Tom Vasel
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BattleLore is the game of choice for me these days; I’m constantly seeking for ways to pull it out and play it, and it stays fresh and enjoyable for me each time. I like the diversity of the War Council, and how there are multiple strategies that can be employed using the same scenario. Dwarves and Goblins are two races that are employed as “mercenaries” in the basic game, and I loved the models and the special rules they had. But really, it was very basic, with Dwarves essentially being always-bold units and Goblins being often-frightened and quick to rush into battle. I was therefore eager to check out the Specialist packs that were upcoming. And finally, the first two are here!

The Goblin Skirmisher Specialist Pack (Days of Wonder, 2007 – Richard Borg) was the one I was really keen to see, if only because I have a soft spot for my sorely beaten upon goblins. And this expansion really came through – I now feel that the goblins have a fighting chance, if not possibly an edge when it comes to combat. Bring on those slow dwarves – they’re not the only ones who are bold anymore!

Let’s look at what the expansion pack includes (and by the way – putting both of the specialist packs, Call to Arms, and Epic in the same box now has my box bursting at the seams. You’ll need an extra box to get anything else in.)

1.) Two new scenarios are added, The Sounds of Water and Riding Down the Spear Bearers. Both of these are normal scenarios with War Councils included, but are intriguing in that they allow all of the new units to be used. Normally a player (using the Call to Arms expansion) can only have two specialist cards, which means that not everything new can be used; but these scenarios give a balanced force for a fully fledged mostly goblin army to fight against. Using a tricked-out goblin army is lethal, to say the least.

2.) The Goblin Band: There are three goblin drummers and one goblin bass drum figure included in the set with white bases to make them easy to pick out on the board. Interestingly, the Goblin Bass Drum is my favorite model in the game currently – and he’s useful also! A specialist card allows a player to place a green Goblin Band in reserve. This unit fights as normal (with no bonus strikes), but is interesting in two ways – it is bold and also provides half the support to every friendly unit in the same section. This is incredible for a couple of reasons. One, it provides half the support a unit needs to be bold – whether it is goblin or not, as long as it is in the same section! Secondly, if you get the unit onto a space that covers two sections, it will affect all units in both sections. This allows the goblin units to move in groups of two, effectively becoming killing machines, as they are now fast AND bold. The opponent may want to hunt down the band unit, although they will hover in the back, drumming up support for the whole army. I shudder to think of what an army would be like with two units, although that would require two of the Specialist packs; and I doubt many would buy that.

3.) Goblin Drummers: The player can instead “embed” a goblin drummer into three different units, replacing one of the units of that type. This drummer makes that unit bold, which is an amazing feature for a Goblin unit, as long as the drummer stays alive (it cannot be the banner holder, so it’s the second last to die). While this allows a player to have an easy three bold units on the board (red spearmen come to mind), I think I like the band unit better, since it has a higher potential to effect more units.

4.) Goblin Slingers: The player can use a specialist card to replace one unit with two Goblin slinger units. These green units only have a range of two but can roll two dice regardless of whether they moved or not. I found this a nice addition, getting rid of a single human green foot unit and adding in the two slingers. It gives the army more ranged power, and these quick units can harass the enemy constantly.

5.) Spear Bearers: One specialist card allows a player to replace two blue banner units with two red banner hobgoblin spear bearers. While I don’t understand why these units don’t get a bonus against cavalry, they do get an extra die when battling back, which makes putting a drummer into them an obvious pick. Regardless, the ability to replace two blue units with two red spear units is HUGE, and I have a hard time not picking this card for every scenario.

6.) Components: The figures for all the new units look good; and if nothing else, give you more goblin figures to wield an almost all goblin army, if that interests you. The cards are nice, and banners and flags are included to allow a player to use the units in either army.

I’m not sure the casual BattleLore player needs to pick up this expansion (although they’re probably not reading this review anyway), but anyone seeking to make the goblins a lethal force will get sinister delight from this pack. I wish one could take more than two specialist cards, but currently I’m fairly happy with the Spear Bearers and a band in my army – although I’d gladly take the slingers and/or drummers also. Dwarves, be warned – the goblins are coming – and are taking no prisoners!

Tom Vasel
“Real men play board games”
www.thedicetower.com
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Matthew McCloud
United States
Richmond
Kentucky
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Quote:
I shudder to think of what an army would be like with two units, although that would require two of the Specialist packs; and I doubt many would buy that.
But there will be a second unit of Drummers/Band in the second wave Goblin unit set that comes with the two new Riding units. The Goblin Marauders set that is.
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Ricky Calkins
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Great review, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the Goblins more than the Dwarves.
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Miguel de la Casa
Spain
Madrid
Madrid
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Great Review as usual, Tom!

I guess it's due time to get excited again after the disappointing Call to Arms.
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Jordan Elton
United States
Culpeper
Virginia
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bumblescrump wrote:
Great review, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the Goblins more than the Dwarves.
Me too. Man, I got to get this set.
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