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So BL Players?

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#1 Old Dwarf

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 04:35 AM

The BoW rules are now up...so what do you think...an improvement,uncessary additions or just different?


Personally I found them to be smoother in handling leaders ,the BL War Council & Heros just seemed clunky compared to the Commanders used in BoW.The Moral system seems a lot simpler but more complete than BL Bold/Frightened 1,2 etc and I like BoW various Victory conditions over BL's just # of banners.BoW also gives you more control over your Units as it has more ways to activate Units.

The Skirmish Rules are a real plus for BoW but BL CtA suppliment covered the same territory so thats a draw.Theme wise (and theme was the real Hook for me in preordering BoW)BoW benefits from the Books where as BL to date is a 100 Years War mismash(hopefully FFG will address that issue with BL )so thats a real plus for BoW.

Personally I disliked BL lack of a Game World & the rather clownish figures but liked the general system & have converted it to several Fantasy Campaigns.BoW is of course tied to a specific Game World so it's,as yet not as versital as a Tool Kit.It will be interesting to see how BoW will address the more Fantasy related elements of the books.

 In general I come down on the side of" just different",BL covers a more Fantasy Game World than the gritty Feudal BoW so I don't feel that either Game is really in conflict with the other.




A Dwarf in Winter

#2 affro



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Posted 19 June 2010 - 09:55 AM

It seems to me at least an interesting twist of the existing rules. Nothing groundbreaking, perhaps, but a deserving take.

I still doubt I'd suggest a buyer to have both games, unless he's really hardcore, interested in both settings for whatever reason or a mad collector... but this is not to say the games have not (apparently, at least) their differences in flavor: a good note, too, the Fantasy Flight Formula injection didn't introduce undesired complexity or clunkiness, it still seems a rather smooth ruleset, yesterday as today.

I still don't know what to think about the "command area": some players by chance will like it more, but the beautiful simplicity of the old "sections" system has grown on me dearly, so I cannot speak too much about it without prejudice.

Some rules (both "core" and unit skills) seems interesting, too.

The skirmish setting seems an improvement on CtA, too: basically, it's the same, but the amount of variables on the cards now include terrain and special condition variable, so, as a quick random scenario generator, it has some more "oomph".

The best of all news: porting seems really easy, so, if I like a random idea here and there, I can easily experiment (not at all so unexpected, I know).

#3 Sevej



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Posted 19 June 2010 - 07:12 PM

Just finished reading the rulebook. Ugh, what a slog. Not that it's badly written, but my familiarity with BL actually confuses me sometimes.

I like most of it. 

Components look great. I like how each reference card has an artwork of the unit. The board and the map overlay pieces seem darker (darker themed too) than the BL ones, so I like BL's better, in no small addition due to BL's integrated (but admittedly generic) VP track too. I do not like the BoW tracks. It seems fiddly to have 2 tracks on narrow pieces of cardboards, and with tokens placed on them. The morale track could be printed on the board, but I understand that with other houses, the morale tracks will be different. The black and white turn track... well, I still don't see the point having black and white turns except to minimize the amount of flags turned on the end of a round. It's a great practice in reducing fiddliness though. Devastation token bothers me a little since it looks like a photograph, but the real thing may be better (and actually an illustration). I hate when people mix illustration and photograph except on certain cases (love LNOE's cards).

I'm on the fence with the battle dice. Especially that the chance to inflict flags is lower. Also, the color distribution makes the weak green units weaker. The good thing about the battle dice is when used to acquire command tokens, meaning green units, while weak, will have more chance to be activated.

Separate Leadership Deck I like. If there's anything I want to change with BL is to use 1 full Command Deck for each player. It is possible that each house has its leadership deck tailored to its theme. Also, the small number of cards in a leadership decks mean you will probably get them all (instead of having 3 Mounted Charges on the bottom of the deck, or worse on your opponent's hand).

I'm on the fence with the way units ordered. From what I read, in a round players alternatingly order units. When ordering with tokens, player A moves a unit, player B moves a unit and so on. Except when someone occasionally uses tactics card and move several units together. I have a good feeling with these cards, especially with the conditional stuff. One thing I like is, that you are going to have most of your units moved during a round. Unlike BL when over a battle, some units do not move at all (yes, I'm looking at you heavy infantry/archer on the first hex).

I like the different phases of morale, especially with the 'safe' (or shall I say unsafe?) points. even if I don't like the track.

I'm on the fence with flanking, especially the way it sort of forcing units to be locked in a certain location, and it feels somewhat fiddly (yes I didn't like the way BL's creature mana handled originally, but they fixed it).

I like the way moral works, making it worthwhile to destroy stronger units.

I like Heavy Armor and Dogs of War.

I'm on the fence on fire. Seems interesting but can be fiddly.

The Skirmish Rules is nice. But for unit placement I still favor BL's CtA. It's good to have terrain rules, but I think they're kind of meh.

