BattleLore: Scottish Wars
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Please note: This version is a re-purposed French edition. This version includes English components but not English rules. English rules are available for download at the Fantasy Flight website.
The Scottish Wars expansion takes BattleLore players straight to historical highland battles, but with a new twist -- Dwarven armies. The Scottish Wars feature 42 new figures including: 6 Iron Dwarves Cattle Riders, 8 Iron Dwarves Clan Chiefs, 12 Mounted Knights, and 16 Iron Dwarves Spear Bearers; plus a rules booklet with 5 new adventures -- Stirling Bridge, Falkirk, Bannockburn, Dupplin Moor and Neville's Cross
- 6 Iron Dwarves Cattle Riders
- 8 Iron Dwarves Clan Chiefs
- 12 Mounted Knights
- 16 Iron Dwarves Spear Bearers
- 1 rules booklet with 5 new adventures
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
My Goblin armies are constantly getting beat to a pulp by Dwarven armies in the wonderful game of BattleLore, but the recent Goblin Skirmishers finally gave the Goblins a much needed boost. We could finally hold our own! So, of course, Days of Wonder puts out another boost for the Dwarves – the Scottish Wars (Days of Wonder, 2007 – Richard Borg). Since in the BattleLore universe, apparently all Scottish folks are dwarves, players can now field complete armies of dwarves that are very powerful and diversified.
Some comments about the expansion...
- Historical: I honestly was expecting another historical
expansion similar to the Hundred Years' War one, but this isn't really
what I thought. Sure, the battle scenarios are named with historical
names – Stirling Bridge and Falkirk, and many of the facts included in
the descriptions are quite accurate. But the history here is divergent
mostly because the Scottish are dwarves, and there's not much getting
around that. I only mention this because fantasy enthusiasts will
want to pick up this expansion, while those wanting a more historical
feel may be surprised to find piles of dwarves included in the
package. Still, the rules suggest that you play with Medieval Lore
rules (little or no magic – included in the rulebook here) for a more
historical feel. Sure, pretend there's no fantasy other than the dwarves!
- Spear Bearers: One specialist card allows a player to replace one
or two blue banner units with one or two blue banner dwarf spear
bearers. I still don't quite understand why these units don’t get a
bonus against cavalry; but they do get an extra die when battling
back, making them quite useful combined with their boldness. Notice
that the goblin spear bearers are red and can advance, making them
seem better; but I’ve seen the dwarves hold their own – red spear
bearers for the dwarves would likely be too powerful. This unit type
was also included in the Dwarven Battalion expansion. And yes, the
models look like they are carrying huge pencils.
- Clan Chiefs: Clan Chiefs can be added to a section that has only
dwarves – something that's actually not always easy to do, especially
when using Call to Arms. Since we wanted to utilize them more often,
we simply allowed three or four Specialist cards per scenario,
allowing someone to have a full army of Dwarves. These powerful
figures can charge two hexes and still battle, making them some of the
most maneuverable dwarves in the game. They also get an extra battle
die and one extra degree of boldness when at full strength. This
makes them one of the most powerful units in the game, taking their
rightful position as Dwarven leaders.
- Cattle Riders: I will admit that the models showing dwarves
riding on highland cows look pretty cool and sound fairly
intimidating. However, in practice I'm not seeing the usefulness of
this unit. The cows allow the riders to move two hexes, but that
isn't enough to make the Cattle Riders feel like anything other than a
rookie cavalry unit. They cannot move an extra hex in Pursuit – and
even more devastating, are not automatically bold like most dwarves!
Dwarves aren't very mobile to begin with, and this slight increased
mobility doesn't seem to make up for their lack of power. I certainly
don't write them off, but why choose this specialist unit when you can
have Axe Swingers or Spear Bearers?
- Mounted Knights: Not everything in this expansion is dwarves –
mounted knight units are included, and are currently the most powerful
unit in the game. These humans are always bold, carry a lance which
allows them to deflect one extra sword die result when fighting and
simply are an intimidating, mobile unit added to the game. They are
red banners, making them extremely nasty – and really put the Cattle
Riders to shame. It would be hard for any force (including a Dwarven
army) to not choose Knights. Of course they are certainly not
invincible (spearmen tear them up, and I've seen a fireball take out
another unit); but I like having them, and they fit into many of the
- Components: Well, this expansion is likely the last one I can fit
into the main box. I've now removed the plastic insert that came with
the original game and managed to cram everything in; but I guess I'll
have to find something else for the next expansions. This is a
double-sized expansion, with forty-two models included, as well as
several flags, banners, and cards. The models all look good, but I
had some severe problems with the Knights and their lances being bent
in the packaging. This can be fixed with some hot water and careful
bending, but it was still a bit of an annoyance.
This expansion presents players with the opportunity to have a complete dwarf army (hopefully Days of Wonder will provide an easy way to do that soon), and one that certainly feels different from the Goblins. I feel like the Goblins and Dwarves are fairly well set now, and perhaps we'll see different armies in the future. The five scenarios in this expansion are pretty neat – I especially enjoy how Falkirk is handled, and I can live with William Wallace being a dwarf. The new units (especially the clan chiefs), feel different from the others already included in the game, and there is such a huge variety of options for players that choosing only two Specialist cards will be a chore.
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