Friday, 8 June 2007

Battlelore: Under the Havoc Staff

If there is one thing that Days of Wonder annihilate their peers in, it’s marketing. They may only have a few releases a year but by God, if those releases don’t sound like the greatest gifts to gaming ever I don’t know what does. Battlelore currently stands as their greatest example of the hype machine – despite simply being the 4th ‘redevelopment’ of the very popular Command and Colors system, it promised to be everything from a mass combat war game system to a role playing game to a miniatures game to a naked lesbian orgy. It’s the current reigning champ of AT games based on Board Game Geek ratings, but does it hold up?

Components

The game is pricey, but you do get a lot of stuff in the box. The first thing that hits you is what at first appears to be the amazing plastic inserts. Everything has its own special place for storage, and it makes for a lovely display piece, except that most of the minis get squashed into a little compartment which badly warps them. It’s fucking ridiculous – some guy obviously spent a lot of time and money designing this thing, did 90% of it and then just seemed to say “Ahh fuck it!” and crammed the remaining stuff in a little section, rendering the whole thing useless. Now normally I couldn’t give a shit about inserts – most are either very cheap looking or generic, and so I toss them out without a second thought. In this case however the insert seems to have had so much work put into it that it feels like part of the game’s cost went into it, so when I throw these useless things out it feels like I’m wasting money. Still, it does sound rather anal to be spending such a long paragraph ranting about an insert, but as you will see the design of things being 90% "there" and then not finished properly is a reoccurring motif for this game.

The minis are cute but nothing special. The humans look a little bit squat and ugly, but you’re not paying Games Workshop prices and you get a ton of them so you can’t complain. One of the most exciting things about the game for me initially was that the game came with flags which told you what side the miniature was on – this meant that the miniatures could be used for either side, so you could have one scenario where all the humans were on one side, and then swap the flags on some of them for the next scenario so that both teams could have humans. Sounded great in theory, but in practice I have yet to see it used – none of the provided scenarios ‘swap’ miniatures between sides, and you get so many of each type that it feels like both sides get more than enough anyway. I would have rather they dropped this aspect and provided the miniatures in 2 sets of colors (one for each side) to make the board more lively, currently everything is a drab grey. Apart from these complaints the miniatures are fine.

The cards are lovely with nice artwork, the dice are wonderfully wooden (I prefer wood dice to plastic) and the counters and overlays feel solid. Everything comes pre-punched to cater for the laziest of asses out there.

Finally we get to the “massive” 80 page rulebook, which the game seems to wear on it’s sleeve with great pride. It’s really a case of a sheep in wolfs clothing though – 80 pages makes the game seem deep complex and involved but it’s mostly padding, you could condense the rulebook into 8 pages easily. This approach is a double edged sword – on the one hand the rulebook looks great, and goes into such minute detail that even the biggest drongo who has not played anything more complex then hungry hungry hippos should be able to comprehend the game. On the other hand experienced game players (like moi) will find themselves having to inject caffeine straight into their veins to keep themselves awake while reading the tedious and terribly obvious descriptions and examples, especially in the first half of the book. The book also over explains some rules to the point where it gets confusing, (much like this review!) – “bold” is a good example, it’s a simple rule that gets explained in so many different ways that it ends up sounding a lot more complicated than it really is. Sometimes less is more.

Setup

The game has a medium setup time, mainly due to placing the miniatures out, 4 per unit. The fact all of the miniatures are grey doesn’t help matters at all. Normally this amount of setup time isn’t a problem, except that the game is fairly short (1 hour max) so you feel the setup time more than you normally would.

Theme

The game centres on the 100 year war, but gives it a fantasy twist, having different nationalities instead be different fantasy races, and introducing magic and giant creatures. Interestingly it’s not quite fantasy fair, but rather is presented in a more fairytale or “disneyish” way with very colorful cutesy-poo artwork. Unlike most typical fantasy games things like blood, darkness and death is unseen and indeed wouldn’t fit, the violence being very cartoony. It seems to be more heavily inspired by Shrek than Lord of the Rings, which gives the setting a very unique flavor and suits the game really well. Graphic design wise the game is spectacular and beautifully presented.

Basic Gameplay

I assume most people by now have played the Command and Colours system (CCS) in one of its forms, it’s a rather simple and surprisingly popular system that even has old grumpy grognards fawning all over it in its CC:Ancients form. In case you are from mars and have never played a CCS game, the basics are you play cards to move your troops in different sections of the board then roll a number of dice depending on the color of the unit, trying to roll the color of the target to score hits. It’s very quick and clean and works well for boardgames – but the problem here is that battlelore is trying to push it into more of a open system, and I’m not convinced CCS is robust enough to handle it, as I’ll get to later.

The basic game doesn’t change much of the CCS formula, like CC:Ancients this version differs from Memoir ’44 in that it emphasizes movement and formations over terrain advantage, which makes the game feel more deep and tactical. However as terrain is less important, this also has the effect of making each scenario feel similar to the last one, so while the game feels more involved then memoir it doesn’t take long for each game to begin to feel samey. As in all other CCS games the luck factor is very heavy – while I’m not one to complain about luck, it does get tiring when every element of the game involves luck in some form. On the flip side this does make the game excellent to play with newbies, as they have a good chance of winning based on luck alone.

Victory is achieved by killing of a certain number of your opponents units depending on the scenario. Like Memoir, the scenario balance is up the shit, with one side often having an obvious advantage over the other. It is recommended that people play a game then swap sides and play again; tallying their total victory medals, but this has always come across as a cop out to me. There seems to me to be no reason why the designers don’t simply adjust the number of kills each side needs to win to reflect the scenarios imbalance apart from sheer laziness.

The other curiosity for me is why the designers dumbed down the dice system from Memoir ’44. Memoir ’44 dice system allowed different odds to hit different things – squads had a 50% chance of being hit, tanks were more difficult, and artillery were hardest of all to hit having only a 1 in 6 chance. It made each of these unit types feel quite different. Here however no matter what you attack – be it a heavily armored red unit or paper armored green until - you have the exact same chance to score a hit against it, and the designers basically spend three die faces to do what could have been easily achieved with one. Some may argue this is a big non issue, but to me those two wasted die faces could have been used to bring a bit more flexibility into the system, which is something Battlelore sorely needs as its going to be its biggest hurdle.

You see Battlelore in my opinion works as a very solid if unspectacular boardgame, but it is far to rigid to be this amazing system Days of Wonder are claiming it will become. It’s not the simplicity of the game that’s the problem, after all Heroscape is a very simple system that has an incredible variety of troops that feel and play different, it’s that too many of the systems variables are fixed – the color of a unit dictate the amount of dice it rolls, unit movement is fixed based on color and if it’s mounted or on foot, there is no characteristic to make a unit harder or easier to hit, and so on – basically it seems the designers have not left themselves enough room within the game mechanics to bring forth the amount of variety and big ideas the advertising and hype machine is claiming, but maybe I’m being too skeptical. Lets take a look at the ‘advanced’ features of Battlelore and see what they bring to the table.

