Humans and orcs just can't get along when towers are involved. Last week I reviewed Castle Panic, where humans try to protect their tower from wave after wave of monsters, including orcs. This week I'm reviewing Batt'l Kha'os, a tile game where orcs and humans vie for control of several towers

Batt'l Kha'os is for two players who take on the roles of knights (wearing orange) and orcs (wearing purple). Victory comes from controlling towers. Each tower has a point value (1-4), color flag (orange or purple), and a number of knights, orcs, or blank spaces on each corner. The first player to get 7 points wins!

"Combat" comes from tile placement. Like tower tiles, each tile has a number of knights, orcs, and blank areas on the corners. When three corners adjacent to a tower tile are filled, players count up the number of orcs and knights around all four corners. If the knights are the majority, they control the corner and an orange token is placed there; if there are more orcs, they get the corner and place a purple token there; if it's a tie, a neutral token (showing a human and orc skeleton) goes there. When all four corners around a tower have tokens, the side controlling the most corners controls the tower and gets its points; if it's a tie, the points go to the knights if the tower has an orange flag and to the orcs if the castle has a purple flag.

Then there are special tokens that can be played on non-Tower tiles. Drums add one or two warriors (based on the token played) to each corner of a just-played tile for that player's side. The Leader multiplies each corner's warriors by two, the Banner lets you play a second tile immediately, and the Halbred prevents your opponent from playing a tile adjacent to your tile for that turn. (The advanced game has five additional tokens, plus a few different Towers.) Once a token is played it can't be moved, so they must be used carefully.

While Batt'l Kha'os is fun, it's also a little too simple. As soon as you know an opponent will take a Tower -- either through greater troops or from a tie at a Tower with their color -- you can abandon that Tower and start planning for your next Tower to control. The tokens add a little change to the place-and-add turns, but since you know what tokens your opponent has there's not a lot of surprise. Batt'l Kha'os is simple and it is quick, but it's more something for two people to play before or after a more involving game than a draw in itself.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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