News for February 2010
A Guide To Westeros 41
Christian Petersen answers questions about Battles of Westeros and BattleLore
Battles of Westeros | Published 22 February 2010

Christian Petersen, the CEO of FFG, sat down over the weekend to answer a few questions about Battles of Westeros and BattleLore. Check out his responses, as well as his insights into the future of this exciting game, below!

Q: Does Battles of Westeros use the same game system as BattleLore?
CP: No. While both are games of medieval army battles and have some slight similarities, they are different games.

Q: How are they different?
CP: In the coming months we’ll post a number of previews on this site that will delve into the details, so I can’t (and won’t) spoil them here. The classic BattleLore game is based on Richard Borg’s “Command and Colors” game system, while Battles of Westeros is an entirely new engine, one that is significantly more involved than C&C and more in tune with FFG’s design principles. We’re really excited about this system and we think that players will love it.

Q: Why call it “A BattleLore Game”?
CP: We acquired BattleLore to be our core brand for medieval tactical warfare games (in the scale represented in the classic BattleLore game). The BattleLore name is not necessarily tied to Richard’s “Command and Colors” system.

Q: Why George R.R. Martin’s “Westeros”?
CP: The IP of GRRM’s epic series of novels “A Song of Ice and Fire” is closely tied with FFG’s history. For example, one of FFG’s best-selling games of all times is the “A Game of Thrones” board game. Also, we have been publishing the “A Game of Thrones CCG” since 2002 (which in 2008 was converted to our LCG format), and we have the “A Song of Ice and Fire Adventure Game” in our R&D hopper. This is an IP that we love, that we’re proud to be associated with, and that has been very commercially successful for FFG over the years.

GRRM’s Westeros, while a created world, is not “fantasy” per se. It’s a wonderfully deep, gritty, medieval setting that channels the historic “Wars of the Roses” rather than “The Lord of the Rings”. The classic BattleLore game (which we purchased from Days of Wonder in ’08) had an eclectic mix of a Fantasy and historic medieval theme that FFG has never been comfortable with. We solve this problem with Battles of Westeros, which will take on the role of our gritty, no-magic, medieval warfare game, while the classic “BattleLore” game’s trajectory will be of more traditional fantasy.

Q: Does the “Core Set” subtitle on the Battles of Westeros box imply that there will be expansions?
Absolutely. The core set includes the main forces for Houses of Lannister and Stark, and we look forward to introducing the other major Houses as well as the many smaller houses, characters, and (often brutal) factions that inhabit Westeros. It’s going to be great fun to see a great variety of Westeros characters and battles come to life over the next 2-3 years.

Q: Will the classic BattleLore game continue to be supported?
CP: Yes. We are working on new releases as we speak, one of which will be announced on the FFG site in the near future.

Having said that, I want to make a clarification on the expectations for BattleLore. Last year, Richard posted some ideas for “future releases” for BattleLore. Unfortunately, some fans took this post as canon, and are now expecting these specific releases. I think it important to note that while they were well-intended ideas of Richard’s, they did not fall in line with FFG’s vision. What we’re working on with Richard currently has no relation to anything in that old post, but something entirely new and different.

Q: Speaking of BattleLore, the main BattleLore game has been out of print for a while. Will this come back into print?
CP: There have been, and continue to be, some very serious issues in reconciling the production methods and expectations in the way Days of Wonder produced the BattleLore main game with those of FFG. We understand the lack of availability is an issue and we’re working on a solution. This issue has also affected the German version of BattleLore, while there are still good supplies of the French edition.

There’s a particular trap in manufacturing games, and it’s one that applies here. The initial printing of a game is typically printed in large volumes, which means that certain efficiencies of this volume are not able to be replicated in a smaller (i.e. reprint level) production. This is a trap that FFG works hard to avoid in its own manufacturing, but the original BattleLore printing was of course not in our production control. Not only was BattleLore caught in this trap, but the game was priced aggressively to begin with, even assuming the best of production efficiencies. On top of that, the factory that DOW used for this production essentially admitted to pricing their manufacturing of the original BattleLore “to get the business in the door” -- which means that the costing levels on the first run was eminently underpriced.

This, set against the overall backdrop of an already steeply escalating cost in game manufacturing, has made the core game a serious issue. Reprinting the core game “as is,” would essentially result in a near $150 retail price point, which is obviously unacceptable.