Races

The game comes with a sampling of two races: dwarves and goblins. Dwarves are always Bold (a state of morale) and goblins are always frightened (another state of morale) and get a rush attack which is useless to their green units. That’s it.

Upon reading this, one thing sprang immediately to mind: Big fucking deal!

Say what you want about Warhammer and it’s sludgy, over complex, archaic and way overpriced system, but at least in that when you play a dwarven army it feels like your playing a dwarven army, which in turn plays and feels very different to a goblin army. These dwarves are simply bold humans. Apart from being a really poor design choice, as keeping units in bold is one of the main challenges of the game, and dwarves negate that making them boringly straightforward, it really shows a lack of imagination and scope. These races don’t present a new way to play, they are just fiddling around the edges of the mechanics as an excuse to sell the game as more than it really is, and demonstrate firsthand why I am so skeptical of this system becoming as great as it claims it will be.

The irony is getting the different races to play differently would have been quite easy – just copy what Combat Commander and a host of other different wargames do and give each race it’s own specific command card deck. The dwarven deck could have had less movement on their cards (as dwarves are slow) but some defensive bonuses or other such cards. The goblin deck could have allowed goblins to move en mass, making up for their weakness in combat, thus making them a swarming army. There was a lot that could have been done, but instead the main movement mechanic remained unchanged (despite the fact that we have seen it 3 times before!) and the designers simply slapped some minor rules on.

Because of this, and the way the victory conditions work with each side needing the exact same number of kills to win, as it stands I can’t see there ever being a fair dwarves vs goblins army fight. The dwarves would simply steamroll the goblins even if the goblins were given twice the numbers – after all each army would still only be able to move the same number of units per turn, as dictated by their cards. I simply cannot believe how disappointing these races are, and I sure hope DoW have something big up their sleeve because this shit just don’t cut it.

Creatures

Now this is more like it. Creatures are special figures that are each unique and have their own special powers. They remind me a lot of heroscape really, and the beauty of them is that they each play differently from the others and feel a lot more thematic and less mechanical than the races do, especially the earth elemental, which is quite a clever unit. This is more along the lines of how the races should have been treated and as they stand are the strongest aspect of the game. They aren’t perfect however, and I have two main criticisms:

Firstly, the rules have a number of holes when it comes to creatures, even forgetting to tell you how to recruit them at start up! Quite unforgivable considering the 80 page rulebook.

Secondly, killing creatures is too much of a crapshoot, involving 2 sets of rolls to kill them. This means that a lucky roll will knock off a creature on turn one, while other games will have the creature run rampant with the player unable to land a blow. Creatures really should have been given lifepoints, to allow the attacker to wear them down gradually and give the owner more control over their fate.

Apart from these issues creatures are a lot of fun, and I wish I could have more than one per side.

War Council and Lore

This is the big selling point of the game, and its bit of a mixed bag. At the start of the game each player gets to pick different characters (who can each be from 1 to 3 levels of strength) to make up his war council. One character slot can be a creature as explained above, and another can be a commander, who will increase your hand of command cards to allow you more flexibility in issuing orders to your troops. The other four characters give you access to spells / special abilities in the form of lore cards, which you can cast during the game. It’s a great idea, but it didn’t seem to get followed through properly so doesn’t work as well as it should (remember the 90% there analogy I brought up with the insert?)

For starters instead of each player getting their own deck, they share a common one built up of the character types chosen by each player. This means that even if you chose a wizard, you may not get any wizard spells in your hand all game! Worse, your opponent might get them, which he can freely cast himself (though at a small penalty if he doesn’t have the proper character.) This means that forward planning with the lore deck is almost impossible, as you cannot know what cards you will get during the game.

The other problem is that not all war council characters are created equal, with some being clearly better than others. It doesn’t make much sense to take a level 3 warrior for example, who only has 1 card that is effected by his level. On the other hand a level 3 priest is a natural choice if you want to win. As it stands the war council choices could have been balanced a bit better. The same applies to the Lore cards themselves - each card has a ‘lore’ cost, which is a currency used for casting spells, but again I’m not convinced the lore costs are all that well balanced. The popular example are the cleric cards “Hills Rumble” and “Forrest Frenzy”, which at 7 lore each are clearly better than say the theif’s “Sneak Attack” despite that costing 9.


Another disappointment is that the 4 different lore decks (wizard, priest, warrior and thief) play a little too similar to my liking. In fact lots of cards appear in multiple decks just under a different name. It kills the flavor for me and demonstrates yet again just how limited the system currently is.


Overall it is an interesting aspect of the game but the heavy level of randomness it employs and the overall lack of strategic planing they allow simply ends up making the whole game too luck based, and by this stage you feel as though the game is playing you rather then you controlling it.

Conclusion

Battlelore is the McDonalds of AT games; looks good in the adds, is convenient and does the job when you want something quick. But it doesn’t taste all that great, isn’t very fulfilling and as yet doesn’t live up to the promises it makes.


As it stands I’m disappointed - the game is too simple, too heavily influenced by luck and I feel the system is too inflexible to match its claims, but with the expansions on the near horizon we will soon be able to tell if my hunch is right. I have the first expansion "Call to Arms" on my desk and am about to bust the shrink as soon as I hit "send", wish me luck!


Recommended for those who:

Are new to AT games and don’t want to deal in anything heavier.

Only play games that go for no more than an hour.

Like to jump on bandwagons early (get in before there are too many expansions to catch up on!)


Not Recommended for those who:

Are looking for a bit of weight and depth.

Are looking for a good system with which to invest heavily in – this is no where near as robust as a miniatures game.

Are an experienced AT gamer with lots of games already (there probably isn’t enough here to keep you interested.)


Overall it’s not bad game and good for the ocasional play, but not all that great either. Doesn't deserve it's current hype or praise in my opinion, but I'll refrain from overall recommending it or dismissing it and simply sit on the fence.

72 comments:

Gary Sax said...

I haven't played Battlelore. I love C+C Ancients but don't need any more expansions to it. I'll get that bias out of the way right now.

That said, I agree with you so strongly about the C+C system not having enough levers to pull to make a whole Warhammer like game out of it. And it seems like even then, DoW didn't even bother to get creative with the levers they *could* pull. I am not convinced about the long term viability of Battlelore. I'm going to stick with Ancients and probably not buy any more expansions for that either until I see big improvements.

Good review.

alan polak said...

