I was probably a victim of my own high expectations here. I was so excited to try this game, that I was probably setting myself up for disappointment. Luckily, the disappointment didn't happen until a couple dozen games in. Which means I had a great run with this game.
One of the best rule books I've ever read. It's clear and concise and illustrated and answers all your "yeah but..." questions. Very high quality pieces and such as well.
I love the gradual ramp up in rules to introduce you to the game's many rules regarding different units, terrain, and eventually lore (magic spells). My fiancee and I LOVED our first 20 games of this. After that, we were hungry for more so we started mixing in the monsters quite a bit which has mixed results (the spider is lots of fun but the hill giant is sort of overpowered and the earth elemental makes no sense to us).
Battlelore mostly suffers from having some of the worst expansions I've ever seen for a game. The ONLY good one was for Epic battles (and NOT for making them multiplayer-playable, which is HORRIBLE), but for expanding the battlefield to twice the size and making the rules more exciting and engaging. Those epic battles are MONEY. However, Call to Arms and all the other expansions are REALLY bad. I received 4 of them as a birthday present and exchanged them for other board games cuz I know how bad they were.
Battlelore is a great game in the beginning (like Shadows over Camelot) but eventually wears VERY thin after a couple dozen games.
At first blush, I thought this was the experience my entire gaming life has been shaping me for... But I was wrong. None of the many expansions caught my fancy; I just didn't like the direction they took this game in, genre-wise. There's nothing wrong with it—it's a perfectly fine game—the game world just inspires ennui in me.
Well, I've been putting off giving a review of BattleLore mainly because I'm not sure how I feel about the game. The recent news of Fantasy Flight Games' acquisition of the title has prompted me to give it a shot.
When I first got BattleLore I was really impressed with the game. It was crammed full of miniatures (too full though, as everyone knows about the bent minis) and had great artwork, board, tokens, etc.
Also it changed a lot of things that I was frustrated with in Commands and Colors: Ancients: Cavalry was actually powerful (I know, historically infantry ruled the times of the Romans/Carthaginians, but when I first played CC:A I didn't know that and didn't understand why my mounted units couldn't trample everything under their hooves), BattleLore got rid of the whole evade thing, but made it more difficult for units to battle back. There are no general in BattleLore but you do have the lore council and the lore deck.
Then the Call to Arms expansion came out and you could customize your forces and make every battle really different.
And there's the monsters! How awesome is it to have a hill giant, earth elemental or giant spider in your ranks! Not that awesome. They are really worth the effort to use in battle.
Then as the game got more advanced, the long it takes to set up. Set up time basically equals play time. If I'm going to spend 45 minutes setting up I'd better be playing the game for longer than 1.5 hours.
Then I moved away from my brother and BattleLore has set upon the shelf except for the one time I took it over to my friend's house and we played it. It didn't do much for me, honestly. Instead we play more multi-player games like Descent or games with our wives.
When I first got BattleLore I probably would've given it a 5. A great game, but not a classic. Now I give it a 3. But a 3 instead of a 2, because it may still hold some potential with FFG.