Review: Battalia The Creation – conquering with cards
They discovered a new land and they told us about it, fools. That message was delivered to our king few days later. With that time passed, it seemed we had lost all chance of winning at least a part of new territory. Fortunately, we sent our own spies into newly discovered continent. They are fortunately better in orientating in the dark alleys of caves, than Emberians living usually in the bright light. And so it happened, that one of the tunnels led us to another land. And we certainly can claim this one only for ourself!
Battle for new territories will never cease and new episode in lust for power is a board game Battalia: The Creation, which was prepared for us by Fantasmagoria Games from Bulgaria. Designers Alexandar Guerov and Ledha Guerova fulfilled their dream of release through Kickstarter, where it was supported by almost 1,400 players and collected more than twice the required 50,000 dolars. Distributor for Europe is done by Esdevium Games, starting late 2015.
Looking into the promised land, we can see really impressive part of new land on this new game lid. Inside, based on style of zombie games, we find cardboard box with plastic miniatures of heroes, two for each of four armies. Each of the nations has its own home environment, whether it is a lake, forest, desert or mountains. First part of card deck indicates that clearly – showing us cities, which are precisely divided by these terrains and right behind them come also riddled roads winding through these lands.
For creating whole land, we need to have some space to place the cards on – a big game board. It offers space of seven times seven fields, which will gradually uncover the world map. But there are also other pieces of cardboard – solar disc with seven beams, having shorter beams rotate on it after assembly. Players will also each have their own game board with their own family graphic on the back and slots for cards, helping with the organization.
But the most important part are cards, from which we jumped away in the middle of their deck. We have not described in fact the main section – units, that come in four levels. At the top right of each card is printed numerical strength, while bottom row shows icons – card, that have to be sacrificed to buy this card into your deck. There are however also other cards, without which no army could do – supplies and artifacts, that you can use in battle. In addition, there are still rings used for marking and time bonuses, but also tokens of city levels.
At the beginning of the game, players place game board between them and everyone has to choose his or her race, building his base city into one of the corners of the board. Other fixed points on the map are neutral towns and ruins in the middle. Board is attached with random offer of five artifacts.
Individual players then get their race miniatures and also value tokens in with corresponding color. Cards are diferentiated by color of factions, but that does not matter now. According to type, they are divided into four packages, of which players get their random starting unit – three frimens, one chief and priest. Besides men, they then get another five cards of support. Players shuffle this set and take top six cards in hand to start with.
A separate part of the playing area creates a disk of prophecy. Around it, there will be deployed artifact cards divided by symbols to seven types. Disk has as many beams and each one receives one pile of artifacts. All other sets of cards will be surrounding them, whether units or road decks.
Basis of the entire gaming experience is in deckbuilding. Players have at the beginning only a small set of cards, but they will be able to expand their collection during the game. Each round, they have the opportunity to play up to six cards from their hand and use it for various activities. All these cards are then moved to discard pile, where they will wait for new opportunity. This occurs only, when there is no card left in drawing pile. At that moment, a player shuffles discard pile and game continues.
First and foremost, of course, there is option to purchase cards. And there are two different equal opportunities for strengthening your army: buy units by playing support cards (the stronger the unit, the more cards are needed) or artifacts (by playing units). Cards purchased go immediately to the discard pile and will come into play later.
Currency are always cards without any value printed. This is true, even if civil action is chosen. With roads, players can get farther down the map, but he has to use some of his units for building action (also for roads). And intersections are even more expensive. Cities can also be built and improved, which then gives its owner victory points. Everything is subject to building regulations – it is necessary to have all roads connected and towns along may not be directly adjacent to each other.
Actions include movement of the hero, who at the beginning of the game enters the world through their own city. Pieces can be shifted using supplies or by playing horses. When such a hero arrives in a foreign city or encounters enemy character, player may initiate combat. Two rivals then use their troops in hand and their strength. Battles use additional rules, such as an ambush or escape options. Newly occupied city (even neutral) players mark with their control token.
In addition, generals also use their cards to hire another hero or use special skill of artifacts. Each type has its own specific action, so it is possible to conjure improvements with amulet for current turn. With titles power of units increases. And then there are for example tents, where it’s possible to save card and pick it up later in the following rounds.
As players build decks and buy new ones, they are at the same time trying to put emphasis on their race. Reason is called cohorts. If players succeed to put together a platoon of at least three units of the same race in one turn, then they are rewarded by drawing more cards and thus increasing their striking power for the turn.
Game may end, if one player gets five cities of fourth level under his control. But even then, he should not celebrate. Instead, all participants sum up their victory points for levels of their cities, and only the one with the highest value wins. And this is truth even if end of the game occurred on the second reason: map was completely filled.
Battalia: The Creation is at first glance a game, that will be interesting for almost everyone. Deckbuilding in combination with a map and civilization development is so appealing, that most of us will want to at least try this big crossbreed of a game. Players controls everything with cards in their hands, so building the right package is crucial as always. They must also focus on one race, which provides important bonuses.
Very well resolved is paying for new cards. None of them have any value for buying, but their number is simply counted towards some goal. This adds value to each card and makes it more difficult to decide, what to do in your turn. The game has plenty of potential strategies and rules offers possibility to set aside card for the next round. If you do not like cards at the beginning of the round, it is possible to sacrifice one card in exchange for a mulligan (and play whole turn with five). But what about the rays and reel? It rotates every round by one slice and always gives one of the artifacts some supernatural powers. Awesome, right?
Battles, which are the main element of confrontation between players, is creeping with uncertainty due to the possibility of ambushes. The fights themselves are otherwise only comparation of strength of the units. It is therefore a bit of luck. Everything is resolved fairly quickly. But this can not be said about the preparation and especially length of the game, which exceeds two hours. A little better time can be achieved with two players, but challenge and fun is maximized with four.
Game has some pretty convoluted stages. We are talking about possibilities offered by the card, but mainly about costs of individual actions. You really can not even keep track of these values and instead players are required to look for it on help cards. It’s really a lot to memorize and think of and you will easily forget, if you do not play it often. And this is a little downfall for Battalia.
We are also a little worried about variability. In addition to starting random distribution of cards in hand, everything quickly settles and games are somewhat similar. Over time, players can create a similar army and map will also remain unchanged. Fortunately, at that moment, scenarios come to the board and change the game. At least for some time. Even with them and with frequent playing, you can run into some limits.
We must commend processing, that is dominated by beautiful illustrations. Cards themselves are often too colorful and chaotic, making important elements disappear. Still, the game looks very nice and it is obvious, that processing is, what spares the game from getting beat up more. It is certainly also result of a very successful campaign on Kickstarter.
Battalia: The Creation is a game, that is far from perfect. There are complaints about replayability, complexity and then especially excessive length of the individual matches. But it is still an interesting mix of city control, battlingand deckbuilding, that looks good and definitely offers a good dose of tactical gameplay. So if you love more complex games and are not against deckbuilding itself, then Battalia will be pleased to welcome you as heroes.
Review: Battalia The Creation – conquering with cards
Battalia: The Creation is a hybrid, which not only inherited map, deckbuilding and fighting, but brings a bit of its sould into these genetic elements. Thanks to this, game offers very interesting gameplay with good ideas, such as payment by cards or cohorts. It would have been enjoyed better as a whole, if the game did not last as long and was not similar across different matches. Strategy is well available, and if you want to become a hero in a card game, then Battalia: The Creation is a good option.