I have to wonder why this game is rated so highly on BGG. Could it be a simple case of the 'jumping on the bandwagon' you mention. DOW are the masters of hype when promoting a game. Have the masses been mindtricked? Is it a case of DOW trying to simplify a wargame to make it palatable to the eurogamer; hence the short playing time and distinct lack of racial differences? Or is it just aimed at younger players as you mention? One of the big criticisms of Warhammer 40k is that it has been dumbed down somewhat over the years to be more accessible to younger gamers who are obviously the lifeblood of the GW hobby. I think it may be a combination of the three. Shame really as I do like the C+C system and the idea of a Warhammer version sounded cool. But I agree with Gary Sax; no more expansions unless there is something genuinely new to add. So with the absence of the lesbian orgy you mentioned it sounds like a case of "we'll give you less and charge you more"

adrianbolt said...

I also read about it on BGG, wondered what all the fuss was about, and decided not to buy it.

Thanks for a really good review that pulls no punches. It looks like I'm going to remain in your 'must be from Mars' category!

Ken B. said...

Nice review as always, Skelly.

I know a guy on another gaming message board who was gung-ho about Battlelore several months ago...yesterday he's talking about how bored he's gotten with it and how he should've waited about buying it. Oops.

Juniper said...

Folks looking for a simple two-player wargame should consider some of the shorter Columbia block games instead. If you want to play with toys, get a Barbie.

MWChapel said...

Battlelore going so high on the geek is a backlash against cubes. I means it's got a ton of sculpted plastic, so much pretty art and colors...well it must rock. So it was hyped and rated up. "It's not C&C, it's not a rehash, etc." Well then people played it. Yeah, it's not all that great of a game. There it too much emphasis on luck, cards+dice = anything can happen.

"Hey look at that you one remaining goblin raider just took out all my heavy infantry in one roll, man love this theme, argggghhhh!"

It's just not a very good game, and all the expansions on rules and additional material will not make it a good game. Now the ratings are already reflecting this same sentiment, and beginning to slip slowly down the list.

Anonymous said...

If you want to play with toys, get a Barbie.

Them's fightin' words.

This was a really good review. I never liked the C+C system too well but it's okay for a quick game with some strategy and a high amount of luck. You really point out how lame the races are, which I had not read before. Perhaps some inventive soul can make a race specific rule set. House rules are an AT tradition

Ted T.

Juniper said...

"Them's fightin' words."

Look at it this way: Barbie's clothes come off. I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Anonymous said...

Very nice review, Frank. I think you helped pin down a few things that have made BL my least favorite of the three C&C games I own. You also had some really good, simple suggestions that I've never seen mentioned before, especially having a separate command deck for races (which DoW still could do ...). Heck, they could give us another set of dice, for that matter (but probably won't).

Great, great point about differing goals/medal counts for different sides. I remember M'44 does a little bit of that by having the Resistance get 2 medals for every tank unit killed in one scenario. Not sure why this couldn't have happened here. Taking a quick look at the AARs for the official scenarios that come with the game, it looks like five of the ten are significantly if not woefully imbalanced. While having one, the set's Pegasus Bridge, as a trainer for newbies, it seems like five out of ten's a little nutty.

I think marketing (DoW sold the *hell* out of this thing), the limited-edition figures, and the proven C&C system helped propel this one a bit beyond its capabilities.

Jim Patterson

ubarose said...

I believe that one of the reasons for Battlelore's popularity is that it is a "family friendly" war game. I know several gamer dads who like it because they feel comfortable playing it with their kids. Killing non-human, fantasy creatures is considered "fantasy violence," which is PG-7. Killing people is PG-13.

Mike said...

Awesome review. You made some very good points about the game & combat system which I would also be unhappy with if I were a more hardcore wargamer. As it is I still think the game is a fun diversion and hope that some of your suggestions might make it to future expansions.

gary sax said...

The variable card decks is a great solution to making the armies actually play different. Maybe they'll look into that, but I doubt it. The Dwarven/Goblin difference (bold/frightened) is a lame difference IMHO, as you noted.

I still have many questions about the winning conditions as well--they bother me in C+C Ancients as well. Alexander the Great going off to chase down 2 weakened Auxilia in the corner to win the game while the bulk of his persian opponent's army stands in mostly full battle shape on another flank? There has to be a better way.

Ken B. said...

If you want to play with toys, get a Barbie.


Last time I checked, babies played with wooden blocks before they graduated to Barbies and plastic dolls, so I'm not sure which is progress.

*grin*

Jack Hill said...

I still like Battlelore. The only thing I really agree with your assessment is that the scenarios are crap. That whole medal objective thing can never replace a good, solid, "defend this."

C&C Ancients and Battlelore do add a nice, new wrinkle that elevates these two over the first C&C games. The need to stay in formation versus the desire to break and pursue targets is very interesting.

And the new dice system no longer really needs to have uneven distributions of icons. Varying odds per die are handled quite well by the weapon flag system.

The new balance seems to work much better for ancients. (Also, the invulnerability of artillery in the first two games always bugged me. Guns were usually easy to take out if you could get to them. )

I actually prefer ancients battles to modern. To me, Battlelore is a cleaner and prettier version of C&C ancients with a bit of wackiness thrown in. That it does well.

I suspect that a lot of people were hoping for something else.

Ryan Walberg said...

Good review, pretty much sums up my experience with the game.

Jezztek said...

Yeah, I gotta say this pretty much sums it up for me...

Pat H said...

Nicedly pointed out Mr S. This just isn't a very good game - unless you mean to play with children.

Casey said...

I'm afraid I have to disagree on several points.

I don't really get your criticism of the different races. Yes, goblins and dwarves aren't that different from human units, but different tactics decks for the different races? How is that supposed to rectify the situation when entire armies of goblins or dwarves are never even fielded?

I'm really sick of hearing complaints about the dice. Yes, one side could be a generic 'hit' symbol, but critics ignore the use of lore and tactics cards that let you activate or target certain units depending on what colors are rolled.

The plastic. When I first heard about the game and the banners showing each units colors/equipment I thought there would be a generic foot, mounted and archer units. This idea would have made set up quite a bit faster for people who have a hard time distinguishing minis. I do share the same complaints about the plastic inserts. I gave up and bought an organizer that holds all the minis and still fits within the box.

I think the lore council works well and I enjoy the benefits the customization adds to the game. The different decks do have a few too many cards that do the same thing, for example strike first, retreat, send unit back to space where it began that turn, etc. I don't think the level 3 priest/forest frenzy/hills rumble/water whatever is necessarily the game winner though. Some maps don't have any river tiles. What good is the water card then? Or catching a handful of units next to a mountain or forest? It doesn't take a genius to keep his units out of the forest and hills if he thinks his opponent has any of those cards. Plus they might not even show up in the deck!

