- Marc ThompsonCanada
I finally picked up this game last week.
All right, lets get it out of the way, the box content for this game is impressive. The game contains a huge amount of figures for your buck - anyone who claims otherwise is silly. You really can't go wrong here. I won't go on too long on this because other reviews have, but just to reiterate, you get a lot of minis for your dollar.
Now... minor gripes
some figures slightly bent, fixable with boiling, but a pain in the ass anyway. I kind of wish the figures had of been pre-painted as well, but then I'm lazy. The card holders are kind of crappy in my taste - they needed to be weighted with metal in my opinion. This is definitely a game you'll want to get a tackle box for, or at least a bunch of Ziplocs. Still, the figures content of this game was really amazing. The board was good quality and the figures fairly detailed for there size - that flip up plastic thing was kind of obnoxious.
Box Content: A-
The rulebook is colorful (thank god!) and well edited - it was easy to see what the rules are talking about - a welcome change after a plethora of Euro games whose rules translations aren't exactly perfect. The books were also laden with colorful examples of how things are designed to work. The tutorial scenarios are fairly even without being identical, and do a great job of showing how the game works. The reference cards are awesome since they totally preclude the players having to fish through the rules every 10 seconds to remember how many dice you get in or out of a forest, or exactly how far the blue infantry moves.
The overall rules of the game made me think... "That’s it!?" the rules are VERY simple, even battlelore didn't take long to get. I can't see teaching this game to others being a huge problem.
Rule Book: A
The game does take a fair amount of time to set up - probably less once everything has been put away into separate Ziplocs and tackle boxes (hint). It's similar to Puerto Rico in set up time, but unlike Puerto Rico, you'll probably be playing more then one game of it after you set it up.
Essentially, you have to find a scenario, and place down the terrain, the correct banners, and then find a bunch of troops for each banner carrier. Putting it all on the table in the correct position can be problematic.
So we started playing. The first person I taught the game to was a local game store owner - not a war gamer at all, but an experienced role-player and board gamer. Getting the rules across was easy, and the game didn't take much time to play. My opponent was totally up for another game after the first, and vowed to get another copy of the game in. France and England went 1 and 1.
Second game was against someone who had already played the game a couple times, and experienced war gamer and board gamer. I got my clock cleaned, but had fun. After running through Agincourt once, we went on to scenario 5 and tried actual Lore. It was a very close game, and ended 4-6.
The next day I taught the game to another player who had never played before, but was a veteran of countless board and mini games. You've got to love a game where you can teach the rules and run through two games in 90 minutes. The first was Agincourt; the second was the introduction lore scenario. I won the first playing the French, he won the second in a totally one sided ass kicking. We tried warriors this time around instead of wizards, and assault just decimated me.
All players involved thought it was a great game and would readily play again.
The game is, indeed, a little random - bad cards and dice can totally hose you. I actually kind of like that as it creates potential for a lot of back and forth between fighters. In our first game I was shocked when my opponent's blue battle standard took out my heavy cavalry with one shot. In my last game, I couldn't draw a command higher then 1 to save my life.
I can't say I really mind all that much. There is still a ton of strategy in the game. When bad dice or cards hose you in a 3 hour war game, it's a pain in the ass - particularly considering that a bad start in most war games traditionally makes it impossible to come back from. In a 30-60 minutes game of BL, it's not really a big deal - you'll be playing again in a few minutes anyway, and the loss of a single unit rarely means you are incapable of winning. Even the games where I lost big, I still had a blast - even the games where I was stomping, my opponents still said they were having fun.
Gameplay Review: B
Absolutely huge. Ignoring for a moment the expansions, there are a ton of scenarios both online and in the books. As a board game, it has more replay ability then almost any game I've ever played - scenarios vary wildly, as will the cards you draw and the dice you roll. Plus I understand the expansions will make simple pick up games possible that allow roughly equal forces to fight each other. I'll admit, I've only played this 6 times so far, but I can't see myself getting bored of this any time soon.
Replayability Review: A (with a caveat that I've only played this game 6 times so far)
Overall, I can see how you might not enjoy this game if you are a die hard eurogamer, but it's a damn fine game in my opinion, hype aside - easy to teach and quick to play - and it's a mini game. My patience for painting FOW or WW40K models has long since departed - this game fills the miniature game niche for me quite nicely.
A- (I may edit this later depending on my feelings a month from now, but I'm VERY impressed by this game, all hype aside. If my opinion changes as I continue to play, I'll edit my review)
(Edit - Numerous emberrisizaintg spelng misstaks)
- [+] Dice rolls