Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 30-60 min
Age requirements: 13+
Set-up time: 5 minutes
Defenders of the Realm: Battlefields is a card game in which you must lay certain cards to collect a battlefield. Cards you play may attack and the first player or team to claim the required number of battlefields wins the game.
Battlefields is a game set in the same world as Defenders of the Realm. Other than that the games have little in common.
Your goal depends on the game level you choose to play. In the standard mode you want to claim any four battlefields or three of the same primary color. The battlefields come in black, red, green or blue.
The cards are numbered from one to ten and though one deck is for minions and one is for heroes, they mirror each other. The creature on the card may be different but the text for matching numbers in each deck is the same. Your hand size depends on the number of players.
There are two types of cards, troops and specials. Troops are added to the battlefield and specials may be played at any time.
If you play with three or four players, the game is played in teams. A three player games pits two players against the other one.
On your turn you either place a card on a battlefield, add a general for support or muster your troops. When placing one of your troops on a battlefield you must follow a few rules. First you must meet the requirements of the battlefield. These requirements include colors, even or odd numbers, in descending order or specific cards. You also may only have one copy of a card at each location.
When a card is placed it can attack an opponent’s card on the opposite side of the battlefield. The first hit will stun the card and the next will remove it. You must stun all your opponent’s cards at a location before you can attempt to remove one. You may play a card that is already at a location to un-stun it, or if it is not stunned, to attack again. You roll a die to determine if you hit. After battles are resolved you draw back up to your hand size.
You may play one of your three generals to support troops at a location. The generals have a limited number of uses but they can help you. They let you re-roll attacks (or force your opponent to), un-stun troops, roll extra die and more. When you muster you may discard up to three cards and then draw up to your hand size.
If you accomplish the victory conditions on a battlefield you take it and add a new one to the table. Winning a battlefield grants you a reward and discards all cards there (including generals). Once you claim the number of required battlefields, based on the game level, you win.
The components look great and are well-made. The rulebook is a bit tricky in some spots. You might run into a few situations that are not covered. None of these are too tough to rule on not are the rules that bad. I just wish they were written a bit clearer.
I like how all the cards interact with each other. The stun, un-stun and eliminate mechanic is cool and makes things tense as you try to complete victory conditions at a battlefield.
This game can be played and enjoyed by a variety of ages and that means it will hit your table more often.
The team play is cool but three player is not quite as fun as a two or four player game. The player that is alone has the same total number of cards as the total of the other team but since they have access to all of them, they have a slight advantage.
If you enjoy Larry Elmore art, or the Defenders of the Realm universe you should try out this fun light game. If you are looking for a game with a fantasy theme that plays quick, pick this one up.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 4 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 5 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6