I had a chance to try out the new BattleLore expansion, Call to Arms, last night over at Rick’s place. I give it two thumbs up.
The original game, like all the various Commands & Colors games, wa scenario driven. If you got tired of playing and replaying the scenarios, you had to make up your own or wait for new ones to come out. What the Call to Arms expansion does is add a system that gives you more control over the battlefield while increasing the replayability of the game substantially. It does this with the addition of deployment cards. Each deployment card shows not only a group of units, but where on the board they’ll be placed. You draw four deployment cards and assign one each to the right wing, center, left wing, and reserve. This represents your vanguard, main force, rear guard, and reserve. This gives the game a bit of army building without delving into a whole points system and the sort of micro-managing those entail. It also gives you interesting choices to make when assigning cards to the zones. Where do you want to put a lot light troops? Where to you want to deploy a cavalry strike force? You can then reinforce these choices with two units from the reserve card, which can be placed anywhere on the baseline. There are also rules for specialist cards and each player gets two. These are flavorful upgrades that give a little uniqueness to your army. Last night I took a card that upgraded by light troops so they had long bows, for example. This turned out to be quite important, as the extra range and damage of the longbows helped me take out two units early on the game that paved the way for my victory. Call to Arms also comes with some new terrain tiles, as well as things like wooden stakes for archers and some additional counters and reference cards. The rulebook is once again beautiful and full color and includes a bunch of new battle maps you can use with this new system (maps from previous scenarios can also be used). This is a good deal for $20 and well worth the time of any BattleLore fan.