A long time has passed after the contest (2019 BGG Wargame PnP), and I found plenty of time to play test and revisit my game Battle of Legends. Now, I want to share with you some findings on the way:
In early stages of my game design life, I was thinking that mechanics is more important than theme. In my very first designs, I relied on a single combat mechanism and built the whole game on top. There was no real backstory, and the way I describe the game was really dry. But who cares theme if the mechanics is ok?
After some time, my mind had been changed and I started to discover the glue effect of theme on mechanics. Instead of saying “Put a shield on your unit, so that it will ignore the first hit”, say “Put Testudo token on your Roman Legion, so it forms a Testudo and will ignore the first hit”. So powerful! Not only tidies up the ruleset, but also allows players learn the game quickly. With that in mind, I had designed Battle of Legends, participated in the contest, and a got a good result, thanks to voters.
After then, my contact with a famous publisher has changed the whole story. They were looking for a game that recreate the real historical battles rather than fantasy clashes, and asked me if my game engine allow this. From that time on, I was working on real epic battles of history. I have discovered how Alexander uses his Phalanx as an anvil and his companion cavalry as a hammer and smashes down the enemy. I have learned how Hannibal outflank and slaughter Romans after a successful feint retreat in Cannae, or ambush an entire army in Lake Trasimene.
As doing so, I have noticed that “trying to find the proper mechanics that fit to those historical events” is the most satisfying part of the design process for me. Put a Phalanx token onto a Pezhetairoi unit, now that unit ignores a retreat and attacks first in combat. This rule stops the enemy (anvil). Play Outflank card, now your cavalry units can move +2 hexes. This rule allows your cavalry to attack from rear (hammer). Bammm ! You are Alexander now 🙂
On the other hand, I tried hard to keep the rules as simple as possible, not to overwhelm the players. Instead of event-specific rulesets, I have derived them from core rules. For example, playing an Envelopment card is nothing but just playing multiple Flanking cards at once.
I am now in a point that I could not make major changes on gameplay and I want to share the Print & Play files with you. I am planning to make a series of conflicts between powerful factions of history and will start with battles between Roman Republic and Macedonian Kingdom. You will find the Print & Play files and the Rulebook in the first page.
Looking forward to hear your thoughts about the game.
Hope you enjoy 🙂