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Subject: BattleLore: A quick overview rss

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Giles Pritchard
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Game name: BattleLore

Author/s: Richard Borg

Players: 2 (though a future expansion – the Epic expansion – takes this to 2-6)

Playing time: 60 min

Key elements:

Basic maths, problem solving, spatial skills, logic skills.

Key Ratings:
= Low
= High

Depth
Strategy
Luck
Player Interaction

This is an absolutely gorgeously produced wargame by Days of Wonder – that promises to be a huge hit, and a major change for the company in terms of direction.

Short Description:

BattleLore is a dyed in the wool miniatures game that does it’s absolute best to answer many of the issues that have plagued miniatures games from the days of ‘Little Wars’. This game is designed to be quick playing (by the standards of games of this type), beautiful (as all minis games are), very well balanced (and it is a real gem in this respect), and to provide a set of absolute rules that allow for the variation of depth seen in other minis games without the ‘exceptions to the rule’ that often cause the otherwise simple rules to become a minutiae of little rules, exceptions and clauses.

Battlelore is a triumph of simple rules allowing depth, variation and replay-ability backed by a team renowned for their graphic design of games – and in this case a very intelligent graphic design – that allows a depth and variation to exist through visual cues where other games might use tables and record sheets.

Battlelore is a card-driven wargame but is a huge amount of fun and can be easily tailored to the depth required by the players, what is especially genius about this incarnation of Borg’s card driven system (other games include Memoir 44 and C&C ancients) is the Lore aspect (or magic). This element really serves to balance out the game – and also builds in a diversity I have not seen in any other minis wargame I’ve played. Players build their ‘war-council’ – with different types and levels of ‘lore master’ – and these dictate what sorts of powers are easily employed by the army and often the extent of their effect.

BattleLore is one of those games that recieved a huge amount of hype around the time of its release - that it has managed to weather that hype, and deliver, is a sign of a truly excellent game. With the Call to Arms expansion, the Epic expansion, with the skirmisher sets and promises of larger army packs as well as the Hero expansion - this is a system that will see a huge amount of development and improvement.

My concern when I first bought this game, was that the future expansions would do what many issues of White Dwarf (as well as new armies and army books) did to Warhammer Fantasy Battles - destabilise an exellent system. My worries on this front have been mitigated to some degree by the way in which Days of Wonder have handled themselves, the way they have answered thier critics, and the style and type of expansions they are planning on releasing. I feel now that to whatever 'depth' I choose to collect BattleLore - I will still have a game that is complete.

This is one of the best-supported game systems published: with expansions, net-based support, a huge net community etc – and you’ll have a war game system that you can take as far as you want!

By: Giles Pritchard
 
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Paul DeStefano
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A great review, but I would not call BattleLore a miniatures game at all. It is a game with miniatures.

A miniatures game, for me, includes a) miniatures and b) no pre gridded map.

WH40K=miniatures game. Space Hulk=board game with miniatures, even thoughthe pieces are 100% identical to WH40K.

The pieces in Battle Lore can be replaced by chits with no affect on gameplay (although a huge hi to aesthetics).

 
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Brian

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One could argue that the units in WH40K could be replaced with chits of various sizes with no effect on gameplay (although with a huge hit to aesthetics). (In fact, IIRC, the ancient version I had had cutout chits).
 
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Paul DeStefano
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Warpstorm wrote:
One could argue that the units in WH40K could be replaced with chits of various sizes with no effect on gameplay (although with a huge hit to aesthetics).


But those various sizes already affect things like line of sight. In BattleLore, or SpaceHulk, or other similar games, its the location on the grid of the board that effects LoS, not the miniature itself.
 
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Paul Dale
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What class would Heroscape fall under?
Miniatures that cannot be trivially replaced by various sized chits and a gridded board?


- Pauli
 
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Giles Pritchard
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Interesting point Paul, thanks for making the comment! I agree there is a difference. I think you're right about the 'game with miniatures' thing - though I wonder how much the expansions will change that?

Cheers!

Giles.
 
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Lucas Castro
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Wargames and Grids
Geosphere wrote:
A miniatures game, for me, includes a) miniatures and b) no pre gridded map.

WH40K=miniatures game. Space Hulk=board game with miniatures, even thoughthe pieces are 100% identical to WH40K.


I respectfully disagree. First of all, I do not think that you should be comparing how the miniatures look to see if the grid makes a difference, but comparing the rules instead.

Look at it this way:

Game A: uses no grid; has miniatures; minis have some sort of direct impact on gameplay; has ruleset X.
Game B: uses a hex grid; has minis; minis have some sort of direct impact on the gameplay; has ruleset X.

Which of those are wargames? Would you say that game A is a wargame, but not game B?

To me, all a grid does is save time by doing away with the need to measure out every move and every range element in the game. I would LOVE it if Warhammer 40K had a hex grid.

Mind you, I would also love it if WH40K had no luck involved (since luck hampers tactical decision-making), and forced you to use limited playing resources rather than using your entire army each turn (the downtime between turns can be really boring). In any case, I think what makes something a wargame is more than measuring distances.
 
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