Archive for the ‘BattleLore’ Category

Call to Arms

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Call to Arms’ rules are used for playing adventures in which only a battle map’s terrain has been predefined, but not the units’ mix or position on the battlefield.

They are also used whenever players wish to play an existing adventure using customized armies of their own (partial) choosing, rather than the units’ mix and deployment dictated by a given adventure’s battle map.

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Determined to stall your opponent’s progress, you choose some high grounds to confront him…

Depending on the type of gaming experience looked for, and time available to set-up and play an adventure, Call to Arms’ players will agree to use one of two drafting modes to deploy their armies on the battlefield:

  • The Impromptu mode, recommended for friendly, impromptu game sessions, with a short time set-up;
  • The Organized mode, perfect for veteran gamers wishing for a bit more control and customization.

The Order of Battle

The deployment mechanics introduced in Call to Arms mimic the medieval deployments of yore.

In late medieval warfare, armies were often drawn up into three military formations, commonly called Battles or Guards: The vanguard, middle guard and rearguard respectively led, followed and closed the column of troops on the march.

French Guard English Guard

A French and English Guard, awaiting deployment

Upon reaching the enemy, the Battles would deploy abreast, with the vanguard moving to the right wing of the battlefield, the middle to the center, and the rear to the left.

In Call to Arms, Deployment cards drawn from a deck of your own composition specify the type and position of the units you may field in each Wing of your army.

Pennants Choice

Four English Guards, ready for deployment. Which Wing will you deploy them on, and which will you keep in Reserve?

While quick, the choice will not necessarily be as obvious as it seems, as it may be influenced by:

  • The lay of the land: Units that are marked for deployment on Impassable terrain must instead be redeployed on your baseline or first row of hexes on your side of the battlefield.
  • Your Reserve: Unlike the three Deployment cards selected for your Guards, the card you choose to hold in Reserve cannot be fully deployed. Instead, you must select two, and only two, of its units for deployment on your baseline.
  • A desire to seize the initiative: The player with the most Green units deployed (outside of his Reserve) out-scouts his opponent and starts the game.

Feudal Levies

In Organized mode, these decisions are further complicated by the fact that you draw your Deployment cards from a deck of your own choosing rather than a pre-established set. One of the consequences is that you are no longer guaranteed to find the troops you’d like to raise from the common Army pool, when the time comes to deploy them.

Feudal Levy Tokens

As a result, you may end up having to call on some Feudal Levies instead. These are represented by Feudal Levy tokens of the same color as the units you can no longer deploy. During the troops deployment, these tokens are exchanged for other units of equal or lower color rank.

The Specialists

Another important aspect of the Organized mode is the additional units customization it offers.

This customization is introduced through the use of Specialist cards. These cards give you a chance to be certain to field a (limited) number of new units from your collection.

Goblinoid Mercenaries Bow Upgrade

Goblins rule! Or do they?

Some Specialist cards also modify other aspects of the deployment process, encouraging you to develop interesting Specialist card combos that best suit your own particular style of play, War Council selection, etc…

King's Allies

A Warrior’s friends…

 

The hitch, for there has to be one, is that you may only select 2 Specialist cards for any given game! Needless to say, this is usually a lot less than you’d like to pick… ;-)

 

Infiltration Vantage Point

A Rogue’s sneaky choices…

Spring ‘07 Expansions Roadmap

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Spring is coming and with it the promise of the BattleLore expansions we first hinted at here, back in November 2006.

Here is what is looming over the horizon. Some of it will be expected, some may be less so. But read on…

1. In March, we will release our first expansion: Epic BattleLore

This expansion gives you the opportunity to conduct battles on a grand scale, by combining the back side of two game boards to form a single, unified, giant battlefield.

This supplement also gives you a chance to adventure in the company of friends (up to 3 to a side), making it the format of choice to introduce new players to the game.

As a result of this – and of a unique new twist that involves a rather ingenious new use for a couple of your cardholders – we quickly expect Epic BattleLore to become the dominant format and preferred form of play for in-store events and game conventions.

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Epic BattleLore – Adventures on a grand scale!

The format will feel familiar to Memoir ’44 Overlord veterans. However, the noticeably different orientation of the game boards (they are assembled along their longest edge rather than side-by-side) and a few other twists help make it a truly unique and fun new game experience, even when attempted with 2 players only.

This supplement will come with five full new Epic adventures.

To acknowledge the fact that not everyone owns a second set of the game yet ;-) , we’ve taken great care to make sure these adventures could be played using a single army set – though two games owners will undoubtedly keep a headstart!

