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Well it took me some profound thinking and a trip to the internet to discover that BATALJ wasn't 'BATTLE J' but that it is in fact a Swedish or Norwegian word that means 'Battle' (so the Englishman in me asks if they were releasing it for the English speaking market (and I am including Americans) why the **** they didn't just call it 'Battle' in the first place?). 
The Tutorial gets you into the swing of things by letting you build your own army squad from the available troops to your chosen faction - Rustlers, Re-Linked or Spicers - and pit them against opposing forces chosen and placed by you on the given landscape which is overlaid with movement hexes, thus units do not move in a straight line but in the zig-zag fashion forced on them by the edges of each hex. Boardgamers will already be used to this style of movement as will many computer and console using strategy games players. If this isn't something you have previously encountered it is pretty easy to use especially as the hexes you can move to are highlighted.


BATALJ is a one on one combat game played in Rounds where both sides simultaneously select their squad units then schedule their movement and actions before setting them off on their way - sort of 'wind them up and let them go'.

It is a mech-style strategy game and each unit has its own movement value as well as special effects, skills and attack/defence possibilities. Once the players have hit the 'Done' button the action occurs quite speedily as in turn the units went on their preset ways, including using their attacking abilities.


The units are shown at the top of the screen colour coded in rectangular shaped boxes, each marked as they are used and removed as they are destroyed; the necessary strengths are shown as data bars above the units and reduced as damage is taken. This is another visual aid used in all of these type of games and one that most players will be used to; part of the fun is watching your opponent's units life drain away digitally in front of them.


Apart from the Tutorial there are the solo play in the Sandbox where you basically run around exploring, create opposition units to test your own choices against and mainly get used to the instructions received in the Tutorial. It is fun as you have a reasonable list of units to choose from that you can add as either Friendly or Enemy. What you really need though is to be able to put your skills into action against another human player who can be anywhere out there in the world (possibly?) but more likely to be in Europe (or the USA) if you are up late at night or really early morning playing.


This is where I have had the most problems with the game. My free time very much revolves around when I am not doing something on the website, which means most of the morning and afternoon are out of the question and then from 6pm till late I have dinner and spend time with my wife watching movies, playing games or chatting like happily married people do. This means that I am rarely available at any regular time. I may grab an hour or so in the early morning or afternoon if I am a little heady after continual typing but then being disabled through back injury I am just as likely to go and lay down for an hour or three to wean off the pain; sometimes painkillers work sometimes they have no effect. What I am getting at is I cannot make a regular date and time to play which means getting opponents is a hit and miss affair, and I have only missed. I spent 15 minutes waiting when I first loaded the game and lately I have let it stand for 10-20 minutes waiting for a hit but no-one seems to bite. 


Of course the word may have gotten around from other online games that I am easy to win against and thus players are looking for stronger opposition, or perhaps I am just unlucky. I looked online and many people are putting up videos and reviews of their games so I guess they must be playing it, I just haven't been able to find anyone within my given time period to play against. I could have read up on other people's reviews and paraphrased their findings to give you a better idea of the game, but I have promised to always be as true, honest and fair when writing anything about the games I receive for review for the publishers and players. It isn't a game fault that has caused me not to have played it is just my unfortunate time availability.


Having said that, I have enjoyed playing through the tutorial a few times and also the Sandbox game gives me plenty of scope to try out all the possible units as both friends and enemies, not many games give you that many options.


The game is played in phases; these being selecting Squads, Scheduling and then Action with the latter continuing until all the planned Actions have been taken and then it's back to Scheduling if units have survived and require new orders.


I would aim you dear reader towards the YouTube Channel where upon typing in the name BATALJ you will find several rewarding videos about the game.



© Chris Baylis 2011-2015