« June 2009 |
| August 2009 »
July 29, 2009
Official Word: Heroes Expansion Warrior
The final preview of the BattleLore Heroes Expansion characters has just been posted over at Fantasy Flight Games— the Warrior hero, who, as expected, is an aggressive hero and a good choice for newbie players who don’t want to bother too much about subtle tactics!
I’m a bit surprised to see that the Warrior illustration is female, for two reasons. One, with the exception of Joan of Arc, woman weren’t involved in warrior roles in battles during the Hundred Years’ War, which is the historical period BattleLore is ‘based’ in (with fantasy additions, of course). I have nothing against more sexual equality in gaming stereotypes, but this seems to underscore the fact that BattleLore may be getting a bit more Dungeons & Dragons and a little less ‘alternative historical’, which I personally think is a shame.
Two, my pre-production figure of the warrior seems to be male. Of course the figure may have since changed, or the plate armour is just too heavy to really tell!
Anyway, back to the skills. The Warrior doesn’t muck about on the sidelines, but takes on enemies, whether heroes or troops, face-to-face, and she has no interest in Lore either. She has six skills to choose from up front; no prerequisites.
Of course, she has Riding like all our other heroes. It is recommended that this skill is avoided until her other abilities are developed, however.
Path Finder is the same as the Rogue skill, and allows her to ignore terrain movement restrictions and move one additional hex.
The remaining skills are combat-oriented. Assassin—also, somewhat strangely, a Rogue card—adds a die when battling an enemy Hero in melee combat, and adds damage when a hit is scored. I think this would have been better renamed for the Warrior, but that’s a small nit-pick.
Blademaster is another shared skill with the Rogue, adding one additional die in melee combat, while Hack-and-Slash (yay, a unique Warrior skill at last!) gives the Warrior two additional dice. That’s more like it!
Her last skill is Bruiser, that allows each Sword-on-Shield (Bonus Strike) result to be rolled again until no new Sword-on-Shield results are rolled. Lore results rolled on the extra dice are ignored.
All-in-all I found the Warrior to be a little uninteresting, with her reliance on Rogue-type skills, and I think the visual treatment would have been much better suited to a burly medieval warrior-in-armour-type, even though it’s a bit of a cliché. Personally I’d like to see BattleLore’s unique Hundred Years’ War setting retained and emphasized, rather than see this generic American fantasy look creep in. Still, it’s going to be a great expansion!
Of course we have yet to se what special Artifacts—probably weapons—the Warrior can wield. Hopefully Artifcacts will be the subject of the next post!
July 18, 2009
Official Word: Heroes Expansion Wizard
The BattleLore Heroes Expansion news continues with a look at the Wizard hero, who harnesses the arcane arts for death and destruction.
We certainly have a different look for the Wizard hero here; a flamboyant pastels-and-armour-garbed woman with a strange bird familiar, fireball, sparkling wand and a riding beast that’s a cross between lion and horse! It’s a little much for my taste, a bit too Dungeons & Dragons, but others may disagree.
But the important thing is what she brings to the BattleLore battlefield. And it looks pretty tough. The Wizard uses offensive strategies and is best taking on enemy heroes or normal troops. She can also take more equipment into battle by summoning a servant or utilizing her skills in alchemy. For the player who wants to get his hero up in the front lines dealing damage, the Wizard is a good choice.
She has five skills to choose from at the beginning; one requires a prerequisite but is only a support skill.
Of course, there’s the usual Riding skill, apparently not as useful to the Wizard as it is to other players, unless she is wielding an artifact that requires quick movement around the battlefield.
Of the remaining skills, two allow the Wizard to equip differently before the game, while the others are offensive spells.
Alchemist allows the Wizard to use a potion more than once (they are usually discarded after use). The maximum number of usages per turn is always one, however, and the skill only alows two ‘repeats’. Potions appear to be included under the heading of ‘Artifacts’. We learn that heroes start the game with a single Artifact, and that the usual maximum number a hero can carry is two.
However, Unseen Servant allows the Wizard to take three Artifacts into battle. This seems very handy, as artifacts appear to be quite powerful—and the Rogue has a skill that allows him to steal one from the Wizard.
Now it’s time for a bit of offensive magic!
