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Battles of Middle Earth

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There's been some discussion on the next 'Battlelore Game'.

 

I thought I'd throw my vain desire out there - Battles of Middle Earth.

 

A base set with everything you need to play scenarios set during the Lord of the Rings.

 

Following this it would be awesome to get big box expansions such as:

 

The Battle of Five Armies

Battles of the Second Age

Battles of the Silmarillion

 

I would hope such a game doesn't depart from the basic tennants of Battlelore to the degree seen in Battles of Westeros - but a new an interesting set of mechanisms for the use of heroes and the subtle effects of fate and/or magic would be cool.

 

Anyway - that's my idea - and I happen to think it would be awesome!

 

What do we think?  Battles of Middle Earth = oh frabjous day? I think so!

 

Cheers,

Giles.

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Well, one of the things I like about BL is that its rather mainstream fantasy approach (what some people call "bland") lets us recreate almost every battle in almost any of the most popular fantasy settings out there, be it Middle Earth, Earthsea, Krynn, etc. In that regard, I don't think we really need a proper ME expansion for BL (although I wouldn't mind one), but some new content to fill the gaps in the Middle Earth bestiary.

What do we have and what do we miss in BL to recreate Middle Earth? I made this list:

Races:

  1. Humans -> check
  2. Dwarves -> check
  3. Orcs -> check (Tolkien didn't seem to distinguish between them and goblins, see The Hobbit)
  4. Elves -> missing (badly)

Creatures:

  1. Trolls -> check (either the troll itself or the ogres)
  2. Wargs -> check (goblin hyena riders)
  3. Giant spiders -> check
  4. Fire dragons -> check
  5. Cold dragons -> ? (Hydra?)
  6. Giant eagles -> missing
  7. Ents -> ? (maybe the giants would pass off as ents, stats-wise, but still a proper mini would be welcome)
  8. Balrog -> missing (great demon type monster)
  9. Ringwraiths -> missing (wraith/lich/etc)
  10. Barrow wights -> missing (sleketon/ghoul/spectre)
  11. Beornings -> ? (dwarven bear riders?)

Did I miss anything?

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I love Battlelore and want to see many more releases for it.

But, I have to agree with Giles. Battles of Middle Earth - A Battlelore game really speaks to me. I'd love to see the leaders of the free people and the servants of the shadow, the many, many great battles spanning both the Hobbit and LOTR (and more if allowed). It's just a perfect fit if you ask me.

I would really love to see this become a reality. With the solid Battlelore engine and the Middle Earth mythos, it would be awesome.

Then you'd have:

Serious Medieval - Battles of Westeros

Fun Medieval - Battlelore

Fun Fantasy - Battlelore

Serious Fantasy - Middle Earth

It NEEDS to happen.

Cheers,
Ben.

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While on some levels I completely agree with you srcabeza, I don't think that simply imagining the game to be one of Middle Earth or creating scenarios fully capture the world in the way a full game could.  Aside from the art work and minis that would be fantastic to have there are a range of other factors that should be incorporated.

 

Lore as it is in Battlelore, to me, doesn't sit well with Tolkien's books.  Magic and fate should be represented - though in a more subtle way - a boost to movement here or a raising of morale there.

 

Leaders, heroes and turning points are also something that Battlelore doesn't capture of the Middle Earth setting.  Though these could do with just a few tweaks imo.

 

Morale is also very important - raising the spirits of the defenders of Minas Tirith or the defeat of a Nazgul causing the orcs to flee - this is something that should be included in the game.

 

Scenarios - good scenarios for such a game would be very hard to create in my opinion - many of the battles are more than just a slugfest - they are holding out for a last hope, the finding of a treasure, and so on.  Of course - many others are massive battles, and many more are just a vital skirmish.  Capturing the scale would be difficult to balance I think - but awesome for all the difficulty if attained.

 

I suppose a good set of mods and a creative eye to scenario creation and you could have all that through Battlelore as it is - but man, I would just love a battles game set in middle earth like that - especially so if, down the track, I could play out some of the epic battles of the Second Age and others - that would be cool.

 

Cheers,

Giles.

