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constant-whiner
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Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 12:04
I got my copy of Call To Arms on last Friday late afternoon. I immediately begun reading the rules and examining the cards. Well, unless I am missing something big, I don't get it. Sure, specialists, cliffs and longbows are cool but this module is supposed to be a customized army deployment system. Well, it isn't. I have three complains. I hasten to add that I LOVE this game (much as I am irritated by that HR/FF thing) and I would love to be proven wrong.

Complain #1. (biggest). You are presented with a choice of three decks (A, B and C) which according to the manual have a "slightly distinctive flavor". Sorry guys but they most certainly do not. The three decks are essentially identical. I pored over the decks for more than 10 minutes examining the cards again and again, trying to find that "distinct flavor" but they looked just the same to me. I even counted the number and types of units on each deck. They are more or less the same! If anybody proves me wrong I'll be happy to print this post and eat it. Choosing one of these three identical decks is basically the only "customization" decision you will make (this applies to "Impromptu mode" - I'll cover "Organized" mode at complain #2). After that, you just draw four cards at random (out of 7 that each deck has). At random! Sure you get to chose which card gets deployed to your right flank and which card is your reserve but overall, what I perceive is that you have VERY LITTLE control over your army. It is impossible, for instance to field a "cavalry-heavy army" or an "archers-heavy army". I 'd like to have the option to field say few heavy cavalry units versus a larger number of light cavalry units. Well, you don't have that choice. I appreciate the effort to come up with a light deployment system but frankly calling this system "customized army deployment" borders on misrepresentation.

Complain #2. The situation is a little bit better in the organized mode in the sense that you at least have a chance to decided whether you want to field dwarves or goblins (if you are lucky enough to draw the right random cards) but that's just about it.

Complain #3. Maybe I am wrong in this one. Feudal Levy Tokens. I would appreciate an honest answer. Are they: (a) an intentional game mechanic that the designers thought fun to introduce or just (b) a mechanism to account for the lack of the sufficient number of figures in the base game to accommodate all possible combinations? If it is (a) what's the storyline / theme behind this mechanic? My educated guess is that is is (b) in which case I have two issues:
#3.1: If I have two sets I guess I don't need feudal levies so there you have it: different gaming experience depending on possession of an otherwise superfluous set.
#3.2: Why not just print some cheap horses / foot unit images for the feudal levy tokens ? I mean, maybe a lot of players would not mind playing with a poor quality substitute of a miniature instead of having to change their intended army composition for no thematic reason whatsoever but just because there are not enough figures in the set. I mean, in chess, when you upgrade a pawn, you don't need to have an extra queen, you just use some other token to represent the queen.
      
ZiNOS
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 12:38
player323712 wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 12:04

I got

Complain #1. (biggest). You are presented with a choice of three decks (A, B and C) which according to the manual have a "slightly distinctive flavor". Sorry guys but they most certainly do not. The three decks are essentially identical.


I agree with you. the decks are more or less the same. However, i think some decks are more offense oriented (the troops are placed more forward) but still i can be totally wrong on this.


PLEASE DOW TELL US THE FLAVOR OF EACH DECK so we can choose accordingly!!!.



player323712 wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 12:04

Complain #2. The situation is a little bit better in the organized mode in the sense that you at least have a chance to decided whether you want to field dwarves or goblins (if you are lucky enough to draw the right random cards) but that's just about it.



Still the owner of the expansion gets to choose 2 decks first (meaning he will get the two Standards for the dwarves if he feels like it.....). So no dwarves for the other player, or very little anyway.

I think DOW came with a random deployment generator and this is fine by me anyway. You still have the specialist cards to fine tune your army.
      
ColtsFan76
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 13:30
This is my problem with CtA: when they made the plastic storage tray, they put little finger slots next to them so that you could grab the card and hexes. But they only put them half-way down; which means you can only grab half the deck and half the hexes and end up tipping the whole thing over anyway.

Next time, deeper finger holes!
      
yangtze
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 13:49
Some one will do an analysis of the cards sooner or later and post it on BGG no doubt.

The only thing I'd change is this business about the owner choosing first. I'll be making it part of the game, and suggest the player with the highest level commander chooses first. Also, that the player with the strongest commander reveals deployment cards and deploys troops before his/her opponent, starting in whichever section he/she likes. Then the player with the weaker commander is likely to have to suffer more levies. In case of ties dice.

Of course the opponent will be compensated with greater strength elsewhere in their war council - possibly a level 3 cleric Wink

[Mis à jour le: Mon, 21 May 2007 13:51]

      
mvettemagred
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:12
yangtze wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 07:49

Some one will do an analysis of the cards sooner or later and post it on BGG no doubt.

