Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Lore, please

The latest episodes in the continuing series of matches between the Young General and the Old Warhorse as they march through the scenarios of BattleLore ended up with a split decision.

First up was the Crisis In Avignon scenario, which is meant to introduce the other loremasters (Rogue, Cleric and Warrior) with everyone at level 1 and two identical armies facing off.

Because it was another face-off between identical armies we decided there was no need to switch sides.

There's a slight difference in the two sides' deployments, though, as the standards army has an unfordable river behind its left flank and an objective marker for the banner army on the bridge. As the standards commander I started off by moving that flank forward a bit to get some retreating room.

As so often happens with duels between evenly matched forces it proved hard for either side to gain a decisive edge and the game ended up being another example of the two armies poking at each other looking for tactical advantages. This was exacerbated by Young General's propensity to send his troops on unsupported forays, although in truth this didn't work to his disadvantage as much as I expected. I think that's because there's not as much scope for battling back in BattleLore as there is in the similar Commands & Colors: Ancients. In C&C A battling back is available to all units, whereas in BattleLore it's only available to Bold units. Aside from when attacking the dwarves, who are therefore always formidiable, it's not that difficult to avoid battlebacks. Unless the enemy is formed in what I like to call a "tercio" of three units all adjacent to each other, there's always somebody out on a limb who is unsupported. (In the initial set up above there's a "tercio" on the right flank of each army. A "tercio" was a Renaissance-era Spanish Army formation, so it's anachronistic to use it in BattleLore, but I think I can get away with it seeing as there also were not dwarves, goblins or giant spiders in fourteenth century Avignon, either.

Adding to the disjointed nature of the fighting was the Lore situation. Both sides had all the Loremasters so nearly all the cards were in play but nobody had a loremaster higher than level 1 so it was hard to acquire a coherent set of capabilities.

Both players were getting more comfortable with using Lore, though and the cards started to have more impact on play, and the Old Warhorse was able to crown his victory with a Fireball spell that wiped out the fifth and last Banner unit to get a 5-3 win.

Young General, undaunted by defeat, demanded an immediate rematch, so we moved on to the next fight, a Burgundian Chevauchee. This was a 6-flag battle, and involved dissimilar war councils. Young General's Banner army was somewhat handicapped by having just a Level 1 commander but otherwise a well-balanced of loremasters that included all but the Rogue. The Standard army was very heavily clerical, with a Level 3 Cleric, a Level 2 Commander and a Level 1 Rogue.

This battle ended up developing quite unexpectedly as Young General, aided by fortunate card draws was able to relentlessly attack the Standard Right flank and completely destroy it, building up a 5-1 lead in flags!
Old Warhorse gamely tried to rally and closed the gap to a 5-4 score but with several units down to a single figure it was just a matter of time before Young General got his sixth flag and the win.
Having Level 2 and 3 Loremasters definitely changed the tenor of the game. Not so much because the spells were better, although some were, but mostly due to the larger hand sizes which allowed players to start to make plans.

No comments:

Post a Comment