Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Battle Ravens: How to play

Battle Ravens is pretty simple to play:

1. Place your Ravens
2. Spend your Ravens to move your Warriors and attack the enemy
3. Roll dice to attack and remove Warriors who fail to block hits
4. Capture enemy Shieldwall areas where no Warriors remain
5. Capture three enemy Shieldwall areas to win the game

There's a bit more to it than that, of course...

The game  is played on a battlefield board six areas wide; each army has its own section of each of these six shieldwall areas (so the board is effectively 12 areas in total). To win the game you need to control at least three of these shieldwall areas at the end of any turn.

An army consists of 18 Hirdmen, 18 Bondi, 3 Thralls, and 20 Ravens. These are punchboard counters – the Hirdmen, Bondi, and Thralls stand upright in plastic stands. Hirdmen are an army’s tough guys – the hardest warriors to kill. Bondi are an army’s average Joes, good enough to fight well but easier to kill than Hirdmen. And Thralls flit around safely behind the shieldwall, throwing javelins and shooting arrows. Ravens are action points to spend during each turn.
Into each of their own six shieldwall areas of the board, a player places three Hirdmen and three Bondi at the start of the game. The three Thralls are placed in their own area behind your shieldwall.

Each turn, players take their raven counters and take place them into their own shieldwall areas. You can place up to nine in an area, and once you’ve placed some, you can’t return to add more later in the turn – you need to place all ravens for an area at the same time. Once both players have placed all of their ravens, they take it in turns to spend them. 

Ravens can be spent on moving warriors into an adjacent area, attacking the enemy warriors directly opposite, or attempting to block hits inflicted on your own warriors. To attack, you roll a number of dice equal to the number of ravens you spend; the same applies when blocking – two sides of a six-sided dice have 1 success on them and one side has 2 successes on it … the other sides are misses. To kill a Bondir you need 1 success, and to kill a Hirdman you need 2. Thralls can be used to re-roll failed attacks.

At the end of the turn, any enemy area with no warriors in it is captured by your own warriors – but don’t commit too many warriors into one area, otherwise they’ll all charge off to capture the enemy’s shieldwall area, loot the dead and drink mead and so on, and be of no further help to you in the game!

Win three areas and you win the game. In a nutshell, that’s how you play Battle Ravens. It’s pretty simple to learn, but leaves you with plenty of tough choices as you play – you’ll never have enough ravens to do everything you’d want to do!

Battle Ravens will be on Kickstarter from 20 November 2018!