The Vancouver Charity Screening of Serenity

Hi all,

For you Vancouver based browncoats, we’re a sponsor for the Vancouver Charity Screening of Serenity which we really, really suggest you visit.

As some of you know, every year the Browncoats put together a Charity Screening for Equality Now Joss Whedon’s favourite charity. Last year, Vancouver raised $2,600 and we’re hoping to do better this year. So come out if you are there, and if not, please do consider going to your local screening.

Games back in-stock

Hi all,

We have a slew of back in-stock games and new games. The new games will be added soon, but for the meantime to get the ball rolling, we’ve put all the games we have back in-stock on the site.

Back in-stock
Railroad Tycoon
Caylus Magna Carta
Last Night on Earth : The Zombie Game
1960 : The Making of a President
War of the Ring : Battles of the Third Age
Twilight Struggle
Power Grid
Ticket to Ride USA 1910
Order of the Stick : Dungeons of Durokan
Mr Jack
The Werewolves of Millers Hollow : New Moon
Ingenious Travel Edition
Zombie Fluxx
Settlers of Catan 2007 Edition
Settlers of Catan pre-2007 Adapter Kit
Cloud 9
The Prince : Struggle for House Borgia
Hey! That’s My Fish
Thief of Baghdad
La Citta
Halli Galli
Puerto Rico
Balloon Cup
Bohnanza Fan Edition
High School Drama!
Zombies 5 – Schools Out
Zombies 6! – Six Feet Under
Pillars of the Earth Expansion Set

New board games – these are either new releases or new games that have been added to our inventory
In the Year of the Dragon
Thurn and Taxis : All Roads Lead to Rome
Runebound Second Edition
Combat Commander: Europe
Catan Dice Game
Lord of the Fries
Pacific Typhoon
War of the Ring

Edited: 10.50pm to add new games added to stock

Next restocking trip

Hi all,

So, the next restocking trip is scheduled for May 19, 2008 in Washington. Preorders that we can get stock for will be shipped out soon after that. At the same time, we will update on all games that are now back in-stock or newly added to the system.

We should also be receiving our order from our Canadian distributor soon so expect games like Railroad Tycoon and the like to go back into stock very soon.

Battlelore board game review

Battlelore board gameBattlelore is a medieval fantasy two player war game. Players can choose to include or exclude as many fantasy elements as they wish, allowing you to recreate medieval battle scenes or go for an all-out medieval fantasy battle (but without dragons). Control of units are via randomly drawn cards that activate different units, with 3 ‘levels’ of units. Where Battlelore really differs is the use of the Command Council whose abilities can bring about special effects through the payment of lore. A fun wargame and probably one of the best in a medieval setting.

Appearance: Battlelore comes in a hefty box with a ton of unit pieces with differing banners and looks. None of them are pre-painted. Also included is the game board and the various terrain tiles and game play cards. The layout of the manual and the pieces are of really high quality, with nothing having broken thus far. Overall, a definite plus in the appearance department.

Minor grouses for me include the fact that none of the pieces are coloured and that it can get difficult to pick out specific figures due to the way the game is packed with only flags and pennants used to differentiate pieces. Easily solved for those who like painting though.

Rules / Ease of Learning: Like most wargames, the rules for Battlelore will take at least 20 minutes to learn. While not particularly hard, there are a number of different rules to keep in mind. A big advantage is the well laid out book and the various ‘cheat’ cards that players can refer to while playing. Definitely allows quick immersion. Also, the scenario book is great as it slowly introduces new elements to the game in each new battle – starting from the base medieval battles to full scale fantasy battles.

Units are broken into the typical cavalry, infantry and archer units. Each unit can be one of three types – green, regular or veteran with corresponding bonuses in damage and reduction in movement rates. Also, additional ‘fantasy’ unit types in the form of goblins, dwarves and ‘monsters’ are available.

Understanding the rules of pursuit, battle-back, morale and archery is as always very important. Perhaps most importantly, battle-back rules allow the defender their only option to ‘hurt’ attackers in the same round, a potentially lethal tactic.

The big difference that Battlelore introduces is the ‘Advisory Council’. Thisis where the game gets really interesting as the council can directly affect the game through the use of Lore cards. Depending on who you have on the council and what cards are available, players can heal friendly units, throw fireballs at enemy units or play ‘sneakier’ cards to increase movement, defense or teleporting pieces.