Overall, I think BoW will be a good game for those who want more details in their game, as opposed to BL's generic nature. But one thing that I value highly in BL is that it's highly streamlined. If I want a more detailed game I'd play other games (such as BoW, or skirmish game in which all units have more than 1 special abilities), but BL always have a place in my game library (and please keep the pseudo history in it FFG )

#4 FragMaster



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Posted 21 June 2010 - 04:56 AM

In two words: Not impressed.

I believe that BoW strongly lacks BL's elegance.

It justs seems like it has to spell every single rule out for you and do it a gameplay mechanic.

Take for example Flanking. BL has flanking. It's not in the rules but it's there. It emerges from the gameplay. {you know, the can't retreat, flags turn to hits ordeal? That's Flanking}

BoW just adds rules but not necessarily gameplay value. All those "turn banners active, turn banners inactive" and "add engagement token, remove engagement token" sound so fiddly that seems like a chore more than actual gameplay.

Pretty impressed with the Morale system. This rules needs to be ported in BL officially.

The AGOT universe does nothing for me and the game seems generic enough anyway. Theme is almost pasted on. Fans of the books will be thrilled for about 10 minutes by reading the names of their favorite characters and when they actually sit down and play they'll see a generic Medieval wargame. Not Game of Thrones.


The different hit ratio will create a lot more problems than those that it will solve IMHO. Players will focus even more on Red units.

Unit traits are always cool but I have serious concern about game balance. vanilla BL was very balanced when using Call to Arms. Here I'm not so sure. And I pretty sure that adding new units from expansions will complicate things even more.  If they start producing 1 expansion per month as I think they will, then there is no time for real playtesting and balancing. Not good.

Don't get me started in the "money sink" category that the "A Core Game" notation implies...


Overall, I believe that this game is not really worth it over vanilla BattleLore for oh so many different reasons. I' d really like to see some of those neat gameplay ideas introduced to BL though in an official expansion.

Just my 2 cents!

#5 Eldil



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Posted 28 June 2010 - 10:59 AM

<Comment removed because I couldn't seem to get a handle on the quote formatting.>

#6 paradiddlebob



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Posted 29 June 2010 - 06:56 AM

 I like this waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than BL.

#7 oshfarms



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Posted 29 June 2010 - 04:46 PM

paradiddlebob said:

 I like this waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than BL.


What is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better about it?  How does it compare?  Or not compare?

#8 Von Falkenheyn

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 12:59 AM

There are things to like and things to dislike in BoW. Where Battlelore was really steamlined and had a very easy learning curve, here things are more complicated.



- Customized command deck. This will allow for a lot more planning ahead and more strategic options.

- Command tokens: Very usefull when you sorely need just a slight push to make all pieces of a plan stick together. 

- Zones of Control for Leaders: Allows for powerful pushes but if you stray too far you'll have to rely on your tokens


All of the above mind you could be done in Battlelore using the Lore Deck or the Heroes expansion. What BoW offers is  much greater control. You know what you'll get, while in Battlelore you could never depend upon the goodies that the cards delivered. You could get a super duper card which could ruin the day of your opponent or you could get nothing. There is a much larger element of the unknown in Battlelore which we don't see here as far as I can tell.  


- Morale track: the posters before me have said it all already

- Personally I like the relation with a strong theme behind it. I disagree with those who say that it's pasted on. The books, while focusing mostly on behind-the-scenes power struggle, do have descriptions of battles. As a matter of fact, the third scenario which refers to the encirclement of Jaime Lannister by Stark forces is described in detail in the first book. Battlelore on the other hand seems much more generic to me since it tries to float on a semi-historic world (Uchronia) where there is a medium - light fantasy element and in the end we see a clear shift towards the fantasy part. I was very much disappointed by the lack of development of the background world in Battlelore, although this was strongly hinted upon both in the rulebook and by DoW. 

- Taking turns within a round for players. Makes the battle seem much more "real-time" (although the new battle-savvy rules for Battlelore have much the same effect)

- The artwork promises to be stunning (We'd expect nothing less from a theme for which FF has commissioned so much art in the past)

Things for which I'm uncertain:

- Black and white turns and flag twisting: seems awfully fidgety to me. I'll wait and see how this goes. I predict flags dropping off or flag poles being twisted....

- Tokens tokens and yet more tokens: Again I'll have to wait and see

- Flanking: Interesting....I see yet more tokens though......and again this was already done in Battlelore

- Using an 8 sided dice: Again these things have been said above, it will lead to more direct carnage (less black flags) and maybe more powerful red units.

Things I dislike:

- This game shouldn't have had any relation whatsoever with Battlelore period. This is not a Battlelore game. This is a cheap marketing attempt to create hype and make people like me write long pages in forums whether this is better than Battlelore or not. This is an attempt to draw gamers who had heard about Battelore but where too intimidated to jump onboard because the game had moved on with so many expansions. This is an attempt to make use of a license acquired from Dow with which FF ended up not knowing what to do with. Finally, this is an affront to Battles of Westeros itself. Let the game stand on its own two feet, you don't need pseudo crutches supporting it, especially when those crutches have nothing to do with it in the first place. Battlelore is a light family oriented wargame (it's the kindergarden of wargames). Battles of Westeros is a step ahead of that and the theme attached to it is much more dark than the one implied in Battlelore.