 

 

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As I said, if FFG releases a BL Middle Earth Battle game I'll mosl likely purchase it whatever form it takes. But, on the other hand, felt quite underwhelmed by BoW. First, I'm not much of a fan of the books, I read the first entry and found them to be sort of a soap opera with swords (firmly sheathed swords for the most part :-) ), and the literary style was so-so. And second, all the tweaks and changes made into the game to fix the supposed "problems" of the C&C look cumbersome and fiddly to me.

That said, I'd probably had given BoW a chance would it had been released as a real Battlelore expansion; I mean an expansion pack with a couple battlegroups, a bunch of heroes and just some tweaks here and there to the core BL rules, in order to implement the particular flavor of this fantasy setting. But the way it is designed, it is apparently impossible (or very difficult) to recycle the BoW material into core BL, so that was a big No for me.

What I fear with this (likely?) Middle Earth BL game is a similarly convoluted and closed system, and what's worse, totally incompatible with the original, and that is a shame because if we could mix and match, the possibilities would be huge. I recall reading about siege engines or the like being released at some point for BoW. As attractive as this sounds, It is worthless to me because I can't use them in BL.

Wouldn't it be possible to have the best of both worlds? For instance, you said that the Lore system in Battlelore isn't particularly suited to Middle Earth; I agree with this, as ME is a low, or more subtle, magic fantasy setting (in the big-exploding-fireballs-chain-lightning-and-whatnot sense). Well, this is the same as in Medieval lore, there you have an official rule to implement the lore system to a different effect; so, you can design a subset of the lore deck or even release a new Middle Earth custom lore deck . And the same for heroes, nothing keeps FFG from releasing a ME hero pack (say Aragorn, Gandalf, Saruman and the Witch King, for instance), following the general rules of BL heroes but with their own customised powers and abilities. This way you'll have a proper Middle Earth expansion, and what's best, a lot of material fully transferable into core BL for you to use.

 

I hope I made some sense, english is not my first language and that was a lot of text :-)

Santi.

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srcabeza said:

I read the first entry and found them to be sort of a soap opera with swords (firmly sheathed swords for the most part :-) ), and the literary style was so-so.

Well, I’m OK with this as long as you realize that one mans opinion is little more than that, especially when he’s in the minority. :)

 

As far as a LotR “Battlelore”, I think it could be done and work. I do, however, believe that, like BoW, it would be a different game, and not really “Battlelore”.

Without getting into the Battlelore vs. BoW argument (or the tangency argument of BoW taking away from energy and resources which I personally rather see put into Battlelore), if you look at Mr. Borgs other C&C games, you will see that each one is modified for the genre it emulates. So, I guess my argument would be that I rather see a Middle Earth Battles C&C game, properly modified, than a Middle Earth “Battlelore” game…because we see the confusion tacking “Battlelore” of BoW has caused.
 

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I agree. A BL of Middle Earth would be very cool. The "fantasy" theme at the moment is not only fun, light and generic its also quite silly (goblins with turban, dwarfs in kilt?) I would not buy it a second if anyone sells me this as a "LotR game". Also the human minis are not suiting to LotR at all.

So the only solution to solve this problem is to produce a expansion BL of Middle Earth with thematic artwork and minis.

 

 

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Count me as another who is not overly impressed with the BoW rules.  FFG sometmes seem to get caught up with adding so called 'chrome' to a game without recognised that sometimes less is more.  Or creating fixes to percieved problems or complaints (ie: designing extra rules or modifing a game ad hoc based on game forum compliants (see Condottiere, BoW and others)). 

 

I really hope that if they do look into a Middle Earth Battlelore at some stage, that they will seek to create a game more in keeping with the simple/subtle nature of C&C without the extra decks of cards, mounds of chits and layers of minutia that they seem to think adds theme into a game (sometimes).  There are some elements to Middle Earth that are different from traditional Battlelore - leadership, heroicism, morale, fate, etc - are all (to my mind) important.  So I think a new game would be warranted. And FFG are capable of producing some absolute gems - some of my favourite games.  So hopefully they do look at Middle Earth with an eye toward a battles game, and hopefully it is awesome!

 

Cheers,

Giles.

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Well I am not normally a fan of FFG games if they are responsible for the rule design. Their games tend to be to bloated, too many chits and cards and unnecessary complex. So I sold all FFG games in my collection on ebay last year. The exception are the some of the FFG battlelore expansions, which I kept because I like BL, and Magblast, an older FFG game from days where they a had a different approach to game philosophy than today. The rest (about a dozen games or so) went the way of the dodo.

