Speak to me of... Battlemasters!


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Post Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:57 pm

Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

From the man who bought you Heroquest and Space Crusade, came Battlemasters! Another GW themed wargame from MB games in the early 90s.

For some reason, I'm intrigued by this kooky monopose rules-light wargame, what does it play like, is it any fun?

You can get the rules, legally from Hasbro (the current rights) holders here:

https://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/ ... asters.PDF

And I thought I might be able to back-convert it to a kind of 1970s Avalon Hill style hex-and-chit wargame and play it. But what I'm not clear about is the breakdown of components, what the break down of the battle-cards is, what the Ogre cards do, the odds on the custom dice, what the Combat Values of the units are etc. etc. Can anyone fill me in on the detail?
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Post Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:25 am

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

I believe the dice were the same as in Heroquest. You can sometimes pick up decks of the cards quite cheaply on ebay.
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Post Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:37 pm

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

I would love to have helped, but during my Great 90s Plastics Purge of 2017 I got rid of my copy of Battle Masters!

My advice would be to look up various scans people have made of the game on Board Game Geek, which I think display all the different cards and the combat values of the units.

The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that the dice had two skulls, two shields and two blank sides. They actually make a great alternative to Hero Quest dice if you count the blanks as "misses". They're made of plastic and the symbols are properly etched in, making them way more durable than the HQ ones, which were prone to have their symbols worn off after only a few uses.
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Post Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:26 am

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

Thanks for the correction stormbringer. :)
My HQ dice feel like wood, but the designs are engraved and not in any danger of wearing off...

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Post Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:53 pm

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

Cool. BGG was a good place to start - Should have thought of that myself! Doh! there are a good few reconstructions there that almost do what I wanted to with it, which is nice to see, but I think I can get it on a single a4 sheet and go more minimalist, more like the diagrams in the book.

From there I found a link with all the info on how to make the game yourself:

https://everything2.com/index.pl?node_i ... id=1092097

And then I start pulling my hair out.

  • Roads on the map - make no difference to movement of troops.
  • Shield symbols on some troops - makes no difference to saves.

arghhgh! what kind of game is this! lol! I'm sure it will make sense if played...

The dice odds are given as 1/2 combat success (skulls) and 1/6 defence success (bunny), so Heroquest dice would work.
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Post Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:11 pm

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

Keep us updated with your progress! I would love to see what you do with it!

I have only played the game once, in 1992. It was my first introduction to Warhammerish things and I remember being enchanted by the Ogre Champion and the Beastmen.
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Post Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:09 am

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

Here's a batrep I did with it:http://givemlead.blogspot.com/2015/08/oldhammer-weekend-usa-battle-masters.html

So the deck: you just shuffle the deck, and whatever card is drawn that unit takes it's action. Some cards let you move multiple units or the whole army. Then on each card it give how many combat dice you roll for that unit.

As for the ogre...when his card comes up you choose a target, then flip cards and follow the actions. Think of it as a WFB troll sometimes he wont do what you want, but if he does he can wipe out a whole unit. The same process is similar with the empire cannon and the explosion templates. With each template layed down to your target, you then flip them and see if the explosion lands on intended target or someone else.

It's simple and fun, and for you I'm gonna say easily hackable to whatever you want to do with it.

Let me know if you need any further clarification. ;)

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Post Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:29 am

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

i think i've played more battlemasters than any other miniatures wargame and i'm slowly working my way through painting a set. its really simple, ideal for kids, but a fun game with plenty for adult players.

i think that the biggest problem with battlemasters is that there are so many miniatures that painting them is pretty gruelling and became a bit of a chore when i was a kid. but the game itself is fun. i especially enjoy the cannon function, which is dead frustrating iirc.

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Post Tue Apr 17, 2018 8:24 pm

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

Yeah, definitely avoiding painting up any minis before playing this one ;)

So I'm working towards the idea I'm calling "Battle Masters: Pocket Edition" - real minimal, transportable and playable in a very small space.

battle_masters_pocket_playtest.jpg
Battle Masters Pocket Playtest 1
battle_masters_pocket_playtest.jpg (112.4 KiB) Viewed 660 times


This is an initial prototype or play-test version, not the final thing. You can download the PDF here which also includes the Battle Cards:
https://app.box.com/s/1k60l0v6zrj2rnkedt46t9pbmf74bqcn

Some notes that should help make sense of it:

  • Bottom right number is Attack Dice
  • Top right number is range in hexes of ranged weapons
  • Everything on the playmat that doesn't effect the game has been removed
  • Chaos = everything with a black background and white figure.
  • Empire = everything with a white background and black figure.

I'm going to use this to play through the 5 scenarios from the Campaign in the original rulebook, see how the tokens physically work, and also how the game itself plays.

If anyone wants to download, print and play it I'd be very grateful for any feedback, and happy to credit any playtesters on the final file which should eventually work its way onto Board Game Geek as a free download should I ever finish it.
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Post Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:38 am

Re: Speak to me of... Battlemasters!

This looks beautiful, Zhu! I'll try to get it printed, played and reviewed as soon as I can.
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