|Battles of Westeros | Published 31 March 2010|
For our third preview of the upcoming board game Battles of Westeros, designer Rob Kouba discusses the function of Leadership Cards and Order Tokens. If you haven’t seen our previous overviews, in which Rob explained terrain and combat, you should check those out first.
One major decision point in gameplay revolves around how you will approach the current turn’s Command Phase. There are two options (other than passing) which are possible, although you can only select one before your opponent will be presented with the same options:
Play a Leadership Card
This option allows you to coordinate movement and attacks between multiple units. However, there are some stipulations when playing a Leadership card.
After playing a Leadership card, a player will be able to order up to 2 or 3 units depending on the card. This allows each ordered unit to move and/or attack. This basic ordering of potentially several units with a Leadership card is known as a command.
Along with commands, some Leadership cards over other abilities in the form of tactics. Tactics allow the player to utilize special abilities if a certain requirement is met. An example of such a requirement might be that your army’s morale is at a particular level in order to be able to use the tactic.
Play an Order Token
While significantly less powerful, order tokens allow you to order a single unit anywhere on the battlefield, even if it is an uncontrolled unit (out of a friendly commander’s ZOC). Green, Blue, and Red Shield order tokens allow you to order a unit of the same rank (color). Valor order tokens allow you to order a unit of any rank.
Morale order tokens are special in that they are the only order tokens which do not order units. Instead, a player can use a Morale order token to increase his army’s morale by one. Alternatively, a player can decrease his army’s morale by one in order to rally one of his units that has already been ordered this turn.
One vs. Many
Although inexperienced players may think that playing as many cards as quickly as possible is the way to go since it allows the movement of the most units, the veteran player often balances the playing of order tokens and Leadership cards.
Order tokens have several advantages over cards. First, they are a good way to feel out what an opponent is going to do. By playing a couple of tokens, you may be able to see what your opponent will do (especially if the opponent uses a card and orders several units).
Second, aggressive play can also be bolstered by a good stock of order tokens. This allows you to push units forward without fear of not being able to order them. Since Green Shields are rolled more often than other results, it is possible to use uncontrolled green units in this manner and still have a good chance of ordering them with a token on the next turn.
Third, to make cards more efficient it is a good strategy to utilize an order token to move uncontrolled units into a commander’s ZOC. This allows you to have more options when you play a Leadership card to that commander.
However, playing tokens quickly can sometimes backfire. For instance, some tactics on Leadership cards require you to have saved particular order tokens when the card is played. If you have blown through all of your tokens, playing the tactic becomes an impossibility.
Also, ordering a single unit can sometimes leave a hole that an opponent can exploit by ordering several units with a Leadership card.
In the end, it comes down to accurately assessing the situation and judging how an opponent may respond to what you do during your turn whether you play a token, play a card, or pass.
Set in the rich and vibrant world of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Battles of Westeros is a board game of tactical battlefield combat for two players. With scenarios that include beloved characters and settings, players can recreate the most significant battles from The War of the Five Kings.
Besides the rules balance act, the scenarios also need to be balanced, and, hopefully, with different objectives.
Ah, and rules to create your own scenarios/battles.
I'm really looking forward to play this game. It seems well balanced.