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Subject: Quick and dirty. rss

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Dr. Jason L. Garner
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For what it is, in my opinion, I find Battlelore to be amazing. This game has its flaws, but that's to be expected. No game is perfect. The major flaw that I find with the game involves the defense of units. There are basically three different grades of units in the game, green, blue and red. Green is the weakest, and red is the toughest. However, how the game illustrates this is by increasing the offensive capability of the tougher units. That makes sense. But the red units move slower (concievably because they are heavily armored). Therefore, I feel as though they should have a defensive increase of some kind.

With that said, the mechanics of the game work. It is not really meant to simulate actual combat, but in a way uses that as a theme for players to compete using strategy. The artwork is nice, and there may be some warping of the minis due to packaging. But to be honest, you get over 200 minis so this isn't really an issue. I suggest using plasitc bags instead of the provided plastic trays to store your minis.

This game is customisable. You can set up scenarios however you wish, although there are a wealth of scenarios provided. You can also use the lore rules, which are very creative in that they allow you to use tactics like casting spells, getting reinforcements, etc. The game comes with reference cards so you can start playing in a short time. This is not an extensive review as others have already done this, but this is a sincere comment on the degree of fun in this game.

If you are a fan of moving little cardboard counters around with a pair of tweezers, you will not like this game. If you like Battle Cry (as I do), you will love this game (as I do).
 
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Andy M
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mistergarner1 wrote:
But the red units move slower (concievably because they are heavily armored). Therefore, I feel as though they should have a defensive increase of some kind.
They do, kind of

If your oppponent has a red unit that is 'bold' due to support, how likely are you to attack it, knowing that if you don't force it to retreat or wipe it out, it is going to battle back? That's a pretty good defensive bonus if you ask me!
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Roger McKay
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moss_icon wrote:
mistergarner1 wrote:
But the red units move slower (concievably because they are heavily armored). Therefore, I feel as though they should have a defensive increase of some kind.
They do, kind of

If your oppponent has a red unit that is 'bold' due to support, how likely are you to attack it, knowing that if you don't force it to retreat or wipe it out, it is going to battle back? That's a pretty good defensive bonus if you ask me!
I strongly disagree. It's not a defensive bonus, and the game is hurt by this flaw. It's a glaring error, and it amazes me that it was not fixed prior to release.
 
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Matt Smith
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In my approx. dozen games, I haven't seen the lack of an inherent defensive bonus hurt red units. Instead, their achillies (sp?) heel seems to be their movement rate of one. Most of the delivered scenarios have the red units starting on or near the back row. By the time they can move in range of the enemy, the battle is over. A solid 90%+ of units killed in my games have been green and blue.

I've also seen several instances of what the original poster said, regarding avoiding attacking a bold red unit for fear of a four-dice battle back. If you're using good medieval tactics and keeping your units supported, the red units can be a nice deterrent (if you can move them to the active combat zone).
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Paul DeStefano
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RogMcK wrote:
and the game is hurt by this flaw. It's a glaring error, and it amazes me that it was not fixed prior to release.
Far from a flaw, it is a design element.

One thing people have to realize is that a unit STRENGTH and not NUMBER is represented by a mini. An archer piece might represent 50 guys. A horse might represent 3. The same roll to reduce the strength of 50 archers or 3 knights suddenly looks very different.
 
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Bill Bennett
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The problem people have with this is merely one of perception I think. The mechanics of BattleLore are different from the usual methods, and it seems people don't realize that they achieve the same effect.

Take the typical mechanics of most wargames, where a to hit roll is followed by an armor save. The effect is that a lightly armored unit will hit a more heavily armored unit less often, as the number of hits is reduced by an additional armor save roll. So that in successive turns, the heavily armored unit has the likelihood of inflicting more casualties on the lighter unit.

Rather than having a separate armor value and save roll, units in BL simply have light units roll less combat dice and heavy units roll more. This has the same effect on the probability of causing hits as the typical method, but it's just more efficient.
 
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That is an excellent point Bilben04 that I hadn't realized before. When you think that both heavy and light units are swinging swords. It makes a lot of sense that the green unit over time will just do less damage. The armour is included in a deceptively simple mechanic.

I was disappointed when I first played C&C:A and then Battlelore. But after 50+ games I find that there is a lot more going on in the game than first appears.
 
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Andy M
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RogMcK wrote:
I strongly disagree. It's not a defensive bonus, and the game is hurt by this flaw. It's a glaring error, and it amazes me that it was not fixed prior to release.
It's not an error, or they would have fixed it by now. If this element of the game frustrates you, I am sure you could come up with a variant quite easily. Personally I think the way the game handles the issue (weaker units have fewer attack dice, bold units battle back) is fine.
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Brent Lloyd
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Bilben04 wrote:
Rather than having a separate armor value and save roll, units in BL simply have light units roll less combat dice and heavy units roll more. This has the same effect on the probability of causing hits as the typical method, but it's just more efficient.
Here is an example of what the issue is:

A Heavy unit has the choice of fighting against two adjacent units...A)Heavy Unit, or B)Light Unit. The Heavy unit rolls 4 dice against either unit, and the probability to hit either unit is exactly the same. Two hits is two hits against A or B.

What the previous posters are saying (and I tend to agree) is that perhaps the Heavy unit should be taking less hits than the Light unit - because its supposedly better armoured. This is NOT reflected in the game system. It is not a just a perception issue.

Now if you want efficient, then you have to impliment a system such that Light units would have a higher probability of getting hit, and Heavy units have a lower probability of getting hit. Medium Units would be the middle standard ground.

One way to do it would be to turn the Attack dice allocation around. Instead of the number of Attack dice being determined by the attacker, have the number of Attack dice be determined by the defender. However this would have folks complaining that the Heavy/Superior/Veteran/Etc units would'nt have enough punch.

The best solution would be to add or subtract Attack dice from a baseline unit. The Medium units would be the baseline Attacking dice and for Light Units-add a die, for Heavy Units-subtract a die. For example: Heavy Units roll Four dice when attacking a medium unit, Five dice against Light and Three dice against Heavy units. Now thats a reflection of both Combat & Armour values.

Ranged units would probably not adjust their dice, Armoured units were typically closely packed together and moved slower(easier target), Skirmisher units were spread out more and moved faster(harder target). There was probably a balance there, but I will leave it to a middle ages historical military person to correct me on this. There is something to be said for KISS.

Simple, Efficient, Elegant, Easy to remember, however difficult to introduce now that the game has been out for six months. But just think of the Monster & Hero Special Abilities this would open up!

Peace

Edited for Grammer, Clarity & Explaination.
 
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Bill Bennett
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Thunder wrote:

A Heavy unit has the choice of fighting against two adjacent units...A)Heavy Unit, or B)Light Unit. The Heavy unit rolls 4 dice against either unit, and the probability to hit either unit is exactly the same. Two hits is two hits against A or B.

What the previous posters are saying (and I tend to agree) is that perhaps the Heavy unit should be taking less hits than the Light unit - because its supposedly better armoured.
This is a good example of what I mean by perception. First, remember that troop quality reflects not just armor, but also equipment and military training. So a red unit should be capable of doing more damage than a blue or green unit in an absolute sense. But more importantly, you are focused on the hit probability of a single attack, rather than the probability of hits occurring over successive turns (e.g. the hit ratio) and the overall average results of the combat mechanics.

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Now if you want efficient, then you have to impliment a system such that Light units would have a higher probability of getting hit, and Heavy units have a lower probability of getting hit. Medium Units would be the middle standard ground.
This is how the system works now. Green units have a higher probability of getting hit by blue and red units. Red units have a lesser probability of getting hit by blue and green units. Units of equal quality have equal probability of hitting each other. Green vs. green unit combats take longer as these units are capable of inflicting less hits per turn, because they have little training and poor weapons. Red vs. red combat is more deadly, because even though they are better armored, such units are well-trained and have better quality weapons.

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The best solution would be to add or subtract Attack dice from a baseline unit. The Medium units would be the baseline Attacking dice and for Light Units-add a die, for Heavy Units-subtract a die. For example: Heavy Units roll Four dice when attacking a medium unit, Five dice against Light and Three dice against Heavy units. Now thats a reflection of both Combat & Armour values.
Using this system, the hit ratio of red to green units goes from 2:1 to a whopping 5:1! Red units could pretty much ignore green units with impunity. I don't think this would improve the game.

Let me just say, I'm not criticizing anyone for wanting the effects of armor to be more apparent in the mechanics. I understand how it would make the game "feel" better from their point of view. I just think doing so would add detail to what is an intentionally abstract combat system, without enhancing game play in any significant way.

 
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Brent Lloyd
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Bilben04 wrote:
This is a good example of what I mean by perception. First, remember that troop quality reflects not just armor, but also equipment and military training. So a red unit should be capable of doing more damage than a blue or green unit in an absolute sense. But more importantly, you are focused on the hit probability of a single attack, rather than the probability of hits occurring over successive turns (e.g. the hit ratio) and the overall average results of the combat mechanics.
You keep focusing on the Attack, nobody is disagreeing that the red units should hit more than the green units. I was focusing on Defense, and there is NO difference between the Defense of a Red unit & the Defense of a Green unit. In order to determine the differences in Defense of different units you must use the same type of attacker, which in my example was a Blue unit.