So there is cleary a risk that a Middle Earth BL would be not my liking. If it has too many modified BL rules like BoW (which I unfortunately played several days ago - and of course I didnt like it very much with its turning flags, myriards of counters and unbalanced leader capabilities) I would not buy it. But if its rules are similar to the BL rules with battlefield sections etc. then it could be a winner.

 

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 Hi all, 

Hate to be the party pooper, but until Games Workshop lets go of the LOTR miniatures IP  liecence  I don't think we'll see a Battlelore version middle earth.

The medieval Lore rules might be the more subtle application of lore you're looking for with a tweak like upping the amount of Lore generated but limiiting it to say 2-4 hexes around the leaders (depending on their uberness).

A fan project if ever there was one, finding 15mm LOTR 'inspired' models shouldn't be too hard.

 

chris

 

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Elberon said:

Hate to be the party pooper, but until Games Workshop lets go of the LOTR miniatures IP  liecence  I don't think we'll see a Battlelore version middle earth.

 

Actually…GW has no say in it, as they don’t have any kind of exclusive license except with New Line Productions (miniatures based on things from the movies). In other words, we won’t see a BL based on the tLotR movies, but we could certainly see a BL based on Middle Earth if an agreement could be made with Tolkien Enterprises (the real player here).

 

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Fingers crossed that GW have nothing to do with it!  Then again - do I need another game to throw my money at?

 

Ah - we all know the answer is YES! gran_risa.gif

 

Cheers,

Giles.

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I find it mildly amusing that some of the BattleLore fans who decry the "waste" of resources that BoW has supposedly drained from BL want a third game to drain more resources from it.

The truth is if BL was never going to get those resources whatever happened as it does not sell well enough. Nor does any other Command and Colors game save Memoir '44. I think it's safe to say BL is getting the exact attention it would have gotten anyway without BoW as it has received just as many expansions as BoW has since it came out. Nor do I think BoW would magically receive more resources if BL was cancelled tomorrow either.

Which is awesome because I think both have a niche. DIFFERENT niches. Who appeal to DIFFERENT people though there is some crossover.

But a Middle-Earth game... that takes away from BL's niche. Where I don't think BoW spells the end of BL in any way, shape, or form I think a Middle Earth game would. FFG's wasn't happy with the medival and fantasy confusion in BL. So they have BoW to cover one (heavy medival with light fantasy) and BL for the other (heavy fantasy with light medival).

But can we really imagine the market could support a THIRD fantasy command and colors game from the same company? I think if you want a Middle-Earth game you have to ask yourself if you want it as a full replacement for Battlelore.

If they do another Command and Colors I'm betting it will be sci-fi which would actually be a new niche. Say... Starcraft.

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The some people wanting a Middle Earth game aren't necessarily the same some people as the some people posting concerns over BoW.

 

I do agree somewhat with your point about a ME game alongside a BoW game and what it coud mean for plain BL.  However, I think BoW and ME both have ready made audiences - they also have their own demands and specifications - BL could be the game that let's FFG cut loose, so to speak.  I personally hope all success to all those games whether real or imagined, as a hobby gamer I hope to see FFG big and successful.  Of course - I love BL, and will buy pretty much anything produced for it - I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing it.  BoW doesn't interest me personally - the setting isn't within my sphere of experience and some of the rules seemed modified based on forum criticisms of C&C games - but I still wish it all success - the more cream for FFG the more they may feel likely to smile benificently upon all their product lines.

 

I couldn't imagine that a sci-fi version of C&C would work very well - I could well be wrong however!

 

Cheers,

Giles.

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The some people wanting a Middle Earth game aren't necessarily the same some people as the some people posting concerns over BoW.

That's a fair point, though a couple of the posters here gave off that vibe. I may be mistaken however. happy.gif

I do agree somewhat with your point about a ME game alongside a BoW game and what it coud mean for plain BL. However, I think BoW and ME both have ready made audiences - they also have their own demands and specifications - BL could be the game that let's FFG cut loose, so to speak. I personally hope all success to all those games whether real or imagined, as a hobby gamer I hope to see FFG big and successful. Of course - I love BL, and will buy pretty much anything produced for it - I get a lot of enjoyment out of playing it. BoW doesn't interest me personally - the setting isn't within my sphere of experience and some of the rules seemed modified based on forum criticisms of C&C games - but I still wish it all success - the more cream for FFG the more they may feel likely to smile benificently upon all their product lines.