I think on its own, BattleLore is the best of the commands and colors systems. It's not perfect, but it's a solid light war game.

I think base games should be able to stand on their own, but the Call to Arms expansion adds even more customization and ditches the 'unbalanced' scenarios. It rests on you to choose what are you army is going to consist of and who leads it. You can field an army with a large amount of goblins and give yourself a level 3 commander to overwhelm your enemy. You can focus your strategy to strike havoc with a creature or anything else you can think of.

The upcoming dwarf and goblin battalion expansions will add more units like musicians and more tactics cards. And the great thing is, they are only 20 bucks each, and you don't need all of them if you don't want them. But it sure beats paying $50 for an expansion for some other systems.

A lot of people whine about how it doesn't live up to the hype. Well Public Enemy said it best "Don't believe the hype." In other words, don't get all worked up by a marketing blitz, and don't get all pissy when a game lots of people love fanatically, you only find to be OK.

Crumb said...

I'm with casey. I think most of the "flaws" brought up in the article are design decisions that the author doesn't agree with.

I don't think artificialy balancing the scenarios would add anything worthwhile to the game IMHO. Playing twice works great for us because we get double playing time out of one setup, so saying it's some sort of cop-out is a stretch.

The C&C games are not strategic. None of them. They are tactical games. I don't think long term planing is the design goal.

To each his own I suppose.

Mr Skeletor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr Skeletor said...

I don't really get your criticism of the different races. Yes, goblins and dwarves aren't that different from human units, but different tactics decks for the different races? How is that supposed to rectify the situation when entire armies of goblins or dwarves are never even fielded?

I'm quite sure the marketers said that different races clashing would be a feature of Battlelore. I certainly don't recall anything stating the game would only ever be human vs human. What's the point of the 'army' expansions then?
Different tactic decks would be a problem with the current 'mercenary' way of playing, but that could be easily rectified by either not allowing mixed races in your army (in the main set they could have made Dwarves Barbarians and goblins peasants or something) or by having the player create a mixed deck when creating mixed armies - you can trade some cards for others in your command deck. This would involve a fair bit of design work to get working properly, but since Borg is on his fourth iteration of this system I don't think that is too much to ask for.

I'm really sick of hearing complaints about the dice. Yes, one side could be a generic 'hit' symbol, but critics ignore the use of lore and tactics cards that let you activate or target certain units depending on what colors are rolled.

That is a handful of cards at most, which could easily be modified or taken out all together without effecting the game play at all really. After all Memoir 44 had very similar cards and yet managed to have a better dice system.

The plastic. When I first heard about the game and the banners showing each units colors/equipment I thought there would be a generic foot, mounted and archer units. This idea would have made set up quite a bit faster for people who have a hard time distinguishing minis.

As a plastic junkie I'm glad they are different myself.

I don't think the level 3 priest/forest frenzy/hills rumble/water whatever is necessarily the game winner though.

I never said they were a game winner. I said in comparison to the other cards and their lore cost these cards are too cheap for what they do. They really should have been toned down.

Some maps don't have any river tiles. What good is the water card then? Or catching a handful of units next to a mountain or forest?

For 7 lore catching a handful of units seems like a fair price.

It doesn't take a genius to keep his units out of the forest and hills if he thinks his opponent has any of those cards. Plus they might not even show up in the deck!

It's easy to say "well stay out of trees and hills if your opponent is fielding a priest." but the reality is the scenario dictates where you send your troops. Are you honestly going to keep your troops in open ground and allow your opponent to grab the landmarks just in case these cards come up? I doubt it.

I think base games should be able to stand on their own, but the Call to Arms expansion adds even more customization and ditches the 'unbalanced' scenarios.

I brought call to arms and crown and glory (the warrior knights expansion) at the same time. One I will praise and a great expansion. The other I will condemn as a piece of shit. I'll let you speculate which is which. ;)

The upcoming dwarf and goblin battalion expansions will add more units like musicians and more tactics cards. And the great thing is, they are only 20 bucks each, and you don't need all of them if you don't want them. But it sure beats paying $50 for an expansion for some other systems.

The price you pay is relative to what you get. I don't mind paying $50 for an expansion if the result is worth it, such as is the case in TI3, Descent and so on.
I haven't really been keeping up with whats coming up for battlelore since the system has kind of fallen flat for me. I'll take a look at these things when they are released.

A lot of people whine about how it doesn't live up to the hype. Well Public Enemy said it best "Don't believe the hype." In other words, don't get all worked up by a marketing blitz, and don't get all pissy when a game lots of people love fanatically, you only find to be OK.

Fair point.

Mr Skeletor said...

I'm with casey. I think most of the "flaws" brought up in the article are design decisions that the author doesn't agree with.

Which is pretty much the purpose of writing something - to give your opinion on it.

I don't think artificialy balancing the scenarios would add anything worthwhile to the game IMHO. Playing twice works great for us because we get double playing time out of one setup, so saying it's some sort of cop-out is a stretch.

You could still swap sides and replay the scenario even if they were balanced.

The C&C games are not strategic. None of them. They are tactical games. I don't think long term planing is the design goal.

I agree with this, which is why I didn't really bring it up.

vandemonium said...

A paragraph about the insert? Flowery phrases? - "the dice are wonderfully wooden"?? - Dear lord, Frank, all your missing was working "lacking the elegance of Space Hulk" into the review. BTW - were you able to get the box lid off OK ;)

Cheers,
Van

Mr Skeletor said...

Well I haven't played Space Hulk so I wouldn't know.

Malloc said...

Great Review,

I wish I have read it before spending the cash on battlelore. I have played it a bunch of times now and feel about the same as you do. Its just not there for me, probably too simple of a game to ever be there.

-M

Jack Hill said...

Regarding the C&C games as not strategic:

That's the reason I rather like Battlelore. It has strategy, unlike Battle Cry and Memoir. Mostly, this is because the ranged units are far less deadly, and maneuvering actually happens.

The spell cards are occsionally powerful enough that it is worth setting up a particular situation over a couple of turns.

Still, it ain't the 7th best game ever made. BGGers are smoking crack.

The big downside is that battles take twice as long as the other two games. And Battlelore doesn't strike me as an order of magnitude deeper.

Muzza said...

In spite of agreeing with a couple of the negative points, like the illogical dice system making heavy units just as easy to kill as light units, I have to disagree with the overall tone of the review. It's not a perfect system but I do find it a hell of a lot of fun and am very excited by the upcoming expansions. I expect the Epic rules to add more tactical depth and the Dwarf and Goblin expansions to add color to those races.

I see the base set as the 'human' rules with just a dash of the other races as a teaser.

