Pros: Miniature castle warfare with live ammo!
Cons: Watch out for your eyes!
The object of Battleground: Crossbows and Catapults is to take miniature plastic siege weapons, powered by elastic bands, and fling little discs at your opponent in order to knock down their soldiers and castle walls. It's medieval style castle warfare where you physically attack your enemy. This War Chest Starter Set gives you everything you need to play the game with one other player.
I saw this in a Toys-r-Us for the clearance price of just $9.98, and I couldn't pass it up. I remember having an earlier version of Crossbows and Catapults when I was a kid, and the gameplay is a lot similar in this one. The only difference is that this game does not include any kind of playing board. It was made to play on a rectangular table - preferably a dining room or coffee table. I wouldn't recommend playing it on carpet.
In this set, you get two castles, two catapults, two cannons, two crossbows, and a dozen or so figures to represent orcs and humans. You also get some flags and little stone barriers to put up for protection. To set up the game, you just place the figures all over the table and try to protect your guys with the stone barriers. The rules say you must have one soldier close to a weapon for it to be used. Each turn you get two actions, which means you can either fire twice or move twice, or move once and fire once. The choice is up to you. The game is over once somebody gets all their soldiers taken out.
The siege weapons in this game are pretty cool. The little catapult will fling the disc a good five or six feet if you pull it all the way back. The cannon will shoot about four feet and is good for lobbing ordinance over walls. However, I think the best weapon is the crossbow because it shoots flat across the surface and is great for busting up barriers. Because of how it shoots, it would be useless on carpet. It is fairly easy to knock stuff down with the weapons, so the game moves very fast.
I think the whole point of this game is to play castle warfare and sling stuff back and forth at each other. The rules are pretty sparse, and to be honest, who needs them? It's fun just to set up the castles and shoot at each other. The discs it fires are a little bigger than a checker piece and don't carry enough velocity to put an eye out, but there is still some danger involved in this game. I wouldn't recommend it for very small children.
After you've played this game, there are some expansion packs available that give you more weapons, buildings, and figures, which is always nice. I think this is a really fun game, but the only real downside to it is that only two people can play at a time. Otherwise, who wouldn't want to engage in some tabletop castle warfare?