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Subject: A light review after a few games rss

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s kisko
United States
West Virginia
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I played 2 games of Battlelore and thought I would throw out my brief two cents.

The Good

* A box crammed full of miniatures, you will get your moneys worth.
* Lots of bells and whistles for fantasy play.
* Command Council and lore adds a new dimension to the C&C A game play.
* Well balanced unit types, armies and lore cards.

The Bad

* Feels a bit too much like a C&C A expansion than its own game.
* Core card mechanic of Command Cards still unbalanced and luck based.

The Bottom Line

I was fairly surprised how my perspective of the game changed from the start of the game to the end of the game in both that I played. For both games I played I was pretty excited about playing but, that quickly turned to disgust as the Command Cards were mostly one sided to one player or another. The bottom line is when one player is moving 1-2 units a turn and the other player is moving 5-6 units a turn for several consecutive rounds, the game is all but decided. The bells and whistles become irrelevant and the unfortunate player is forced into damage control with his sub-par Command Cards while waiting for the chance that his fortune will change with the next card flip. Sadly even if the cards do eventually improve, the momentum has already been established and it would be remarkably difficult to break, at least against a competent player going for the win.

If I play this game again I will be more inclined to be a reserved and conservative player. Simply wait for my opponent to approach, wait until his cards screw him and then unload seems to be the safest strategy. While 'wait for his cards to screw him' is a pathetic phrase to say in a strategy game is it indeed relevant for Battlelore. I will probably try the game again and hope for a more equal game, which I do indeed think would be a great deal more fun. A multiplayer game may also help with the card-screw since there will be more than one person to think about.
 
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Gabe Alvaro
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You haven't really said what happened in your session that limited you so severely. Care to elaborate?

If you have a bad draw of command cards you should take a defensive posture and ensure your troops are bold and maybe trying to lure and trap your opponent until you can get a good set of cards. You would be very screwed by bad cards if perchance you A) had a commander who limited how many command cards you could hold and B) moved all or most of your troops into one section of the board, thus limiting the cards that would apply to them. Doing these two things together would make for a weak potential.

I think it serves a player well to wait for some good command cards, good lore cards, and enough lore to execute some powerful combos of command and lore cards. If you just launch forward pell-mell into the fray with no planning, you'll be in a weak position and most likely lose.
 
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s kisko
United States
West Virginia
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blindspot wrote:
You haven't really said what happened in your session that limited you so severely. Care to elaborate?
One game I won, one I lost. The one game I lost I drew into 4 'Scout' cards while my opponent played from the hand 5-6 move unit cards pretty much every turn. The Scout cards did eventually let me draw into better cards but it was far too late by that time.

blindspot wrote:
If you have a bad draw of command cards you should take a defensive posture and ensure your troops are bold and maybe trying to lure and trap your opponent until you can get a good set of cards. You would be very screwed by bad cards if perchance you A) had a commander who limited how many command cards you could hold and B) moved all or most of your troops into one section of the board, thus limiting the cards that will be able to move them. Don't do these two things together and you should be fine.
I appreciate the sentiments but honestly no large mistakes were made in either game. Our group war games fairly often, we are not initiates. We are all fairly close in skill level. In fact the game I won I did play defensively (and my opponent did as well) but my card quality eventually ended up outscoring his my orders-of-magnitude and it was no contest in the end result. The second game I had a reasonable starting hand (4 card size) but drew into utter crap for 7-8 turns. I was fairly offensive in that game in the start but the card-hose quickly wrecked any chance I had to either regroup or even take out some wounded units.

Both games were a blow out. Which is actually why I posted here since blow out games are rare in our group.
 
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I like the game... I pretend if you get crappy cards its because your "lines of communication" were bad during the battle
 
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Joseph Noll
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Grafton
West Virginia
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skisko wrote:
I played 2 games of Battlelore and thought I would throw out my brief two cents.

The Good

* A box crammed full of miniatures, you will get your moneys worth.
* Lots of bells and whistles for fantasy play.
* Command Council and lore adds a new dimension to the C&C A game play.
* Well balanced unit types, armies and lore cards.

The Bad

* Feels a bit too much like a C&C A expansion than its own game.
* Core card mechanic of Command Cards still unbalanced and luck based.
Thanks for the review. I naturally disagree. I don't think you have played enough to 'get' the game yet. Hell, I haven't played the game enough either IMHO I don't think it is a bad thing that feels like C&C Ancients. That is really a compliment. There are many series games out there, just because they are built on the same system doesn't make them bad. I don't think you could replace BL and C&C:A with each other, they are not redundant.

As for the card thing see DWTripp's posting on the forum. As we have discussed previously, it is not about doing what you want, it's about doing the best with what you are given. This is Fog of War. Now you may not like games with strong Fog of War, and I can respect that and so BL may not be for you.
 