One aspect I like about the game is it's flexibility. It would be very simple to design your own scenarios or adjust existing ones to make them more 'balanced' than the printed ones. Balanced in whatever way you want to make it. You could easily take an existing scenario and say you win if you take this hill, I win if I kill 7 units. DoW encourage such creativity and will publish your creations on their site. Such after sales service adds a lot of value to all their games.

At the end of the day it's 'Horses for Courses' 'Each to their own', You don't like it but many do.

JMcL63 said...

You make the occasional apt point Mr Skeletor, none of which you develop adequately. Why? Because your article is just your personal tastes and prejudices masquerading as analysis. An ignorant and long-winded hatchet-job in other words. I guess the anti-Battlelore is well and truly in train. I won't be jumping aboard.

Cheers,
John ;)

JMcL63 said...

That should've been "the anti-Battlelore backlash", naturally enough.

Cheers,
John ;)

Casey said...

What's the point of the 'army' expansions then?

Well we don't know everything yet, but they will add new weapons: axes, pikes, ranged weapons, etc. Probably new terrain. New units like musicians that can be a whole unit of themselves, or one can be added to a regular unit for some bonuses.

The idea of customized decks sounds cool, but what's the point really when you have customized forces, war council and tactics cards? Part of the game is sharing the command deck. And I really don't have any problems with that.

I brought call to arms and crown and glory (the warrior knights expansion) at the same time. One I will praise and a great expansion. The other I will condemn as a piece of shit. I'll let you speculate which is which. ;)

Aw, c'mon! I'm a horrible guesser. I haven't read anything about the Warrior Knights expansion, haven't even played the game. From my experience I think the Call to Arms expansion is pretty good.

Also what about Epic BattleLore. I haven't played that yet. Have you given it a shot?

Jan Lucas said...

My local store just got its first copies of Battlelore and - having heard some early grumblings about how BL was not up to scratch after all the hype - I fought down the urge to buy it. Regarding the C&C system, I enjoy M '44 for the quick and easy game it is, and just felt there wouldn't be enough new here or necessarily a better experience. Based on this review and a number of others I've seen, I'm glad I resisted.

Mr Skeletor said...

You make the occasional apt point Mr Skeletor, none of which you develop adequately. Why? Because your article is just your personal tastes and prejudices masquerading as analysis. An ignorant and long-winded hatchet-job in other words. I guess the anti-Battlelore is well and truly in train. I won't be jumping aboard.

G'day John,
I'm not quite sure where you go the impression that this article, or any other article on the site for that matter, is anything but opinion. Of course it has my tastes and personal bias all over it, it would not be mine if it didn't. Fact is any 'analysis' of something as subjective as boardgames will be loaded with those things, just like your response is. After all I bet that had my article been written in the exact same style but given a more glowing review you would not have had a problem with it.
I'm not sure how I'm ignorant though - after all I do own the game and have played it.
In the end the only way I can write a review that is not bias is to simply explain the mechanics to you. There are plenty of reviewers out there who do exactly that, but that's not my style. Id much prefer to express my highly opinionated opinion on something. Now feel free to argue with any of the points I have made in the article like Casey is doing, but if you are just going to hurl insults at me and my writing style your wasting your breath, I'm far too lazy to ever change it, and far too stubborn to ever shut up about my individual perspective on things.
After all, this is a blog site.

Mr Skeletor said...

Casey:
I assume eventually you will be able to field armies of other races, I always interpreted the mercenaries to simply be 'teasers'. It will be interesting to say the least how they tackle it.
I was far from impressed with call to arms, but I plan to write a piece on that next week (someone warn John!)I haven't read the epic rules or know anything about it apart from the fact it comes with a second board, I'll wait 'till it comes out around here and then check it out.

alan polak said...

It is interesting how much stock people put into reviews. If their review doesn't match your review then it's like the first sign of the apocalypse or something. The OP seems to be no different from any other review in that the opinions stated are just that:opinions. As stated the ONLY way to do a review of a game is by owning it and PLAYING it. I read a review the other day on BGG for this game where the reviewer hadn't even played the game yet. Point is I don't use ANYONES opinions when I buy a game. But then I've never used BGG, or Dice Tower et.all as a tool to tell me what to like or what to buy next. Mr. Skeletors review was never going to get me to buy Battlelore anyway. I have two Warhammer armies, got C+C, and Memoir. There never seemed enough there to make it worth buying. Now that I've tried it I'm glad I didn't buy it, its....meh. There you go there's my review.

JMcL63 said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply Mr Skeletor. Again you make some apt points, but this time I find your argumentation tight and pithy. I think I will return in a later comment to back up my own epithets with arguments, but first I'd really like to explain why my first post to Fortress: Ameritrash took the tone it did.

I first found out about this place via the BGG. I happened upon the threads there about the banning of Michael Barnes. I was dismayed, because I'd enjoyed his sarcastic iconoclasm. Once I knew his style and recognised his handle, I'd check out his posts on purpose, looking for a good laugh. I was rarely disappointed. Naturally enough then, I followed the link from the BGG to here, and added Fortress: Ameritrash to my bookmarks.

The sad fact I must report is that I find this place much less entertaining than I found Michael across at the BGG. Where's the spark gone I keep asking myself? The kicker for me was Michael's 'Theme and Meaning- The Destruction of Sly Stallone Block', an article I found pretentious, sprawling, and self-indulgent. Yes, I know that you didn't write that Mr Skeletor. And I guess you might be feeling that I'm just hurling around epithets for the sake of it. But I'm not.

My point is that, framed as it was in the terms of your self-declared 'war' on Eurogames, the article's premise was utterly artificial. More than that (and as a direct result I feel), that piece utterly failed to convey the thrill of its subject. I mean, what can compare with bringing your opponent's block crashing down when the only damage he's done to yours is to light one small fire, which you were in the process of putting out? Hmm? Nothing. Where was that kind of buzz in the article in question? Nowhere.

Again, I'm not saying this to diss you all and your efforts. Rather, I'm trying to point to something which I've learned from spending a 'good' 2 years reading TheUruguayanGamer, the blog of the notorious RPGpundit, a man who's spent all this time making an ever-bigger arse of himself retailing one or two insights couched in the form of his own little internet culture war.

And there's my point. It's the easiest thing in the world to head out onto the net to create a stir with some shit-kicking and cage-rattling. And no doubt you felt like doing exactly that after Michael fell foul of the family-friendly policies of the BGG's host. And I honestly think that you were justified, in that you were probably genuinely hard done by (simple lack of information prevents me from saying more than that). But you all have to get over that. Why? Because if you don't your blog will be crucified by what will inevitably increasingly come across as petty bitterness (like I said, I've seen it happen elsewhere). And I'm saying that Mike's lost his touch. Which means that you're already paying the price. Which is why my first comment here took the tone that it did: I'd been thinking about this for over a month now. In other words: you paid the price for my unexpressed reactions to Michael's article. For that I do offer an apology.

