News for March 2010
Art of War 22
A look at combat in the upcoming Battles of Westeros
Battles of Westeros | Published 03 March 2010

For our first preview of the upcoming Battles of Westeros, designer Robert A. Kouba presents us with a look at combat. Enjoy!

With wars between the Great Houses of Westeros brewing, it is essential that the new commander be familiar with the tools at his disposal. This week, we will be covering several of the combat mechanics for the Battles of Westeros (BOW) core set including the eight-sided dice used in the game and how these dice might affect player strategies. We will also look at how engagements and flanking work.

Die Hard

During the creation of BOW, I really wanted to focus on different ways that I could differentiate between individual units. Of course, being a battle game, combat capabilities are the first things to be compared. After going through the books and picking apart Lannister and Stark differences, I knew that I wanted certain ranks of units (indicating quality of equipment and battle prowess) to be more vulnerable than others during a fight.

I knew this could be accomplished by changing the distribution of hits against particular ranks on the die itself. However, even using 3 sides for the lowest rank (green), 2 sides for the middle rank (blue), and 1 side for the highest rank (red) immediately ate up all the die sides on a basic 6-sided die. This made the decision easy to upgrade to an 8-sided die. On the die are 3 green rank hits, 2 blue rank hits, 1 red rank hits, 1 morale side, and 1 valor side which is typically a hit against any rank of unit. What does this mean on the field of battle?

Your green ranked scout units, while fast-moving, have the chance to be successfully hit 50% of the time. However, red ranked elite units can only be hit 25% of the time allowing them to remain on the field quite a bit longer than their green rank counterparts which can make all of the difference.

Man vs. Horse

Commanders should also know the different capabilities between cavalry and infantry units to fight a successful battle. Cavalry differ from infantry in two main areas: movement and combat.

In movement, I decided to work with the notion that the slowest cavalry on the battlefield is faster than the quickest moving infantry. Infantry can therefore only move either 1 or 2 depending on their rank versus the 3 or 4 of the cavalry.

In addition to movement differences, cavalry are never hit by valor hits rolled by infantry attackers. However, cavalry are still hit by valor symbols rolled by other cavalry units.

This combination of quick movement and hit reduction against infantry units really brings the cavalry (especially red rank) into a league all their own. However, the tendency to overcommit must be resisted as even the quickest moving cavalry can be encircled by a mob of inferior soldiers and destroyed.

Target Acquired...Engage!

The most basic technique to employ when attacking your opponent is the flanking maneuver. To describe this, commanders should first be familiar with the engagement system.

When attacking a target unit (with a melee attack), a player first checks to see if the target is “engaged” with another unit. If there is no engagement token present, the attacking player places an engagement token between his unit and the target and resolves the attack normally. During a future turn, however, an engaged unit may only attack the opponent’s unit that it is engaged with unless the unit tries to disengage. However, if a player’s unit disengages, it is subject to a free attack called a “Parting Blow.”

It is also possible to attack an engaged unit. If you do, no further engagement token is placed since the attacking unit is considered a flanking unit. The flanking unit, after rolling dice during an attack may choose a particular die result and reroll all dice showing that particular result once. In this manner an attacking player can engage with a weak unit and sweep in with a devastating flank attack from a stronger unit.

As war looms before us, it is important that commanders learn as much as possible before taking the field. Check back in the weeks to come to gain new information regarding both your House’s abilities and your opponent’s!

Set in the rich and vibrant world of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Battles of Westeros is a board game of tactical battlefield combat for two players. With scenarios that include beloved characters and settings, players can recreate the most significant battles from The War of the Five Kings.

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Comments (22)

Published: 3/17/2010 5:30:08 AM

期待这个游戏~!最爱冰与火~Best love a game of thrones.

Published: 3/12/2010 11:54:42 AM

I am excited to get this game as well, but if FFG does not continue to produce more expansions for my favorite game (Original Battlelore), I will be hard pressed to continue to be a customer...  Please do not let us (fans of the Original Battlelore) down...  I just picked up Creatures and Dragons, nice work, keep it up!