Q: Was this a surprise?
CP: When we took over BattleLore, the key value to FFG was the BattleLore brand. Which, as you can see, we’re carrying forward with Battles of Westeros.

We were concerned that the classic BattleLore base game, as had been created by Days of Wonder (“DOW”), was going to be troublesome on a production level. We did not, to be honest, expect it to essentially be non-manufacturable, as is the case.

So, as I said before, we’re working on a solution to this problem, and we have some short-term solutions that I think will work very well for players looking to get into BattleLore.

Q: Such as?
CP: I’ll have to defer the details and the exact “when” for another day when the details are more concretely in place (they are subject to change at this point.)

Q: In terms of German BattleLore, it has been noted that the most recent expansion “Creatures” will not be available in the German language.
CP: That is correct. The German publisher Heidelberger Spieleverlag, has done an outstanding job of taking on the German BattleLore mantle. Unfortunately, related to the manufacturing issues of the core set, it is not feasible for them to continue a localized edition of BattleLore. Heidelberger will continue to distribute the English language version, and will make German translations available online for all the new content. This is not a reflection on the German Battlelore fanbase, which has been amazing, but simply a casualty of the transition.

Q: Who is your favorite “Song of Ice and Fire” character?
CP: Why, Tyrion Lannister. Isn’t it everybody’s?

Q: No
CP: Oh, well.

Q: Do you know when the next GRRM book is coming out?
CP: Nope

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.

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Comments (41)

HedgeWizard
Published: 2/26/2010 1:23:57 PM
#41

Clearly FFG bought the Battlelore name as a brand and not a game mechanic. There's nothing sneaky or unhanded about that, and to ascribe those attributes to the deal is disengenious at best. 

That all said, I can totally understand the confusion and dismay on the part of current Battlelore fans. I appreciate Christian's comments and honesty. It does sound as if the current version of Battlelore will live on, they're just trying to sort out how to do so at a sustainable and comfortable price-point.

There's little business sense in producing add-on content for a game that they can't fulfill the base system components for, which it sounds is a HUGE factor in the equation. 

CanadianPittbull
Published: 2/25/2010 8:51:46 AM
#40

I hope when the game comes out that they take the Battlelore logo crap off of the front of the box. It is not needed and definatly looks like a sneaky way of trying to get existing Battlelore fans to pick this up and not knowing it is not compatible with the existing line. Make note of it withing the rules introduction but to plaster the box with some what of a "false advertising" seems a little reckless. Plus is looks like crap! IMO.

Bernado
Published: 2/25/2010 3:45:57 AM
#39

To Stalkingwolf:

Sorry, I didn't know all this.

I bought Battelore and its expansions quite recently and I found there was a lot of things to buy.

As I use to play more C&C than Battlelore, I haven't yet bought Heroes and Dragons, although I'm planning to do so.

 

Scayra
Published: 2/24/2010 12:43:32 AM
#38

@Rednek: But you're right!

Rednek
Published: 2/23/2010 9:58:41 PM
#37

 Ok, I re-read my previous post and it sounds bitterer than I really am.  I am interested in  BoW, I just wish they hadn't branded it "A Battlelore game."

Rednek
Published: 2/23/2010 9:40:40 PM
#36

 The BattleLore name is not necessarily tied to Richard’s “Command and Colors” system.

I'm sorry, but this is an absurd statement!  So what makes a game if not the mechanics?  Theme, right?

 The mechanics aren't Battlelore, the theme isn't Battlelore.  The only thing they seem to share is scale.  This game should NOT be branded Battlelore.  I feel this is definitely a bait-and-switch.  

I am a fan of BL, a big fan of FFG, and a huge fan of ASOIF.  I would have purchased the game based on the last two factors, but trying to connect it with BL when none exists aggravates me.

 

 

nilhaus
Published: 2/23/2010 4:01:38 PM
#35

" take great offense that you imply Richard some how made promises he never INTENDED to keep."

I'll go ahead and admit I didn't mean that to sound how it did. I appologize for that. I feel that DoW knew they were selling Battlelore at a price they could not keep up, and they sold it to FFG knowing that as well. From what I have seen FFG has done a lot to put out the work that DoW never finished.