I'll be back to comment more seriously on your above article if you'd like me to. In the meantime, if you like, you could head across to "Roll dice and kick ass!" to see if you think I'm talking out of my ass when it comes to matters of style and substance.

Cheers,
John ;)

PS. I'll be adding y'all to my blogroll when I find the time to update it. :)

Michael Barnes said...

Well, here I come, bringing up the rear after being DSL-less at my new house all weekend...

Yet again another F:AT staffer (and I do mean STAFFER) steps in and writes my article for me this week. Thing is, mine was going to be another edition of Thunderdome pitting BATTLELORE against MEN OF IRON.

BATTLELORE. When it was announced how the game was going to be marketed and distributed, I thought "wow, this is something really cool that has a lot of potential". When I saw the game, I thought "hey, this is a great production of a great system". When I played the game, I thought "I want C&C:Ancients back". I considered it pretty highly for the first few games, but it didn't take long for the new to wear off and for me to realize that the lore was just a bunch of samey nonsense tacked on to an already cluttered game with little depth or detail.

One of the main problems with BATTLELORE to me is that the fantasy setting is just completely generic on every level...and aside from that, this whole "100 Years War" thing is a bunch of shit- it's a completely generic medieval setting. I'm sorry, but the fact that the fucking English Longbow can't shoot over a rock is pretty god damned stupid. And like Jack Hill points out, the change in the dice system really took out a lot of the unit differentation. The Dwarves have a great ability, the Goblins completely suck. Neither adds an appreciable amount of variety to the game. The Specialist cards in C&C:A don't help much and I was shocked at how many times I've gotten a useless one. As far as the War Council goes- it's a good idea but again, it's just clutter that doesn't really add anything fundamentally different or interesting to the game. A bunch of guys sitting off somewhere lobbing fireballs. Boring.

Another thing that I found really disappointing after playing C&C:A was that formation and leadership were just gone...I really liked in C&C:A how the game _felt_ like hoplite warfare, with phalanxes advancing, cavalry and skirmisher harassment, and the significance of good leaders in the right places. BATTLELORE just felt like M44 in new drag with a lot of the same gamey tactics.

As far as the production goes- an 80 page rulebook with 8 pages worth of actual rules, pre-stickered and flagged units in a lovely tray, two of every reference card...no wonder the game was $80. But so was TIDE OF IRON, TWILIGHT IMPERIUM, and DESCENT and in all three instances there I felt like I bought a game that should have been $150. I think they really wasted a lot of money on production ...I'd rather have gotten a couple of extra monsters than all of that stuff designed to pad the novice gamer's experience with the game.

Now, with 2 expansions out, I'm proud to say that BATTLELORE is out of my collection and won't be missed. CALL TO ARMS was a complete fiasco, little more than a set of cards that provides random setup options for more boring, generic scenarios- and as someone on BGG pointed out, you can really do the same thing with any four units in each section. Then there's those Feudal Levy tokens, that are just there to patch the fact that you don't have enough figures because you didn't buy two of the base game. And EPIC? Something you can get for free online for $15, and all it does is make for a patched-up multiplayer game that doesn't feel very multiplayer at all. Oh, and one of the main draws is the "Reluctant Allies" scenario (tokens included) that requires you to have two copies of the game.

The thing is, BATTLELORE isn't a bad game...but that's because the Commands and Colours system is good, not because BATTLELORE is good. It's an embarassment that in their marketing materials they invoked names like DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS and MASTER OF MAGIC because the game doesn't come anywhere close to being as iconic, influential, and important as those titles...it's really just another flavor-of-the-month internet hit that isn't going to have any longevity once something else comes along.

Which probably won't be long...like pretty much all DoW titles, the game is completely shallow, without any substantial depth, and dressed up in big-budget production. And they say AT gamers favor style over substance...

Jim Patterson mentioned the game being sold based on promises that exceeded its capacity and I think that pretty much sums up everything about BATTLELORE. I also think the game is being sold based on what it COULD be (or SHOULD be even) more than what it really is- the base game and each expansion seems to be "missing" something (like rules, figures, or mechanics) that is promised in the future, and frankly I think that's a pretty shitty sales-leading tactic that I can't believe all these guys who lambast collectible games can't see right through.

Now with COLOSSEUM hitting my "once and done" pile (it's an almost complete piece of shit) and BATTLELORE sold off on Ebay, I can safely say that Days of Wonder has been completely eliminated from my game collection.

Now, I mentioned MEN OF IRON so let me spend a minute on it since I don't get to do my article this week...MEN OF IRON is a GMT game, designed by Richard "Kitchen Sink Included" Berg...it's a medieval thing including some 100 Years War battles. Unlike BATTLELORE, it really feels like the type of warfare it purports to depict and the longbows can shoot over things. More importantly, there's a lot of really awesome details, like horses balking at charging a wall of spears, schiltrons, Cavalry's elitist disregard for archers, and more. All in about 11 pages of rules. It's a fun game, if you're looking for something more specific and deeper than BATTLELORE in that same millieu (sans Lore, of course) and don't mind hexes and tiny chits, check it out.

Michael Barnes said...

Oops, typo..."The specialist cards in C&C:A" should obviously read "...in CALL TO ARMS".

Juniper said...

They should have published optional rules for linking Memoir '44 to BattleLore. What if the Soviet Red Army had a giant spider or a hill giant? What if the dwarves had an armoured cavalry unit or two? Wouldn't that have been awesome?

I won't buy or play BattleLore, because I already have M'44, and because historical settings appeal more to me than fantasy themes. I might have considered BattleLore, though, if the two games were somehow integrated. Seriously.

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, but the spider would have some kind of bizarre limitation where it couldn't see over a fence or it couldn't move in the left section except on sundays, and only if you have the sunday movement card that comes with the promised first BATTLEOIR expansion.

Juniper said...

One thing this discussion has accomplished is that it reminded me to sell my copy of Memoir '44 (and the Eastern Front expansion) and to finally get Wizard Kings 2 from Columbia Games.

Maybe I can use the WK blocks in an EastFront scenario (yes, I'm kidding).

Michael Barnes said...

Ironically, WIZARD KINGS is pretty much everything that BATTLELORE was promised to be.

Mr Skeletor said...

Yet again another F:AT staffer (and I do mean STAFFER) steps in and writes my article for me this week. Thing is, mine was going to be another edition of Thunderdome pitting BATTLELORE against MEN OF IRON.

Considering this took me 2 weeks, you had ample time.
I didn't think much of 1st edition wizard kings at all. I have yet to hear anything about 2nd edition that may change that theory.

JMcL63 said...

