Reviewed by Chris Kovac
(Red Juggernaut Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90; $49.99)
Battue is a very thematic area conquest boardgame designed by Jim Long where you get to play competing barbarian hordes overrunning and looting a Roman city. The barbarian with the most loot (a combination of loot cards and controlling the high value building tiles) at the end of the game wins the game.
Before the game starts, each player chooses a color and takes his plastic control flags and barbarian figures of that color (your initial “hoard” is six figures). Next, all the tiles are flipped face down and mixed. Then they are put on the board one at a time (each player putting one down starting with the start player) with the largest tiles being put on first. The palace tile is the one exception since it has a fixed position at the centre of the board. Once the board is full (some tiles will be left over), the game starts.
Starting with the start player, each player chooses a side of the city they are going to enter (only one player per side) and which part of the wall along that city side they are going to enter with their starting hoard. For each hoard the player has, beginning with the start player, each player can do one of two options. The first option is not to move the hoard and recruit to build up the hoard. The player rolls a dice and receives a random number of figures for that hoard from his reserves depending on the die roll. (The maximum size of a hoard is eight figures.) The second option is to move one space (tile) and attack a tile (either a face down one or an opponent’s tile). You have to declare how many horse figures are attacking each tile and which tiles you are attacking. Then you resolve the attacks.
If the tile is face down you turn it over and check the symbols on the left hand side of the tile. The first symbol is usually its strength value though occasionally it is a random event draw If it is a random event you draw from the event deck and resolve the event immediately. The next symbol tells you how many loot cards you will receive from the loot deck if you conquer the tile. (You only get loot cards from face down tiles not tiles controlled by other players.) The last symbol tells you how many points the tile is worth.
Attacks are fairly straight forward with the player to the left of the active player rolling a die for the tile and you rolling for your attacking figures. The highest die roll wins and the rolls are modified by either the tile strength or the number of figures you have attacking (the maximum hoard size is Eight). If you roll less than the defenders number you lose a hoard figure and have the option of either retreating or continuing the attack. If you roll greater than the defender you win control of the tile, move your hoard figures and a control flag onto the tile then collect the number of loot cards shown on the tile from the loot deck. You control that tile until some other player successfully attacks it or your remove your flag from the tile. Loot cards give you either extra victory points or special abilities such as modifying attacking or defending rolls. The game ends when players have conquered both the palace, the Temple of Jupiter and the Universitas tile or in the rare event that you have eliminated all other players. The players add up there victory points and the one with the highest total wins (he also gets the nifty title of Khan of the Golden Hoard).
The overall strategy in the game is to plan your route of conquest and then making sure you have hoards of sufficient size to conquer the tiles. If you have too few hoards, you do not conquer enough tiles and if you have too many, they are often too weak to conquer a good number of the tiles. Occasionally the game can go on a little long if people get into fights with the other players and refrain from taking the end of game building tiles. Also, the number of loot cards people receive from some tiles (especially the large buildings) seems to be a little high so I recommend instituting rules to reduce the number of cards a player can keep to avoid this. (Keeping only half the cards rounded up seems to work fairly well.) The rule book is clear and well illustrated as are the board tiles and cards. However this is a heavy game in a fairly large box which does limit its portability. Overall, Battue is a medium complexity game in which the game mechanisms work well with theme and a game I would recommend for people who like light wargames or need a break from some of the heavier Euro games. – Chris Kovac
Winter 2008 GA Report Articles
reviewed by Herb Levy
(Z-Man Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 90 minutes; $49.99) With 2008 being a presidential election year, it is only natural that the marketplace will find itself swell with games seeking to simulate the event. But rather than looking at the upcoming election, 1960: The Making of the President looks back to one of the closest elections of the last ...Read More
Reviewed by Joe Huber
(Lookout Games, 1-5 players, ages 12 to adult, 30 to 2 1/2 hours; about $70) The ranking system on BoardGameGeek is fairly good at keeping new games from rising too quickly in the ratings – unless a game is a runaway hit. In 2005, Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT) rose to the top ten in short order. In 2006, it was ...Read More
