Battue: Storm of the Horselords
Time: 60 min.
“Battue” an inventive and compelling area control game
By MICHAEL ERB
PARKERSBURG – The storm has arrived. The Horselords, led by their Khans, are sacking the City of Brass Pillars, searching for the Golden Throne. The one that sits upon the throne will fulfill a prophecy to unite the tribes under a single banner as the Golden Horde. To the victor go the spoils, and the city shall burn.
“Battue: Storm of the Horselords” is a board game for 2-4 players by Red Juggernaut. Each player commands an army of Horselords taking control of different areas of the City of Brass Pillars, gathering loot and searching for the Golden Throne.
The objective is to have the most victory points at the end of the game. Victory points are achieved by controlling sections of the city and through Loot Cards.
The game board represents the city itself. Each section is a separate piece, and you randomly lay out the board each time with the pieces face side down, so you don’t know which section you are entering until you try to take control. The exception is the middle piece, the Palace, which always sits in the center of the board.
Each section of the city bears a name, a Defense Value, and how much it is worth. Players who manage to take a section receive Loot Cards and additional warriors as a reward, and whoever maintains control of that section receives its victory points at the end of the game.
Players start the game with six warriors, but can call for reinforcements at the start of your turn. Certain cards and city sections also give you reinforcements, but you can have no more than 15 warriors on the board at any given time, and no more than eight in any one group. Any warriors defeated go back into your reserve, and can later be called again as reinforcements.
Combat is pretty straightforward. If entering an uncontrolled section of the city, you use its Defense Value, with the player to your left playing the city defenders. Some Loot Cards allow you to boost your attack values, so the attacking player lays down cards, adds those bonuses to the number of warriors they have in that section of the city, and rolls a six-sided die. The total is their total attack value. The defender uses the city section Defense Value, adds a die roll and lays down any loot cards with a defense bonus, if they choose.The high value wins.
If it’s the attacker, they take control of that section and receive the spoils listed on the piece, such as Loot Cards and extra warriors. If the attacker loses, they remove one of their warriors and send them to their reserves. They can continue attacking until they either take control of the city section or lose all of their warriors or retreats to an adjacent city section they control.
Combat between players works the same way, except the defending player, the one that controls that city section, adds however many warriors they have in that city section to its overall defense. The battle continues until one side loses all of their warriors or retreats.
Some city sections also have Event Cards. Event Cards can be anything from forcing all players to discard Loot Cards from their hands to drawing more cards to automatic victory points.
Cards worth victory points go into a player’s War Chest and are tallied up at the end of the game. The game ends when players control three key areas of the map – the Palace, Templum Jupiter and Universitas – or if all but one player has been eliminated from the game, meaning they are the only one with warriors on the board.
The game is gorgeous, with plastic pieces representing the Horselords, incredibly well-done tiles with different city sections, high-quality cards with cool artwork and a great feel overall. The rules are easy to learn and the game is a lot of fun to play. Four-player games tend to be a lot more confrontational than two-player games, as the city (gameboard) actually is pretty big and can take a while for two players to explore.
I would highly recommend this game to anyone. It is a very fun, engaging, and beautiful game with an incredible back story and a unique feel.
For more information on “Battue” or other Red Juggernaut products, visit www.redjuggernaut.com. For more game reviews and discussion, visit my blog at http://merb101.livejournal.com.
Edit: A review copy of the game was provided for this article.
- Last edited Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:39 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:37 pm
Good review for a good game. Thanks for writing it.
I like the game also but can you answer a question? Is there any purpose to attacking the towers or the walls of the city? It doesn't seem to be worth the effort as opposed to attacking a city tile. Also, I imagine at the start of the game you must enter the city only on your side of the board at the gate. Is that correct?