The only thing I'd change is this business about the owner choosing first. I'll be making it part of the game, and suggest the player with the highest level commander chooses first. Also, that the player with the strongest commander reveals deployment cards and deploys troops before his/her opponent, starting in whichever section he/she likes. Then the player with the weaker commander is likely to have to suffer more levies. In case of ties dice.

Of course the opponent will be compensated with greater strength elsewhere in their war council - possibly a level 3 cleric Wink

While this makes sense thematically, the order of actions in CtA doesn't allow this to happen. The Deployment decks are selected before the War Council is created. Therefore, players won't know who has the higher level Commander yet.
      
yangtze
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:19
Good point! In which case you could allocate levels to the war council prior to choosing decks as a variant or, failing that, dice for it. I just don't like the idea of the owner choosing first for some reason. If anything, they should graciously choose last - after all, you're opponent's kindly agreed to play the game you've brought along Smile

[Mis à jour le: Mon, 21 May 2007 14:19]

      
ColtsFan76
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:28
yangtze wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 07:19

Good point! In which case you could allocate levels to the war council prior to choosing decks as a variant or, failing that, dice for it. I just don't like the idea of the owner choosing first for some reason. If anything, they should graciously choose last - after all, you're opponent's kindly agreed to play the game you've brought along Smile

I think the point about you going first (if you are the owner) is that you are the one who shelled out most of your last paycheck to get the system while your buddy, as much as you like him, is a no good mooch! SO DOW rewards the one who contributed to Eric's paycheck with their own!

However, if you graciously allow him to go first, more power to you.

We will need to figure out a protocol for Vassal though as both players should have CtA in order to play. I am not quite sure selecting the War council first is a good idea though. Your war council is dependent on many things in the organized mode - including placing your army, your reserves, and what specialist cards are available.

I think the concept of each player rolling 6 dice and the one with the most green goes first is probably the way I would like to go. The concept is in the rules for other situations were all things are equal. Then with your second game of the match, just allow the other person to set-up first.
      
DarkPadawan
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:30
Why make it more difficult than it has to? There was the same discussions about "who is doing what first?" on the german board, and the official answer was:

"Roll six dice and the person rolling more green helmets than the other one becomes the starting player."

The question was a different one, but I would allow the solution also for this issue.

Dark.

PS: Oh, ColtsFan was faster than me Razz .

[Mis à jour le: Mon, 21 May 2007 14:32]

      
cebalrai
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:32
It seems like feudal levy tokens were advertised as some sort of feature in the customization process. But really they're just patches for the fact that you don't have enough units to play CtA without running out. I have 2 sets of the game, so I will never even use those tokens. I was kinda disappointed with that.

Add me to the list of people who are clueless about the themes of the decks. I spent 5-10 minutes the other day trying to figure it out. It seems that deck picking is meant to be a significant aspect of customization, but until people know what they're picking, it's all just random. And of course picking the cards within each deck will always be random.

I have a potential problem with overcrowding in CtA. Armies can be as large as 18 units, which is kind of overkill. A player can lose when they have 11 fully healthy units still alive, which is kind of weird. I will definitely try to house rule the scenarios to require 9 banners or something. Overcrowding like this also magnifies the problem of HR/FF. Damage is insanely high, and with this many units it's impossible to avoid terrain. Chain lightning and creeping doom also become nuke cards.

I think that with so many units, reserves are overkill. In my experience, I've often ended up feeling like I didn't need them. The battle is decided by the troops in the front, and I've always had plenty of them.

I wish there was a way to play CtA with something other than huge armies. I like games where forces are limited and different risk/reward decisions need to be made. CtA makes sure you always have a fresh replacement for your unit that just got hit.

Every time I've played, the game ended up having more troops than any official scenario. Sometimes a lot more. You pretty much have to leave out the reserve rule just to keep it close normal size, and even then you have a huge battle on your hands.

[Mis à jour le: Mon, 21 May 2007 14:37]

      
DarkPadawan
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:36
Can we pleaaaaaaaaaaase try to avoid the HR/FF topic to flood the whole forum? Rolling Eyes

Thanks,
Dark.
      
cebalrai
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:39
DarkPadawan wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 08:36

Can we pleaaaaaaaaaaase try to avoid the HR/FF topic to flood the whole forum? Rolling Eyes


I have nothing more to say about it, but it needs to be said since it's a significant issue.
      
yangtze
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 14:52
I think the point about you going first (if you are the owner) is that you are the one who shelled out most of your last paycheck to get the system while your buddy, as much as you like him, is a no good mooch! SO DOW rewards the one who contributed to Eric's paycheck with their own!

