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Subject: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the Hype rss

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Neil Allison
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Hi,

I've just purchased Battlelore after seeing such positive info on BGG and would like to share my experience of starting out with the game. The Game is one day old and been played 3 times. I choose Battlelore as I have three other Days of Wonder "DoW" Games in my collection (Ticket to ride, Pirates Cove and Shadows over Camelot) and have been impressed with the playability and production of these games. I also wanted to see what the fuss over the C&C mechanism was. I considered Memoir 44 but felt that there would be more to Battlelore.

To put this review in context a bit about me and gaming. I've been playing board games for over 30 years and although new to BGG, I'm not new to Gaming. I have a collection of well over one hundred games covering most genres (wargames, family, euro, etc. etc.) and play games two or three times a week. Impotant point though - this is my first expeience at Command and Colours games.


The contents:

Minatures:

Open the lid and there they are - loads of minatures and looking good... unfortunately on closer examination as I started to unpack them a little disappointment started to occur. I Have to say that the minatures in Battlelore are not of the same quality as the pieces in the other Days of Wonder games I have. They are made with a softer, bendy plastic. The plus side I guess is that they are less likely to lose swords etc. The down side - A lot of the figures are severely bent and look like they are lying down. Almost all of the mounted units are like this to some degree and a number of the foot units. Due to the bendy plastic it's not a case of straightening them as they just bend back down again and in some cases would break if bent that much. I have written to DoW and await their reply.

Cards:

Again I have to say that the cards are not as well produced as other DoW cards - they don't have the same plastic coating so don't shuffle as well. The artwork however, is of a high standard and the cards are clearly printed. In Addition the use of summary cards is an excellent idea and certainly helped with getting started with the game. And the card holders are also a great idea.

Cardboard counters/terrain:

No problems here at all - well made and printed and excellent storage compartments in the box to help reduce scuffing and wear.

The Rules:

In terms of production they look impressive - very colourful with excellent illustrations. Although 80 pages a quick skim through and you see that there are loads of clear pictures/examples of play and the rules are broken down into sections so you don't have to read all of them before playing. In addition there is also a well laid out Adventures Booklet outlining the various scenarios. So at first glance not too imtimidating.

Dice:

Great to see two sets in a game but again the printing on the dice doesn't appear as robust as previous titles.

Board:

No probs here - a large green hex board


Playing the game / following the rules:

Right then lets get started. Moving the bent pieces to the side and choosing the straightest, the initial game of Agincourt was fairly straight forward to set up following the rule book and Adventures booklet. So we dealt out the command cards and here we go....

Hurdle one - So I have some command cards in my hand and on the top of the cards are words such as ATTACK, PATROL, ADVANCE etc. I could follow the rules okay as for the bottom of the cards - a number of units can be ordered in the section illustrated on the cards but i could not find any reference to the title words in the rules. So what is the diference between an Attack or a Patrol? What are the rules governing an an "Attack"? What does a "Patrol" do?

After a quick look on BGG for some info (couldn't obviously find any but an excel card list gave me a hint) and pondering the situation we came to the conclusion that the words (Title) on the top of the card had no relevance to the playing to the game so why are they there?. This became more apparant as the game went on. I see this as an ommision in the rules and felt that a subconcious assumption of C&C playing knowledge was made when writing - a simple sentence could have easily cleared this up.

This is my only real complaint in the rules and an annoying one as this delayed play. The rules governing the Lore cards are much more explicit and no real problems there. Why couldn't they have a section on the anatomy of the command cards as they have for the Lore cards? There are a few other niggles in the rules such as refering to the rogue as a he...check the picture!!

Anyway, moving on... The first game was okay but lots of checking rules. By the third game no problem, the game flowed well and was actualy quite easy to get to grips with including trying the next scenario.

In Conclusion:

Battlelore is a game in my collection that will definately get played a lot. A new player could pick up the basics after just one game if guided through and the playing time works well (about an hour a game).

I feel that it could be improved in production quality - minatures games have been around a long time now and this is the worst case I've seen of bent up figures especially considering the price. The cards and dice could also be improved as prefviously mentioned. The Rules should also have been clearer - if something is printed on the cards then it should be refered to in the rules especially as the game is entirely based on what the cards say.

So Great Game!! But sort out those minatures and don't make assumptions about previous gaming experience when writing the rules - they should stand up on their own.


So that's my rant about Battlelore from a first time C&C player.

Look forward to comments and any similar experiences

Neil
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Petras Ra┼żanskas
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Re: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the
Did you try putting the bent miniatures into warm water? I've heard they can be straightened quite easily that way. Even more, I've heard myths that Battlelore miniatures have a wonderful ability to straighten themselves when in warm water, however, I can't confirm this because I don't own Battlelore.
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Mark Chaplin
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neilmojo wrote:

Hurdle one - So I have some command cards in my hand and on the top of the cards are words such as ATTACK, PATROL, ADVANCE etc. I could follow the rules okay as for the bottom of the cards - a number of units can be ordered in the section illustrated on the cards but i could not find any reference to the title words in the rules. So what is the diference between an Attack or a Patrol? What are the rules governing an an "Attack"? What does a "Patrol" do?

After a quick look on BGG for some info (couldn't obviously find any but an excel card list gave me a hint) and pondering the situation we came to the conclusion that the words (Title) on the top of the card had no relevance to the playing to the game so why are they there?. This became more apparant as the game went on. I see this as an ommision in the rules and felt that a subconcious assumption of C&C playing knowledge was made when writing - a simple sentence could have easily cleared this up.
I thought that this would have been obvious to most.

Flavour text appears on every card in this game, and on most cards in other games. If I pick up a card called "Fireball" I don't look the word Fireball up in the rules; I just read the rules text below explaining what unit will become toast!



