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To Rule Them All

What are your thoughts on the scenario cards?

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My wife and I have been enjoying BattleLore Second Edition. However, some games are much more exciting than others. Usually this has to do with the set up and victory conditions of the scenario cards we are using and how they interact with each other. Does anyone have a way to mitigate the "bad" matchups? How do you decide which scenarios get used? It almost seems like we would be better off picking two that work well together before we start a game. 

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Sometimes we'll get a setup that seems to favor one player.  An early game of ours that comes to mind was when my opponent chose Mustering the Militia, where he's trying to hold onto building hexes, while I chose an Uthuk scenario that laid out a river that essentially gave him a nice moat around a 2 of his buildings.  When these situations come up we just accept it and try our best.

 

An idea we've had, which I think might be great for organized play, is for each player to pick a faction and then choose any 3 scenario cards.  You then build a 50 point army but only knowing that one of those 3 scenarios will be chosen and knowing nothing about the other players scenario.  You and your opponent then trade scenario cards and choose one for each other.

 

So for organized play, you prepare your 3 scenarios and 50 point army in advance... setting up each game is simply choosing 1 scenario from the 3 your opponent hands you.  Army creation is more blind than in the usual rules but it'd be a lot faster for tournaments.

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We aren't really wild about the faction banners - they are so valuable that they tend to make the flow of battle a bit too predictable. Very few VP conditions can hope to be as reliable as a 2vp hex, so focusing on any other vp goal seems like a bonus instead of a requirement, and since holding a 2vp hex is usually (always?) also depriving your opponent of 1vp at the same time, the games featuring faction banners seem to give little reason to do much with the lanes of the board that don't feature the banner, which makes for a huge melee, but seems a bit uninteresting on a tactical level.

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We aren't really wild about the faction banners - they are so valuable that they tend to make the flow of battle a bit too predictable. Very few VP conditions can hope to be as reliable as a 2vp hex, so focusing on any other vp goal seems like a bonus instead of a requirement, and since holding a 2vp hex is usually (always?) also depriving your opponent of 1vp at the same time, the games featuring faction banners seem to give little reason to do much with the lanes of the board that don't feature the banner, which makes for a huge melee, but seems a bit uninteresting on a tactical level.

By the sounds of it, luck probably plays an even larger component in these games since the one who draws the most cards that order units in that section will have quite the advantage in pushing others away from it. Do you think that's a contributing factor as well?

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You know, I really don't think I'd write it off to the luck of the draw - the faction banners seem powerful enough to be worth using a command card to order a single unit to retake them - +2 VP (and -1 earned VP to your opponent) is powerful enough that you can, essentially, abandon the other VP available on the board and still win if you hold the faction banner for your side. Most scenarios have two neutral 1 VP banners, and the faction banner scenarios have 1 neutral VP banner and 1 faction banner - if you take one of their two neutral banners and are gaining 2 VP from it, at worst they are going to stay even with you in VP per turn - even the slightest contest over the other 1 VP banners is enough to easily tip the game in your favor - the only reasonable way to proceed is for both armies to put the majority of their forces in a position to fight over the 2 VP banner. And if your opponent only has 1 VP banner, even moreso.

 

I think it's fine to have a battle that focuses on a single point sometimes, but I don't think that style of play takes advantage of what makes Battlelore so much fun. I'll be curious to see how banner factions are viewed once organized play begins.

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