Battlelore review

16 December 2015
battlelore-53554.jpg Battlelore
Command and Colours gets a fantasy makeover

Fantasy Flight Games | Wargame | £64.99 | 2 players | 90 minutes | 

There’s something distinctly comforting about hexagons – a shape without too many sides but just enough to keep you interested. Plus the way they all slot together is lovely… unlike circles, God circles are rubbish. Anyway, Battlelore is full of comforting hexagons, which is great considering all the slaughter and fighting that’s going on inside them.

Battlelore – if you want one of those lift-style pitches – is miniature wargames for beginners. You get all the miniatures you need in the box for your army and there’s even a nicely illustrated board that you can customise with hexagonal terrain… ah, those lovely hexagons again. Plus, rather than worrying about complicated stats for your units, all the orders are conducted via cards. You don’t even have to track down the tape measure from the garage.

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This premise has actually been around for several years and was created by Ricard Borg. The Command and Colours system, as it’s known, has been used for numerous games and Battlelore is the latest. Thanks to the fact it’s been around since the first board games crawled from the primordial ooze, you can rest assured it’s an exceptionally tight and enjoyable mechanic for commanding a battlefield.

For the most part you’ll be using a series of cards to issue commands to your troops, e.g. ordering three archers, move a unit on the right flank or use a special power. The randomness of drawing cards adds to the effect of the confusion of battle and orders not necessarily getting through to the troops on the battlefield. What’s more, it keeps turns really quick, as you play a card, do the action and then it’s over to your opponent. 

Another cool mechanic is that the board is random too. Each player grabs some scenario cards that show where to place terrain on their side of the board. You select the card and then pop down the trees or rivers. Likewise, deployment is kept secret too as you place the unit cards, rather than the units themselves, and you can place decoy cards to trick your opponent. Battlelore is great intro for new wargamers or experienced wargamers looking for a quick battle.


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