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s kisko
United States
West Virginia
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JANoll wrote:
I naturally disagree.
I think the micro-badge saying 'Battle Lore Fan' summed that one up



 
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dave boulton
United Kingdom
etchingham
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drawing 4 scout cards seems highly unlikely were you playing them correctly? ifn you play one you get too pick 2 cards at teh end of your turn and keep the one you want discarding the other
 
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Joseph Noll
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skisko wrote:
JANoll wrote:
I naturally disagree.
I think the micro-badge saying 'Battle Lore Fan' summed that one up



We all have our allegiances, I'm sure you will have a WoW microbadge in time
 
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Matt Keyes
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The complaint here is not about the game but about card mechanics in general. Any card game, from Battlelore to Shifting Sands to Twilight Struggle to Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage to Pinochle to Blackjack - they all fall under the criteria of your complaint. Yet people do find strategy in these games. i for one think Battlelore and the C&C system work very well, but, if you don't like chance in a game (or recovering from bad luck), then they probably aren't the games for you (perhaps something more like chess or Bonaparte at Marengo is more down your alley?).
 
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s kisko
United States
West Virginia
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the_grip wrote:
The complaint here is not about the game but about card mechanics in general. Any card game, from Battlelore to Shifting Sands to Twilight Struggle to Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage to Pinochle to Blackjack - they all fall under the criteria of your complaint.
That would be a gross over exaggeration (blackjack?) but I will concede the point that it may not be for me, at least with the games that I played. C&C A and Memoir 44 didn't really stand out in my mind, although now that I think about it those games usually ended in a blow-out winner too. I guess my issue is the power level of the cards scales too dramatically. To the point where some player will be pre-destined to loose, no matter how well they play the game. While luck is a factor in just about every board/war game I play it is defining in Battlelore, and I hope you understand the difference. As I mentioned above it marginalizes the good things about the game; lore, balanced units, war council, spells and so forth. Anyhow, I looked over some of the other reviews and the 'luck' factor is definitely a reoccurring issue to some extent. I think that speaks for itself.


 
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Matt Keyes
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My previous comment was a bit over-exaggerated, but i was using that to show a point - cards, like dice, are chance-driven. While a game like blackjack is purely chance-driven, strategy does build as one adds more aspects and mechanics to a game, turning it into a new game altogether.

Coming from a wargame perspective, i do think that the luck of many of the card driven games might be frowned upon, and i can understand why. Some people prefer more control over a game that they want to invest themselves into (i.e. any game you play invests moments of your life that you won't get back), and i can understand completely their reason for turning away from the C&C system. That said, i personally do find that it mimics (on a very high degree) the lack of articulation in battlefields, especially from the early to mid-Middle Ages back in time (although it does have a place in a setting such as WWII). On a tactical level, this makes quite a bit of sense. However, anything larger (operational level games, etc.) it does take on a different face (i'm thinking of something like Shifting Sands or Hammer of the Scots here). i do think the effects of war being represented by cards (fog of war, etc.) do apply there as well, but they take on a different meaning.

Anyways, enough of my rambling . i definitely do respect that many people don't like the card-driven systems (just as many don't like dice-driven systems), and i can appreciate that. i'm biased in the other direction... while i don't particular favor card-driven systems, i do like them.
 
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Hunga Dunga
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skisko wrote:
For both games I played I was pretty excited about playing but, that quickly turned to disgust as the Command Cards were mostly one sided to one player or another.
Well, you have to remember that these are, after all, historical senarios.
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Roland Wood
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Yesss...I remember well those days in school being bored out of my mind as my history teacher droned on and on about all those European battles involving Giant Spiders, Hill Giants, and magic spells...

(I always had a tough time on those history tests where we had to write an essay on the differences between dwarven troops and goblin troops.)
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s kisko
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West Virginia
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A small update:

I played the game twice more this past weekend and nothing really changed my opinions about it. Both games were a blow out. We had two people playing each side (since 4 gamers were there), so most of the moves were pretty well thought out by both sides.

The first game was won with Command Card quality domination. Simply put my team had much better cards and we were able to dish out more punishment and take advantage of zones that they could not respond too. The second game was won pretty much single handedly with the 'Greater Portal' card. We drew the card as our opening spell and we cast it pretty early (turn 3 or so). This was the last scenario in the book (the one with the Keep) and my team simply use Greater Portal to take the Keep and it was a moot game after that. Unless our opponenet could dispell the card they had a very small chance to win the game since they had a small force contained in only 2 zones otherwise. If I played on the loosing side I likely would be been quite frustrated about that.

I was thinking about Battlelore a bit and I think what bugs me is that the game is usually not 'fair', that is one side usually having an advantage over the other in card quality. Since all other aspects of the game are fair - army size, army quality, command council points; I think that is what threw me off. I'm not sure why they balance several aspects of the game and then leave the command cards blown wide open. As such the game comes off as a card game rather than a strategy game. Perhaps the analogy of 'blackjack' someone made earlier was not so off the mark.

Anyhow, when its all said and done I had fun playing it, which is the point of playing. I would not consider winning to be any sort of victory where you out think your opponent however, which one reason I enjoy playing these sort of games though. The combos are obvious, your units move one direction usually (forward), and its pretty clear what units are best in what situations. My final score of the game is a 7/10.
 
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