So it's a capitalist conspiracy! Laughing

Ok, let's go with the dice idea. I don't think it should be green helmets for this roll though, I think it should be Lore symbols Rolling Eyes

It seems like feudal levy tokens were advertised as some sort of feature in the customization process. But really they're just patches for the fact that you don't have enough units to play CtA without running out. I have 2 sets of the game, so I will never even use those tokens. I was kinda disappointed with that.

I'll need to check the cards and the order of deployment rules again, but you might be losing some tactics if you play with two base sets. It's possible that choosing certain sets and laying certain cards might force an opponent to lay levies.

[Mis à jour le: Mon, 21 May 2007 14:54]

      
coffeestain
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 15:36
If you'd like to play with smaller forces, eliminate 1, 2, or even 3 units from each deployment card played. Take reserves as usual, or not.

If you're interested in more customization, allow each player to select 7 cards from any or all of the decks and draw from them as usual.

It's a very versatile system with a little creativity and tweaking. However, like the rest of you, I don't understand the differences between the decks yet. Granted, I've only looked over them for a few minutes.

Regards,
Daniel
      
mvettemagred
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 16:20
The three main differences between the decks:
1. Location of units (forward vs. back)
2. Clustering of units (grouped together vs. spread out)
3. Pennants contains Goblinoids, Standards contains Dwarves

The number and types of units in each set is nearly identical. I posted some stats on a BGG thread (can't post the link right now because work blocks BGG Mad ).

Right now, it seems the Deployment Decks are focused on letting you experiment with different spacial setups. Your human unit types and amounts will be roughly the same between games, but you could end up with 0-many archers or mercenaries, for instance. You're also not guaranteed of getting a creature. This seems consistent with the future of the CtA system, which is to deploy a fairly consistent core army, with special units mixed in for flavor (e.g. Goblin Band).

The Reserves and Specialists mechanics provide some minimum unit type control. The Levy Tokens, to a much lesser extent, serve the same purpose. For example, you may have planned to deploy a creature, but if your opponent beats you to it, and you only have the Spider, then you can choose to deploy any type of green unit after all units have been deployed. This gives you the opportunity to respond to what's already on the board. It turns an initial disadvantage into a strategic choice later.
      
Scragnoth
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 16:53
player323712 wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 12:04


#3.2: Why not just print some cheap horses / foot unit images for the feudal levy tokens ? I mean, maybe a lot of players would not mind playing with a poor quality substitute of a miniature instead of having to change their intended army composition for no thematic reason whatsoever but just because there are not enough figures in the set.


On the Memoir site there is a reference to a DOW partner called Noble Miniatures.
If you browse on that site you might find the next link http://www.nobleminis.com/Blooddawn/Blooddawn.html .

I could imagine that some tokens could be replaced easily ...?
Is this also the source for the BattleLore miniatures? Then it could answer questions about buying a second set vs an Epic box too?
      
Gryfon
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 17:22
cebalrai,

A question for you:

Have you tried using CtA in Epic mode? How do the unit ratios work out for a larger battle field vs. a smaller?

I think the suggestion of cutting down the number of units deployed was a good one. In my opinion, house rules are not something to be spurned - they can often enhance enjoyment, so long as all players can agree. Before CtA came out, I was using a "home-made" version where each player would select 12 units to field by personal preference (optional: one reserve, making the total 13), which were then placed with the following format: four units in each section, with six in the third row from the edge of the board on the player's side, four in the second, and two in the first (on board's edge) - with the reserve placed in any section on the first row. A creature was decided with the War Council, and simply took the place of another unit. This method made it truelly possible to personalize one's army. But CtA is a little more structured and probably better for a game a little more competitive in nature.

For those of us with a second set, we should make the pool of units from just one set then? So the feudal levy tokens can be used as a tactic to force an opponent to have to deploy units not planned by the cards chosen?
      
tom-le-termite
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 17:51
ColtsFan76 wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 08:28


I think the point about you going first (if you are the owner) is that you are the one who shelled out most of your last paycheck to get the system while your buddy, as much as you like him, is a no good mooch! SO DOW rewards the one who contributed to Eric's paycheck with their own!



Shocked

This is the first time I see a rule like this. Usually, it is a funny annecdote or an arbitrary reason that is given in games to decide for a start-spieler. And of course, everytime, we never follow that rule, and decide by drawing randomly a meeple/whatever-player's-color to decide who would be the starting player.

