Battlelore 2.0 is a revision of Battlelore by Days of Wonder. It is a game that implements the famous command and colors mechanic created by Richard Borg. The second edition is set in Fantasy Flight’s Runebound universe. Players command the “Daqan Lords or the bloodthirsty Uthuk Y’llan on the war-torn battlefields of Terrinoth.”
The larger than standard sized box is filled to the brim with cardboard and plastic. The game board is high quality, as expected from Fantasy Flight. It is also massive, unfortunately the board doesn’t lay flat on the table due to the way it was produced. The sculpts are all very high quality for a boardgame, it’s nearly the quality you would expect from a miniatures game. The dice are engraved with unique symbols on each side and are very high quality, on the downside it only comes with four dice so you have to hand them back and forth each turn or even memorize part of your roll so you can re-roll some of them. This seemed like a cost saving measure that was poorly thought out. You really need more dice for this game, and that’s why they sell additional dice separately. The cards, tiles, and other cardboard components are all good quality and have acceptable artwork.
Each turn is simple, and if you’ve ever played a command and colors game you’ll be mostly up to speed already. You play a command card from your hand that allows you to order units from different sections on the board. You then tactically move and attack with these units in an attempt to control the tiles on the board that give you victory points. Unique to Battlelore Second Edition, each army has its’ own lore deck that adds spells and special events that can be played each turn if you have the required amount of Lore received from dice rolls.
I’ve played several command and colors games (Memoir 44, Battlecry, and both editions of Battlelore), I love the first edition of Battlelore and played it excessively when it came out. Playing the first edition so frequently might have skewed my opinion of this game, but I truly found the first Battlelore to be the more enjoyable version of the game. I really like the mechanic of playing cards to order units in different sections because it mimics the chaos of an actual battle. In this game it almost felt like there were too many options. Each unit type has 2-4 special abilities that are easy to forget to use. It also feels like lore is more abundant in this game than in the first edition, which means a lot of times you’ll have 8 lore and the ability to pick between a handful of lore cards. These can be seen as good points if you play this game often and know each army and the cards they can play. If you’re like me and pull this game off the shelf once or twice a year then it can be overwhelming how much there is to remember. What I liked so much about the other command and color games is their accessibility. They were able to take a battle and strip it down to the bare essentials, in Battlelore 2.0 they added so much to the battle that it bogs down the experience. I often feel like I’m not playing optimally because I don’t know everything that is at my disposal.
- High quality miniatures
- A lot of content for the price
- Variable set up, each army selects different scenarios at the beginning of the game which include different ways to score victory points and unique terrain on each armies side of the battlefield.
- Implements command and color system
- There is a long setup time, this could be a pro if you like to deck build or choose your own army.
- There are usually only 3 figures per unit, so it’s not unusual to kill an opponent’s entire unit in one lucky dice roll. This happens less often in other command and color games when there are usually 4 figures per unit.
- Almost an overwhelming amount of edge cases to remember. It comes with a reference book to help you “easily” figure out the answer to questions that arise, but it’s as large as the rule book is.
Final Thoughts and Rating
Battlelore Second Edition is a good game that is obscured by a heavy overhead of rules and content. It’s still lighter than your typical miniatures game, but I prefer something as approachable as the other games in the command and color series.
Final Rating: [star rating=”6″ max=”10″ numeric=”yes”]