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October 21 2010

Official Site Info: Repurposed French core sets

Apparently it’s been tough to get hold of a BattleLore core set for a while now, so Fantasy Flight Games has introduced a stop-gap measure by ‘repurposing’ some French sets with English cards and reference sheets. English rules will be made available as a PDF download. Look for a big red sticker on these boxes.

Days of Wonder must have printed a huge run of BattleLore when they first released the game … it will be interesting to see how FFG tackles the production problems surrounding the core set when these repurposed French sets run out.

My guess is in a smaller edition with smaller armies; so if you still haven’t got a core set, grab one (or two) now!
Check out the full announcement on the FFG site.

Update: As announced here, the following expansion sets will get the same treatment to make them available: Goblin Skirmishers, Goblin Marauders, Dwarven Battalion, and The Hundred Years’ War.

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October 19 2010

Official Site Info: Code of Chivalry

Fantasy Flight Games has announced another BattleLore army pack: Code of Chivalry. The Humans are being expanded with knights, arbalestiers, and lancers.

In keeping with the ‘something old, something new’ nature of recent releases, the box will contain two new unit types as well as two types previously released in the Hundred Years War (arbalestiers) and Scottish Wars (the mounted knights) expansions, plus 6 new Call to Arms deployment cards.

Now that we’ve had ‘top-up’ packs for the Humans, Dwarves and Goblins, fingers crossed for a new race next time!
Check out the announcement on the FFG site. More information is promised soon.

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September 17 2010

Official Site Info: Bearded Brave details

There’s some new information about the Arbalest, Spotter and Mighty Bolt Thrower unit types on the Fantasy Flight Games website. Iron Dwarf Spotters come equipped with the Spy Glass, and are a single figure that can be embedded in a single ranged foot unit. When present, the unit’s ranged weapon attacks receive an additional hex of range and roll an additional combat die.

Mighty Bolt Thrower units are made up of two bolt thrower figures and two Iron Dwarf crossbowmen acting as a crew. They can fire up to 5 hexes and benefit from bonus strikes when making ranged attacks. They are vulnerable however—each hit they take eliminates a Bolt Thrower AND a crewman.

Check out the article on the FFG site for full details and card images.

Update: More information about the bear riders here.

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September 04 2010

Official Site Info: Bearded Brave

Fantasy Flight Games has announced another BattleLore ‘army expansion box’, Bearded Brave. The Iron Dwarves are being expanded with four new unit types.

In the box will be six different types of Iron Dwarf units, including Bear Riders and Mighty Bolt Throwers. 40 new figures, 27 cards, and a rulebook with 4 new adventures.

Check out the announcement on the FFG site. More information is promised in the coming weeks.

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April 01 2010

Battles of Westeros News

More official information about Battles of Westeros has been released; an article about troop management in the game. Sounds interesting, and actually quite different from the BattleLore system.

For all the detail, visit the Fantasy Flight website.

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March 19 2010

Official Site Info: Horrific Horde

Horrific Horde Expansion

A big surprise from Fantasy Flight Games this morning with the announcement of the BattleLore: Horrific Horde expansion set!

It’s an interesting release, for several reasons. Firstly, veteran players will probably not get too excited about the 42 figures in this set: we’ve seen the Goblin Swordsmen, Hobgoblin Cavalry and Hobgoblin Hyena Riders before (interestingly, there are no Drummers, Spear Bearers and Slingers from the Goblin Skirmishers set, so it isn’t really an entire Goblin army). The only new units are some Goblin Halberdiers, and some fantastic-looking Ogres.

However, what this new set does tell us is that FFG are listening to the fans and releasing large expansion sets of one racial type. I think I can safely predict that a big dwarf set will be the next release, consolidating some of the units from the Dwarven Battalion and Scottish Wars sets, plus some new Dwarf units. But after that, perhaps we’ll finally see new BattleLore races on the battlefield?
(As a personal aside, I would love to see the sculpt for green and blue banner goblins replaced. It never seemed to match the style and scale of the other goblin figures.)

Anyway, back to the Horrific Horde! As well as the figures, you get unit summary and specialist cards, weapon summary cards for the updated Goblin Slinger rules, 15 deployment cards to use with Call to Arms, and a rulebook with five new Adventures. I would guess that this all comes in a box the size of the Scottish Wars and Heroes expansions.

The Ogre is a great looking figure and certainly has a lot more ‘oomph’ than the Troll sculpt. It can move one hex and battle, and wields a spiked club for 4d, hitting on a bonus strike; it’s also subject to a ‘Frenzy’ rule. Also, a unit consists of three figures, which is something new, so it’s a red banner unit not a creature.

Is the start of a new series of much-awaited army packs? Elves, undead, orcs …?

The Horrific Horde is coming this (northern hermisphere) summer.

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February 23 2010

Battles of Westeros Officially Announced

Battles of Westeros

Fantasy Flight Games has officially announced their new game Battles of Westeros.

In news articles on their website, FGG announce the new upcoming release and Christian Petersen, CEO of FFG, answers some questions about the game. The official minisite has also been launched.

The interview gives us some very interesting insights into what is happening with BattleLore at FFG, and possibly, what happened with it at Days of Wonder. Apparently, due to various factors, the original game can no longer be produced at an affordable pricepoint. This is pure speculation, but I think we will see ‘classic’ BattleLore re-released in a completely new format at some time in the future—perhaps a core game with far smaller armies, and then small army packs as expansions.

After reading the information available so far, I must admit I’m in two minds about this new release. Firstly, it looks like a great game, and I have no doubt that I will buy it and enjoy it. But I am confused about it being branded a BattleLore game. Petersen himself admits that they “have some slight similarities” but are “different games”; that “we acquired BattleLore to be our core brand for medieval tactical warfare games … the BattleLore name is not necessarily tied to Richard’s Command and Colors system”; and “the key value to FFG was the BattleLore brand.”