And as usual, for CtA, We will not follow that very inconveniant rule and not fair at all to the guest, and choose it by rolling dice.

tss

I am still surprised by that choice from dow Confused
      
The New Romance
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 18:44
tom-le-termite schrieb am Mon, 21 May 2007 17:51

Usually, it is a funny annecdote or an arbitrary reason that is given in games to decide for a start-spieler.


Very Happy Startspieler? This is cool. Americans with a French nickname using German terms for BattleLore.
      
tom-le-termite
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 18:50
damned. I'am a geek Crying or Very Sad
      
VVoltz
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 22:27
I like Call to Arms, it is a worthy 20USD expansion.

[Mis à jour le: Wed, 23 May 2007 19:49]

      
blindspot
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 22:38
mvettemagred wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 07:20

The three main differences between the decks:
1. Location of units (forward vs. back)
2. Clustering of units (grouped together vs. spread out)
3. Pennants contains Goblinoids, Standards contains Dwarves

The number and types of units in each set is nearly identical. I posted some stats on a BGG thread (can't post the link right now because work blocks BGG Mad ).


Here's the link.
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/1495654#1495654

[Mis à jour le: Mon, 21 May 2007 22:39]

      
cebalrai
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 23:04
Eagle Eye wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 11:22

cebalrai,

A question for you:

Have you tried using CtA in Epic mode?



Nope, not yet. I've played Epic with 6 players twice, and CtA 3 times in non-epic mode.
      
cebalrai
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Mon, 21 May 2007 23:11
The decks seem more like a random army generator than something strategic. What you draw is what you get to work with. The decisions to place cards in the 3 sections often boils down to right/wrong rather than strategy. For instance, when you have a red infantry unit on your card's left side, you don't want to put that card on the left because you'll have your firepower squirreled away in the corner of the map.

      
akaRoads
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Tue, 22 May 2007 00:53
I have examined the card sets and have determined that Blue A and C are my favorite. I would hope to get A2, A6, C3, and C1 would be my reserve. C3 would be my left flank A2 would be the middle and A6 the right flank. I have come very close to this setup and done very well. And yes I have no creatures, I don't need creatures. They are nice but I don't want to spent Level tokens to have one, especially when the game scenario has a war council of only 6.

      
bagoas
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Tue, 22 May 2007 01:18
I was a little suprised and disappointed to see that there was no deck that completely excluded dwarves or goblins for a non lore scenario.
Maybe it is possible to just use human units instead but don't know what that would do about balance...
Jonas
      
deliamber8
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  Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Tue, 22 May 2007 02:49
my two cents
i play battlelore alone (solitare). i combine all 3decks of each into one deck, then just peel off the first 4 to each side, decide which i want where, and proceed. ive used CtA twice now, first time had a dwarf/hillgiant vs goblin/spider showdown, the cards delt out that way, using no counsel, had a great time and surprisingly close 6-5 dwarf win.
the second time, i had no merc. units to either side, no card had any, and my banner side was heavy cavalry, 2red and 4blue, my penant side was heavy foot units, like one archer,one cavalry, rest were swordsmen, mostly blue, used a level one commander with just wizard lore, again, had a great time playing it out to a suprising 6-3 footmen rout of their cavalry heavy foes, horses where everywhere Very Happy
thought i mite point out few posts before concern with those army make-up issues,
i wonder, if some of you feel so restricted with the 3seperate decks, combine them and make one deck, ive spent few minutes just dealing out hands to see how it would set up and you can get some pretty groovey army sets, and the specialist cards alow a little tweekin' to happen, so it works out kinda cool,
again, coming from a solitare player who just enjoys the game for what it is as its just the two sides of my brain playing, this may be too simple of a solution and takes away from the specifics of the game, until this reaches strict rules-interpriting cash/tournament levels, just tweak it to work for you,
believe me, i dred the day i'll have to decipher the fuedal levies issue Rolling Eyes
      
cebalrai
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Tue, 22 May 2007 06:31
bagoas wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 19:18

I was a little suprised and disappointed to see that there was no deck that completely excluded dwarves or goblins for a non lore scenario.
Maybe it is possible to just use human units instead but don't know what that would do about balance...
Jonas


Goblins are worse than human units and dwarves are substantially better, so it wouldn't be an even swap. Some Goblins like the red infantry hobgoblin, are only slightly worse IMO than a human unit, but the lower-level ones aren't as comparable. You'd have to kind of eyeball it.
      
Zeal
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Wed, 23 May 2007 18:53

Perhaps this is obvious to everyone more experienced than I with CTA, but one thing I dont see on this thread or others, is the deployment card decks when dealing with the future army packs.