All that is required to play these first Epic adventures is a second board, some additional Lore tokens and a friend to play with.

This expansion will initially be released Online, free of charge, to all registered users of the game, sometime during the month of March.

A paper-based version that includes a 2nd game board and some additional Lore tokens, along with more new Epic adventures, will follow in May, and be available at retail as well as on our web site.

2. In April, in a bit of departure from our originally stated plans, we will introduce and ship our first major game supplement:

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Call to Arms – The Definitive Army Deployment System for BattleLore

We were so happy with what Richard came up with that, once we saw it, we shuffled our production plans around to bring this out earlier than initially planned. We are confident you will agree with our decision!

While this post is not the one in which to delve in all the details, we can already confirm that:

  • This expansion does NOT rely on the point-based army buying approach common to many miniature games.
  • Rather, it uses a novel, card-driven deployment mechanism, centered around the use of Deployment decks, Specialist cards and Feudal Levy tokens.
  • The deployment mechanics introduced in this expansion closely mimic medieval deployments of yore, and will provide you with a uniquely fun and enjoyable way to customize your troops and deploy your armies.

This expansion is expected to ship in April. It will be available at retail as well as on our web site for a suggested retail price of about $ 20.

3. In May, the benefits of changing the release schedule will become even clearer as we start shipping our first Figure sets, in the form of Specialist packs.

We received much feedback from Distributors and Resellers alike on the pros and cons of the blistered figures approach we had started experimenting with when we shipped our first promotional figures. These conversations convinced us that this format, while seductive, was not the best.

So we went back to the drawing board and came up with the concept of Specialist packs.

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Each Specialist pack will introduce a couple of new units centered around a common theme. Likely early candidates include a Goblin Skirmisher set, a Dwarven Battalion (complete with the already infamous Dwarven Bagpipers!), and a 100 Years War Battalion.

Each of these packs will be available at retail, as well as on our web site, for a retail price of approximately $ 20.

Because we did not want this change of format to make us renege on our pledge to make new figures available on a unit by unit basis, we will also release these in single-unit blisters, exclusively off our web site. We are still working out a few specifics; more information should follow in late March.

Next… The gory details!

We’re still slaving away…

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

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Just one more day…

The calm before the storm…

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Following a busy but relatively silent January, and fresh off the Nuremberg Toy Fair (where we announced our newest game Colosseum) and a three day marathon session with Richard in California (which will be the fodder of upcoming blog entries ;-) ), we’re finally catching up:

The Painting Guide of our friends at Team Toulouse is now live and can be found here: the painting guide.

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A colorful battle…

With new BattleLore fan sites seemingly going live every week, it is becoming hard for us to keep track of all the new player game aids that are sprouting up and give each one the exposure they deserve.

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BattleLoreMaster.com

We have started work on a new tool that will help you share your best ideas, game ressources, pictures and stories with fellow players, and provide each of you with a BattleLore space of your own.

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Torgan.net

Long-time Memoir ’44 players that still remember the ill-fated M44 Platoon site may shudder at the thought. They should be pleased to learn they are going be the first beneficiaries of this new tool; we will then carry it over into the BattleLore and Ticket to Ride communities. Look for more news on this subject in the coming months.

The rapid success of BattleLore has also resulted in a significant upsurge in the volume of messages and questions posted on our site and others, as evidenced by the over 9,000 posts already made to the BattleLore forum!

While we strive to post timely answers, we simply cannot keep up with every single question (*).

(*) While we may have seemingly managed to do so during the game’s first few weeks following launch, this was largely the result of an unsustainable, irreproducible fluke – namely, several of us being on vacation following the game’s release, we were able to read and answer messages in quasi real-time.

Thankfully, many in the players’ community have stepped up to help us guide newcomers into BattleLore.

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The Lore Compendium

This has allowed us to divert some of our efforts toward releasing the critical tools (Adventure Editor, Lore and Creatures Compendium, …) we needed to support the game and its upcoming expansions.

These tools and the content that is progressively built into them is still very much a work in progress.

We are aware of their shortcomings and limitations, content-wise and functionality-wise. Some are easy to fix while others (PDF output, for instance) are harder and will take more time. We will keep working on them and refining them further, however; our ultimate goal is still to make these tools the definitive repositories of all things BattleLore related.

As a first step, we took advantage of Richard’s presence last week to catch up on the open questions in the Compendiums, and now hope to have a process in place that ensures that no question lays unanswered for too long.

Last not least, we have been busy readying the first expansions. They will be the subject of our next entry.