The not-so-subtly-named Destruction lets the Wizard destroy an opponent hero’s Artifact, if they are in melee combat and the Wizard gives up all Lore rolled (minimum 2). This could really annoy your opponent, taking away a powerful item from his arsenal early in the game.
Ball Lightning allows a Wizard in melee to cause a hit by using all the Lore symbols she rolls. You can add the skill Lightning Arc to this and share the ability with a friendly adjacent unit!
According to the article, the Wizard is therefore more powerful when leading a troop, and they recommend keeping her with a red banner unit so her powers can be best utilized with the larger offensive dice pool.
Only one left: the Warrior!
July 9, 2009
Official Word: Heroes Expansion Field Commander
More BattleLore Heroes Expansion goodness this week with a preview of the Field Commander hero.
Our new commander is a rather flamboyant blonde warrior in red and purple, somewhat younger and less encoumbered by armour than we’ve been used to. I liked the old white haired, hard-bitten character myself, but a change is good.
The Field Commander is for those players with a focus on their army; he uses his skills to help other units. He seems to be quite a fighter in his own right as well. Like the Rogue, all of his 5 class-specific skills don’t require skill prerequisites, but are available from the start of the game.
Like other heroes, he has the Riding skill. This seems to be an important first choice for the Commander so he has the mobility to effectively use his other skills where they’re needed on the battlefield.
Outflank is another movement skill. Your Commander can be ordered out-of-section of using an order from a section Command card. This means that if you have the Riding skill, your Commander will always been on the move.
The Blademaster gives a bonus to melee battle dice—though no additional casualties like the Rogue skill of the same name.
Call to Arms requires that your Commander be adjacent to a supporting unit, and adds two dice to his combat roll (though the supporting unit can’t battle that turn).
Now, a couple of skills that improve your Commander’s Command!
Scouting lets you draw three replacement Command cards and keep one after your Commander is ordered by a scout Command card, giving you some extra flexibility in your command choices.
And finally, Lead by Example allows the Field Commander, when ordered by a Scout card, to order up to 3 contiguous units (as long is one is adjacent to your Commander).
Great stuff to reduce the vagaries of luck and put the control of command back in the player’s hands.
Coming up next, the Wizard.
July 1, 2009
Official Word: Heroes Expansion Rogue
The lead-up to the long-awaited release of the BattleLore Heroes Expansion continues with a look at the Rogue hero.
New artwork for the Rogue sees a male version dressed in purple-lined cloak, mask and rather fetching thigh-high leather boots. All the rage in Uchronia this season, I’m sure!
The focus of the Rogue is targeting and disrupting your opponent’s hero—but of course, in a sneaky way. He’s not going to last if you go up against your opponent’s Warrior in combat.
Unlike the Cleric, who has a skill selection limited by rerequisites, the Rogue has a full complement of skills to choose from.
The Riding skill returns, a skill that all heroes have in common, though it appears its effects can vary for each hero. In the Rogue’s case, it increases his movement to 4 hexes, but is also required for the use of other skills (just how it does isn’t clear at this stage).
The Pathfinder skill allows the Rogue to treat all terrain—even impassable terrain— as though it was clear countryside. He still can’t end his move on impassable terrain however. Very handy indeed. Like Riding, it also sets up the use of other skills.
Right, onto the all-important combat skills!
Assassin gives your Rogue an extra battle die in melee combat against another hero (hero versus hero combat—excellent!).
Blademaster gives you the extra battle die in general melee combat. In addition, if you roll at least one hit, you roll an additional die when making the Casualty Check.
The article’s suggestion for these skills to wait until you can see how your opponent will utilise his hero—whether they come to the fore to offer combat, or stay hidden in the ranks instead.
The last two skills are Leech and Thievery.
Leech allows the Rogue to still the Lore that an opponent rolls when attacking a Rogue. Yeah, not that exciting, but we have yet to see how Lore works in relation to heroes. And you have to be attacked to use the sill, so as the article suggests, you should postpone selection of this skill until a bit later in the hero development process.
Thievery allows the Rogue to steal one artifact when in melee with an enemy hero, after spending a minimum of 2 rolled Lore. This is the first mention of artifacts, which sound exciting. Each hero begins the game with one, but it appears that more can be taken as a hero develops.
Next up for discussion is the Field Commander.