reviewed by Herb Levy (Ystari Games, 2-4 players, ages 12 and up, 60-120 minutes; $55) Despite being a relatively new company, Ystari Games has, to its credit, released a remarkable series of very strong games. Ys (Winter 2005 GA REPORT), Caylus (Winter 2006 GA REPORT), Mykerinos (Summer 2006 GA REPORT), Yspahan (Winter 2007 GA REPORT) and Caylus: Magna Carta (Fall 2007 GA REPORT) read like ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Robot Martini Games, 3-4 players, about 20 minutes; $5.99) With 2008 being an election year in the United States, it is only natural that games with an election as a focal point would appear in the marketplace. And so it is with, Ballot Bots, a reworked version of a three player game called Treeo, published by Robot Martini Games (www.robotmartini.com) where ...Read More
Reviewed by Chris Kovac
(Red Juggernaut Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90; $49.99) Battue is a very thematic area conquest boardgame designed by Jim Long where you get to play competing barbarian hordes overrunning and looting a Roman city. The barbarian with the most loot (a combination of loot cards and controlling the high value building tiles) at the end of the game ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Eggertspiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-5 players, ages 12 and up, 75-120 minutes; $59.95) Suppose Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and San Juan (Spring 2004 GA REPORT) had a child. What do you suppose it would look like? Well, if the child was delivered by the design team of Michael Rieneck and Stefan Stadler, the same team who gave us Pillars of ...Read More
THE STRENGTH TO LEAD If you want to get sort of philosophical, it seems as though you can divide people into two basic groups: leaders and followers. Some people like to "go with the flow", following a trail already blazed, having full confidence that the direction to be taken is safe, secure and true. On the other hand, some people like to make the decisions, ...Read More
(Z-Man Games, 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, 60-120 minutes; $55) One of the great games that has flown under the radar in recent years is Tycoon, a candidate for the Spiel des Jahres that received feature treatment from us nearly 10 years ago in the Summer 1998 GA REPORT (and reprinted in this issue). This brilliant game by the design team of Wolfgang Kramer ...Read More
(With the release of El Capitan, a revised edition of Tycoon featured in this issue - we thought it would be interesting to see the reception Tycoon received when it made its debut. So, we've "flashbacked" to Kban's review of the game from the Summer 1998 issue of GA REPORT.)
(Jumbo International, out of print) As designed by Wolfgang Kramer and Horst-Rainer Rösner, Tycoon is ...Read More
Reviewed by Jeff Feuer
(R&D Games/Abacus Spiele/Rio Grande Games, 2-4 players, ages 8 and up, 60-90 minutes; $49.99) One of the things we love about Euro Games are those tiny little side rules and exceptions that go along with the basic rules. Some games are like Puerto Rico (Spring 2002 GA REPORT) and all the players need to know every last one of the rules ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy LEAGUE OF SIX (Czech Games Edition, 3-5 players, ages 12 and up, 60-90 minutes; about $50) The title sounds like a band of superheroes out to right the wrongs of villainous criminals. It's not. The title actually refers to six towns of the Holy Roman Empire that, in 1430 AD, joined together to preserve their commercial interests and protect their security ...Read More
Reviewed by Herb Levy (MOD Games/JKLM Games, 2 players, ages 12 and up, 45 minutes; $39.99) The time is England in the 5th century with Saxons and Celts clashing for control. In Macht & Ohnmacht (Power & Weakness), the struggle within the struggle is critical as not only knights but magicians too, operating in cycles, will determine which side will win. Macht & Ohnmacht (Power ...Read More
Reviewed by Al Newman
(Adlung-Spiele, 3-5 players, ages 10 and up, 45-60 minutes; about $10) Adlung-Spiele makes nothing but inexpensive card games but over the last few years, several have emerged as genuine gems. Verrater (Winter 1999 GA REPORT) and Meuterer (2000), both designed by Marcel-André Casasola Merkle, have become revered as classics and are highly rated at Boardgamegeek.com. Quite a few others have turned ...Read More
[We welcome first time contribute Andrea "Liga" Ligabue, a well known gamer from Italy with a varied background, broad interests and a keen insight in gaming. As he says: "I was born in Modena in 1972 and since my childhood I really enjoyed playing and inventing games. My real "debut in society" was when I was 16 years old and I entered for the first ...
Reviewed by Herb Levy
(Days of Wonder, 2-3 players, ages 8 and up, 30-60 minutes; $25) One of the most popular games in recent history has come from the talents of Alan Moon: Ticket to Ride (featured in the Spring 2004 GAMERS ALLIANCE REPORT). Not only has the game won many honors, it has also spawned a series of sequels in its wake including Ticket ...Read More