What upsets me is that people are taking their anger at DoW and simply redirecting it at FFG. DoW had nearly three years to put out some of their promised expansions and never did. FFG got them out the door within a year of acquiring the license.

People seem to be under the mistaken assumption that if this game had never come out, that the BL expansions would have been made instead. More than likely what happened is that this game had been in the works for a while and they are putting the BattleLore name on it. Maybe they thought BL players would like it and this was a way to get their attention. Then again, maybe they just bought the license to make money. They are a business after all. I don't know but I'm not jumping to conclusions.

Either way I don't think there is any malicious intent on FFG's part, and they are trying to please everyone possible. I don't think the same can be said for DoW, since they sold an esentially non-producable board game license. I can respect why BL fans are upset and being left out to dry for so long, but don't hold FFG responsible for that.

Scayra
Published: 2/23/2010 1:38:04 PM
#34

Q: Why call it “A BattleLore Game”?
CP: We acquired BattleLore to be our core brand for medieval tactical warfare games (in the scale represented in the classic BattleLore game). The BattleLore name is not necessarily tied to Richard’s “Command and Colors” system.

*lol* - that's good - buy Mercedes, but not to build any Mercedes, but to name your GM cars Mercedes.

I don't know whether I need a second "Battlelore" game, when I already own one - to me, it would have been better to publish a "great" Battlelore expansion instead  of some small ones, especially, when one of them is a re-release of two old miniatures.

Will "Battles of Westeros" be published with German rules and cards? Will the expansions be published in German - or must I apprehend that some time in the near future I will have a game in one language and expansions in a different language (as for now with Battlelore)?

angelfury
Published: 2/23/2010 12:52:16 PM
#33

It is nice to see FFG alive and kicking when it comes to putting out quality games.  And I have purchased a half a dozen games from them this year.  However, I will have to join the throng of people that are not only comfortable with the "eclectic mix" of fantasy and medieval elements in Battlelore, but realize that this very mix is what makes the game outstanding.  "BattleLore", the name itself points to greater fantastical experiences.  I hope to see more Battlelore products support this idealogy.

Stalkingwolf
Published: 2/23/2010 11:03:40 AM
#32

What I don't see is why some people say you're not taking care of Battlelore when there have been a few expansions lately and a new one (Creatures) is about to be released.

Hi Bernado, the issue is/are, Heroes has actually been in the works since DOW owned the game. The creature expansion is basically the hill giant and elemental being re-released with different stats. And  the main issue(s) for most of the fanbase has been that we've been asking and hoping from day one for more race expansions, as well as more lore cards, terrain tiles, etc. DOW was silent for over a year then spits out the troll expansion. That did not go over well at all. Part of the anger of the fans as well was the simple lack of communication from DOW

Fast forward to today: I understand that times have changed economically for the gaming industry, and I appreciate the issue with the original printer lowballing the price on the 1st print. But does that mean that some sort of race packs and other packs can't be produced in a matter to satisfy both the fanbase and FFG financially?? After year+ of FFG having the game, and no direct communication (just like DOW) the fanbase is hit with a new game with the name Battlelore that is clearly not part of the Battlelore system.

So with all that in mind FFG hasn't really taken care of anything yet. Perhaps the forth coming news of what the next expansion will be will show a glimer of hope. But right now, I will not place any bets on it.

bsmith13
Published: 2/23/2010 10:31:08 AM
#31

It looks like an interesting game.  I may try it.

But it should not have been branded as "BattleLore".

Bernado
Published: 2/23/2010 10:07:58 AM
#30

It's noteworthy that you have explained here why you're adding the tag 'A Battlelore game' when, in fact, there's no relation between the game mechanics of both games. However, you should keep in mind that most players don't come here or read in english.

I think that 'A Battelore game' will disappoint some Battlelore players that will see this is not in fact a 'Battlelore game' and will stop people who likes the Ice and Fire saga but doesn't care for Battlelore games from buying it.

Apart from that i like the rest of the article and I'm looking forward to hearing more of the game.

What I don't see is why some people say you're not taking care of Battlelore when there have been a few expansions lately and a new one (Creatures) is about to be released.

And in a shop I know here in Barcelona (Spain) I can still buy boxes of Battlelore in english. So maybe some of you have to plan your next holidays on Barcelona. 8-)

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