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Subject: Why it's on My Shelf rss

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Rick Spray
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Madison
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BattleLore 2.0 is a game that belongs in a group of games that I would call hex combat games with dice combat. I have Memoir 44, Nexus Ops, Magic the Gathering Arena of the Planeswalkers, and this one. Now I “like” these games, but I think the one thing that keeps me from loving them is the dice combat. While I don't hate dice combat, I would much rather other systems such as those in Kemet, Blood Rage, and Cry Havoc. The latter systems still have a small bit of luck, but they offer bluffing and other aspects that make you feel like you had some real effect on the results.

I just sat down and played a game of BattleLore last night before I wrote this, my fifth play. Prior to this play I would have said that BattleLore is my favorite of this group of games, but I think I have to change that and say Memoir 44 is. And I’ll tell you why.

BattleLore has some really cool pregame actions that I love. You can deckbuild, army build, pick your scenario, and secretly place your troops. This adds some cool decisions even before the game. And in game, the Lore cards do the best job of making me feel like I'm mitigating the luck of the dice. Magic AoTP tries but only does okay, and Memoir 44 doesn't even try. So, when first playing this game the first few times I thought I would like it more. And I don’t want you to think this one is far behind Memoir44. Memoir44 Just takes a slight advantage at this point.

While I get that amazing feeling by making many decisions along the way that make me feel like I had more of an effect on the outcome. And BattleLore has several rules that make more sense, like the retreat and counter mechanics, along with cool unit abilities that really give you more to think about; at the end of the day a good part of the outcome of this game comes down to card draws and dice rolls. All the other stuff is almost a mirage that I would prefer if the game didn’t take twice the time to set up, and twice the time to play as Memoir44. I still really enjoy this one, especially once I finish painting all of the miniatures. There are a LOT of miniatures, especially with the two expansions. The wife and I have been tag teaming them and we are about 3/4s of the way done.

But, after contemplating which game I liked better for a while I realized that I just slightly prefer Memoir44’s 15 minute setup and 30-45 minute playing time when it comes to the amount of luck of the command cards and dice. Also, my wife doesn’t like the theme of BattleLore2, while we both enjoy the theme of Memoir44, us both being Marines and all. I do believe if I played BattleLore with someone who enjoyed the theme, and was a highly tactical player who gave me a real solid challenge I would probably enjoy BattleLore just a bit more. Not that my wife didn’t just beat me, but she is more of a strategic Euro player, and I am more tactical.

But as it sits now it is still a solid game that also offers me a lot of extra miniatures for DnD as well. So it will not be leaving the shelf due to its multi-purpose use, and because this kind of game is great for playing with kids that are around 10-14 years old because the luck gives them a real chance to beat me while giving me some tactical challenge. So originally I had this one at an 8.5 and Memoir44 at a 7.5, but my love for Memoir has gone up to an eight and this one has dropped to 7.5. I’ll tell you more about Memoir44 later.

So that’s why it’s on my shelf. How do you feel about BattleLore2? What is your favorite hex combat game with dice combat? Let me know.

Check out my Geeklist for other games on my shelf. https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/236719/why-its-my-shelf
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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BL2E is easily my favorite game of its type. I haven't played M44, since the theme of BL2E is far more appealing to me. The games that I find most comparable to it may strike you as odd: Summoner Wars and Pocket Battles: Elves vs. Orcs. Not only do these all have similar fantasy warfare themes, they all have dice-driven combat, units with special abilities, player design of armies, and a head-to-head two-player format. I like all of them, but Summoner Wars gets played the most (because of its fast setup and short play time). Pocket Battles is kinda brilliant and I should play it more. BL2E is just gorgeous, and a pleasure to play even when I'm getting the tar beaten out of me by my daughter's Undead army (usually).
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Sean D.
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I really enjoy BL2. Two problems I face are that I rarely play 2 player games and that my kids aren't old enough to play this just yet. Otherwise it would hit the table a whole lot more!
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Garrett
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Magic Arena of the Planeswalkers looked fun, but it doesn't come close to having the tactical depth of BattleLore: Second Edition. I like BattleLore so much, it's just about knocked Runewars from its long-held position of favorite board game in my collection.

True, dice play a role in how the game turns out, but the more I play, the more important movement becomes. Dice can turn on you, but that rarely feelslike the reason for a game loss.
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HANJEL T
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I love all this games. Probably my favourite is Commands and colors; Ancients. The reason is in its theme.
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Alex Bokser
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Hector131 wrote:
I really enjoy BL2. Two problems I face are that I rarely play 2 player games and that my kids aren't old enough to play this just yet. Otherwise it would hit the table a whole lot more!