 

Oh I would love to have all three games available and successful. I love the idea of fantasy games at this scale. And though I chose BoW as my first love and primary focus because I prefer the more wargamey rules, without it going overboard, and I adore the epic setting, that in no way means I wouldn't be willing to get another.

I just can't imagine the market could support all three.

I'd love to wargame in Middle-Earth at this cale though. Also... if FFG's releases a dragonman race of some sort... I'd scramble to buy BL immediately. Just saying FFG!

I couldn't imagine that a sci-fi version of C&C would work very well - I could well be wrong however!

 

It works for WW2. And the Starcraft universe has melee units. I actually think it would work better for Starcraft than Memoir '44 honestly. Whether Starcraft is liable to bring in enough buyers though I couldn't say. It has a lot of fans but unlike Westeros or Middle-Earth they are probably less likely to get into table top gaming.

Now I'm going to say something that might rile some feathers, which isn't my intention. But it seems to me the BoW's rules are more suited to Middle-Earth where magic is not often used and heroes often turned the tide of a hopeless battle. Maybe it's just me but it seems FFG is much more likely to base a ME game off of BoW. Though obviously with lot's of fantasy creatures and such.

It just seems you run the very real danger of not only the ME game replacing BL but also using the BoW rules.

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BOW fans and BL fans dont much interfere with each other, so a success of both games would be no surprise. The people who complained about the release of BOW was misguided by FFG by the somewhat odd labeling of BOW as a "Battlelore game". Now they have learned that BOW is only a very distant cousin of BL rulewise and noone is complaining anymore that much.

I would not mind if FFG stays with their BOW and sells the good old BL licence again to a another company which has a real vision about the future of the game line and is also able to produce better supplements. As some said here, a "better" treatment would for example be to produce just one but heavier box per year, like other C&C games like Ancients do this.

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Yeah the source of the disgruntlement mystifies me as BL has received just as many expansions as BoW since the later came out. It's been dead even so far. If BoW were to never have existed at all they'd not have made more BL stuff they'd have just put those resources into one of their many other games. BL gets the resources it earns through people buying stuff for it.

It's not like BL was financially successful for DoW or they'd not have sold it so I'm not sure why there's this paranoria that BoW is somehow taking anything away from BL.  

BattleLore is a niche game. BoW is a niche game. They both get a decent amount of expansions given that fact. Memoir '44 has been out for 6 years and attracts a wider audience because of it's WW2 theme. Even with all of that it really doesn't have THAT many more expansions than BattleLore. I'm not sure how much faster people think it should get stuff.

The problem is that though BL and BoW are filled with potential, board gamers are a flighty bunch. They buy many games and few of them play a specific game the way a role-player or a table top miniature gamer would... with a narrow and devoted focus. That is why these forums are inactive. And the BoW's forums are inactive. And even the Memoir '44 forums are inactive. But take a niche miniature war game or collectible card game, and THOSE fans form communities. They're devoted.

Ask a table top miniature gamer what their hobby is and they'll tell you "Warmachine, Warhammer Fantasy, ect" They'll give you the name of the game they play. Ask a board gamer and they'll tell you they play board games. On further inquirery they might say they prefer eurogames or ameritrash. But few will mention a specific game.

Board gamers, because everything is ready-to-play, have less investment in a specific game line. And it's easy to move on to another. That's what they were looking for and that's what the product often encourages. BL and BOW are in a confusing middle ground where they have the ease of entry and components of a board game but the wonderful potential of depth and possibility of expansion that a wargame might get. It's their greatest strength but also a great source of confusion for their fans who want more STUFF at a faster rate but who together as a fanbase would never be able to support that appeitie financially.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that at all. But it means products are released differently for those fans. Less frequently and either "all at once" in a big expansion a year or "bite sized chunks" every few months.

And THAT is why they never bothered to put up the scenario editor for BL. The BL online community wasn't vibrant enough to put the resources in to it. They tried it with Tides of Iron and I'm thinking they didn't think they got their monies worth out of it.

Not that FFG is the greatest at building online communities either though. It's just not their expertise. Or maybe, more accurately, they just have too many games to do that with any great effect.

