Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shall I get rid of BattleLore?

I need your advice dear reader. A gamer in the UK has offered me a trade on BoardGameGeek - my BattleLore for his Mare Nostrum (plus expansion).

Why was my BattleLore marked for trade in the first place - you may ask? I was excited about it when I bought it (must have been to shell out £45) but have only played it solo so far. To be honest I am wary of getting sucked into another Commands and Colors collecting habit. I already like Memoir 44 (and have most of the expansions) and LOVE Ancients (and already own the first expansion, with the next two pre-ordered). I'm not sure if my budget or my time or my my interest can sustain a third C&C series.

Also - I was excited about the idea of C&C with a fantasy theme, but I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed by the tongue-in-cheek way this was done in Battlelore. Dwarves in kilts forsooth! For me, fantasy has to take itself very very seriously. High art or not at all, thankyou very much.....


Iain Cheyne said...

I haven't played Battlelore, but it doesn't look too interesting to me. I'd go for Mare Nostrum, although you won't get to play it so much.

Iain Cheyne said...

Look out for postage costs though. Both are massive.

Christo said...

I have enjoyed the Battlelore games I have played, it is sufficiently different from C&C:A to have both (I do). But both C&C:A and Battlelore are seductive collectible expandable wallet destroying items that will quietly fill your cupboard and taunt you - daring you to play them rather than collect them!

Perhaps you only need one.

Me. I am a hopeless collector and a sometime player. I am collecting both, and look forward to whumping Iain at C&C:A again soon...

Mark (aka pastor guy) said...

As I have a 6 year old son, it's an easy question for me - Battlelore would stay put.

OTOH, I personally like Memoir '44 better than Battlelore... maybe it's the historical aspect, maybe it's the slightly more up-tempo play, I dunno.

I haven't played Mare Nostrum, so I have no idea what you'd be getting in return.

Good luck either way!

Chris Farrell said...

I'm sort of in the same boat as you. I own all 3 C&C series, but I feel like I need only one or two, tops, given the amount of play they actually get. Here is where I see the three games:

C&C:A: Pros: I think this is the most historically textured and most nuanced version of the game. It a touch too fiddly, but it's fun. Cons: Horrendous balance problems with the scenarios. Many are ludicrously one-sided.

M'44: Pros: Quick-playing, lots of variety with the different expansions packs, and great web support. M44 has some of the same balance problems as C&C:A, sometimes every bit as severe, but the great web site lets you hunt down good scenarios and register your displeasure with bad ones. Cons: It's a bit abstract, the historical flavor isn't that great, and the rules are sprawling at this point, split between 4 booklets.

BattleLore: The big pro for BattleLore for me is the balance problems have been largely solved. The scenarios play pretty evenly. The big con is that the balance problems have been solved by sucking the variety out of the game: scenarios are balanced by just giving each side roughly equivalent forces. Even after a couple expansions most games feel pretty samey, and BattleLore seems to encompass less variety than M44 or C&CA despite throwing so much more plastic and cash at the problem. One big thing they could have done to help the game is develop the creatures, but the promo Earth Elemental and Hill Giant still remain unincorporated into the core game (you can't use them with A Call to Arms; it's mind-boggling they'd ignore a nice asset like that).

The other big pro of BattleLore is that I think it hits a nice complexity/accessibility spot. The fantasy/100-years-war situation is more approachable for euro players, and I think the gameplay itself has hit a nice spot in terms of being nuanced but having reasonably clean and streamlined rules (as a counterexample, I find the leader rules in C&C:A ungainly).

So anyway, I'm giving BattleLore one more shot with the specialist pack expansions, but overall I have been somewhat disappointed with the game. But I think I like it enough that if the specialists don't deliver the variety BatteLore needs, I'll probably just quit buying, but keep the stuff I've got.

It also depends a bit on how the upcoming expansions for C&C:A work out. Expansion #1 was a bit disappointing, but #2 has some more promise.

Iain Cheyne said...

Well that's a thorough answer!

Sorry to be childish, but for the record Chris got very lucky with his elephants last time. He will pay for his cheek.

Christo said...

We have now tried out the Dwarven Battalion and it went very well. Being the hopeless collector that I am I just got all the Battlelore expansions, and we are just starting to explore them. Myself I am thinking of selling M44, since I prefer the Ancient or Medieval setting much more. The decisions you make in BL & CC also seem more in theme, you are trying to keep a battle line formed and keep the morale up, and there seems to be a greater variation in unit types.

As for CC, I also got the expansion to that, so I have a lot of block stickering to look forward to.