OK, I 'fess up: I was talking shite about the atmosphere of the Block Mania post. It was the same old Kulturkampf thing that was bugging me there too, and I transposed one onto the other in my memory of the intellectual paucity of this pointless petty feud.

Meanwhile: did any of you ever destroy a block in such wondrous circumstances as I described (2-3 fire markers about to be put out, as I said)?

Cheers,
John ;)

PS. You're all still talking shite about BL! ;p

ubarose said...

I have to confess that the I found Battlelore overwhelmingly taupe.

JMcL63 said...

OK, OK: I retract pretty much all of what I said above about Michael's post about Block Mania; most, but not all that is. But my caveats there are hardly the point here. The point is that your esteemed Michael hasn't lost his form.

But the Ameritrash v. Euros Kulturkampf?- screw that for a game of soldiers!

Cheers,
John ;)

Michael Barnes said...

Hey John-

What say you and I go out back and punch each other in the balls until one of us passes out? Then we can intellectualize about what it all means later. Best of both worlds.

MB

Juniper said...

What say you and I go out back and punch each other in the balls until one of us passes out?

Live-Action Lunch Money?

JMcL63 said...

Michael, I know you might think otherwise, and I only have myself to blame for that, but I am not here to engage in pissing contests with you or any of your fellow Fortress: Ameritrash bloggers. Like I said: I liked your style at the BGG, and followed the link they provided after your banning to see what you were getting up to in your new internet home.

Everything else is down to my entering the Fortress: Ameritrash comments section shooting from the hip with some rude epithets aimed at your fellow blogger Mr. Skeletor. Whether I stand by those remarks or not, and whether or not I choose to take the time to explain myself on this here comments page, I am certainly not going to do so right now. I've got things to do, and a game of Settlers cards to follow.

Cheers,
John ;)

Michael Barnes said...

Alright John, I'll play SETTLERS cards with you instead of the ball punching game I suggested. I just peed so I'm all out for a pissing contest myself.

You're a good guy- just don't fall into the Tom Vasel/Sam Healy routine of saying a bunch of stuff and then retracting it!

Shoot from the hip, shoot from the heart, shoot from the head...just shoot to kill or don't shoot at all.

hughthehand said...

I am now dumber for reading John's comments. Seriously...I have no idea what you just said in those 3-4 posts. Are you or are you not insulting Barnes?

I have to agree with F:AT on Battlelore. And damn that sux, cause I REALLY want to love the game. After reading these comments, I realize that I just find it ok. Its not that you have changed my mind...just that I didn't want to agree out of stubbornness. I will have to change my rating now down from an 8.

JMcL63 said...

It's simple really hughthehand: I withdrew my barbs aimed at Michael, for the simple reason that I went back and reread the article in question. I also restated my distate for the Ameritrash v. Eurogames kulturkampf, which is the editorial tendency of F:AT unless I am very much mistaken. That kind of shit just pisses me off.

Cheers,
John ;)

Mr Skeletor said...

I am now dumber for reading John's comments. Seriously...I have no idea what you just said in those 3-4 posts. Are you or are you not insulting Barnes?

Glad I'm not the only one who can't work out what the hell his point is.

First he has a go at my 'review' for being uniformed and full of prejudice (which he doesn't explain), then when challenged he says he really wrote all that in response to Barnes' Block war article (WTF?) claiming he lost his mojo (which goes totally against not wanting prejudice on the site) now he has suddenly changed back to retracting what he said about Barnes and now 'might be' attacking me again. Then he finishes up claiming he is against the AT vs Eurotrash, once again contradicting himself.

Sounds to me like someone who is trying to make a name for himself but has no idea how. Shooting from the hip involves actually having some solid ideas behind the rhetoric, not just flowery words with no actual substance.

Get your story straight John, and maybe then I'll try and give a shit. 'Till then leave this thread for Battlelore discussion.

Juniper said...

Glad I'm not the only one who can't work out what the hell his point is.

Yeah, the discussion started nowhere and ended nowhere. It left me needing a sense of closure, so I punched myself in the balls until I passed out.

Does anyone else recall that much of the advance hype on BattleLore prior to its release focused on the size of the box? Why does DOW even make games anymore? Their core competency seems to be in creating fetish objects.

Michael Barnes said...

I thought John was engaging in some kind of postmodernism here...I thought it was like an Andy Kaufman thing or something.

hughthehand said...

I think my main problem with Battlelore is one of the points that Mr. Skeletor brought up in his review.

I do not like that all of the Lore guy's cards are very similar. It seems almost a third of the cards appear under each guy. There is not enough difference between them. And picking the priest into your council seems like a no brainer.

For all the customization that they brag about, there really seems to be very little of it in reality.

Another thing that ticks me off, is when people talk about the lore cards that kills guys all over the place because of the terrain they are in or near. The response of, just stay away from the terrain, seems stupid to me. Terrain gives you bonuses...now you want me to stay away from it? Come on.

Also, I'm totally with Mr. S on the issue of goblins and dwarves. There just isn't enough there to care about either race.

I do like the bold rules. That I think works well. The lore is at least interesting, and I finally got over my archers being too weak thing. All in all though, the game is just average. What it gained on MM44, it lost in other areas.

I will admit to falling to the hype myself. I hope the game picks up with some good expansions, but until I see them, I won't buy anything more in BL.

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, I think Borg and Co. didn't get creative enough with the Lore cards, and the whole special building thing just seems really tacked on and doesn't make sense. "Hey guys, let's build our special building in the middle of this battlefield". Dumb. Does anyone even use the rogue? It's funny, because at first I was thinking that the Lore was what made the game what it is...but then I started to realize that it's a pretty abstract, almost artificial construct laid on top of the game that really doesn't add anything to it other than the occasional surprise. And those lore buckets.

I'll tell you something that playing C&C:A the other day made me remember that I don't like about BATTLELORE...in ancient/medieval warfare, momentum and the inertia of a bunch of guys/horses running at each other was a big factor...in BATTLELORE, it feels like you've got very little sense of organization or formation. In C&C:A, the line command cards really do a lot to make it feel like you're moving massed soldiers around and the relatively linear style of battle lends itself to creating a feeling that when you're winning you're pressing and when you're losing you're giving ground.

The battleback/bold rules _are_ good...but they're perfect in C&C:A.

I think something we're really seeing is that the C&C system- while an excellent light wargame system- is almost crushingly limited in what it can actually do in the long run. I thought it was good in BATTLE CRY but that might be because it was fresh and unique. M44 I thought was a great game for a while until I realized that it came out when I was getting tired of Euros and a lot of my fondness was from the excitement of playing a game with tanks in it again, C&C:A hit everything right and demonstrated that the system is perfect for Hoplite-era fighting, and BATTLELORE took everything and stretched it way too thin and tried to patch it up with a bunch of halfassedness. What's next Borg? Napoleonics? A space game? How far do you think this system will go before it turns out that it's just an old man behind a curtain?

