Monday, February 18, 2019

Battle Ravens

Three months ago Plastic Soldier Company launched the kickstarter for their Dark Ages boardgame by Dan Mersey.

I have been a fan of Dan for several years now, and have playtested a few of his Osprey games, but I was not involved in the development of Battle Ravens.

I downloaded the pdf of the draft rules from the kickstarter site, and realised that I could play the game using the 15mm Dark Ages figures I already own, on the gridded mat by Deep-Cut Studio I had, so I roped Fg in for a game.

We played a game over pizza and 'Outlaw King' in the background, using my Anglo-Danish and Norman armies - the basic game treats all armies as identical, although the full game has special cards that gives each army its own flavour.

In the first few turns we both played in a literally straight-forward manner, placing Ravens rather equally in all our areas, and attacking or blocking with all our dice. After a few turns, I came up with the trick of not using all my Ravens for blocking when attacked, but reserving a few to counter-attack, when the opposing force will not have any Ravens to block - it worked!

As the game went on and the ranks thinned, it became necessary for us to move our forces laterally to shore up weakened sections. I made the first capture of an enemy area, and was feeling cocky, but Fg soon fought back and took two of mine, and it became harder for me from then on, and I eventually lost the game.

The game took longer than we had expected - although simple in concept, there were several levels of decisions to be made each turn and each round. The Ravens placement phase of the game felt like a game of Go, while the movement and attack phases felt more like a game of chess or a wargame. Like a game of chess, the playing pieces became fewer as the game progressed, so visually the game became less appealing as it went to; this is about the only complaint I have about this game, and of course it applies to most wargames.

We enjoyed the game, and will probably play it again when we want to play something quick but engaging.

If you want to read the draft rules, or  pre-order the game, you can still do so at the kickstarter site here.

1 comment:

Clint said...

Interesting. Fan of Dan Mersey#srules in general and this period so I shall see what unfolds.