Last night was my first real chance to play Battlelore, and we had the time to read up on the medieval rules and play through the first two adventures: Agincourt and First Chevauchee. If there is anyone out there who doesn't already own Battlelore (a legitimate question) then I'm writing this to tell you that we really enjoyed this game and why.
Neither my opponent (Doug) nor I are wargamers. The two most similar games we've played are Risk and D&D Miniatures and those are not similar at all! The complexity of Battlelore in the first adventures is low, there were only 2 medieval rules we missed on Agincourt and we think we got everything right on First Chevauchee. If you don't know, there are fantastic "Lore" elements and accompanying rules that come into play on some of ther later adventures.
Agincourt pits the English against the French with very different dispositions of troops. The medieval game has light, medium, and heavy infantry as well as light, medium, and heavy cavalry. Archers are basically light infantry with bows. The colors distinguish the "weight" of a unit so you pick up the movement and attack rules for all of these types of troops pretty quickly.
By the second or third turn you are choosing how to play the Command cards to lead your troops while viewing the gameboard almost like a chess board: you become aware of how close you are to the enemy, and make a conscious choice of when to put your forces close enough to be attacked. Our Agincourt battle found the archers less effective than we expected, with only a 2-dice attack while other units get 3 or 4 dice. Probably winning with the archers requires more strategy.
First Chevauchee pits two armies of identical composition against each other in Brittany. The only new elements introduced in this adventure are more terrain types: waterways and elevated terrain. Neither of us really capitalized on the terrain, probably again a sign of our inexperience. I really have the sense that this game scales to your playing experience.
The second adventure was decided by a mix of strategy and the Command cards. Essentially Doug and I each took the lead at different times but for the final two rounds he did not have useful Command cards. My strategy had been to use my Command cards that effect the left wing and right wing of the battlefield for several rounds. I moved those troops to the Center, and then I had 3 strong Command cards to use the troops in the Center. It was a gamble because with another good Command card Doug may have won as I was repositioning my troops. Instead I won with good dice rolls on my first advance down the center, but if I'd been unsuccessful I had more were that came from.
My favorite aspect to Battlelore is the Command cards, because instead of a chess-like experience where each person is considering every possible move, the cards limit or expand your options and focus the action on sections of the battle. With a hand of 4-6 cards, you always have choices, and the strategy lies not in individual moves on the board but on finding a good sequence in which to play your Command cards. There are also good reasons to play the weak Command cards (like Scout, which gives you only 1 unit to move) before your armies fully engage, in the hopes of drawing a more powerful Command card.
So: two new Battlelore players, both really satisfied with what the game offers, and eager to learn more strategies while playing the hands that fate deals to us.
* Attacking units in formation (supported) is always risky.
* Can archers fire out from the forest? (we decided that they could)
Entertaining game that looks to have some depth, from our first experience we'd rate this very high - 9 of 10.
- Last edited Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:19 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Jan 13, 2007 5:14 pm
Yes, archers can (and should) fire out of forests. With archers, you really have to milk their advantages to see them come into their own. Put them on hills, in forests, retreat from melee and fire your one die, and plunk away at those key links in the enemy's formation chain. Remember, they only hit on one side, but they can also roll flags to bust up a party!