Well, this is new … and very confusing to BattleLore players and non-BattleLore players alike.

According to Petersen, BattleLore has “an eclectic mix of a fantasy and historic medieval theme that FFG has never been comfortable with”, and that Battles of Westeros is a non-magic, gritty medieval game that is more in line with their vision.

Petersen goes on to say that “classic BattleLore” will continue to be supported. This is great news, but again, confusing to the game-buying public that isn’t keeping track of these developments by visiting the website and reading the articles. It seems to be completely reasonable for someone who sees a game on the shelf branded ‘A BattleLore Game’ to expect that it will be compatible with the game BattleLore, does it not? And doesn’t it seem strange that a game specifically targeted as not including magic is branded with a name—and a logo—that specifically emphasises ‘Lore’, or magic?

Again, I think the new game looks great and I will most likely buy it. But if it’s not BattleLore, why brand it BattleLore? Why change the name BattleLore into a generic brand name, when there is already a specific game system by that name? A specific game system that will now be rather clunkily referred to as ‘classic’ BattleLore?

I can see what FFG are trying to do—creating a generic brand for a game series—and no doubt when all the dust settles and time has passed, the fan base will accept that BattleLore is now a brand name and not a particular game system.

Personally, I don’t expend energy worrying too much about these matters—there’ll always be plenty of quality games to play from FFG, and I have enough gaming goodness to happily fill my available hours. But it seems a shame that the uniqueness—the ‘eclectic mix’, if you will—of the BattleLore game has been diluted in this way.

What do you think? I’d be interested to hear your opinion. And should this website cover all the ‘BattleLore’ releases from FFG, or just ‘classic BattleLore’?

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January 21 2010

Official Site Info: Dragons Released!

Dragons Expansion

Fantasy Flight Games has just announced that the new BattleLore expansion set BattleLore: Dragons is now shipping. Follow this link for the announcement, and to download the rules. The models look fantastic …

Importantly, the rules for using Creatures have been updated and clarified as well, so be sure to check out the link above and download the PDFs!

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September 01 2009

Official Site Info: Creatures

Creatures Expansion

Next up from the series of previews from Fantasy Flight Games is a look at the cards for the three creatures (two of which are models we’ve seen before, the Giant and Elemental, previously only available as promo figures) in the upcoming BattleLore: Creatures expansion set.

Again, it’s mostly flavour text, but we do see the cards for the Wood Giant (Green banner), Hydra (Blue banner) and Rock Elemental (Red banner).

The Wood Giant moves up to 2 hexes and battles, and retreats 2 hexes per flag. His damage is 2 dice. Being a denizen of the forests, he ignores the movement and combat restrictions of woods, so he can move through them and also battle on a turn he moves into them. Each bonus strike is re-rolled for additional hits or flags until no more bonus strikes are rolled. The Giant player can force his target to retreat 2 hexes for every Lore he rolls.

The Hydra is going to be the figure everyone will want from this set, with its interchangeable heads. It may move up to 2 hexes and battle, and retreats 2 hexes per flag. It’s melee damage is 1 dice plus 1 dice per head, and it also hits on a bonus strike symbol. The Hydra is only hit on its banner colour, and one neck is removed for each hit! The fun continues when a Hydra rolls a Lore symbol in melee—if it is missing a neck, a neck with 2 heads can take its place! Great stuff.

The red Earth Elemental is a magical force to be reckoned with. It moves a number of spaces equal to the Lore you spend (ignoring movement and terrain restrictions), it does not retreat, and it has a melee attack of 4 dice. It’s melee attack does a big 4 dice damage and hits on a bonus strike. It’s 1 Lore Tremor attack makes all surrounding units retreat one hex for each Lore, and its 2 Lore dice Earthquake attack makes all surrounding units take 1 hit and retreat.

However, the Earth Elemental must be kept on the go—if it is not ordered in a turn it is removed and must be summoned again.
Previews of the actual figures and the dragons soon, hopefully.

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August 28 2009

Official Site Info: Dragons

Dragons Expansion

The information from Fantasy Flight Games just keeps pouring in—now, a look at the abilities of the three types of dragons in the upcoming BattleLore: Dragons expansion set.

The article is mainly flavour text, but it does show us the abilities and attacks of the three types: the Wood Wyvern (Green banner), Ice Drake (Blue banner) and Fire Dragon (Red banner).
All the basic information is the same, except the melee attack damage, which is 2 dice for the Wyvern, 3 dice for the Drake and 4 dice for the Fire Dragon. All the Dragons hit on a Bonus Strike result. As for movement, they can all move up to 2 hexes and battle, or fly up to 4 hexes and then use their breath attack. Retreat is 3 hexes per flag, with the option of ignoring the first flag.

Dragon are certainly going to be dominant, fast-moving features on the battlefield, and when Lore is paid (1 for the Wyvern, 2 for the Drake, and 3 for the Fire Dragon), the hexes that are flown over are going to feel the effects of their horrific breath weapons! The Wood Wyvern can unleash a Poison Breath attack that does 2 dice damage against every hex flown over. Each Lore rolled equals a Poison Breath token, the effects of which are still unclear.

The Ice Drake has a Frost Breath attack that does 3 dice damage and each Lore rolled equals a Frost Breath token, and the Fire Dragon’s Fire Breath attack does 4 dice damage and doles out Fire Breath tokens.

No doubt we’ll soon find out the additional effects of these Breath tokens. Dragons and Heroes are certainly going to shake up the battlefields of BattleLore however!

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