played. I found risk games more strategic.
Well, I think Settlers is a pretty bad game (though I enjoyed it the first time)...

Anyhow, I've played Battlelore with three people, and they've all enjoyed it. The game is strategic (far more strategic than Risk, though pretty different games...) It DOES have luck issues though, so I've divided the Tactics deck into two symmetrical decks, and use normal D6s, with 4-5-6 counting as Lore tokens, but with all Lore costs doubled. (Also you can either Draw 1 card at the end of the turn, or pay 2 Lore to look at the top 2 cards and select 1.)

Keeps the Lore amount the same, or below, that of the normal game. Might want to allow the option to draw 2 Lore tokens.
 
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Anders Pedersen
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Mallgur wrote:
Plus, you only get 6 months access with each code printed on a game and so you must really continue to buy to keep the game alive, so to speak.
I was not aware of this. Where does it say so?
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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BattleLore IS fun. And I don't think the game was oversold at all.

It's got a Goblin Rider on the front and it's called BattleLore. They even put out a colorful Primer that had dozens of pictures of everything you were going to get. It's set on an alternate Earth with Giant Spiders, Earth Elementals, and Hill Giants—and they TOLD you that!

Anyone who thought this really would be a crunchy, gritty game about medieval warfare when they bought it have only themselves to blame.

Days of Wondered delivered what they said they would.
 
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Derek H
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dontadow wrote:
I just thought that a game with such high a rating would have a universal appeal for all gamers. I've rarely met a person; gamer or non-gamer whom didn't like any of the other top ten games from settlers to peurto rico to ticket to ride. This was the first game that I found fun, but not as fun as anything else I've played.
OK, this is now just plain silly. You've made your point - telling us what aspects of BattleLore you do not like - and others considering the game now have an alternative viewpoint to take into account. But saying BL is "less fun" than any other game you have played seems very much like "anti-hype" to me; and implying that everyone else enjoys every other game in the top 10 is also a sweeping generalisation; if you tend to game with people who share your tastes then this might seem true - but for me, at least, there are a few games in the top 10 that I do not enjoy. The ratings system is a guideline; not a guarantee.

 
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Simon Vasey
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WOW...

It really seems to me that you didn't research this game enough before buying it. Your complaints about all the miniatures seems strange to me. Why would you want to replace them with dials or whatever? The minis have a real visual impact on the board. Sure - you don't need them - you could play the game with wooden blocks (like Command and Colors: Ancients). But you're really missing the point of them. They are REALLY COOL.

A little organization helps A LOT with setup time. Keep you minis separated in ziplock bags, or a fishing tackle box. The board and landscape are setup pretty quickly - the only thing that takes time is adding your armies to the board. With two of you cooperating, it shouldn't be a painful experience.

As far as your complaints about the rules - I really have a hard time understanding this. I must admit, I am a Memoir '44 player, and was familiar with the mechanics. However, I don't really see what the BL rules were lacking. The chapters seem to be in a logical order to me. Whenever I've had a rules question, I've been able to skip to the relevant section easily and find my answer quickly.

I understand BL is not for everybody. I really feel you should give the game another go, after reading the manual properly, playing the scenarios more than once and in order, and asking questions here on the Geek. I want you to enjoy this game for what it is. If you can't, then I guess you chose poorly and will research your purchases more carefully in the future.
 
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