Storm of the Horse Lords
Available from Red Juggernaut
The Khans of the Horse Lords gathered to listen to the words of the Storytellers. The old men and women sat together and began to chant. “The one who will lead us will come. The great spirit warrior will show us might undreamed of and make all others fall in line, or fall in battle.” They paused to let this prophecy sink in to their audience. “The strength of our people in the hands of this Khan will forge an empire from the blood of those who oppose us. When the Khan of Khans sits upon the throne in the City of Brass Pillars a new Golden Horde will be born and all the tribes and all the clans of our people will rule as one.” The horse lords in attendance sat and allowed the words of the elders to sink into their minds. Where was this City of Brass Pillars? The city hinted at is the city of Tarsos.
Here begins the game of Battue. The game itself consists a gameboard of twelve by twelve squares. These 144 squares constitute the area inside the city walls. The center of the board is the Palace, which covers an area of 12 squares. The game is designed to be played by up to 4 players, each controlling his own horde. The players themselves build the gameboard. After the “First Player” is determined by a die roll, the Palace, Templum Minerva, Universitas and Schola are placed randomly on the board, facedown (the Palace is placed in the center of the board). Then the players begin to fill in the remaining squares. The first player picks one of the facedown City Tiles and places it facedown on the gameboard. The turn now moves to the left, each player placing a tile in turn, until the area inside the city walls is completely covered.
The first player attacks one of the wall or gate sections on his side of the board. If he or she is successful, they are now ready to enter the city proper. A successful attack can garner the player “Loot Cards”. These cards can influence gameplay at “Start of Turn”, “Attack”, “Defense” or “End of Turn”. The player may hold a hand of up to six “Loot Cards” at the end of his turn. You may play or discard down to six cards by the end of your turn. After a “Loot Card” has been played and its effect resolved it is placed on the discard pile, unless it impacts Victory Points, then it is placed in the Player’s “War Chest”. “Loot Cards” may effect the number of troops you have, may preclude one of your opponents from doing anything during his upcoming turn, enhancing your attack or defense totals and other actions. These cards may also directly contribute Victory Points to your total. There are also “Event Cards” which are acquired when attacking city tiles. If you acquire an “Event Card”, that card is resolved immediately, play stops until the card provisions are resolved completely. “Event Cards” may allow you to take on more warriors, win a battle without opposition, and take over an opponent’s horde and other actions.
To begin the game each player picks a side of the board to start on and a “horde” of six warriors, this is your initial force. The “Loot” and “Event” card decks have been shuffled and placed next to the board in a place convenient for everyone to access. Each player has placed his horde adjacent to a single wall section, where he or she will try to enter the city. Only one player is allowed on each board edge. If you attack a particular section and are defeated you lose one warrior, which is placed in your reserve. After you have captured your wall section, you may acquire your first “Loot Cards”. These can be used at the time specified on the card face.
The Player Turn consists of three phases. The Start of Turn, the Main Turn and the End of Turn. During the Start of Turn, the Player may play “Loot Cards”, either to his own benefit or to the possible detriment of one of his opponents, or he may call for Reinforcements. If he calls for Reinforcements he must roll a single die and will gain one, two or three additional warriors. The maximum size of a horde is eight warriors. You are also limited to a total of fifteen warriors. If you end a turn with no warriors on the board you have lost the game. During the Main Turn you may move your hordes, as you feel necessary. The player is restricted from splitting his hordes until he has captured his first city tile, after which he may divide his horde into multiples and attack more than one city tile. You may also combine hordes to attack a single city tile, but the resultant horde may not exceed eight warriors. The player may only move into an adjacent occupied or unoccupied tile, except with the aid of certain “Loot Cards”.
Once a city tile is revealed, combat is executed. The attacker plays “Loot Cards” which enhance his attack ability. The defender may also play cards to enhance his defense total. Each city tile has an inherent defense value; this is combined with cards and any warriors already occupying the city tile. Both attacker and defender roll a single die, which is added to the attack or defense value. If the attack total is larger then the defense total the attacker wins the battle, if less than or equal to the defense value, the attacker loses and loses one warrior from his horde. In the case of an occupied city tile the defender would lose a warrior and may either retreat or re-fight the battle. The winner of an unoccupied city tile may loot that part of the city and will pick the number of “Loot Cards” specified on that tile. Had an opponent previously looted the tile no “Loot Cards” are acquired. An occupied tile has given its owner a certain number of Victory Points, these Victory change hands if the present owner loses control of the tile. Victory Points can be tallied during the course of the game, or the still active players can add them up at the end of the game. Should the choice be made to keep a running tally, a pad and pencil are essential to this tally.
The game ends when players occupy the entire Palace, the Templum Jupiter and Universitas. The winner of the game is the player with the highest Victory Point total.
This total is compiled from the city tiles occupied and the total of Victory Points in your War Chest. If all players, but one are eliminated during the course of play, the game ends and the last player with warriors on the board is declared the Khan of the Golden Horde.
This game is a load of fun, strategy is important, but the object is to accumulate Victory Points and not the occupy most of the city. This game is aimed at ages 8 and up and I feel would be a good way of introducing a youngster to gaming without getting too deep into the technical aspects of wargaming. I enjoyed playing this game and would recommend it to a “newbie”, as well as a seasoned gamer.