Monday, March 26, 2007

Back and forth we go...

First off, apologies for the delayed post. Family was in town over the weekend for our daughter's third birthday party and I ended up with a computer failure this morning before getting this post completed.

It's been a busy few days.

Anyway, Tim and I got together last week for BattleLore.

Tim had played Battle Cry a lot, and had played the Agincourt scenario in BL, so he knew the basics. I'd played the initial lore scenario (#5), so we decided to go with the simplest scenario that had a full War Council. That turns out to be #7 (Crisis in Avignon).

This scenario sees Sir Hugh Calverley attacking a bridge over a river (defended by Sire Arnoul d'Audrehem) in the SW corner of the map. The bridge is worth a victory point if the English can take and hold the bridge. Game is to 5 VPs for either side, and the forces are balanced. (5 medium and 2 heavy infantry each, 2 archers, 2 medium cavalry.) Each side also has an identical war council of level 6: a Lvl 2 Commander and Lvl 1 everywhere else.

A handful of hills dot the battlefield, and there's small copses of woods in the middle of either flank. Nothing really of note other than the river.

In the first game, Tim took the English, and I had the French. Early activity centered on the right flank with the medium cavalry taking the brunt of it. Tim counter attacked on his right. About mid-game, he pulled off the move of the day. He used the Sneak Attack Lore card to move his heavy infantry three hexes right onto the top of the bridge, taking that VP. A furious final charge on my part fell just short, but not after taking out a couple weakened units. Final score was 5-4 for the English (Tim) with one of the five being the bridge.

We swapped sides and gave it another go. This time, activity focused on the English left and center. I jumped out to a lead, but at the cost of bringing three or four units down to single figures. In the end, I ran out of cards I could use to pull these weak units out of Tim's reach, and he squished a number of them. Final score in this game was 5-4 for the French (Tim) without the English taking the bridge. (Tim parked one of his two heavy foot units on the bridge early on.)

Final score for the evening was 10-8 for Tim, and we were done in right about two hours total.

So... what did I learn about the game? The Lore cards really add a level of chaos that I'm not accustomed to in a wargame. You begin to plan for it after a while, but without being familiar with the Lore deck it's hard to know what kinds of things you might see. After having played the basic lore scenario a couple times I was partly prepared for the mental shift the Lore cards bring but there's still nothing like actually playing the game.

It's really hard to go into much detail here. The tactical part of the game is only slightly more complex than Memoir '44. The Lore cards, however, add a bit of chaos and wackiness that sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't. Maybe I just need to play it more. I'm not sure. I definitely like the game better than M'44 or Battle Cry, but I just see the Lore part of it dominating too much. There are some pretty powerful effects in those Lore cards.

Next time, we're going to be playing Command and Colors: Ancients. This is the most tactically complex of the entire series to date, and it will be a nice contrast to BattleLore. The comparisons will be interesting to see.

No comments: