Battlelore is a 1v1 game that pits armies against each other chosen from a set points limit determined by the scenario. There are set objectives and most commonly battles are won when one player has scored enough points.
What do you get?
The base game of Battlelore has enough miniatures to field two forces. The quality of the components is very high for a boxed game, but expected from FFG. Set in the world of Terrinoth it has a very similar quality and scale to Imperial Assault or Runebound. Of course you get the board to create your landscapes as well as stacks of cards, dice and many bits of cardboard.
How does it work?
Taking it in turns, players resolve a command card which determines which side of the board they are activating and how many units. It’s quite a simple concept but there is a lot of tactical depth to it. Paying attention to which side the enemy has used multiple times for example can aid you down the line. Of course, there are special command cards that you cannot quite prepare for but that is part of the game. Each faction has their own unique units and command deck to make them all stand apart.
Is it any good?
Battlelore is a very tidy game. Each mission concept can vary greatly but in practice a lot of games end up looking very similar. The balance of the game is well thought out and at times it is almost like playing chess with dice. The dice system is overly simple basically doing damage, making people retreat or take a special action depending on your troops abilities.
I have played 5 games of Battlelore and somehow lost all of them even though a photo would make it look like I’d smashed my opponent. Of course, he was playing to the objective and I’m going for wipe-out each time pretty much. I’m not ashamed to lose as long as I/we had fun but after game 5 neither of us was that pushed about jumping into further games.
We’d changed races and had a stack of expansions adding more troops and missions but there was fundamentally something lacking in Battlelore that makes it too time consuming versus fun. Quite the reverse, something like Rebellion which has me on the edge of my seat throughout and excited for my next game.
Battlelore is a bit of a light wargame sim really. I would actually advise the Game of Thrones version over it because the fluff is that much stronger there feels like more to play for. Game of Thrones has several large amendments to it, the command range instead of table sections being the largest.
My biggest bugbear is everything feels a little weak. Dice rolls determine so much. Line of sight and movement are nearly not in the game and the card drawing mechanic seems there to make it interesting, but it somewhat fails at it. By no means is Battlelore a bad game but it’s just not as good as its remake. The market seems like it went on for years with great 1v1 games and this just isn’t one of them I’m afraid. If it was the 90’s, this would have been amazing, but we’re not so it isn’t.