Online Tools (Part 3)

Monday, January 15th, 2007

The long-promised Creature compendium is now available online at: http://www.battlelore.com/creatures
Much like the already posted Lore Cards compendium, this tool was designed as a repository of FAQs, examples and House rules for BattleLore’s creatures.

The database currently features:

  • a Generic creature entry, to answer questions relative to all creatures rather than a single specific one;
  • the Giant Spider that comes with each base game;
  • and the two promotional miniatures (Hill Giant and Earth Elemental) that surrounded the game’s release.

Additional entries will be added as new creatures are released.

A troll

Enjoy!

Welcome back!

Friday, January 12th, 2007

After the Christmas lull (well, it wasn’t exactly a lull, over here ;-) ), we are finally back with a few new things.

First, as promised, the page for getting replacement dice is now live on this link.

Please note that the dice that you will receive if your set wears off too rapidly are the same material, shape and dimensions as the one originally shipped. They also display the exact same patterns on each side of the die. The ONLY difference is that they are correctly screen-printed, like they should always have been! :(

We might look at producing some other dice down the road (ie a heavier “deluxe” version in metal) but it was simply not possible now if we were to keep a reasonable cost and delivery date.

Also, as mentionned in our original post, we will mail those dice to anyone who requests them, at our own cost. All we kindly ask is that you try and refrain from asking for a replacement set if the one you received is holding up fine.

Of more interest to the actual game play: We have just pushed online an additional seven new adventures.

The first four (adventures # 11-14) are a succession of Lore adventures where the Free Companies of Seguin of Badefol face off the troops of Sir Arnold of Cervolles.

A month later, Seguin‘s forces confront the army of Jacques of Bourbon at the Lore version of the Battle of Brignais (adventure # 15), complete with a Hill Giant!

This set is completed by two Medieval adventures, the historical version of battle of Brignais, and the hundred years earlier battle of Lewes opposing Simon V of Montfort to King Henry III of England.

You can find them on BattleLore website.
Next week: The Creature Compendium goes live…

Enjoy!

Online Tools (Part 2) – Ho, ho, ho!

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Despite the recent silence that fell on the kingdom (largely as a result of transcontinental expeditions for the upcoming holidays), our in-house goblins have been feverishly slaving away… on a brand new Online Adventure Editor, now available here !

Adventures Editor Screenshot

Among the most notable features, you will find:

  • true multilingual support, with Author’s control on translatability
  • support for double-board (ie Epic) battle maps
  • a wysiwyg war council interface
  • numerous filters for searching through the adventures
  • and all the features already present in the editor’s prior incarnation, developed for Memoir ’44 (Wysiwyg battle map layout, after-action reports, ….)

We thank you all for the tremendous reception you’ve given to BattleLore this far, and wish you all a very happy holidays!

The DoW Council

PS: Our online presence for the next week or so will remain at a subdued level, and resume in full force with the new year.

Apologies

Monday, December 11th, 2006

With BattleLore now finally shipping in quantities, a number of customer service issues are appearing:

  • The production dice are wearing out faster than acceptable. While we discovered this issue too late to fix it in the current batch of games, we will be offering anyone with a defective set a free replacement. New, more durable, screen-printed dice are being manufactured as of this writing. As soon as they are ready, we will be airshipping them to our warehouses for delivery to you, at our cost.
    All that will be required of you will be registering on our web site, using the web card number that comes on the back of every game’s Adventures Booklet. We will be setting up a special page, dedicated to this issue, as soon as these replacement dice become available.
  • As previously discussed in our forums, some figures (heavy human cavalry and archers in particular) are subject to bending in the lower tray of the game. An effective, yet simple fix is described in details here: http://blog.battlelore.com/bent/en/ .
    We are also looking into packaging alternatives for future releases.
  • The Online Adventure Editor, and a few support pages (Landmarks & Creatures Compendium) are not live yet.
    We are working around the clock to release these in a timely manner. We will post announcements as soon as these pages go live.
  • Due to the season and recent volume of games we have shipped, we might not be able to answer everyone’s questions or handle all the requests we receive in as timely a manner as we usually strive for.
    Please bear with us as we work on minimizing these delays.

We all worked very hard for many months to release this game. We are heartened and excited by the reception it has received so far, but we are truly disappointed that a few of the components fail to meet our own usual standards. Please be assured that we are and will continue to work hard to make it right.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Sincerely,

Eric Hautemont
CEO – Days of Wonder, Inc.

Online Tools (part 1)

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006

With the recent product shipping & all, a short entry this week (albeit an important one).

We just released the Lore Cards compendium, a comprehensive database of Lore cards published to date.