As for M44...I buried my set in a TIDE OF IRON box.

Mr Skeletor said...

don't think archers are underpowered. Blue or Red ranged attacks will break the game in my opinion.

Scott said...

Two things really have disappointed me about Battlelore:

1) No leaders, heroes, generals - whatever you want to call them. The game feels incomplete and lacking when compared to C&C: Ancients or even Battlecry because of this. At some point, Days of Wonder will probably release an expansion with rules for heroes, but they should have been included with the base game.

2) I really, really wanted to see Richard Borg release a medieval-era version of Command and Colors, and now that Battlelore has been "combined" with this era, a historical version without all the Lore and monsters (and with a ruleset that actually 'feels' like a middle ages battle) will probably never see the light of day. Sure, you could create a non-Lore scenario from the Days of Wonder scenario creator, but how would the Battle of Hastings play with no Harold or William? Oh, I guess you could proxie them with the Spider and the Hill Giant...

JMcL63 said...

I can't reply in detail Mr Skeletor's ignorant and prejudicial hatchet-job in the guise of a review (not retracting those comments, nope), before making a further effort to clear up the mess occasioned by some of my other preceding posts. And then I'll have to fight my way out from under the dogpile.

I was trying to make the following points in the posts which followed my response to Mr Skeletor's article:
1. I tried to explain that my hipshooting response (not my usual style) was based at least as much on factors extraneous to Mr. Skeletor's article itself- namely something about F:AT itself which was bugging me (heat-of-the-moment posting, a surefire recipie for cause to regret!).

2. I mistakenly put this down to features of an article by Michael Barnes. I say mistakenly because the article simply did not correspond to what I'd said about it. This forced me to reconsider and retract (more quickfire posting, this time without pausing to doublecheck what I was about to impugn- I really should know better by now!).

3. I concluded that what was bugging me was the sense I have that F:AT is about more than just celebrating Ameritrash games; that it was about celebrating them at the expense of other games- namely Eurogames. In other words the Ameritrash v. Euro kulturkampf I referred to (whew, sensible posting practices restored to working order).

4. I went further, and suggested that this might be the definite editorial line of F:AT (no one saw fit to refute me on that), declaring more than once that I really don't like this sort of culture war at the best of times, and that I have even less patience for it than that on the internet (still in good order).

Clearly my previous posts failed to explain this properly. Or maybe people were being willfully obtuse (or perhaps they had no choice in the matter?). In any event, that is the sad story of the fate of my first post here at F:AT. Take it as you will.

Cheers,
John ;)

Michael Barnes said...

John, come on man...just give us "I was drunk" and hands are washed.

JMcL63 said...

First thing in the morning as it was? Heck no Michael, I'm not copping to that plea. I had a bee in my bonnet, and I'm hypomanic and (IIRC), I'd been up all night.

Cheers,
John ;)

alan polak said...

I dunno John. I think it's celebrating good games at the expense of bad games. Or celebrating exciting/fun games at the expense of dull/boring games. The eponymous 'calling a spade a spade, the ole 'hip-shooting'. The whole ameritrasher=eurohater is a myth. I think pretty much everyone here plays and enjoys at least one eurogame. Not bad odds considering.It is mainly Ameritrash here cause that's what people want to talk about...Anyway glad to see making sense of your posts:) we got there in the end.
cheers

JTQuest said...

As the recipient of Barnes' eBay Battlelore Blow-out, I thought that I would chime in:

I'm one of the suckers that still believes that the Battlelore "System" will one day hit that sweet spot. Dwarf and goblin specialist packs will soon arrive, and the DOW site already has a Heroes page. More races and creatures are sure to appear, and lore spells are ripe for expansion. Basic Battlelore IS very simplistic, but I feel that provides a stable foundation to which future complexities can be added without turning it into an unintelligible mess. Maybe I'm just buying into the hype, but I still believe that eventually it WILL be "the doorway to epic fantasy adventures".

Michael Barnes said...

I'd been up all night.

See, there we are John...as long as you were up kickin' ass and startin' some shit, not shipping corn and impressing the vizier.

As the recipient of Barnes' eBay Battlelore Blow-out, I thought that I would chime in:

How in the world did you find me here?

Hah, that's great though, good to have you. Hope you enjoy the game and show it the love I just couldn't. I don't think the game is completely without merit or appeal, but if I'm going to play the system it's going to be C&C:A. Of course, its paltry expansion was almost more of a hornswaggle than the BATTLELORE stuff.

Mr Skeletor said...

DON'T PLAY THAT COPY OF BATTLELORE!!!

Save it and sell it for a fortune to museums like the hard rock cafe after Barnes becomes famous for destroying the known gaming world or whatever the fuck he is prophesied to do. It'll be worth more than Steve Weeks' copy of St Petersburg.

JTQuest said...

How in the world did you find me here?

C'mon, you're, like, famous and stuff, dude.

DON'T PLAY THAT COPY OF BATTLELORE!!!

I'm already in the process of painting his set as the DARK side;)

Michael Barnes said...

I won't consider myself famous until I turn around and look behind me and see my name written in those gigantic lightbulb letters.

Pat H said...

# 1 - Michael, I hope you cannibalized the AT guns, and defence bits from the Memoir set before you buried it.

# 2 - I thought Battlelore was the Dwarf and Goblin specialty set...

# 3 - John, reading through your posts, I thought they were certainly some form of extraterrestrial trickery because my head still hurts and it's not from the extreme partying I did last weekend. Chose a position, dig your trench and fire away. I still have no idea what you are talking about and I don't think you do either.

Grab a six pack - drink all of them really fast and let'er rip. I'm no Nobel prize for literature winning laureate nor some professional student type but damn me if no one knows where I'm coming from.

Battlebore seems to be just that, a nice grab for figs if you need them for another game but even then I think they are too stumpy to be used with other sets.

Michael you're not famous until the stalkers start following you with camera's.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment thats why im selling it tommorow!!!

Weak game, too random, and i dont like the theme.

Tide of Iron however is a great game.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with your assessment thats why im selling it tommorow!!!

Weak game, too random, and i dont like the theme.

Tide of Iron however is a great game.

craniac said...

Scott wrote: "2) I really, really wanted to see Richard Borg release a medieval-era version of Command and Colors, and now that Battlelore has been "combined" with this era, a historical version without all the Lore and monsters (and with a ruleset that actually 'feels' like a middle ages battle) will probably never see the light of day."

I bought Battlelore because the theme appeals to my 11-year-old, and I like CC:Ancients. I'd love to be able to buy a new orders deck and rules and play Command and Colors: Medieval with the existing miniatures.

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