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 I don't want to see a separate Middle Earth game, but I would Love to see Middle Earth scenarios adapted to this one. We have most of the races necessary and we can proxy for those missing. Maybe I need to write and post a scenario from a ME battle.

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DragonWhimsy said:

But can we really imagine the market could support a THIRD fantasy command and colors game from the same company?

 

They don't even have two at this point. I like BoW a lot but it is not a C&C game!

 

As for the speculation, I think we will get a big announcement this week, a new base set for BattleLore with a new setting... In Terrinoth... They are going to announce a new Terrinoth based game at the Terrinoth event this week and BattleLore could work with that setting...

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Aenea said:

a new base set for BattleLore with a new setting... In Terrinoth... They are going to announce a new Terrinoth based game at the Terrinoth event this week and BattleLore could work with that setting...

 

If they were going to go 2nd edition, it wouldn't suprise me.  In fact, it might be a prudent move bringing BL into the Rune family.  Of course, it would be a very different game...but I'd buy it.

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Thuddeus said:

 I don't want to see a separate Middle Earth game, but I would Love to see Middle Earth scenarios adapted to this one. We have most of the races necessary and we can proxy for those missing. Maybe I need to write and post a scenario from a ME battle.

You should do that, Thuddeus.  I haven't done much scenario creating since the early DoW days, but do intend to turn my hand there if official scenarios come to a close.

Possibly a point of inspiration for you, Don Clarke (Yangtze) has created quite a few ME scenarios, posted on the vassal yahoo group for BattleLore (languishing a bit, but still plenty of gems on it, and who knows, maybe another campaign game will break out at some point...) - here (I think one has to join the group to view these files, fairly painless process :) ).

There also was a campaign-style ME game going for awhile - one could argue how thematically consistent the play was, but not the fun factor :)  I think generating Call to Arms-style cards for particular armies and then Heroes for particular major characters in ME would go a long way in creating an even more immersive gaming experience.  No need for a stand alone game, though I would understand the fiscal reasons for doing so.

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As for the speculation, I think we will get a big announcement this week, a new base set for BattleLore with a new setting... In Terrinoth... They are going to announce a new Terrinoth based game at the Terrinoth event this week and BattleLore could work with that setting...

 

I could see that if we didn't already know they were repurposing the french sets.

If you're going to relaunch it with a new setting Middle Earth has more fans to bring in though. On the other hand it may be impossible to use Middle Earth as Games Workshop still has the rights for miniature wargames set in that universe. Not sure how a BattleLore style game would count for licensing purposes.

I can see why it would happen though. FFG just isn't known for creating very many settings. Sticking BL in Terrinoth or Middle Earth instantly solves that problem.

I'm curious, would BattleLore fans be fine with having the game be in a new setting as long as it continued to use the command corridors?

They don't even have two at this point. I like BoW a lot but it is not a C&C game!

 

No reason to get into THAT discussion. ;)

However either way, despite rules differences, they are the same style of game and only hardcore fans of one or the other would think of them as different. I mean yeah they are different niches but they're not that far apart.

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DragonWhimsy said:

They don't even have two at this point. I like BoW a lot but it is not a C&C game!

 

No reason to get into THAT discussion. ;)

However either way, despite rules differences, they are the same style of game and only hardcore fans of one or the other would think of them as different. I mean yeah they are different niches but they're not that far apart.

 

Well, it's simple, Richard Borg created a set of rules with command cards and the cards let you order troops in sections on the boards, the cards can also let you order troops of a certain strength or type which are represented by colors. This rules system is called Commands & Colors.

Simply the fact that BoW doesn't use the sections and has different type of cards to order units with means it's not using the same rules system anymore.

If you look at all the real C&C games, they all have the 3 sections, they have the section cards and most of the other cards like first strike are there, maybe called differently (eg. Ambush in Memoir'44)...

 

 

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My point was that they are both fantasy wargame/boardgame hybrids with a streamlined and fast playing system with 85% similar rules systems. It really doesn't matter to most players or the industry in general whether you call it Commands & Colors or not when you are considering a niche to be filled.

But I could be wrong. FFG will have three fantasy LCG's soon. If they go with a one expansion per season for each game like they seem to be the addition of a ME game would allow them to release one a month for each game in succession.

And there is the Hobbit movie down the road.

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