News for March 2010
Lay of the Land 5
A look at terrain in the upcoming board game Battles of Westeros
Battles of Westeros | Published 17 March 2010

“Somewhere beyond the sunset, across the narrow sea, lay a land of green hills and flowered plains and great rushing rivers, where towers of dark stone rose amidst magnificent blue-grey mountains, and armored knights rode to battle beneath the banners of their lords. The Dothraki called that land Rhaesh Andahli, the land of the Andals. In the Free Cities, they talked of Westeros and the Sunset Kingdoms...”

– A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

Battles of Westeros, the game of battlefield tactics set in George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, will hit tabletops this spring. We’ve already seen the basics of combat; this time, designer Rob Kouba guides us through an exploration of the battlefield, while taking a look at how commanders contribute to controlling units.

Familiarity with your surroundings during a battle can often swing things in your favor. To begin with, battles can be set up in two different configurations. The first has the battlefield set lengthwise between the two combatants. This provides for more depth in your ranks but not as much maneuverability on the flanks.

The second is a standard horizontal configuration placed between the two players. When in this configuration, it is important to note that additional boards can be placed adjacent to the initial board to expand the battlefield and accommodate larger armies.

After determining which battle to fight, players place terrain overlays to depict the lands where they are fighting. Terrain has the possibility of significantly altering an army’s movement and strategies.

There are eight types of terrain hexes and eight types of terrain tokens that modify the hexes they are in. Below is a sampling of the terrain your army will run into during its first battle.

  • Plains: Hexes that are wide expanses of flat land that armies can quickly traverse.
  • Roads: Well-traveled paths that allow slightly better movement than plains hexes.
  • Rivers: Fast moving channels of water that create impassable boundaries on the battlefield.
  • Fords: A shallow break in the river that allows units to cross, albeit at a slower rate.
  • Hills: A slight elevation in the land that allows ranged units to fire over other units.
  • Forests: Large areas of trees that impede movement and limit the effectiveness of some units.

Because the only boundaries on the battlefield are the board edges themselves, it is possible to order any units on the battlefield, as long as that unit is “controlled.”

Controlled units are units that begin in a hex within a commander’s zone-of-control (ZOC). A commander’s ZOC in the core set (no matter which House) is two hexes. This means that any unit within two hexes of a friendly commander is controlled.

Why is this important? Because typically only controlled units can by ordered using Leadership cards. Controlled units have a stronger immunity to adverse effects that target only uncontrolled units; also, many helpful effects can only be triggered or used by controlled units. We’ll cover these effects, as well as Leadership cards, in future previews... so keep checking back!

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 (5)

Lord Mykal
Published: 3/20/2010 6:10:40 PM

I like these ideas, they are imported from other games but seem to give a better feel for the battle with leadership and control.

Awaiting more info with anticipation.

Published: 3/19/2010 5:27:51 AM

Actually, I think it WAS fairly common for medieval armies to fight in clusters around a leader, each group called a "battle". So the leader based ordering system should give rise to some period correctness. Loss of the arbitrary zones of battle like in BL just increase the emphasis on leaders as it looks like you will need one for each group of cavalry, the main body of men-at-arms, and for any reinforcement detachment you might want to use. We will have to wait for the unit density to see just how many units each leader is supposed to command and how many leaders there will be at any one time.

Published: 3/17/2010 7:58:40 PM

I like that you can play the board in short or long directions. I assume this will come with a booklet of scenarios like BattleLore.

Published: 3/17/2010 7:01:15 PM

Like the command and control mechanic better than the wing command system in BattleLore, at least on the surface. The non-linear tactics this may produce though may be a bit whonky for a Middle Ages battlefield if players send clumps of units forward rather than a more traditional line approach.

Published: 3/17/2010 3:48:42 PM

 It keeps looking interesting enough to try it out.

The different positioning of the map not only calls for different strategies but it seems it would decide the amount of troops fielded and the playing time needed to finish the battle.

I like the idea of leaders having a control on units near them too.

Still looking to see more about the game.

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