In time, we expect this tool to grow into a comprehensive, searchable directory of Lore cards, including FAQs specific to each cards, innovative ways to play them, and even end-user designed house rules!

Please bear with us as we progressively release additional Online tools (the Creature Compendium and the already announced Online Adventure Editor should be next).

Busy shipping!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

Products finally started shipping this week! Here follows a detailed explanation of what is happening this week and next. Important note: No matter how eager you might be to receive your game ;-) we ask that you please do not contact us for additional information regarding your own specific order, since:

  • We will not be able to provide you with any more information than what follows.
  • And contacting us will just slow down our efforts to get your game and minis out the door as quickly as we possibly can.

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IN EUROPE

Products started shipping out to distributors in each country earlier this week. Once the distributors receive their shipments, late this week or early next, they will immediately dispatch these games to their own resellers. Products – and promotional figures for the first orders in each country – should start appearing in stores on December 8, possibly earlier in a few places.

European web store pre-orders

Pre-orders placed on the Days of Wonder European web store (you were charged in Euros, if you did so) started shipping earlier this week. You have, or will receive, a confirmation e-mail with a link to track the delivery of your package as soon as your order is processed. If the link does not work (ie says something along the lines of “sorry, no tracking information is available”), do not contact us or panic! It just means that you clicked on the status at a time when the product was between our warehouse and the first transit station of our shipper, a short period of time during which no tracking information is available. Clicking on your link a day later will usually provide you with the information. Except for France (see below), all European pre-orders placed on our web store are shipping out of our German warehouse. In France, the games are being shipped out of our own facilities. A first batch left today, and more will follow throughout the week until all pre-orders have been processed. Again, please do not call or e-mail us.

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If you were (France – Paris area only) among those customers who chose to visit our office to handpick your copy tonight, then you should have it as of this writing. ;-)

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A few lucky Parisians, November 28, 2006

IN THE US AND REST OF THE WORLD (including Canada, Australia, …)

In the US -

Products started shipping out to distributors nationwide last Wednesday. The official ship date from distributors is set for Monday December 4, so this is the date upon which distributors will start shipping the games to their resellers. As a result, games should arrive to stores in your area by the end of next week. If you have pre-ordered from your local game store, this is when you will be able to pick up your copy of the game, along with the Hill Giant (if you were not given one earlier).

In other countries, including Canada, Australia, … -

The products are starting to go out to our various distributors’ shipping brokers this week. Date of actual availability in stores in your country will depend upon a number of factors (such as transit and customs time) out of our control. If you have questions regarding availability in those places, please contact your local reseller directly or have them talk to their regular distributors.

US web store pre-orders (including US, Canada, and pre-orders from other non-European countries)

If you placed a pre-order in our US web store (i.e if you paid in $, rather than Euros), then your game will ship early next week, at the same time US distributors are sending out games to their resellers. You will automatically receive an e-mail notification informing you that your order has been processed and shipped. If you opted for a method of shipment that provides tracking information (such as UPS), a link to that information will also be included in your e-mail notification. The exact date of delivery of your game will still depend on a number of factors such as your distance from our warehouse (in South Dakota), country of origin (if you live outside the US) and chosen method of shipping (UPS, parcel post, …) – so please do not contact us immediately regarding the whereabouts of your product.

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Games in our South Dakota warehouse

Because we ended up shipping products out of our US warehouse later than we had hoped for, we have decided to help make up for it by:

  • Extending the cut-off date for the Hill Giant promotion for pre-orders placed in our US web store to December 6.
  • Summoning the Earth Elementals earlier than previously announced! ;-)

If you placed a pre-order in our US web store on or before December 6, then we will automatically ship you an Earth Elemental figure, along with your copy of the game! We will also add in the Hill Giant if it did not go out to you earlier. There is no need to contact us: this will all happen automatically.

Earth Elementals for US customers who did not purchase through our web store

The Earth Elemental figures will still be available at conventions and events throughout the US. However we know that many of you may not have a BattleLore event near you. To make sure that anyone who wants a figure, effective December 6, Earth Elementals will be available for a modest shipping and handling fee of $ 4.00 directly from our web site (or free of charge if you order other products at the same time). You will need to register your game, using the web access code provided in your copy of BattleLore, to access this promotion, which is limited to one Earth Elemental per copy of the game you register. Around the same time, we will also make demo kits available to stores, and volunteers wishing to run various events. Details about these demo kits and how to obtain them will follow in an upcoming blog entry. We look forward to getting the games out to you, and resuming our regular blog entries as soon as things settle down!

The entire DoW team