Actual Gameplay: Battlelore is an interesting miniature wargame. As most scenarios do not require the need for additional pieces, it can be played right out of the box and the multiple scenarios offered are a great way to get started. Set-up times is not bad, with experience obviously playing a good part in speeding it up. The useof multiple figures to indicate unit strength can sometimes be a tad slow, though short-cuts of not using the exact figures can be used to make gameplay run faster.

The combat system is the same used for Memoir ’44, with differently experienced troops having different strengths and movements. While staying to the medieval theme for the most part (all the infantry, archers and cavalry have the same statistics), the introduction of goblins and dwarves offer a little variety inn terms of special troops. The special monsters are powerful but as a friend pointed out, easily destroyed and thus a non-issue quite often.

Command cards dictate movement and units that can be activated per turn, enforcing a tactical twist to any strategy – it’s hard to advance on the left flank when all your cards are for the right! Obviously, this has it’s pro’s and con’s as a well laid out strategy can be ruined by the lack of cards.

Battlelore really shines in the use of council and Lore cards. These provide an interesting new way to affect the game while adding a ‘fantasy’ element to it that is not just dragons and goblins and dwarves. This is perhaps the most interesting aspect of Battlelore in my view and what differentiates it from other ‘war’ games.

Two issues that do bother me about the base system is the lack of realism in combat and unit strength. A unit that has only 1 figure left still can do as much damage as an unhurt unit. Also, because units can only battle-back when they are bold, it is possible to entirely destroy a unit without it ever inflicting any damage back to the attacking unit – which seems unrealistic to me. This is perhaps due to the ‘turn’ nature of combat but the rules do dictate a specific strategic and tactical style.

Conclusion: Battlelore is a great fantasy wargame that works for those that are not looking for anything too complicated or realistic. The lack of differentiation of units and the somewhat unrealistic movement (command card) and battle rules dictate strategy in the game. This is perhaps not the game for ‘realists’ but it is a fantasy medieval wargame. Realism is optional, and it has the best depiction and use of magic that I have come across. Most importantly, it’s fun.

Filtered search functionality

Hi all,

Look to your left. Now down. Yup, the long awaited filtered search functionality is up and running. This should really with finding new game, whether it is a specific type of game or games in a price range.

One of the questions that we have is how many options is too many or too few? There are myriad choices available, everything from the publisher/manufacturer filters to number of players to age ranges. It all gets a tad confusing, especially since there isn’t a specific standard out there. As such, in some cases especially number of players, we have tried to simplify the options but in doing so, introducing a few errors. The question is – what is useful for you? More options? Less? Which works better?

The entire system is in beta stage right now, with live testing. So if you come across a problem, do shout out or if you have any suggestions. It is an interesting exercise certainly in usability.

May Newsletter

It’s Spring, at least from what they tell us. Seriously, when is the sunshine going to appear here in Vancouver? Sure, it’s Vancouver and it rains all the time, but we normally get better Springs. Ah well, at least there isn’t any more snow. There are a few updates this May including:

  • New Review Contest – Win a $50 gift certificate to be used on your next order. Since the last review contest went so well, it’s time for another!
  • Sale! – Yup, the sale’s still on as we reduce our inventory of our games. Check out some great deals with some discounts over 50% off retail!
  • New Releases – There’s a new new releases, back-in stock and update page for the site

New Review Contest

Have comments and opinions about any of our games? Well, you can get paid to offer your opinion at Starlit Citadel. For the month of May, all reviews written will be entered into a draw for a $50 gift certificate applicable to your next order. Just log-in to your accounts and write a review for any game. To be entered, a review must be:

  • At least 50 words long
  • Concerning the game itself for the most part. This is a board game review, not a designer or manufacturer review. Feel free to compare games that are similar
  • Original. Please do not use reviews from other sources.
  • We also ask that you not include the following in your review, or we will be unable to post your comments:
    • Foul or otherwise offensive language.
    • Spiteful remarks.
    • Email addresses, URLs, and phone numbers.
    • Prices, availability, or alternate sources.

Further information about the contest and our review policy.

1 Year Anniversary Sale

Our 1 year anniversary sale is still on, even though quite a few games have been sold out. Games we still have on sale include:

New Releases

We have added a new page for all new releases and games back in-stock. So for more comprehensive updates on what has gone back into-stock and new games for our inventory, look at this page.
As always, check our blog for more recent updates and don’t forget, we even have a Facebook page now!