|Battles of Westeros | Published 26 May 2010|
Soon A Song of Ice and Fire fans will be able to recreate their favorite battles from George R.R. Martin's beloved book series in Battles of Westeros. Today continues a series of previews in which designer Rob Kouba takes us through the various mechanics behind the game. Previously we looked at combat, terrain, troop management, unit types, and commanders. Today, Rob will take us through the differences between battles and skirmishes.
Before setting up, players must decide which kind of engagement they will participate in. The core set offers two types of engagements: battles and skirmishes. This week’s preview will go over the differences between the two.
Battles are standard scenarios that represent conflicts that happened or could have happened in between the lines of what is explicitly described in the novel series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin. Typically, customization in this type of engagement and is more about changing the “historical” timeline set forth in the books. For instance, what if Jaime Lannister was able to overcome the Stark ambush in Whispering Wood? Or what if the Lannister encampments surrounding Riverrun were not disbanded by Robb Stark’s forces?
Each battle details several key aspects pertinent to the game including duration of gameplay, victory conditions, battlefield map setup, forces to be used by each House, and much more.
Click the above image to enlarge.
The first battle is entitled “Clash on the Kingsroad.” It details an encounter where Stark supporters are attempting to travel north to rendezvous with Robb Stark’s host when they run into a band of Lannister outriders traveling with infantry. Assuming they are riding to tell Tywin Lannister information that could be detrimental to Robb, the Stark loyalists assume defensive positions near the river’s fords as well as neat the Kingsroad itself.
Lannister forces cannot afford to be cut off and attempt to breakout of the Stark net. The two control markers represent strategic positions that Lannister forces need to take from Starks while Stark forces need to defend them at all costs.
Upon first glance, it seems Lannister cavalry and experienced troops can easily win the day. However, their lack of of any ranged combat allows Stark archers to take advantage and attack Lannister forces as they march across the fords. The fords also slow the Lannister advance, bottlenecking units at the river crossings.
While this is a very basic battle, it is great building block for rookie commanders that are experiencing Battles of Westeros for the first time.
The number of battles in the core set is finite, however. Commanders may endeavor to play in new engagement outside of any sort of storyline restrictions. Or perhaps commanders would like to have more customizable options. For both cases, players can play a skirmish conflict instead of a battle.
Players start by selecting a skirmish to play which give victory conditions and other pertinent information much like a battle does. Where the skirmish differs is that, more often than not, commanders are up to the player. Forces and terrain overlays are determined randomly by Skirmish Setup cards. This allows for a lot of replayability.
An interesting choice that must be made when selecting your commander in a skirmish is how good of a commander you should take. By taking the best commanders, your best assortments of units are then unavailable to you. However, if you take so-so commanders, there is usually no guarantee that you will actually recruit your best units (there is only a chance).
Keep checking back for more about Battles of Westeros!
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.
It looks like they've included "Call to Arms" in the base game in the form of skirmishes. An excellent idea to provide a "complete" game in the base set. Most people consider Call to Arms an essential part of BattleLore.
I wish they would have given us some idea of how many battles and skirmishes come in the base set (as well as subsequent expansions).