Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quick Review - Battleground

Battleground is a highly portable card based wargame. As you can carry all your army choices in a single deck of cards, it makes it ideal for wargaming on a trip. (especially if you have some of the small dice that came with the Pirates Collectible Miniature Game, put out by WizKids a few years ago.)

The game uses fairly standard war game rules and ideas, movement however can be measure using the short or long edges of the cards, so no yardstick is required (though we tend to use one anyway, since it's a bit easier). It does use the one side moves, then the other side moves rules. In the future we may develop some house rules, (secret set-up, reactive movement, alternating movement, etc.)

Play is broken down into
command and movement
pre-combat courage
combat
post combat courage.

The game uses six sided dice, where you roll under the needed score. For example, a ranged attack might be (4 attacks) at a 5 value, versus a 1 defense, and long rang (-1), so you would roll 4 dice, and need to roll 3s or less to hit. (5-1-1=3) Damage uses the same formula, of Damage-Toughness defense. So say 3 of those ranged attacks hit at 4 damage, but the defense of the target was 2, now you would need to roll 2s or less to damage them, which would mark off a box of life on the card.

Command points can be used to do one of several things, take control, or change the standing orders of a unit, rally a routing troop, or to buy a card from the command deck. Command cards are fun, with most the the cards being the same throughout each army (with different artwork), but with around 30% of the cards being unique to each army, which gives the army it's specific flavor. Command points can also be used to activate an army ability.

Each army has special abilities as well, dwarves can get the Rune of Uruz to get more attacks, while High Elves can use a Command point to activate Precision, letting them get an extra hit in a battle.

I like this because you can play large battles on the cheap. The cards can be written on with dry-erase markers and it's color coded to let you know exactly when you need to make courage checks. It takes around 90-120 minutes to play a standard game. I'm not a huge fan of the CGI artwork, but since I'm not painting them, I can live with it.

A pack costs around $15. You can actually play 2 people using the same deck, and drawing from the same command card deck. Reinforcement packs (additional army cards also run $15 and provide extra army cards...though we have yet to get one), the newest sets have both for a single $25 price tag.

I'd give the game a 90%, it's good but it's not perfect!