My wife and I both love playing Talisman, and Runebound to some extent (my wife less, because of its length, but my brother and I have a great time playing Runebound). I;ve been looking for another game to add to our collection, and Battlelore looks like it can be a lot of fun. I've glanced through the rulebook and was hoping for feedback on how the transition would be - how similar is Battlelore to Runebound and Talisman?
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It depends on your gaming preference. I have not played Runebound, but I have played Talisman. I much prefer BattleLore to Talisman, but that's because of my personal gaming preference.
Talisman (and I'm guessing Runebound) are fantasy boardgames that simulate fantasy adventures in a very abstract way. In Talisman, you move your character, he lands in a space, and if there is something to fight, dice are rolled to resolve the conflict. This is all very abstract, and this is why I'm not a big fan of this type of game. I like to visualize actual battles and combat, and I love to study strategy and tactics. You can't really do this too much in an abstract game.
BattleLore is a fantasy battle game, and its combat system is not abstract at all, but very concrete and defined. It is not complicated, though like chess, the more thought you put into your strategy, the greater the possibilities. BattleLore is not a game of fantasy adventures, but a game of battles. It mirrors the Hundred Years War of medieval Europe, specifically the clashes between France and England. It incorporates "free companies," being mercenary units made up of goblins and dwarves. You can create your own battles, which is awesome, but there are a large number of published battles that are based on the real battles and campaigns of the Hundred Years War, such as Agincourt, Crecy, Poiters, etc. There are many very cool expansions, such as the Scottish Wars expansion that allows you to recreate battles such as Falkirk, Banockburn, etc. There is also a Heroes expansion that allowes for adventurer-type characters to ride around the battlefield and collect treasure, level-up, etc., like in a fantasy adventure game. Still, even with the Heores expansion, this is not an adventuring game...it is a game of battles at its heart.
In a typical game, there are two players, each commanding a different army. The game starts out with each army facing off against each other in formed battle lines. Once play begins, you are not running around and adventuring and collecting treasure like in Talisman. Instead, you are charging your armies into battle, trying to slaughter and kill your enemy, while not losing your own head in the process. I like BattleLore because each soldier is represented by a 3D miniature, and there are simple rules for terrain (rivers, woods, hills, etc.). The base set comes with lots of cool units, including archer and mounted units. Other expansions include some bad-ass units like knight lancers, crossbowmen, axe and pikemen, dwarven bear riders, etc. Lore is used in the game to represent magic, and you can build a war council to aid you in battle (a war council is made up of a warrior, a rogue, a wizard, a cleric, and a commander). Lore in the game is basically like battle magic, allowing you to do things like have trees attack your opponent, have the ground open up and swollow them, rain down fire, etc. Lots of lore cards have less occult functions, such as sneak attack, eagle eye, etc. There are also expansions that include some awesome creatures you can bring into your battles, such as an earth elemental, dragons, a hydra (one of my favorite miniatures that can have up to six-heads), giant spider, etc.
If you're like me and prefer to fight more historically themed battles, there are rules and expansions that focus on this type of play. But if fantasy battles are your thing, then the game is heavy on this option as well. With Talisman, I compare this to the Fellowship of the Ring moving through the mines of Moria, and with BattleLore, I compare it to the Battle of the Pelanor Fields that took place in front of Gondor. Hopefully you're familiar with the Lord of the Rings, otherwise these comparisons will make no sense to you. Hope this helps.
Hail and kill!
"Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content."
Conan, from "Queen of the Black Coast," by Robert E. Howard
Great response Interceptor! I can't add much to top that - fantastic stuff!
Wow Interceptor - your post was extremely informative and well written! Thank you so much!
While this would be a fantastic game for my brother and I, I'm not sure how keen my wife would be on the whole army management thing. I'm going over the rulebook to see what my chances are of convincing my wife to give it a shot. :)
This has been extremely helpful - much appreciated!
If it's any help (while readily admitting that everyone is different), my wife quite enjoys Battlelore. She likes the fantasy races, magic and particularly the heroes and creatures (actually, she particularly enjoys thrashing me, but heroes and creatures run a close second).
I would suggest that if you two don't much enjoy direct conflict in games then it may not suit - my wife and I prefer games where we compete, but in a relaxed sort of way. Battlelore is a bit of an exception obviously.
The army management aspect of the game is obviously part of the fun, you have a hand of cards that let you order troops in different sections of the battlefield, then you need to use those cards in combination with your troops to best effect - keeping in mind how you can use movement, terrain and weapon types to your advantage while also considering your opponent. (the core game engine in Battlelore is also used in other games by the same designer and the series is called Command and Colors - sorry if you're familiar with the C&C system already - my simplistic explanation of the rules isn't intended as annoying! :D ).
Lore, Heroes, Creatures - these are all fantasy aspects that mix up the typical rules of the game and add some fun twists.
The game doesn't take too long to play, but set-up can take a while. I usually set my games up a while before hand so we don't have to spend half an hour doing that - so that might suit you as well. I also recommend sorting your minis into some form of plano (or similar) container, as it makes it easier to find what you need (at least for me).
The scenarios ramp the game up nicely, starting with the basic rules and building in layers until you're playing the full system. Expansions then add some little twists. Playing the scenarios in order is a great way to learn the game, without overloading the brain with pages of minutia. The cards and play aids are also very helpful and create a nice summary that can be used during the game as a reference point. The rules book is also very well laid out.
So I think there are some real positives to getting into the game, but again, it will depend highly on the style of game you and your wife like to play!
Hope that provides some food for thought as well!
(Goodluck whatever you decide!)
I really enjoy BattleLore as well as my game group here in Orlando Florida, but your take may be a little different.
We really appreciate how the system works and is constructed to add new game and play elements with each expansion, while not besting what has already been presented.
Truly a grand effort!
Please note these comments were written by the Author ;-)
I love Battlelore - it is one of my favourite games.
To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, I enjoy Talisman and Runebound, but feel they can drag on a bit too long for my liking.
Battlelore has more decisions to make, but it is simple to get into. It is my fiance's favourite of my 'wargames' and will choose that over anything else. After several games you'll start to see the nuances of the system and adding in expansions down the track broadens the horizon even more.
Everyone I have introduced the game too really enjoys it, but I obviously have never met you and so can't tell you either way. But I'd be surprised if you didn't enjoy it.
PS. Great to see you on the boards again Richard! :)
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