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Author: unknown

Fantasy Flight Games

Awards: none



Dan Kast (USA) writed about the game:

Battlemist: The Stars of Timmorean is the second in Fantasy Flight Games' "Hexplay" series (following on the heels of the exceptional Twilight Imperium), in which players take control of one of six fantasy races (humans, barbaric humans, orcs, dwarves, elves, or the undead) and attempt to achieve supremacy by being the first to obtain five Stars of Timmorean.

The board is created by arranging 30+ hexagonal pieces, each of which has a terrain type and a production value: plains produce grain, woods produce (what else?) wood, and mountains produce iron. There are also wastelands, which produce nothing, but allow rapid movement. Watching the board evolve is almost more fun than playing the game itself -- but then, I'm a big fan of games with variable board layouts. However, there is a whole bunch of strategy involved at this stage of the game, as I quickly discovered: I waited too long to place my (elven) homeland, and as a result I ended up in a horrible position...


The game board pieces were obviously created via computer (KPT Bryce?), but I've seen worse. The cards that go along with each territory are a little better, with unique pictures on each, along with descriptive text. I was happy to see that the Action and Quest cards are the size and quality of normal playing cards, instead of the tiny cards used in Twilight Imperium. The playing pieces themselves, however, leave much to be desired. Our entire gaming group was of the opinion that the army units looked silly, especially the dwarven cavalry (exception: the undead pieces are very nice!). And the pieces provided for keeping track of each player's commodities are woefully inadequate -- for one thing, there aren't nearly enough!

This leads me to one of the biggest flaws I found in the game: a complete lack of player aids. This was one of the problems I had with Twilight Imperium, as well, and while it is easily fixed with a pad of paper and some pencils, I did pay $50 (US) for the game; some player reference cards would have been nice.

Overall, the amount and quality of game components in the box is worth $30, maybe $35, but not $50.


Here is where the game could have made up for everything else, but it didn't. I won't give a detailed description of game play, but highlight some aspects of note.

HEROES & QUESTING: Each player can have up to three heroes in play at a time, and these heroes move around the board on "Quests". At the beginning of a quest, the player draws a Quest card which has a brief storyline on it which directs the heroes to a specific location on the board. Sometimes, the hero will have to face a monster of some sort, other times he won't. Once he arrives and defeats the monster (if any), another Quest card is drawn; most of the time, this card will continue the storyline, but every so often the hero will discover a magic item, or possibly one of the Stars of Timmorean. It is a very clever idea, but the implementation is rather disappointing. While reading the cards as part of an evolving story is somewhat fun, it really comes down to "move here" and "move there". Also, the rules are very vague in many aspects; for example, what happens when heroes encounter enemy armies?

COMBAT: Heroes are something of a distraction in the game, as the main fun is with armies and combat. In this respect, Battlemist does not disappoint; the combat system is fun and unique. Each battle round is divided into three parts: archer fire, cavalry charge, and infantry combat. There is also a distinction between "routed" and "killed" units; at the beginning of each round, there is the possibility of getting some of your routed units back, while killed units are, obivously, gone for good. All in all, there is enough variation on the "roll dice and remove casulaties" model to provide some interest, but it isn't so complex as to slow the entire game down.

The flaw in the combat system, however, is that it is very difficult to build up and maintain large armies. So much so that I was eliminated from the game by a force of two infantry and a cavalry invading my homeland. Granted, I had overextended myself, but if I (and the other players) had taken the time to consolidate and play it safe, nothing would have happened until three or four hours into the game.

Which brings me to my final conclusion: Battlemist is a valiant effort, but there is just too much wrong with the game. It's very hard to define, but consider this: in no other game of this type I have ever played have two players been eliminated from the game in the third turn (me, and the player who eliminated me). It is too difficult to expand safely, but if you don't expand, there's nothing to do except run your heroes around the board.

We plan on giving the game another chance, implementing some fixes and house rules we think might help...

Addition by Kulkmann:

Sometime after the initial release of the game Fantasy Flight Games released Sails of War, an expansion allowing ocean travel and enhancing the use of Heroes. However, the game still lacks a better design of the questing, and still Heroes and Armies stand pretty much apart. Also, the promised plastic figures never were released, a sad fact considering that they would have enhanced gameplay and atmosphere considerably...

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany