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.
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!
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.
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!