 
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Neil Allison
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It's obvious when you know - fireball isn't a command card and the rules explain lore cards clearly. In many games the title of the card indicates what can be done using that card so I'm sorry but I don't agree that it is obvious especially if you haven't used this system before.

My point is that assumptions shouldn't be made in rules they should be clearly written.
 
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Neil Allison
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carnifex wrote:
Did you try putting the bent miniatures into warm water? I've heard they can be straightened quite easily that way. Even more, I've heard myths that Battlelore miniatures have a wonderful ability to straighten themselves when in warm water, however, I can't confirm this because I don't own Battlelore.
Many thanks = I'll give it a go
 
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Pierre Gaubil
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Re: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the
Please go to to: http://blog.battlelore.com/bent/en/
You'll get our proposed solution for the miniatures.
Best regards,

Pierre@DoW
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Neil Allison
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pierreg wrote:
Please go to to: http://blog.battlelore.com/bent/en/
You'll get our proposed solution for the miniatures.
Best regards,

Pierre@DoW
Thanks for the info - Battlelore soup here we come
 
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Count Ringworm
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Re: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the
neilmojo wrote:
It's obvious when you know - fireball isn't a command card and the rules explain lore cards clearly. In many games the title of the card indicates what can be done using that card so I'm sorry but I don't agree that it is obvious especially if you haven't used this system before.

My point is that assumptions shouldn't be made in rules they should be clearly written.
when you line up each of the cards (attack, patrol, scout) next to each other and give them a look, you'll see that attack is 3 units, patrol is 2, and scout is 1.

the word at the top was just flavor, as mentioned. i can actually see how it'd trip someone up at first. it caught me for a second the first time i tried memoir 44, but then my hand had each of the above and i reasoned it out in short order. maybe i just got lucky?
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Gabe Alvaro
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Re: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the
Though the words at the top are basically chrome, I got used to it right away. I rather enjoy stating the card name when I throw it down saying, "I'll attack with three units on the left" or "I'll patrol with two units in the center" and my opponent knows what I'm saying. Just names for a second way of distinguishing one command card from the other.
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Mark Chaplin
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Ringworm wrote:
neilmojo wrote:
It's obvious when you know - fireball isn't a command card and the rules explain lore cards clearly. In many games the title of the card indicates what can be done using that card so I'm sorry but I don't agree that it is obvious especially if you haven't used this system before.

My point is that assumptions shouldn't be made in rules they should be clearly written.
when you line up each of the cards (attack, patrol, scout) next to each other and give them a look, you'll see that attack is 3 units, patrol is 2, and scout is 1.

the word at the top was just flavor, as mentioned. i can actually see how it'd trip someone up at first. it caught me for a second the first time i tried memoir 44, but then my hand had each of the above and i reasoned it out in short order. maybe i just got lucky?
That is exactly how I was introduced to this system - through Memoir '44 - and the naming of the cards never made me glance in the rules once.

As to the naming of the Lore/Command cards, the principal of flavour text is the same as any game. If I pick up a "You have won a beauty competition" card in Monopoly, I don't look it up in the rules, I just read the text.

Anyhow, I'm glad to that you liked the game!





 
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Arthur Dickie
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Re: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the
Bent Figures

I'd second the advice you've already had about fixing the figures. Use hot water and have a bowl of cold water near to hand to "fix" the figures to shape. Place the wet figure on some kitchen roll to dry. It shouldn't take much more than an hour to do the lot.

In fact, you'll probably find (like I did) that the figures will tend to spring back to the correct shape and will need little if any manipulation from yourself. Incidentally, I've had to do this with a number of titles including War of the Ring and Tide of Iron but Battlelore was definitely the worst.

Dice

There is a problem with the dice that were included in the early sets. Note DOW's dice replacement program. http://www.daysofwonder.com/en/promo/battlelore_dice/

Hope that helps.
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Dan Conley
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I ran demos of B'Lore and Memoir at the DOW table at Origins, and one of my B'Lore players became VERY confused over use of the Command cards. I figured out after a couple of minutes that he was focused on the card TITLE, not the bottom of the card that shows the effect! I explained that the title needed to be viewed as "flavor" more than content. I've played enough Memoir and B'Lore that I've gotten totally used to not even READING the card title, I guess.....
 
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Craig Palenshus
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Re: Battlelore: New Player and High Expectations due to the
I've taught Battlelore to several people now and the title of the cards has confused most of them. Having a card called "Attack" leads most newbies to believe that they can't attack unless they play that card. Once you have a few games under your belt, though, the title is excellent because it makes perfect sense to any experienced player when you audibly state: I'm going to "Patrol Right" as you play your card.

There's another thing that is hard for beginners to understand: Turn phases. I believe there is a rules card missing from the game that would look something like this:

TURN PHASES
1) Issue a Command - Select one of your Command cards to play and discard it
2) Order Units - Declare which units you plan to either move and/or battle with as determined by the Command card you played.
3) Movement - Move any or all of the units you just ordered.
4) Battle - Battle with any or all of the units you ordered.
5) Finish Turn - Draw a new Command card and replenish Lore and/or draw Lore card(s)

I played the turn phases wrong the first few games until I got to the lore adventures and it specifically states which phase the card needs to be played in. I played it originally where I'd pick a unit, move it and attack with it and then pick my next unit and so on until I've done that with the number of units allowed on my Command card. Needless to say, when we started playing correctly, the game was much different.
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Dan Conley
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In the rules booklet, there's a nicely laid-out page that outlines the turn sequence. I made color copies of this page and put them in plastic sheet protectors to use at my demo sessions. Using these AND the cards that outline troop movement, weapons, medieval tactics, etc. really help to clarify lots of things.
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