Friday, November 27, 2009

BattleLore session report:: Assaulting the Tourelles

Young General and the Old Warrior reached the end of their march through the basic BattleLore scenario book during the Friday After Thanksgiving Day Off From School.

Interestingly, this scenario is a fantastical re-imagining of the battle outside Orleans on October 12, 1428 between the French led by Jean de Dunois (The Bastard of Orleans) and Joan of Arc and the British under the Earl of Salisbury. While the general setup and situation resembles the historical fight, there were no actual goblins, dwarves or giant spiders on the field historically.

In this case, however, the scenario introduces the final bit of the basic game system, the Landmarks that can be associated with different Loremasters. The French side automatically gets a Stronghold (a keep, essentially), while other Landmarks are available if the players' war council include Level 3 Loremasters.

Young General took the English side. He was required to spend 1 level of war council on the Giant Spider, and added 1 level to his Commander to entitle himself to a 5-card hand of Command cards. He spent 3 levels to buy himself a Level 3 Cleric. His Cleric's Healing pool was placed in a hex next to the 2-hex woods in his Center section. Overall I though this was a good selection on his part.

I opted to stick with the 1 Level Commander required under the scenario rules (a choice I regretted) and bought a 2-level Cleric and a Level 3 Rogue. I placed the Rogue's Den between the wood and the hill on the border between my Left and Center sections. While I didn't regret the Rogue, I think i would have been better off making the Commander a Level 2 and the Cleric a Level 1.

The Battle itself was our usual mutual slugfest. Both of us are getting more comfortable with the Lore rules and, while Young General seems to have a knack for collecting Lore, he's losing his aversion to spending it and both of us played quite a few Lore cards. Most were useful, but none had a dramatic effect on the course of things. Command card play was likewise undramatic, as most of the action was fought in the center -- indecisively.

Young General was initially reluctant to make a bid for the Stronghold, but by mid-game he had strong effort going that was being countered with difficulty. The Ramparts failed one French archer unit miserably as it died in one-turn under a card-enhanced attack by a English heavy infantry unit, but the English were not able to follow it up.

Meanwhile the dwarves, as usual, were pretty tough in the center, although they also lost heavily. As usual the weak link in the line was the Goblinoids, and a late game offensive on the left flank was able to eliminate all three Goblin units, resulting in a 6-4 victory for the French. Curiously the Young General never saw fit to use the Giant Spider. He also never got around to using the Healing Pool. I did use the Rogie's Den to send a light infantry unit deep behind his lines, but it had little effect as it turns out. The French Stronghold was never attacked.

So far, after having played all 10 scenarios Young General and Old Warrior are beginning to appreciate the potential for Lore cards. nearly every Lore card played seemed to be worthwhile. Among the non-human races the dwarves seem always useful to have, while the goblins are almost always a weak point in the line. The only creature we've used so far is the Giant Spider, which seems to be a useful piece, but one that must be used carefully.

We're still in the early stages of using War Councils and Loremasters. I'm still going to experiment a little with different configurations, but my inclination is to favor beefing up the Commander in order to have a good hand of Command Cards and concentrating on one Good high-level Loremaster instead of having multiple low-ranking ones.

As usual it was a good and entertaining fight. Next up will be the Goblin Skirmisher expansion.

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