How do you figure in the Goblin slingers and spearmen, and the dwarven spear and axemen on those cards? and the band if you keep it together? Do they replace the printed infantry units and the lone gob archery unit in their repective color levels?

reading the box contents, I dont see anything adding new deployment cards.

      
ColtsFan76
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Wed, 23 May 2007 19:28
when needed, new deployment cards will be added to expansions to account for these. however, the specialist packs might only be deployed through the specialist cards - so no need for the deployment deck
      
Zeal
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Wed, 23 May 2007 19:56
ColtsFan76 wrote on Wed, 23 May 2007 11:28

when needed, new deployment cards will be added to expansions to account for these. however, the specialist packs might only be deployed through the specialist cards - so no need for the deployment deck


Thanks for answering, Coltsfan. However, by that thinking, the CTA specialist rules would limit you to only two unit types then, out of the 3 possible per the upcoming dwarf/goblin packs, right?
      
dbc-
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Wed, 23 May 2007 20:07
Zeal wrote on Wed, 23 May 2007 19:56

However, by that thinking, the CTA specialist rules would limit you to only two unit types then, out of the 3 possible per the upcoming dwarf/goblin packs, right?


True, as the game stands right now. But the manual also talks about the possibility of fielding an entire dwarven or goblinoid army sometime in the future. At some point we'll see Nation Deployment Cards as described on pg. 10.
      
Zeal
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Wed, 23 May 2007 20:47
dbc- wrote on Wed, 23 May 2007 12:07



True, as the game stands right now. But the manual also talks about the possibility of fielding an entire dwarven or goblinoid army sometime in the future. At some point we'll see Nation Deployment Cards as described on pg. 10.




I missed that, thanks for pointing it out!
      
ColtsFan76
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Wed, 23 May 2007 21:38
dbc- wrote on Wed, 23 May 2007 13:07

Zeal wrote on Wed, 23 May 2007 19:56

However, by that thinking, the CTA specialist rules would limit you to only two unit types then, out of the 3 possible per the upcoming dwarf/goblin packs, right?


True, as the game stands right now. But the manual also talks about the possibility of fielding an entire dwarven or goblinoid army sometime in the future. At some point we'll see Nation Deployment Cards as described on pg. 10.


dbc- beat me to it! Very Happy
      
cebalrai
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Thu, 24 May 2007 01:33
I like the idea of an all-dwarven army, but isn't that essentially just regular battlelore minus the bold rule? Bold is what makes the game tick. I like it there. Smile

All goblin though sounds like loads of fun!
      
Zelbone
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Thu, 24 May 2007 06:55
Doesn't the CtA rules mention that you are only supposed to use the basic set for non-epic rules?
      
_twinkle_
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Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Thu, 24 May 2007 10:43
Scragnoth wrote on Mon, 21 May 2007 10:53

http://www.nobleminis.com/Blooddawn/Blooddawn.html

Thanks for the link to blood dawn fantasy miniatures... I will try to find a place for buying these as they will be perfect for my BattleLore armies, i.e. a Dwarf army and a Goblin horde. New weapons will include pikes (always battle back on mounted attacks, no melee if moved) and bows for mounted archers (range 3). And everything might be part of a Mighty Empires campaign using the BattleLore system to fight out the battles... yes battle, not adventure. :)

/twinkle
      
constant-whiner
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February 2007
Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Thu, 24 May 2007 11:42
I am very disappointed. It seems that everybody agrees that the A, B and C decks of each camp are basically identical. The links provided are able to identify only the most minutiae / subtle differences which, frankly, nobody can convince me were intended by the designers. The so called differences boil down to statistical noise, almost to nothing!
Then the manual is misleading. The manual says explicitly that the decks have a slightly different flavor to accommodate customization. Am I the only one who is at a loss when asked to choose between decks A, B and C of the same camp? I thought I bought a light army customization system not a random spatial deployment engine. CtA: deploy you army in cool, random, nonsensical spatial patterns. But then again, it should figure. If DoW had any idea how decks "A", "B" and "C" are different they would have used more meaningful names like "cavalry deck", "infantry deck" and "archers deck" or "loose deck" / "tight deck" or "forward deck / rear deck". And don't even get me started on that feudal levies thing! Overall, the only reason to buy this extension are a couple of extra tiles, longbows and the specialists mechanic.
      
_twinkle_
Junior Member

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May 2007
Re:Call To Arms - my issues with it Thu, 24 May 2007 11:49
My opinion... the only difference I found is that some decks have goblins and other dwarfs. A comment from DoW would be nice to have. Why we don’t have decks without these funny critters beats the hell out of me, but I will anyway make up my own deployment system so that I can build a campaign game using BattleLore as the combat module.

Cheers,
/twinkle
      
    
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