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Subject: Demo game at Essen rss

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Niels Taatgen
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After having been teased for weeks at the Days of Wonder website, I finally got to play a game of Battlelore at the Essen games fair. Days of Wonder had set up six boards, which were continuously occupied, so it took a while to get hold of one.
The game we played was the fifth or sixth in the booklet, and was the first that uses lore, in this case just a first level wizard. Although I haven't read the booklet in detail, it seemed that the first four or five adventures don't explicity specify a war council. I assume though that you can always decide to play them with a war council as soon as you have the rules down.

Wizards and Lore

The adventure we played, which was called "Wizards and Lore", had a fairly even number of troups on both sides, infantry, cavalry and archers each in approximately the same numbers. As I said this is an adventure where you use lore, so each side started out with two lore and two wizard cards (only the wizard cards were used).
I don't recall all the moves, but it turned out that most of our battling played out on the left flank (from my perspective, we played the "Lion" banners), probably because we got more "advance on left" cards, and our opponent "advance on right" cards. In my first move I decided to move one of my archer units into some woods in the middle of the board. The rules for woods specify that if you are in the woods you can only be hit by 2d in an attack whereas most units do 3d (which can even be boosted by other cards). The disadvantage of this, as turned out later, is that I gave up the support for the unit. A unit is supported if it has two friendly units adjacent to it. A supported unit is Bold, which means that it can ignore one retreat flag, and that it can battle back: counterattack the unit it was attacked by first. I would say that the reason we won the game is that we tried to keep our units supported as much as possible, but our opponents didn't (to be honest, I don't think they properly understood this part of the game, because they were Germans and we played the English version of the game). If units are supported and are then attacked, this will give you many free attacks which can ultimately decide the game. One other point made on the message boards is that if a supported unit gets two retreat flags, it sometimes doesn't have a retreat path, which causes it to lose another unit! However, in our game we never had more than one retreat flag, so the danger for that is not so high.
The luck of the dice can mess up you carefully laid out plans though, or give you a lucky edge. At one point my opponent attacked my supported red infantry with his supported red infantry, and rolled four hits! My elite swordfighters were eliminated, opening a hole in my defenses! At other points he also rolled nothing on four dice, so in the end luck evens out quite well.

The role of the Lore

Many people have critized the game for being another version of Memoir '44. The lore masters and war council are one of the aspect that are supposed to make a difference. In this game each side only had a level 1 wizard. The effects that we both achieved with lore were not insignificant, but also not decisive. I remember playing the following cards:
- My opponent played a cheap card (1 Lore) that cancels one hit in a battle. I countered that card with a counterspell card that I believe had the same cost as the spell just cast.
- I played a medium expensive card (5 Lore?) that boosted the attack of all my units by 1 die
- My opponent played a card that allowed him to move all his units for the maximum distance while still being able to attack (regular infantry can normally move 1 and attack or move 2 and not attack)
- I received (but did play) a 9 Lore card that allows you to switch two arbitrary units (yours or theirs)
- I played a 9 Lore card called "Creeping Doom" that would target a hex on the battlefield, and attack that unit with 1d+1d/level (so 2d for our 1st level wizard). Lore roles and the proper helmet colors scored a hit. The vines would then creep to all four adjacent spaces and do the same! In our case four enemy units were affected, and although it didn't take any of them out, it thinned out the ranks quite significantly. I would say that this card affected our particular game most, and it would have been devastating with a three level wizard (four dice for multiple hexes!).

Opinion based on one play
I had a lot of fun with my first game. I had the feeling that I couldn't yet properly assess all the options in the game. I learned that support is very important. Each of the three units have their own uses: the archers seem not too significant at first, but they can thin out the ranks on the other side (all our archers were green anyway, so that might also have played a role), the infantry is the main force that gradually moves forward, and the cavalry makes for great surprise troups (although more experience will undoubtedly let you attend those enemy horsemen a bit better!). Magic played only a supporting role, but will probably be quite significant in games with a full council.

One gripe..
The worst of two worlds: if you pre-order the game in the US, you get the Hill Giant as a promo. The Elemental is given away at events. In Europe both are given as a promo with a preorder. I asked whether they could give me the Elemental promo, but they refused because I had to preorder the game for that. But they only did preoders for Europe, and my promises to do so in the US were not enough. So no elemental for me, even though Eric from Days of Wonder has promised on all the boards that they would be available in great quantities on all kinds of occasions. I hope this doesn't become a game of rules lawyers shake

One last update
Eric Hautemont of Days of Wonder sent me an earth elemental via mail! Thank you very much Eric, and kudos for DOW's excellent customer service! thumbsup thumbsup thumbsup
 
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Denise Lavely
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Sounds wonderful! Thanks for the session report, this is sounding better all the time!
 
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Richard D
Canada
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Sounds great! Can't wait!
However, now I'm feeling a bit ripped off here in N.A.
Why don't they give us both promo. figures here with a pre-order?
Despite what DoW may say it will be a hassle for many people to get the Elemental.
 
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Simon Vasey
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Lincolnshire
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Wow! It sounds great and I'm very jealous that you got to play it. Nice one.cool
The BoardgameNews website is posting videos from Essen. The first video shows a brief glimpse of the DoW booth and games of Battlelore being played about 1:55 minutes in.

http://www.boardgamenews.com/index.php/boardgamenews/comment...

Thanks for the report!
 
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Matt Hoskins
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Good Session report.

The promo situation is a bummer. I'll be dissapointed if there isn't good access to all promos for all potential Battlelore players.

Again, thanks for the report.
 
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John
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UNITED STATES of AMERICA (1) Germany (0)
USA! USA! who is next? Iran! bring it on !! angry
 
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Howard Massey
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" .... Eric from Days of Wonder has promised on all the boards that they would be available in great quantities on all kinds of occasions"

Yea, in N.-American Cons'/ store promo's.
But Europa,,with its separate promo plan.....The world is to small now.
So you fell between the crack.

Sounds like they should of given you a Elemental for 'customer relations',seeing your from the U.S. and did'nt quite fit in the preorder setup.
Your going to buy the game, it just would of solidified your opinion, and everyone you would of told. (oops the internet,, small world)

This Hill-Giant/Elemental promo is unraveling faster than Bush'es Iraq plan.
It was good intension to help the FLGS- but.. Nahhh.

DoW Should of save the HG &E for figs to sell in Dec.-Jan.-Feb.
After-all the next product for BL isn't coming out till March !!
 
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Mat zo
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JAA1030 wrote:
UNITED STATES of AMERICA (1) Germany (0)
USA! USA! who is next? Iran! bring it on !! angry


very clever
 
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Barry Figrim
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Damn it, now I may have to get this.
Curses!
 
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Niels Taatgen
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Update on adventure
You can see the adventure we played on one of Rick Thornquist's pictures:

http://www.boardgamenews.com/conventionreports/essen2006/day...

Note that on this picture the game has progressed a few moves (but not many because there don't seem to be any casualties yet.)
 
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John Di Ponio
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I can give a rat's behind about the 'special' characters!!! I pre-ordered from an on-line distibutor to SAVE FRICKIN MONEY!!!!!!!
If companies want to make money by supplying the gae thru their website or thru brick and mortor shops than fine!!! Don't offer the game to mass distibution online retailers! My house rule will be....'don't bring non-OFFICIALLY public released characters for a game'!!! That makes it easy!angry
 
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