Saturday, 14 April 2007

Battle Lore, a slice of a review

Battle Lore, what can I say about Battle Lore? If you are already familiar with the Commands & Colors System, you already know the game, if you are not, then maybe this will help you understand it.

The Commands & Colors System, by Richard Borg was developed back in the ‘90s as a card activated wargame. Many of the hard core wargame concepts have been abstracted out, such as weakening of your firepower as your unit gets smaller. What is left is a clean, fast playing game that uses miniatures, or in the Commands & Colors: Ancients game, wooden blocks. The games in the series are Battle Cry, Memoir ’44, Commands & Colors: Ancients and Battle Lore.

The basics of the game are: you and your opponent select a scenario, set up your armies on the board and get the command cards as determined by the system. You activate your unit or units by playing cards that allow you to move and attack. There are specialized dice that determine the hit based on the type of unit you are attacking. For example, in Battle Lore, if you are attacking a green (meaning inexperienced or irregulars) you would remove one part of the unit for every hit you made. There are modifiers to this as well: some units can hit with a crossed swords roll and you can force a unit to retreat as well (roll a flag).

Jay and I played the first two scenarios of Battle Lore, which is a middle ages game, but with a twist. After the first two scenarios fantasy creatures can appear, like goblins and dwarves. The learning scenarios are Agincourt and Chevauchee, and do not have any of the fantasy touches.

What happened was a stunning series of French victories, I won the first game 4-3 as the French and Jay won the second 4-2 as the French, meaning he won the first scenario 7-6. The second scenario was called Chevauchee, and Jay hammered me while playing the French 5-1 and I squeaked out a victory in the second 5-3. Jay won that game 8-6.

We both liked the game, and do both have experience playing the system, I have played all the Battle Cry scenarios and most of the Memoir ’44 scenarios and about 15 games of Commands & Colors. Jay has played less then me but still understands the system. The game is a pretty game, it has many attractive miniatures and a nice looking board. There are reference cards for each player to use as well, you can hand them out and you know what you will need.

I hesitate to rate this game, as I have not delved into the magic (hence the Lore) so I will leave a total evaluation until I can actually play some magic scenarios. I should be able to do that next week, during the first ever Commands & Colors day.

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