Fantasy Flight Games bought the BattleLore brand off Days of Wonder several years ago, and since then there has been a lot of speculation about the future of this wonderful fantasy/medieval-themed battle game, as it was revealed that the original core set is so chock-a-block with plastic figures and high quality components it is too expensive to reproduce in its current form. FFG has, however, been slowly but steadily releasing expansion sets for the game, and no matter its future there is already a virtually endless amount of playability in what is one of my favourite games.
I suspect that the company will re-release the core set in a more limited form, so if you haven’t yet your hands on the original core set, now’s the time to grab what will possibly be the last remaining copies of BattleLore in this format. We’ve got our hands on some of the French-language sets that FFG re-purposed for the English market. Don’t worry—though the rulebook is in French, all the cards and components are in English, and the English rules are available as a PDF download from the FFG BattleLore support page. Once you’ve played a few games you won’t find yourself referring to the rulebook much anyway—especially if you have a copy of my BattleLore summary sheet! Personally, I have two core sets!
My very first article for this blog was about BattleLore—check it out for an overview of the game. Since then some new releases have expanded the game system even further, and there are now a total of fourteen expansions available. The big release was the Heroes expansion, which introduced player-created leaders and champions to lead your forces in battle. Heroes start with a bare minimum of skills and artifacts, but over a series of battles they may survive to become more and more powerful. The set comes with 10 plastic hero figures (5 characters, both on foot and mounted) and banners, more than 100 cards, 2 landmark tiles, and over 40 tokens. Seven new adventure scenarios lurk within the rulebook, ready to challenge your battlefield skills.
Both goblins and dwarves have seen some impressive additions to their armies. The Bearded Brave expansion features six different types of Iron Dwarf units, three of which—Spotters, Mighty Bolt Throwers, Arbalestiers, and Bear Riders—are completely new. Bearded Brave comes with 40 new figures, 27 cards, and a rulebook featuring 4 new adventures.
The greenskin hordes have been bolstered by the arrival of the Horrific Horde expansion, which adds more of goblin units we’ve seen before (Swordsmen, Calavry and Hyena Riders) plus the brand new Goblin Halberdiers and powerful Ogres—42 new figures in all! Five brand new adventures are in the rulebook, plus the usual collection of cards and tokens.
Remember that you’re not limited to the available adventures—with the Call to Arms set, which is fully supported by all these expansion sets, you can draft your own armies using a card-based deployment mechanism, paving the way for limitless clashes between custom armies.
The latest new release is Code of Chivalry, an expansion for the human armies. Apart from more of the previously released Arbalestiers and Mounted Knight Lancers, this set comes with two completely new units, the Mounted Knight Long Swordsmen and the Foot Knight Long Swordsmen. Perfect for fantasy and medieval battles alike and including four new adventures in the rulebook.
Inaddition to the many other expansions already released—don’t forget to add some impressive Creatures and Dragons—these expansions flesh out the human, dwarf and goblin forces so you can field some truly formidable armies! It will be interesting to see where FFG takes BattleLore next, but in the meantime, there is enough gaming material available for endless hours of desparate combat upon the field of battle. Attack!!