El Mikel
Published: 3/9/2010 6:02:45 AM

hmmm - I haven't read the books, but have they not invented longbows in Westeros?  I'm not sure the bowmen at Agincourt only hit on a shield roll ;o)  and although the film is a typical travesty historically, I think Wallace's pikemen would also demand better dice!!

Published: 3/8/2010 5:56:14 AM

No problem Elberon. I think I didn't get you wrong. I didn't understand it as a poke at me. :-)

Guess, the user over here, that go for the competition should be happy, that you won't go for it.
It's just like Scayra said. Would be hard for them to push that kind of envelope ;-)))


Published: 3/5/2010 9:59:58 AM

@Elberon: You already set the mark very high with some of your creatures (and races). One of the terms of our fan created creature set is not to copy already existing creatures - and with so many different and interesting creatures you designed it will be a heck of a job to create three new creatures.

Thanks for all you've already done for Battlelore.

Published: 3/5/2010 7:33:42 AM

 SelbuorT - I wish I read German as well as you write english - I'd have a go at that competition...  race or creature.

re my reply to the passion part - I missed out  a few smiley faces in my previous reply, I meant it as a mild jab at the new game than a poke at you ;-)

I just hope in the future Mr Borg is able to find a way to get his vision for BL out to the rest of us

Published: 3/5/2010 6:44:08 AM

Well, I'd appreciate if BL would be continued like in the beginnings. And I agree with you: There is so much more possible than three or four races and that shortened lore system. It is nice to play in every way... don't get me wrong. BL is my top favourite Boardgame, indeed!
We had and we have this discussion about BL and its futher deployment in the, too. And we also have the discussion about BoW... and a lot different oppinions.

We started a competition at the worldofbattlelore: a fan created creature set.
Well, if I had known the deployment of BoW and all its consequences, we should have started a different competition: fan created new race set!  ;-)

It is a question of passion what means, it is a matter of taste and a matter of liking. No need to argue about that.

Up to 5 books? You lucky guy. We have up to 8 books in German yet. That makes it up to $120... Good to have a library around. But the story is great. Similar to all the intrigues in the middleages. Yes, a lot of charakters, but a real great story. Matter of taste, I guess... :-)

Published: 3/5/2010 5:45:54 AM

 @ SelbourT - Trouble is if I fancy a game with a medieval game with Lore I can't use BoW, and as for passion ofthe books, I'd prefer not to read 1 (possibly up to 5) books to understand who the heck person A is and if the mechanics match the story etc (thankfully we have great library service in the UK so I wouldn't have to buy the books otherwise you'd have to slap on another what $8 - $40 worth of books to the cost.  

Also BL covers the Hundred Years War  - that could cover a huge range of units upto and including the first fire arms, it could include 10 + races to represent the different nations of that time.  Dow didn't even use the full Lore deck that Mr Borg created.  Simply put there are so many more directions that the game could* have gone in an generated loads of revenue for FFG (IF they could get past the basic game cost issue which seems the most significant hurdle).

*I say could because I think BL is now destined to become a game with an expansion every couple of years to help protect the IP but otherwise left to the fans to keep alive.

Published: 3/5/2010 4:19:21 AM

@ Elberon

Well, you can play BL without Lore. I pefer ist without or just with medieval lore rules out of the hundered years war.
You also can play BoW without any kind of Lore...

This will turn it into a kind of historic tabletop/boardgame... but... there are many games like that already existing...
So, why buying and playing Bow??? It is a question of passion, I think. :-) I love the books and the boardgame and battlelore... so I have to know, how BoW is to play and how it works!


And yes, finally better dice! Good for colorblind players! ;-)



Mig el Pig
Published: 3/4/2010 9:10:15 AM

It's indeed a bit strange, even if they share certain mechanics,

It would be like having a Rome Vs Carthage, 216BC with as undertitle A Axis and Allies Game.

Published: 3/4/2010 7:08:22 AM

Everything I read about this game sounds great, but I think we are all still wondering why is this called "a Battlelore game"?! :S

Published: 3/4/2010 6:13:47 AM

Sounds great - I like the idea of a d8 for combat resolution and also the engagement rules. They are very authentic for medieval or ancient mass combat.

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