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All of my reviews aim to offer a brief overview that allows people to get a good feel for what the game may offer them. I feel that other reviews can be sought if detailed game mechanics is what you are after.
BattleLore is the 4th instalment in the Commands and Colours System by Richard Borg. Games you may know in the series include BattleCry, Commands and Colours: Ancients and Memoir ’44. This is important to note as the basic game mechanics are almost identical to the other games in the system. In essence the system features scenarios. Each scenario is outlined in the scenario book and outlines what terrain and other features should be placed on the map and where both sides initial units are placed. The board is divided into 3 sections and a deck of command cards are used to help issue orders to units in a single or multiple sections. An ordered unit can movefire or both and each unit has its own rules for how far they can move and attack etc. The deck of cards also includes tactics cards that are more specific and usually more powerful than the command cards. Each scenarioo outlines how many flags are needed to win the battle and flags are won by eliminating whole units of the enemy of capturing specific goals on the map.
In summary the system is excellent but I am happy to reveal that BattleLore has made many improvements over its predecessors. BattleLore is set in a fantasy world and they have devised the system to allow for playing ancient historical battles (Agincourt etc) as well as pure fantasy battles. The scenarios in the base game feature a mixture of these and this allows the game to appeal to a wider audience.
BattleLore offers a greater level of complexity and realism over other games in the system without becoming cumbersome. Units now feature their unit type and level of experience and armour (depicted on a standard bearer included with each unit). These attributes affect movement and effectiveness in combat. Lightly armoured units can move further but are less damaging in combat for example. Units can become ‘bold’ if they are supported by 2 or more units. Being ‘bold’ allows a unit to ignore 1 flag and if they hold their ground they can ‘battle back’, which is most devastating. The result is that players must be far more careful in how they approach the enemy and supporting units is absolutely critical.
The next major improvement is the introduction of Lore. Lore is essentially the introduction of magic but it also introduces the concept of creating a War Council. A War Council is a series of leaders from a range of factions (Warrior, Wizard, Rogue etc) and levels are used to ensure that both sides are evenly matched. Each leader has their own set of Lore Cards and these can be accessed and played during the game by rolling Lore results on the battle dice (which is a miss in combat terms). Each Lore result earns a Lore token and these can be used to play the cards in a player’s War Council. The affect of the cards vary greatly but they allow the player’s a greater flexibility over what they can achieve and the element of surprise is never far away.
If all this wasn’t enough BattleLore introduces creatures. Designed to be all powerful the creatures are a great addition and really enhance the fantasy component of the game. The base game comes with a Giant Spider and a Hill Troll and Earth Elemental are also available for purchase.
The Final Word
BattleLore is destined to become an absolutely massive hit around the world. It sold out in Europe on pre-orders alone and the promise of 3-4 army expansions each year and several blister expansions (creaturesheroes) will keep fans of the game very happy. The quality of the game is absolutely fantastic surpassing even Memoir ’44 and the box is 50% bigger than the usual to fit in the more than 200 figures that come with the game. The base game includes 2 human armies and some Iron Dwarf and Goblin allies. If you like this style of game then you should have BattleLore. It is worth every cent of its price tag.
- [+] Dice rolls