Monday, February 15, 2010

The Sounds of Water -- A Battlelore double session report

Young General and Old Warrior have now started moving on to the Battlelore expansions, with the Goblin Skirmisher pack up first. This expansion introduces some Goblinoid slingers (the sort of agile skirmishers you'd expect), Hobgoblin spears (a red banner heavy fighting unit) and the odd Goblin band! The band is the sort of curious, fun unit that you can include in a fantasy game that doesn't really have a counterpart in more reality grounded games such as Commands & Colors: Ancients or Memoir'44. The band provides morale support to any unit within its section, which is a handy ability indeed, given the touchy morale of the Goblinoids.

We now have a few games under our belts using the Lore rules and now some meta-strategic considerations are beginning to be made.

First, here's the map, showing the initial setup.

It's not mentioned in any errata so far as I know, but there appears to be an error in the set up for the Standard army, as there's a crossbow unit shown but it's not indicated as being Dwarven. As no human crossbows are in the game as of this expansion I decided that must be an error and so I fielded the unit as Iron Dwarves. I was also suspicious of the third unit on the central hills, between the two Dwarven units, but I decided that, seeing as it could have been a human unit, I'd leave it as such.

I drew the Standard army first. One War Council slot was already taken up by the Spider. So far it's an open question in my mind whether the Spider is worth a level on the War Council, but I had no choice. I'm pretty sure having the largest possible hand of Command Cards is important, so I decided to go with a Level 3 Commander, which would give me a 6-card hand and a Stronghold to boot. I expected Young General to go heavy on the Lore Masters, so I decided to use my last two levels primarily to dilute the impact of his choice. I selected a Level 1 Cleric and a Level 1 Rogue as I thought those were the one he was least likely to choose.

As expected, Young General did go for a big Lore Master, picking a Level 3 Wizard and having just a Level 1 Commander. His last two levels went to a Level 1 Warrior and a Level 1 Cleric, so my strategy succeeded. His 8 cards of Wizard Lore were buried in a Lore deck that had 30 cards of other Lore masters. As it turned out, I don't think he ever drew a useful Wizard Lore card. Nearly all the Lore he did play was Clerical. His Pentagram meant he had plenty of Lore to spend, he just had trouble drawing the cards.

The actual battle was our usual poking at each other affair. Young General's 4-card hand prevented him from organizing a plan and my substandard draws through much of the game meant the same for me despite my 6-card hands. We traded units until near the end when I was able to send a unit of Berserk Dwarves crashing into the Goblin Band to get my sixth flag. The Spider was useless, dying from a critical hit from a battle-back in its first fight. The final score was 6-5.

The band and the dense Goblinoid setup meant they were much sturdier fighters than we had experienced before and as a matter of fact there was not a single Goblin Run in either of the battles in the match!

For the switch battle I decided to go with a Level 3 Commander again, with a Level 3 Warrior assistant. My plan was to use the Training camp to train up the right flank blue banner horse to red banner status and rampage against the Young General's flank.

Young General, meanwhile, decided to forego having any landmarks and spread his levels around, with Level 1 Commander, Wizard and Cleric, a Level 2 Warrior and, of course, the Spider. Neither of us had a Rogue.

And my plan worked out -- at first. I was able to train up the horse unit, but this attracted the Young General's attention and he just swarmed it with three cavalry units of his own. As a matter of fact, he jumped out to a 3-1 lead, as my army was only able to kill one unit -- the Spider, naturally.

Still, one has to be flexible when playing a Borg game and I had built up a pretty powerful hand of both useful Command cards and Warrior Lore. In particular, I had started with two Mounted Charge cards and later drew a third. So on three consecutive turns I launched mounted charges, some enhanced by Warrior Lore, that smashed up four of Young Generals' units while only losing one of my own. So the score was 5-4. At that point I spent my hoarded Lore and cast the Hills Rumble Lore. It was expensive at 14 Lore because I didn't have the proper Cleric Lore master but it reduced a front-line enemy unit to 1 figure. And that figure was picked off by a Goblin Skirmisher for a 6-4 win.

Young General remarked that he was going to have to start working on having more of a strategy next time, so there's something stirring.

1 comment:

  1. Just on your feelings about taking the Giant Spider, are you aware of the updated rules for monstrous Creatures at Fantasy Flight Games? Here's the link to the pdf (6.7mb)
    Cheers, Wayne.