BattleLore Second Edition Review

Battlelore 2nd Edition is the newest game using Richard Borg’s popular Commands and Colors system. Released late in 2013 from FFG, the game is a reimplementation of the original BattleLore which was originally released by Days of Wonder back in 2006.

BattleLore 2nd Edition is a 2 player fantasy squad based war game that puts players in command of their own armies from FFG’s Terrinoth universe. Those familiar with previously released games using the Commands and Colors system will be able to pick this game up without much difficulty.

During this game, the red Uthuk Y’llan army will have a defensive bonus. They will also score a point for every pair of forest and hill hexes they occupy at the end of their turn.

The biggest changes to the game from the 1st edition of the game come during the setup procedures, which have really been incorporated strategically into the game. After players have chosen which side they will play, each will choose a scenario card. This card will dictate the terrain on their half of the board, will add a special rule and scoring opportunity specific to their army, as well as which spaces they will be able to muster onto during setup.

After choosing scenario cards, players will build a 50 point army, and secretly setup their side of the board by placing deployment cards facedown in the shaded hexes on their scenario card. Once this is done, the cards are replaced by the actual figures and the game can begin.

Two examples of basic Command Cards. Obviously your version of the game won’t have the BETA watermarks.

A player’s turn revolves around playing 1 command card per turn, which allows her to move and attack with the number of units in the sections indicated on the card. Each player will have an army made up of different types of units which have their own abilities and strengths.

Combat is pretty straightforward. The attacker rolls a number of dice equal to her unit’s attack rating. Melee attacks hit on 2 sides of the dice, and ranged attacks hit on 1 side. The defending unit also might be made to retreat in a straight line away from the attacker. If the defending unit is not eliminated or forced to retreat, it may immediately counter attack (if adjacent to the attacking unit).

Some of the Uthuk Y’llan unit cards. The Blood Harvester units can move 2, attack with 3 dice in melee, and begins with 3 health.

Play repeats like this until one of two victory conditions are met: one player wipes the other player’s army out, or one player accumulates 16 victory points. While I think the latter will happen most often, the former is certainly possible.

Here is what the board looks like setup for the scenario cards shown above. [GoT coasters not included.]

BattleLore 2nd Edition is the third game in the Commands and Colors family of games that I have played, and it is definitely my favorite. The core gameplay and combat strikes a wonderful balance between the simplicity of the system made popular by Memoir ‘44, while distilling the (sometimes overly) complex rules of Battles of Westeros. What really sets this edition of BattleLore apart are the great decisions that are added during the revamped setup phase of the game. The scenario selection, army construction, and secret deployment may seem a little daunting to those new to the system or even to those accustomed to the prescribed setups of games like Memoir ‘44 of the other C&C games, but are actually quite simple and go a long way to adding interesting levels of decision making and strategy to an already fun combat system.

That said, one of the big cons for the game is the setup time. For those of you who have played a C&C game, you know that setting up a game can take a good 10-20 minutes (and can feel a lot longer). The time investment doesn't change with BattleLore 2nd Edition, but FFG did make these 20 minutes more interesting by incorporating player choices and strategy into the setup - effectively making the setup part of the game itself.

Overall, I give BattleLore 2nd Edition an 8.0/10. FFG has done a great job distilling out almost all of the fiddly rules from the more complex Battles of Westeros, while making the game more interesting and entertaining than the more family oriented Memoir ‘44. I would heartily recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun, 60 minute, medium weight battle game.

If you think BattleLore 2nd Edition sounds interesting, you should also check out: Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, Dungeon Command, and Castle Ravenloft.


  1. Is this game compatible with the components from the first edition? Or more accurately, can the first edition parts be used with second edition?

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