The long view

Six months into the launch of BattleLore, we think it might be worthwhile to step back and share with you a bit more of where we’re heading, from both a game system and background story perspective.

As a rule of thumb, we do not like to discuss editorial content and our product pipeline too far ahead of time, as it:

  • distracts us (and retailers) from the products currently at hand;
  • puts us (and you) at the risk of being disappointed if a product slips off schedule, something that is bound to happen when pre-announcing games before they are finished and ready to ship;
  • and, last, but not least, makes it harder for us to keep some things as a surprise to delight you with, and preserve a sense of wonder when you finally get to open your newly acquired game or expansion box;

But a recent, courteous discussion on the subject on BattleLoreMaster.com‘s fan site; a number of threads on our own forum; and a well thought-through, eloquently written review on Boardgamegeek (English only, sorry!) of how BattleLore stacks up against Warhammer convinced us of the benefits of sharing a bit more with you all, even if only in this post ;-) !

So without further ado, here are our thoughts and rationale on some of these recurring subjects/questions:

System vs Background

For the bulk of this year, our priority will continue to be on publishing supplements that are core to the Game system, even if at the expense of further developing the game’s universe and BattleLore’s yet little-discussed uchronia.

It is NOT a signal that we do not care about content or do not understand the desirability of a fully fleshed-out game universe (after all, as the publisher of Memoir ’44, we know the benefits of being able to frame and position a scenario or an adventure within a historical context);

Rather it is a conscious decision to first finish laying the foundation upon which we want to progressively build and anchor our own universe:

  • By necessity (box size and complexity, costs, etc…) the base game had to focus on a fairly generic set of units and introduce only a limited number of new races, creatures, etc…
  • This very genericity makes writing background stories a fairly artificial exercise, compounded by the historical period at hand of which few authoritative texts have survived.
  • As we progressively introduce new units to the game, starting with the Goblin Skirmisher and Dwarven Battalion set, and rapidly following with a 100 Years War set, another still-under-wraps Goblins Specialist set and, a bit further down the road, a larger yet-to-be-announced set, the situation will progressively improve.

gob-skirm-back-en.jpg

The Goblins Skirmisher – a piece in the puzzle

As will become evident once these Specialist sets start shipping, the Specialist mechanics introduced in Call to Arms are one of the keys to being able to field differentiated units, to add flavor to various races without further increasing rules complexity or heading down the path of unwieldy unit summary tables.

Likewise, shipping the Epic BattleLore expansion rapidly was a necessity for us, as it:

  • gives us a better platform to support gameplay within a store environment;
  • begins (and just begins) to open the game up to teams of multiple players;
  • and perharps more importantly, broadens the battlefield (and scope!) of 1-on-1 adventures, opening up the door to interesting new mechanics (sub-quests, special objectives) further down the road;

Even once we have all of this is behind us, there remains one key element we wish to introduce soon: Heroes.

A good story is often only as memorable as the heroes it features; even more so in the realm of fantasy. What would the Middle-earth be without characters such as Sauron, Gandalf, Bilbo or Sam? What would Melniboné be without Elric, or Midkemia without Pug?

For this reason, Richard and our team are hard at work putting the finishing touches to Heroes of BattleLore, the last core supplement we plan (hope?) to introduce this year.

By giving you a way to place yourself on the battlefield proper, and letting you gain experience in battle and loot hardly-fought, highly-cherished magical items, we will not only put the last key building block to the BattleLore game system in place, but also open the door to countless future high-in-color adventures!

100-year-war-vignettes.jpg

Medieval or Lore?

Most records of late Middle-Ages battles focus on a handful of well-known, fairly repetitive and restrictively formatted confrontations such as Crécy, Agincourt, … with interesting skirmishes detailed left to harder-to-read Old French sources such as Enguerrand’s chronicles.

Again, the key to reliving fun adventures, be they Medieval or Lore-based, will progressively follow from the introduction of the core supplements outlined above, and greatly benefit from the availability of increasingly varied Specialist units.

The Long View

None of this will happen overnight, however. While it may seem to take a long time, we encourage you to take the long view:

Think back to the year D&D or Warhammer was first introduced. Neither had the hugely well-developed universe and background stories that now seem synonymous with them. But persistence, and the support of a thriving players’ and resellers’ community, paved the way for the big successes they eventually became.

gob-moon-vignette.jpg

While we may be silent at times, we will continue to work tirelessly toward a same goal. If you want to participate or lend a hand, look forward to the various online tools we will progressively unveil. Otherwise, sit back, relax, and enjoy – the best is yet to come!

The DoW War Council

Next blog entry: The Sounds of Music!

This post is also available in: French, German

22 Responses to “The long view”

  1. Cek says:

    Me like the sound of this! Heroes are at the top of my list (and items/equipment yay!).

  2. Wee Sodjer says:

    That was an extremely thought out article.

    Many thanks, DoW.

  3. Nostromo says:

    Thanks for the Update!

    Are we ever going to see an undead army (skirmish?) Pack?

    Don’t care if it’s 2 years out but do you think that it will EVER happen?

  4. Old Dwarf says:

    Well its nice to know that the ship is headed to the right
    Port.Really nice stuff is on the way ,this will be a primo
    system.

    I still wish that an overall BL world were presented up front,
    to tie all these great parts together but its not to be.I’ll just
    wait & buy my Dwarves.

    OD

  5. eric says:

    The pb in all honesty (and we probably didn’t explain it well enough in this short entry) with doing the BL world upfront is that we think the really interesting opportunity comes from melding the mechanics with the story, not just having a good story. So to that extent, there are a number of core mechanics (Heroes included) that do need to ship first.

  6. zombiepig says:

    “…sub-quests, special objectives…”

    love the sound of this :D

  7. Jaz1597 says:

    Thanks DoW. If we ever had any doubts, they have been laid to rest.

    I prefer the occasional, well thought-out update to constant mini-updates that tell you nothing.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Geudens says:

    Now, that’s what I call an open strategy! Many thanks!

  9. Pipisongo says:

    Many thanks for the update DoW. Looking forward to many years of BL.

  10. Scott Brooks says:

    This is the best news I’ve heard since the initial release of Battlelore! I’ve felt that the game really didn’t feel complete without Heroes – it’s great to hear that they’re in the works!

  11. Brent Lloyd says:

    By the look of the Mustering areas it looks like Call to Arms is only playable with regular BL. Are there some rules that allow it to be used for Epic BL as well?

    Peace

  12. Xanthos says:

    I’m quite excited after reading this post. There is so much information that I’ll have to look at it a few more times. For now, it looks like there will be lots of great BL possibilities coming in the future.

  13. eric says:

    Yes, of course, Call to Arms is playabloe with Epic BL. It will all be described in the printed version of Epic BL

  14. TimK says:

    So when will Call to Arms be available for pre-order?

  15. Jude says:

    I’m pre-ordering it, but am a bit worried since no one paid any attention to the rules questions I posted in the Battlelore forum Call to Arms rules download thread:
    http://www.daysofwonder.com/index.php?t=msg&th=10908&start=0&rid=233459&S=07ad9619b30453713d68637c5b77d2c2

    I’m hoping, but not optimistic, that the rules have been clarified in the printed version. If not, will someone from the DOW staff please respond to that thread soon so I can play with the correct rules when I get the expansion?

    I’m really looking forward to the new terrain in call to Arms, and the figures in the upcoming expansions. :)

    Thank you,

    Jude

  16. eric says:

    We will answer these questions, as we usually do. However you cannot expect us to answer all questions before an expansion even ships! (or we will have to reconsider our policy of releasing online rules ahead of time ;-) ).

  17. Jude says:

    Well, I guess then that I should not have preordered the expansion but instead should have waited until it shipped to find out if the rules had been clarified in the final printed version.

    Jude

  18. mrsaturday says:

    Well, I’m quite excited about the possibilities of this game, especially epic BL and Call to Arms. Nice to see something a little more imaginative coming out.

    I’ll be following the progression of the game with great interest. If the rest of the BL products are of the same production and gaming quality as the core box, (the figures are without a doubt the best I’ve seen on that scale.) you’ll have yourselves a devoted customer.

  19. Affro says:

    Astonished… No, not astonished: delighted.
    Sincerely, it’s a pleasure seeing how DoW and Eric are receptive about customers, to the point of opening the black box of editorial decsion-making.

    Battlelore, I think, aims at a broader customer base than today Warhammer: where the latter targets essentialy “young blood”, mindset reflected by the constantly inflated “What’s New What’s New?? – Hype” (not criticism, a matter-of-facts), DoW choose a open “Nostalgic-yet-new” approach to things: this means also, as I’ve seen here and before, a more adultlike dialogue with customers.

    I prefer so; how couldn’t I admire such noble effort? ^_^… eagerly, but patiently waiting for more.

  20. Chris says:

    This post was fantastic, and I applaud you guys for being upfront
    and honest with the players of BattleLore. I’m eagerly awaiting
    Call to Arms arrival in Boston game stores. I was curious if there
    is any plan to have a campaign system for BL, and/or would it
    be part of Heroes of BattleLore? If you can’t answer this question
    just yet, I understand…

    Chris

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