Wednesday, December 06, 2006

BattleLore: Initial Thoughts

Okay, so I've read the 80-page rulebook; unbent all my bent miniatures; stored everything in fresh tackleboxes, and played a couple scenarios solo. Here's my initial thoughts:
  • Components and production quality is magnificent. Probably one of the best produced games of all time.
  • If you don't love Memoir '44 and/or C&C: Ancients, I find it hard to imagine you'd feel any different about BattleLore. The Commands and Colors system is still the main driver behind the game. The game essentially plays in two forms: medieval and fantasy. Medieval is pretty much C&C: Ancients with miniatures instead of blocks and with significantly simplified rules (i.e., no leaders, only a couple unit types, simplified big unit rules, etc.). All the rules about strikebacks, cavalry pursuit, and support/morale are virtually identical to those in Ancients. However, there are only a few medieval scenarios included in the game, so these really just serve as a way to gently ease you into the real game.
  • The real meat of the game that sets it appart as a unique game system is the fantasy/lore mode. This mode adds several different decks of action cards. You earn lore tokens as a consolation to each miss in battle, then you spend the tokens to power up the action cards.
  • The monsters are well done, having their own separate lore pools and power-up abilities. Each seems like it will be fun to play with, though there's only official scenarios for the spider thus far.
  • I'm hesitant to label this game as "Memoir meets Tolkien" or "Caesar takes a wrong turn" as I have only toyed with some pretty basic battles. The advanced scenarios running the system with all the bells and whistles turned on look very cool, and I look forward to working up to these.
Anyone else have first impressions yet?

10 Comments:

At 6:56 PM, December 06, 2006, Blogger Simon said...

My first impression is that it's really expensive...

 
At 7:11 PM, December 06, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Less than $50 for what you get in the box is good value.

 
At 9:24 AM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

My impression is that it looks attractive in a brown cardboard box in the dining room.

I won't be opening mine before Dec 24 at the earliest.

Oh the agony!

 
At 10:51 AM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

My first impression will be this Friday.

 
At 10:52 AM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

actually, I thought the map was small when I saw it at BGGcon (Memoir size?)... specially for the number of figures on the map seen in some scenarios.

 
At 12:20 PM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Jeff said...

Seems like it should make a big square impression...

 
At 1:23 PM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Well the map though would make a rectangular impression.

 
At 1:58 PM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

The map is identical in size to the Memoir '44 maps. In playing the game so far, the map size seems just about right. The game is Memoir '44 with the advanced combat rules from Ancients; plus the fantasy additions of spells, monsters, and customizeable powers.

So far the only power set that seems pretty weak is the cleric. Then again, I've never liked clerics. The cleric's special building only works once and heals a single unit, whereas all the other war council powers (warrior, wizard, rogue) work repeatedly... The warrior building (training groud, I believe) is especially cool as it promotes units up one level per turn from light to medium to heavy. Suddenly those hobbit peasants are now fully armored heavy footknights!

 
At 3:40 PM, December 07, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

yes, mine was a very shallow first impression.... just a glance as a bystander.

 
At 4:41 AM, December 08, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Correction, the Warrior building is one-time use, just like the Cleric's, which on one hand makes things balanced, but on the other hand makes it less exciting. The building of the Rogue and Wizard can be used as many times as you want. The Rogue building activates a secret passage to any spot in the map (chosen once) and Wizard's building generates 1 extra lore per turn.

 

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