+1. Same for me. Can't wait for my kid to start playing with me (should he want to).
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Garrett
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bxrrr wrote:
Hector131 wrote:
I really enjoy BL2. Two problems I face are that I rarely play 2 player games and that my kids aren't old enough to play this just yet. Otherwise it would hit the table a whole lot more!

+1. Same for me. Can't wait for my kid to start playing with me (should he want to).

My 8-year old just started playing this with me during the past year. (She plays Undead.) I can't wait for you two to be able to play with your children as well. It's great!
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Alexei Gartinski
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If it were not totally out of print, I would have said, try Battlelore 1.0: it has the same feel as Memoir'44, you can play it with magic or historically, and it is quite a different game compared to BL2 (sadly, most recent 2.0 versions of excellent games - Descent comes to mind - have been so "diluted"in "re-makes" that it makes them really not interesting to play, especially compared to the original...)
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Gary Baxter
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I absolutely love BL2. I actually have a couple of copies of the base set with all of the additional addons. Every person I have taught the game really enjoys it....but for some reason, it just doesn't come to the table as much as I would like.
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Joseph LaClair
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alexeigartinski wrote:

If it were not totally out of print, I would have said, try Battlelore 1.0: it has the same feel as Memoir'44, you can play it with magic or historically, and it is quite a different game compared to BL2 (sadly, most recent 2.0 versions of excellent games - Descent comes to mind - have been so "diluted"in "re-makes" that it makes them really not interesting to play, especially compared to the original...)


I'm almost with you on this. I agree 100% on Descent. They took Road to Legends and made it into Descent 2nd edition but not as good and removed the "one off dungeon" play completely. Leveling up and getting cool equipment was a slog.

I agree that Battlelore 1st edition was better than 2nd but 2nd was still good. One of the advantages with the 1st is exactly what the OP kinda complained about, set up. I really preferred it to be like Memoir with my map already telling me where my guys went. I also preferred points for killing enemies rather than holding positions.

One cool thing with 1st is if you really want the option for a more in depth set up, there was an expansion that gave it to you.

Also I, like you, loved the mixture of real and fantasy. I wished they had played more with the "real". I think it may have helped sales, not sure and the point is moot now anyway. There was a significant numbers of complaints that it concentrated too heavily on the fantasy. Maybe a half and half may have helped it.

Myself, I loved the fantasy and would have loved to see what supposed to have happened. Undead, elves, rat men, lizard men, ents, minotaurs etc. we got some. The monster pack was cool, I loved the hydra. We got some cool dragons, giant spiders, Giants, and some elementals. The dwarves and goblins were fleshed out really well and the game is still awesome. It's a shame we'll never see what it could have been.
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Scott Lewis
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jphien wrote:
Also I, like you, loved the mixture of real and fantasy. I wished they had played more with the "real". I think it may have helped sales, not sure and the point is moot now anyway. There was a significant numbers of complaints that it concentrated too heavily on the fantasy. Maybe a half and half may have helped it.

Maybe I'm in a minority, but I thought 1st Edition had too much "real". The way it was, as much as I enjoy 1st Edition, it always felt like it was trying to be both Fantasy and Real, but not really going in depth enough with either and thus not living up to what it could have been.

Granted, too much more "real" and it would have been a turn-off for me, but I do like that 2E just went full-out fantasy, and that's probably a large part of why I prefer 2E over 1E.
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Jim Marshall
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After playing 10+ games of each, I prefer BL2 to M44.

M44 is fun, and (if you keep spending money ...) has a lot of additional material / scenarios. But each scenario is exactly that - fixed victory conditions (usually kill a certain number of enemy formations), fixed forces, fixed set up. And quite a few favour one side over the other.

Also, the retreat rules do my head in in M44, and give it a push/pull feel.

BL2 is more dynamic - the players build the battlefied and victory conditions, build their own armies (once the victory conditions and battlfield are clear), and create their own set-up. There's an overhead to this, but it adds to the experience in my book.

While some of the scenario cards do seem easier to win with than others, there are 49 potential scenario match-ups just with the basic game, with a lot of expansions (again at a price....)

The retreat / counter / /support / weak unit rules add to the tactical decision making over M44.

While I won't turn down a game of M44, I'm happy to suggest playing BL2.
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