- The manual: Since FF chose to brand the Battlelore name upon Battles of Westeros then it's only fitting for us to compare the two manuals. Battlelore has BoW's manual beat by a very wide margin. Probably the best rulebook I've ever read on a boardgame. Very well written, full of images and examples, perfect structure and scaling. Here we have the usual FF stuff. Nice, but...you have to constantly jump back and forth the pages to understand something. And the important parts may be hidden somewhere in between the plain text too.

- I'm a bit apprehensive about the bases not being pre-fixed on the miniatures. Cost saving measure to be sure but a colossal time waster if all these need glue to stay put. We're not talking here about a couple of broken Starcraft minis. If I have to glue 120 miniatures to their bases I'd die of boredom first (leaving aside the fact that I'm a butterfingers when it comes to handling tiny miniatures)


- I fear that the expansion path may have taken a wrong turn. A Lannister expansion will mean for certain a Stark expansion coming up very quickly. This is the policy which effectively destroyed Battlelore's wider popularity. The endless milking of the dwarves and the goblins. Please don't go down that path. I know it will make you a ton of money and you're not a bunch of saints, you're a company out there to make money but....Why not create at least House Baratheon first and then start pumping out the smaller expansion? This will show to the fans out there that yes, we'll fleece you for all you've got but we'll add variety first. A token of goodwill to the paying customer is never a waste. Something, anything to show us that the game is not going to spiral down the Lannister - Stark confrontation.



#9 FTWard



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Posted 02 July 2010 - 03:14 AM

Very well written and thoughtful review Von Falkenheyn. I especially like that you admit you are uncertain as to how some elements will eventually end up as pros or cons. To much certitude from people who have not played the game at all or not enough to draw meaningful conclusions yet.

One question. If the game did not have the Battlelore logo on it, do you think that FFG would be open to criticism for having pushed out a new version of Battlelore without acknowledging that this game draws heavily on Battlelore? It seems to me they are "damned if they do and damned if they don't" here.

I will be picking the game up soon and share the same apprehensions as you regarding the miniatures/bases and future expansions.

#10 Von Falkenheyn

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Posted 02 July 2010 - 07:11 AM

To answer your question:


Battlelore didn't go about branding itself as a "Command and Colors" game although the designer Richard Borg could very well place that claim on the box. Because come to think of it, Battlelore really is a medieval command and colors game with a fantasy twist. I think that FF is a very competent company (often reminds me of the almighty Avalon Hill of the 80s - 90s) capable of designing, producing and then floating superb games. I don't think that Battle of Westeros needed the extra boost on its box. Sure people would say that "hey this is like Battlelore". If you believe in the new game that you're launching then you will easily surpass such criticism. And it's really a shame because BoW really has some new ideas and mechanism which look very promising and enticing. It also has a superbly rich world to fall back on. It didn't need the Battlelore baggage ontop of it. Now everyone is making comparisons. Everyone (including me) is concerned about the expansion path this game could take. Everyone is into conspiracy theories about the future of both games. Unless this is one very shrewd marketing strategy to attract publicity (negative or positive, everything is welcome when it comes to publicity) I can't really see the reasoning behind this. 

#11 FTWard



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Posted 02 July 2010 - 11:47 AM

Fair enough. Thanks for the response.

#12 Old Dwarf

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Posted 04 July 2010 - 01:50 AM

Von Falkenheyn-that post was brilliant-all the BL/BoW post should just be deleted & this one made a STICKEY

In fact it's so good,we forgive you for screwing up the Western Front-If the Iron Cross/with Oak Clusters were still around the Kaiser should give you one post haste.

I especially share the concern about milking Stark/Lannister-I can accept the Lannister Expansion & the obvious Stark Expansion,but if the 3rd Expansion doesn't move on I just may.That said I do really find BoW a great game & hope FFG supports it along the lines we hope for concerning the Expansions.

I still plan on using BL,it's a great generic system & we've created several Fantasy Campaigns using it; so I think all the hoop-la over comparsions and will BoW kill BL is uncessary ( it is rather fun . )


A Dwarf in Winter

#13 Von Falkenheyn

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Posted 05 July 2010 - 01:15 AM

Thank you for your kind words good sir


Actually the nickname is an old carry-over from the heyday of my glorious Counterstrike and Battlefield 1942 career. I chose this nick not because of the brilliance of the said general but because of his shrewd cynicism (he did actually implement the meat grinder of Verdun in 1916 with the sole intention of "bleeding France white"). I'm actually too fond of the nickname now to change it so there you have it. I'll graciously accept the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves then    

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