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November 30, 2006
How to fix the bendies
Now that people are starting to get their copies, several have noted that the regular cavalry and infantry are a bit crammed into the plastic tray, resulting in a few bent miniatures. This is easily fixed: warm the miniatures by putting them into hot water (or use a hairdryer), bend them into the correct position, then immediately cool them in cold water. Problem solved!
Update: DoW, once again showing exceptional thoughtfulness, have posted this blog page about the issue, which describes in detail (with photographs) this process of unbending any bent miniatures.
November 28, 2006
Official Word: BattleLore Shipping!
Things have been quiet for a while on the Days of Wonder official blog, but all is forgiven, as they are busy shipping BattleLore out to us eager customers!
Check the blog post for the full details, but basically, in Europe, BattleLore went out to European distributors, and those who pre-ordered from DoW, earlier this week and should be on the shelves by December 8. In the US, BL went out last week, and distributors will start shipping to retailers on Dec 4 and should be on the shelves by the end of next week. In other countries—Canada, Australia (yes please!), etc—they’re heading out this week, but when we actually see our copies is up to shipping and distribution factors.
Also, there’s additional information on ordering Earth Elementals direct from DoW, and the cut-off date for the Hill Giant promotion for US pre-orders has been extended to Dec 6. Plus you’ll get your Earth Elemental.
For all the details, check the blog post. Next, information about demo kits for stores and volunteers running events.
Things should start hotting up here at BattleLoreMaster once we finally get the game in our hot little hands. Expect some exciting changes to the site in the weeks to come!
November 27, 2006
Review: Tom Vasel
Tom Vasel’s review of BattleLore is in: Considering the clamor of those I played it with, the fun is high. Considering how I am typing this out, wishing I was playing the game instead—it must be good! All I can say is that BattleLore is the best in the series yet! Rating: 10/10
BattleLore is coming …
Some lucky European Boardgamegeek members have received emails telling them their pre-ordered BattleLore from Days of Wonder was shipped on the 25th of November. BattleLore is coming!
Forum Post: Custom Cards
Zeek, a member of the BattleLoreMaster forums, has come up with some fantastic Custom cards—Places of Power. This is a great taste of some of the creativity I’m sure we can all expect to see appearing on the BattleLoreMaster forums in the months to come!
November 22, 2006
Report: Patrick Korner interviews Eric Hautemont
Patrick Korner chats with Eric Hautemont of Days of Wonder and the result is this interesting article, which gives us a good insight into the development process behind BattleLore, not to mention a few exciting tidbits about the future: Necromancer, anyone? Campaigns? Event and Creature decks? The future seems bright for BattleLore players!
November 20, 2006
Review: Kulkmann’s Gamebox
Kulkmann’s Gamebox gives us a comprehensive review of BattleLore: “It has been a long time since I last had the pleasure to playtest a new game (or better: gaming system) of such richness and outstanding design as Battlelore … the game plays very differently from all its predecessors … challenging for novices and seasoned players alike!”
November 18, 2006
Forum Post: Card Breakdown
Jeshko, a member of the BattleLoreMaster forums, after scanning the primer, the blog, and Boardgamegeek’s image gallery, has done the hard work of putting together a list of known Command and Lore cards. It’s an invaluable resource for those of us who would like a preview into what command decisions await us in BattleLore.
November 16, 2006
Official Word: Commonly Asked Questions
Days of Wonder takes the opportunity in their latest official DoW blog post to clear up some of the most commonly asked questions asked on forums about BattleLore. Hopefully this will finally quiet some of the endless debate that has been raging on their blog and Boardgamegeek about the promotional figures and DoW’s plans for expansions.
I won’t repeat all the detail here, but basically DoW seems to be doing all it can to make sure everyone will have a chance to get both the Hill Giant and Earth Elemental promotional figures in their hands. In the US, the Hill Giant will be available to all those who pre-order BattleLore either from Days of Wonder direct, or their Friendly Local Game Store. The Earth Elemental will be available at gaming events, and also from the DoW website to registered BattleLore owners free of charge (save for a shipping and handling fee). In Europe, a limited number of sets of both the figures will be available to pre-order customers. For the rest of the world, these sets will be shipped with pre-ordered copies.