Now (I think) I understand where you get your point of view when attacks are occuring back and forth. One Red unit and one green unit standing by themselves toe to toe, exchanging attacks. The Red unit will, on average, come out ahead because he is rolling more dice than the Green unit. You can extrapolate that to say that its not just a reflection of the Red unit's superior weapons, training, etc...but also the Armour. I think (and apologies if I am being presumptious or wrong) this is your view.

I believe this is only valid if the units get equal number of attacks against each other and are isolated from other events. I have seen many times in my games where one person has a choice of attacking either a blue or a red unit, and always picks the red unit because the probability to hit either is EXACTLY the same. You may as well chip away at the powerful units if the chance to hit one is the same as a weaker unit. All things being equal, powerful units should be a target and then there really is no decision involved.

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Now if you want efficient, then you have to impliment a system such that Light units would have a higher probability of getting hit, and Heavy units have a lower probability of getting hit. Medium Units would be the middle standard ground.
This is how the system works now. Green units have a higher probability of getting hit by blue and red units. Red units have a lesser probability of getting hit by blue and green units. Units of equal quality have equal probability of hitting each other. Green vs. green unit combats take longer as these units are capable of inflicting less hits per turn, because they have little training and poor weapons. Red vs. red combat is more deadly, because even though they are better armored, such units are well-trained and have better quality weapons.
You keep swapping the Attacker, as I mentioned above, in order to determine Defensive capability between two units, you should keep the same Attacker. Again, I understand that the TOTAL combined ability of the Red Units is overall better than the TOTAL ability of Green units. Again, I think this is what you are saying.

The second part of your quote above highlights what folks like myself are trying to say: Red units Vs Red units should NOT be over quicker (stastically) than Green Vs Green, because the Red units ought to be wearing better armour and have better defensive combat abilities to protect themselves against attacks. However they are, as you mentioned, over much faster and this feels odd to me. This really is the heart of the matter.

It has been my experience that usually the final turn or two see lots of Green units left and few Red units left. It just feels odd when I think it should be the other way around. Perhaps its just how we play the game.

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The best solution would be to add or subtract Attack dice from a baseline unit. The Medium units would be the baseline Attacking dice and for Light Units-add a die, for Heavy Units-subtract a die. For example: Heavy Units roll Four dice when attacking a medium unit, Five dice against Light and Three dice against Heavy units. Now thats a reflection of both Combat & Armour values.
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Using this system, the hit ratio of red to green units goes from 2:1 to a whopping 5:1! Red units could pretty much ignore green units with impunity. I don't think this would improve the game.
It was not a serious proposal of a system that could be used for Battlelore, I was just brainstorming off the top of my head. You are correct, this would cripple Green units. You would need to move away from a D6 combat system to a D8 or a D10 system to get the proper balancing of odds. As an aside, I really wish games like this would move to a D10...they open up so many more options and allow more variation between units.

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Let me just say, I'm not criticizing anyone for wanting the effects of armor to be more apparent in the mechanics. I understand how it would make the game "feel" better from their point of view. I just think doing so would add detail to what is an intentionally abstract combat system, without enhancing game play in any significant way.
I agree whole heartedly with you, I am not trying to criticize anyone either. Bilben, I welcome your view points as intelligent and well thought out. A game system ought to be robust enough to stand up to scrutiny and thats where I would like to think I am directing my opinions. Game ON!

Peace
 
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Nick Floyd
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When I first read the BattleLore rules the issue of having no defensive difference between red units and green units did strike me as odd, but after playing the game I have no problem with it. This game is meant to be simple, and not to be an accurate model for recreating a medieval battlefield. That would be hundreds of times more complex.

You could also poke holes in many more elements of the rules. What about being able to just disengage a unit from an on going battle and jump several spaces to engage in a different battle? In a real battle the two fighting units would be so intermixed in violent melee that it would be difficult to separate them and then get them to run across the field to fight another ugly battle within the span of a few minutes.

What about always having to retreat to your own side instead of the nearest safe area? In a real battle, a routing unit is most likely going to run to a close defendable position instead of directly into the opposing army that has moved behind them. Sure, there will be troops who run the wrong way in the confusion and get cut down, but if the squad routing my unit has me cut off from my side, I'm not going to try to run through them. I'll go the opposite direction.

And when is the last time you saw a battlefield gridded out in a hexagonal pattern which the troops adhere to when they moved position? Ok, I'm being facetious now.

The point is that it's a game. It's a simple game that I can even play with my 8 year old. I love it for it's simplistic rules set and great level of strategy. Think about it. How many games are this simple, but at the same time give you the depth of strategy that it does? Sure, there is a good deal of luck, but planning ahead and setting up powerful plays are what it is all about. I don't care that my red units are just as easy to hit as my green units. They are still more powerful and a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield. And that's a good enough representation for me.
 
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