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BattleLore: The Hundred Years' War: Crossbows & Polearms
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A Command & Colors Game (Currently Restocking)
A BattleLore Game
Specialized weaponry was often the deciding factor in the Hundred Years' War. This expansion, which introduces 30 specialized figures and 5 new battles, gives players who deploy these new troops a chance to learn and apply the new tactics these weapons spurred.
- 32 new figures, including:
- 4 Halberdiers
- 4 Horn Blowers
- 8 Spearmen
- 16 Arbalestiers
- 14 new banners (7 for each camp)
- A Rules Booklet, including Medieval Lore rules
- 4 new battles (Crécy, Cocherel, Patay and Poitiers)
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
I’m very pleased with the fantasy flavor of BattleLore – it helps set it apart from the other games in the Commands and Colors series (notably the Commands and Colors: Ancient version). Still, the medieval feel is strong, and I know that many want a more historical flavor for the game. Most of the expansion packs have focused on the fantasy, now one has come out that is more concerned with history.
The Hundred Years’ War – Crossbows and Polearms (Days of Wonder, 2007 – Richard Borg) is a double sized expansion pack for the basic game, adding in four new types of units, five scenarios, and rules of how to make the lore system work in a “historical” setting. Even though I could care less about the “no fantasy” rules, I still like having the extra units and options; and it is interesting to see how the system works with no magic. (Hint: it’s better with magic)
Let’s look at what the expansion pack includes (as a side note, I now have managed to put all four specialist packs and the epic expansion in the original box. I had to remove the plastic insert and barely get the lid on, so anything new coming is going to need another box.)
- Five new scenarios are added, the battles of Crecy, Poitiers,
Cocherel, Patay, and Agincourt. Each battle makes use of the news
weapons included with the game, also attempting to follow the
historical battles that actually occurred during this long and
pointless war. The battle of Agincourt is an “epic” one, requiring
Epic BattleLore, but is by far my favorite and most interesting
scenario in the game. It takes the famous battle and manages to do a
neat job of pitting many longbow units against a huge foot soldier
army. Terrific, epic stuff.
- Arbalesters: These allow the humans to have crossbows, which have
a range of three hexes, but hit on a bonus strike. While useful, I
normally wouldn’t pick them over the longbow, but the command cards
that put them in the game add range where no range was or allow up to
three of them to join. Nice, but the least exciting part of the set.
- Spearmen: We’ve seen these in the Goblin and Dwarf expansions,
and they are the same here – allowing foot units to battle back with
one extra die. The card allows two blue spear units to be placed in
the game; and if they are bold, they can become devastating to the
- Halberdiers: But who cares about spears when you have halberds in
the game! The card allows one red banner halberd unit to be added to
the game, which hits on a bonus die – even against mounted units AND
rolls an extra die when battling back. The ultimate defensive unit -
they can stop the advances of normal cavalry, and you’ll find an army
often including one of these in their forces. (And they work well in
conjunction with a Dwarf army, by the way.)
- Hornblowers: By far the most unique figure in the army, the
command card allows two hornblowers to be embedded in two different
foot units. Two command cards are included, so that a player could
field four of these chaps if they desire. The hornblower allows a
unit to “call” an adjacent friendly unit to fight with it in battle.
If the adjacent unit is also adjacent to the unit that the hornblower
is attacking, the dice are combined for the attack. This allows extra
dice, which is certainly nice; but it goes beyond that. If you
compare it to two units attacking the same unit, one may make the
attacked unit retreat before the second gets to hit it. This combines
one large attack, and has a greater chance of destroying the attacked
unit. Even better, dice can be combined when attacking terrain,
finally budging some of those stubborn defensive units out.
- Components: The figures for all the new units look good; although
the units are small enough that you may easily get them mixed up with
the others. But no matter, as the banners clearly delineate what type
of unit everything is.
- Medieval time: Rules are included to utilize lore in a
historical battle. No War Council is used, and players don’t start
with Lore tokens or counters. Players may hold a maximum of one card,
can only get lore from rolling the dice, and must pay an extra three
for every card used. Any Lore card that has magic in it is removed
from the game before playing, which leaves out most of the Wizard’s
and Cleric’s cards. These rules are certain to please those who want
straight historical scenarios without the fantasy “nonsense”, but I
don’t really want to use them much – I like the increased complexity
and options magic brings.
Obviously those craving more accuracy and historical simulations will be the biggest seekers of this expansion. But even those, like myself, who simply want to increase the BattleLore universe will be happy with the expansion. The hornblowers and halberdiers can be put into any army – whether human, Goblin, or Dwarf – and the scenarios involved are fantastic! Probably my least favorite of the expansions so far – I want to see new and exotic creatures; it still has appeal to me as a history lover; and the Battle of Agincourt is truly a fascinating game.
“Real men play board games”