For full details, consult the DoW blog post. Personally, I hope this ends some of the whinging that has characterised discussion of the promotional figures (for example, one ridiculous ten page discussion on Boardgamegeek!) It must have been very frustrating for DoW to make these free figures available and then have to put up with the petulant demands of some of the gaming fraternity.
Moving on, it is now confirmed that BattleLore is published and fully supported in English, French and German. Thanks to volunteers, Spanish, Dutch, Italian are partially supported via online resources such as the DoW blog. However, at this point there are no plans to publish versions in those or other languages. Also, the 80 page rulebook will not be released online as a PDF, though additional copies of the rulebook will be made available for purchase from the DoW site.
And now the stuff we all want to know more about: what are DoW’s plans for BattleLore expansions? The big news is that starting from March 2007, they plan to release 2-3 blister pack mini-expansions every month! These will be in the US$7-$12 range.
Intriguingly, DoW plans to “surprise and delight you” with memorable ‘tools’ built upon the foundations given in the core game, with the focus far more on D&D and roleplaying than Warhammer. In comments probably directed to those who fear the precedent of collectible miniatures games, it is pointed out that the idea is not to start an ‘arms race’ towards the most powerful armies and creatures; or to make customers feel that every expansion is a ‘must-have’ (though knowing myself and many other gamers, I’m sure most of us will consider them all must-haves anyway!)
There will also be two major expansions next year, one around (northern hemisphere) summer and one before Christmas.
And, last but not least, it is confirmed that although there will not be a points-based system, Richard Borg and the development team are creating an innovative and fun new approach to army building.
All in all, it seems the future is bright for BattleLore fans. Days of Wonder seems determined for the game to become something very much more than ‘just’ a miniatures battle game. Stay tuned here as BattleLoreMaster.com goes along for the ride!
November 13, 2006
From out of the very earth it came …
Here’s a good look at the Earth Elemental promotional figure, including his ‘Magic Pentacle’ Lair terrain tile.
Click for the large image.
November 11, 2006
Review: The Dice Tower
The Dice Tower Episode #74 includes a glowing review of BattleLore by Tom Vassel and Sam Healey along with a fun session report, and a more general overview of the Command & Colors system.
November 10, 2006
If you’re this close you’re in trouble
A good close up shot of the Hill Giant, for those of you who haven’t had a visit by him yet (including me!)
Click for the large image.
A first review is in: Frank Branham of Boardgamenews.com takes us through his initial experiences with BattleLore in this review.
I must admit that comparing the quantity of figures with War of the Ring and the quality of 20mm plastic BattleLore miniatures with 30mm metal Rackham miniatures seems somewhat fallacious to me, but the review is nicely detailed and, overall, very positive.
November 9, 2006
Official Word: The Adventures
The latest post on the official DoW blog talks about the world of BattleLore, Adventures and the BattleLore Online Adventure editor.
Europe during the Late Middle Ages is the stage for BattleLore adventures—”a period rich in major mass combat clashes, minor skirmishes and daring chevauchées … full of lively and colourful characters … [and] enough geo-political twists … and military and scientific innovations (cannons and gunpowder, astronomy …) to make anyone’s head spin.”
The Adventure Booklet is written from the point of view of one of the period’s leading chroniclers— Jehan (Jean) Froissart (c.1337 - c.1405); and is titled Vrayes croniques de France, d’Engleterre et païs voisins (‘Veritable Chronicles of France, Engelond and Neighbouring Countries’).
Of course, this being a uchronian Middle Ages Europe, things are not quite as they seem. In the BattleLore version of Froissart’s writings, monstrous creatures, mythical races and the mysterious power of Lore further enrich the already fascinating and exciting historical battles.
Each BattleLore adventure is presented in the same format to facilitate rapid setup.
The format features the adventure’s Title (and date, when provided); a Battle Map depicting the lay of the land and the initial deployment of forces; a list of the type and quantity of Terrain; a list of key figures and supplemental units; and the Adventure’s Battle Notes.
The Battle Notes give the players a background introduction to the adventure, a briefing section detailing known Commanders, Lore Masters and/or War Councils composition, the starting player, Victory Conditions and Special Rules.
The Adventures in the base game are presented in order, progressively introducing players to all facets of BattleLore. A brief Apprentice section at the end of the Battle Notes lists the key new rules featured and references to their page number or chapter in the Player’s Guide.
