18 November 2013 | BattleLore

The Tricks of Battle

A Preview of Lore in BattleLore Second Edition


BattleLore Second Edition is a two-player board game of vicious fantasy battles between two rival armies in the vibrant fantasy realm of Terrinoth. You must order your units into battle on every turn, deciding when and where to strike in hopes of shattering your opponent’s army and claiming victory points for yourself.

In past previews, we’ve examined choosing scenario cards, mustering armies, moving units, and engaging in battle. Every turn in BattleLore begins as you play a command card from your hand, ordering some of your units on the battlefield. Once you order those units, you move them strategically and engage in combat with other units, potentially causing damage or forcing a unit to retreat from its current position. Your ultimate goal in movement and combat is to seize control of the battlefield, gaining victory points from banners and destroying your opponent’s units.

It always helps to have a few tricks in your hand as your armies battle across the lands of Terrinoth in BattleLore Second Edition. Sometimes, in the struggle for victory points, mere force of arms is insufficient to establish your superiority on the field of battle. At times like these, you may need to enlist the aid of a sorcerer or perform a cunning tactical maneuver with the help of a lore card. The power of lore is invaluable in any battle, and in this preview, we’ll explore the powerful effects you can trigger using the lore cards.

Gathering Strength

Lore cards form a vital part of battlefield strategy in BattleLore, keeping your opponent uncertain, and giving you tricks to seize the upper hand. Each faction in BattleLore has its own deck of lore cards, matching the factions’ dispositions and offering a variety of opportunities to overrun your opponent. If you want to play a lore card, however, you will need to pay the cost with lore tokens. More powerful lore cards require more lore to pay for them, meaning you will need to stay well-supplied with lore if you want to play your cards when you choose.

The most direct way to gain lore tokens is during combat. Whenever you roll the ‘lore’ result on a combat die, you receive one lore token from the supply, providing fuel to play lore cards. Gaining lore tokens during combat depends on your die roll, though, and at the end of your turn, you have several more certain options for increasing your lore. As the first option, you can choose to simply gain two lore tokens. This is an excellent choice if you’re planning on storing up lore to play one or more lore cards soon.

Alternatively, you can take one lore token and draw one lore card from your faction’s lore deck. This option allows you to build your supply of lore and your hand of lore cards at the same time, and although you can only hold four lore cards at a time, you’ll want to ensure you have as many options as possible, so you can respond to any enemy threat.

As a final option, instead of taking lore tokens at the end of your turn, you could choose to draw two lore cards from your faction’s lore deck. If you choose to draw two lore cards, you must discard a card from your hand afterward. This option gives you the opportunity to tailor your hand to the state of the battle, provided you already have sufficient lore tokens.

Defending the Realm

Your victory on the field of battle will depend both on your units and on how you play your lore cards during the battle. The Daqan Lords’ general strategy may be more defensive than the Uthuk Y’llan, but it is by no means less potent. With the help of the Daqan Lords’ lore cards, you can ensure your opponent’s army won’t break your defensive lines.

The most powerful lore cards can cost large amounts of lore, and it certainly helps to have an additional way to gain lore. By playing Plunder after an enemy unit is eliminated, you can swell your coffers by immediately collecting three lore. With enough lore at your disposal, you’ll be well-equipped to give your units the bonuses they need to triumph over their enemies by playing more lore cards.

Many of the Daqan Lords’ lore cards help your units maintain a deadly defense. Valor and Vengeance is played when an opponent attacks one of your Knight units, such as the Citadel Guard. This unit ignores all ‘retreat’ results for that combat roll, and gains two extra combat dice for its own counterattack, potentially destroying the unit that attacked first. Wall of Steel, on the other hand, allows you to split your opponent’s dice into two groups. Your opponent chooses one group of dice to resolve, and you effectively halve the damage that could have been dealt to your unit!

Other lore cards allow the Daqan Lords to achieve a crippling tactical advantage. By casting Portal , your units can teleport behind enemy lines or make a lightning-fast escape from an incoming Uthuk Y’llan assault. When you desperately need an attack to succeed, playing Rune Blade gives you the best chance of getting the results you need, whether you need to annihilate an enemy unit or force them to retreat.

Overwhelming Power

The Uthuk Y’llan lore cards differ from the Daqan Lords’ in a number of ways. Generally speaking, the Uthuk Y’llan use lore cards that are more offensive in nature, allowing them to press the assault, while simultaneously undermining their opponent’s plans.

A successful assault needs to break through enemy defenses, and a large number of Uthuk Y’llan lore cards can be used to deal deadly amounts of damage, using cards like Encircle. Encircle can be played if you attack a unit that is adjacent to at least two of your units, and allows you to use any ‘retreat’ results from the combat roll to cause two damage, quickly destroying even the most hardy units. Fury of Y’llan provides a similar damage-boosting effect by adding combat dice and allowing even weak units to cause damage with ‘cleave’ results.

Your units will need to stay at full strength to keep the pressure on the enemy, but units inevitably take damage during combat. Fortunately, several of the Uthuk Y’llan lore cards focus on restoring health to your units. You can fully heal an Obscene unit after it destroys an enemy unit by playing Cannibalize. As another option, you could pay the steep cost to play Dark Pact, the most expensive Uthuk Y’llan lore card. This lore card is expensive, but its benefits far outweigh the cost – it allows you to order an additional unit, fully recover that unit’s health, move it farther, and drastically increase its combat effectiveness for the current turn.

Once you do break your opponent’s formation, he may be able to repair the damage with one well-played command card. By playing Chaos of Battle, you can make sure your opponent plays the command card you want him to, giving you the upper hand and an opportunity to ruin your opponent’s position permanently.

Turning the Tide

However you use your lore cards, they are certain to have a distinct effect on your battles. As you gather lore to fuel these powerful cards, they might just give you the tools you need to get out of a tight situation or turn the tide of battle in your favor. Next time, we’ll examine the differences between the armies of the Daqan Lords and the Uthuk Y’llan as we delve deeper into unit special abilities. In addition, BattleLore Second Edition is now available for pre-order! Pre-order BattleLore at your local retailer today.

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