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Subject: First Play rss

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Justin Moore
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Louisville
Kentucky
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So this was a few firsts for me. First Richard Borg game, first war game of any kind really. So I was looking forward to this.

We started with the opening scenario, I was english with a bunch of archers he was french with the 3 units of horseman. I went first and chose to attack one of his horse units with 2 of my archer units. This went well for me taking out two of his horseman.

And that is the end of any good rolls for me. There are a number of comparisons for what happened next. Me: Custer. Him: Indians. Me: Butter. Him: Hot Knife. Me: Powder Puff Football. Him: NFL. You get the idea.

He marched his units across the field and proceeded to slaughter me. The pursuit and follow-up attack ability of his mounted units were just devastating. He was rolling 4 dice at a time and got several cards where he was able to add a die for his whole turn.

I feel like I did nothing strategically wrong. At one point I was even able to order all 5 of my archer units to attack. NOT A SINLGE ONE HIT. This was the essence of my game.

All this said, I would like to try this again. For being a beginning scenario it felt very imbalanced to a new player like me. I'm not sure what I could have done differently given the cards I drew and the dice rolls I had.

In the end, you're still a victim of the dice. I'm hopeful that adding in other aspects of the game, not present in the learning scenario, will help mitigate some of the dice rolling tragedy that I encountered.

While I am willing to play again, I fear that another session where I just do not roll anything useful for, literally, 95% of the game, would likely mean I never play it again. I would like for this to not be the case.

 
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Yann Best
United Kingdom
Nottingham
Nottinghamshire
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First things first: I've never played Battlelore, ergo I can't comment on the game at all.

Right, that would seemingly invalidate anything I have to say, but bear with me: you say you made no strategic mistakes. I'd argue that fact. You may well have made no tactical mistakes, but, at least when considering the general rules of war, I would say you made one huge strategic error: fielding an all-archer army against an all-cavalry army: perhaps Battlelore is different, but in most wargames (and, er, most wars) cavalry is an archer's worst nightmare, able to engage in close-combat far too quickly for archers to work effectively. You may have played tactically brilliantly, and suffered from poor dice-rolls, but you were playing from the back foot to start with, which can only have exacerbated the situation.

I'd recommend giving the game a few more tries, with more balanced armies (though of course, bad dice can always ruin your day, but that's true of any dice-based game).



Edit: just noticed you describe this as the 'first scenario' - this is a prefab setup then? Hmm. It still sounds unbalanced, but perhaps the terrain is placed to favour the archers... not sure. Whatever the case, it does sound as though luck stung you more than anything (unless this opening scenario is actually poorly balanced). The only thing I can suggest is that the best way to counteract bad dice-rolling is to play larger games: the larger the game, the more luck tends to balance out, and the less a series of poor rolls can wipe you out.
 
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Justin Moore
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Yeah, the first scenario is prefab, so you're just given units and try to make the best of them. I would have given anything for some cavalry.

Like I said, I do want to play it again. I like your suggestion of "bigger". It does intrigue me and hopefully it will work out better if the luck can be smoothed out a little.
 
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1. You're not playing the first scenario according to the instructions. In the scenario book, p. 5, under "Advice To the Apprentice," second paragraph:

Quote:
Do not worry too much about Morale effects and Follow-on actions just yet!


And I would say that "just yet" should more properly be read as "at all." Don't use Bold, Battle Back, Gaining Ground, or Cavalry Pursuits in this scenario.

2. The Command & Colors scenarios are really meant to be played twice in succession, with the players switching sides each time, totaling their scores at the end of the second game. This way, it doesn't really matter what your setup is or what rules you use, as long as it doesn't change between the games.

Hope this helps!
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Oh, and P.S.:

3. Move your archers into the woods ASAP. Green troops should always be in the woods -- it doesn't hurt them at all, and hinders heavier units.

and finally, 4. BattleLore essentially comes down to who can roll more dice. Every decision you make should put yourself in a position to roll more dice than your opponent*. If your five archers roll two dice each (total=10), that doesn't compare much to his two heavy cavalry rolling four dice each, and then pursuing for an additional four dice each (total=16) ... well, what do you expect? That's an exceptional turn for you (ordering five units) and an average turn for him (ordering two units). You'd have to hope for lucky rolls, and "hope is not a strategy."


* of course, the devil is in the details.
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Matt Smith
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Troy
Michigan
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I find the second scenario to be much better than the first for introducing the game to new players. I feel the Medieval Tactics are crucial to making basic combat more fun, and the second scenario is designed to use these rules. Also, the armies are perfectly balanced, so there is no blaming the wimpy archers.
 
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Nick Floyd
United States
Minnesota
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This scenario is the historical battle of Agincourt fought in 1415 in France. The English army (archer side) was quite outnumbered and out equipped but won a decided victory by heavy use of the longbow and the muddy and narrowed terrain.

In the BattleLore version you only have the short bow (the Call to Arms expansion has longbow rules) but the increase in number of command cards is meant to represent other advantages that the English had. According to the official BattleLore website, the English win this scenario about 60% of the time. The one time I played it the English won, but it was close. You mostly had bad luck with the dice and it seems your opponent had good luck with the cards. This is definitely not the most balanced scenario in the game, but it should go a little better than that. Play it again and see if it goes any better.
 
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Sam
Australia
Adelaide
South Australia
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Remember guys, the scenarios (and played in sequence) are good in introducing you to different aspects of the rules little by little, until all the rules are implicated by the later scenarios.

Nothing should stop you from experimenting a little also...
Once familiar with the basic rules, try going back to some of the earlier scenarios and try playing them with lore, war council, landmark rules, creatures... the 2 of you can decide on the inclusions.

We've done that and I must say the experience is un believably exhilirating!! Some of the scenarios become more balanced. Still, bad rolls are still a pain but you may wanna set some rules like "best of/to three" for example....

Choices are endless and with new expansions and specialized units, the limit is the skies....

Luv the game

Congrats DoW!!!

Sam
 
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