It’s clear that the adventures presented have a high replayability factor. Different War Councils, Lore Masters and Creatures should change the way the battles play out considerably. Days of Wonder also promise more Adventures on the official BattleLore website. Hopefully, we’ll also be featuring as many unofficial adventures as possible on BattleLoreMaster.com.
Accessible with the registration number that comes with every copy of BattleLore, the Online Adventure Editor is the same tool that Days of Wonder uses internally to develop and test their adventures. It should make the process of creating your own adventures remarkably painless. More detail about this is promised in a future entry.
November 8, 2006
BattleLore Trivia Contest
Boardgamegeek are running a BattleLore Trivia Contest!
There are five multiple-choice trivia questions related to the world of BattleLore. For each correct answer (as determined by Days of Wonder) you’ll receive one entry in a random drawing to be held on Thursday, November 16th, 2006 to win one of three copies of BattleLore or one of twenty Earth Elemental Creature figures.
You may only play this contest once, for a maximum of 5 possible entries in the drawing (if you get all 5 questions correct), and as usual you have to be a Boardgamegeek member to enter. The odds of winning will be determined by the number of entries. Good luck!
November 7, 2006
The Hill Giants are here!
Reports are coming in of Hill Giants wandering the country!
Yes, the promotional Hill Giant figure has arrived, as anticipation for the upcoming release of BattleLore reaches fever pitch.
By the way, Days of Wonder has been very thoughtful in supplying two identical Hill Giant cards so that you can either give one to each of the two players (and use their front and back for reference); or give two to the player controlling the creature to display both its front and back at the same time.
Click the images to get a look at the summary cards and terrain tile that come with the figure, and the figure itself.
November 4, 2006
The Real Uchronia
I’m embarrassed to discover that the word Uchronia refers to a hypothetical, alternate-timeline period. It’s a word I hadn’t come across before. Possibly like many others, I assumed this was the name of the fantasy world of BattleLore. What Days of Wonder really meant by ‘a Medieval Europe Uchronia’ is an alternate fantasy version of our own medieval period.
November 1, 2006
Official Word: Terrains, Landmarks and Lairs
The latest post on the official DoW blog looks at the hex tiles that add variety and strategic options to the battle board: Terrain, Landmarks and Lairs. There are four basic terrain types in the core BattleLore set: Countryside (the board itself); Wooded Terrain; Elevated Ground and Waterways. I’m sure we can assume that additional terrain types will be coming in future expansions.
Each terrain type (and each Landmark and Lair) has a corresponding Summary card where its effects on movement, battle and line of sight are detailed.
For example, this Wooded Terrain card tells us that woods block line of sight and a unit entering the wood must then stop, but may still battle. In addition, the terrain sometimes imposes a cap on the number of default battle dice a unit may roll when attacking into or out of the terrain (in the case of Woods, 2 dice).
In general, rougher terrain limits the number of dice more; a neat device that reflects the effect on manouverability and combat effectiveness that such terrain has on a ‘heavier’ unit.
Note this cap does not affect bonus dice from Lore or Command cards or any other source.
Landmarks are distinctive battlefield features built by the hand of man, and have a number of basic effects: they block line of sight, their occupants may ignore a flag and possibly battle back (ie the unit becomes Bold), and a unit must stop and cannot battle the turn it enters a landmark.
You can see they also cap battle dice in the same way as Wooded Terrain.
However, they often also convey unique advantages. The sole owner of a Level 3 Lore Master receives a unique Landmark for that Lore Master.
For example, a Level 3 Wizard receives the Magic Pentacle shown here, which lets the player collect a Lore token at the end of each turn during which that player’s troops occupy the Pentacle.
A Level 3 Rogue receives the Rogue’s Den shown here, allowing the player to establish a secret one-way passage to a Wooded or Elevated terrain hex.
The Den is placed in any empty hex on the third or fourth row from your side (it’s not yet clear whether this placement rule applies to all Lore Master landmarks).
Any player with a Level 3 Commander receives the Stronghold, which makes any friendly troops adjacent to it Bold, but also forces you to lose a precious Command card if it is taken by the enemy! A bit of a mixed blessing perhaps..?
Finally, Creatures also come with their own Lair (we can see here how the Hill Giant and Earth Elemental blister packs come with their Lair tile and Summary card in addition to their Creature summary cards) from which they emerge during the battle. Here we see a Circle of Summoning, from which troops may attempt to summon the Earth Elemental into an adjacent hex.