Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday Games @ Ted's

Sean came over about 6:30, and we set up BattleLore. I taught a friend a few weeks ago starting with the first Lore scenario, and he was a little overwhelmed. This time I decided to take DoW's advice and start with the very first scenario, Agincourt. We also skipped a bunch of the rules, per their advice. I think is absolutely the way to go, especially since it's only to 4 flags. In the second game we added in bold and pursuit actions; we swapped sides and repeated the battle.

Historically this is the battle where the long bow defeated the French knights. To keep the game reasonable, archers are fairly weak w/ only 2 attack dice; to compensate for their preponderance of low attack units, the English side gets a 6-4 advantage in command cards. Both games were fairly close, 3-4 if I recall.

Next up we played Betrayal at House on the Hill, a pure Ameritrash game if ever there was one. The mechanics are OK but not great, the balance varies wildly, and the errata are like 50 pages long. But this game isn't about any of those things. It's about theme, and on that score it gets high marks. I especially enjoy the discovery portion of the game. I guess if I played it many times, some of that thrill would wear off. Given how often it gets to the table, however, I don't forsee that problem any time soon.

(spoilers below)

During the game, Sean explained to me how on-line werewolf works. This was coincidental because Sean turned into a werewolf halfway through the game. I needed to find a revolver, make silver bullets, get the bullets to the gun, and then I could kill him. Unfortunately, Sean picked me off one by one while I searched for the research lab. Still, this game oozes theme like crazy.

Note: this game is very dark and not appropriate for children.



At 11:02 PM, November 26, 2007, Blogger Carlos said...

Sounds like a good game session. Was this Sean's first game? It is amazing how BL immediatly draws people into it. My friend at work got the game only a couple of weeks ago and he has already goy some of the additions. I too am very fond of it as is my oldest son.

Betrayal at House on the Hill sounds interesting. If you have read some of my previous posts, you knoe that I just played Arkham Horror and I istantly fell in love with this game. I found the theme most interesting. Whne I first saw it in the table, I though to myself, "Yuck, look at all those cards!". But once I started playing I knew I needed to add this game to my collection. I like the dark theme. Kind of like Scooby-Doo for grown-ups.

At 11:53 AM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

Don't give the longbow too much credit. Field conditions (anyone see the Pittsburgh-Miami game for a valid comparison?) and an improperly executed plan were greater factors IMHO.

Sorry to hijack, Ted, this is one of my annoying "know-it-all" topics of choice.

At 6:22 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

I enjoyed BattleLore. I liked Memoir 44, although I didn't get to play it nearly enough. My experience in the past with wargames was getting smoked by my neighbor as a teenager playing 2+ hr Avalon Hill and similar wargames. They had as much game appeal as a spreadsheet, and were a little bit too much on the simulation side... it's nice to be reintroduced to wargames that are more approachable.

I could definitely play more Betrayal - the exploration is fun, and having a different monster every time to battle could make for a really interesting game. I like the hidden victory conditions for both sides...

At 6:34 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Schifani: interesting stuff about Agincourt. I guess that's another part of the reason they gave the English a big edge in command cards. Sounds like maybe the field should include some marsh terrain (available in Call to Arms)

Seanp: Wargames in the light to medium range are one of my favorite genres of games. BattleLore is one of my current favorites for exactly this reason. Another nice feature of BattleLore is that DoW plans to actively support this game for the foreseeable future.

Re: Betrayal
As some one said on BGG, Betrayal is my favorite "broken" game.

At 7:51 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

Ted, historical wargaming nerds can definitely ruin a good game with cries for "accuracy". I love the research involved in replaying a particular battle, but am much more in favor of the game being "based" on that battle, with a fair chance for both sides to win, as opposed to a simulation exercise which hamstrings the historical loser so badly that the result is predetermined and it's no fun to play.

So the game is fine. I've been discussing and debating the longbow's impact on and off for over 10 years across multiple rules sets, and kneejerked the comment.


At 8:51 PM, November 27, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Shifani: I just read up on Agincourt on wikipedia, and they pretty much agree with you. The key factor they cite was the soft, muddy ground.

This kind of stuff is one reason I like historical wargames. They help you gain a deeper appreciation of events. Mostly, though, I just like moving little army guys around the board.

Not that BattleLore is ever going to be a simulation, but I think it's reasonable to add some marsh terrain since it was such a key factor in the battle.


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