This weekend I had the chance to play Cry Havoc. A winner of multiple awards such as the 2017 Goblin Magnifico Winner and 2016 Cardboard Republic Striker Laurel Winner. It’s a card driven, asymmetric, area control war game with unique factions with different abilities. I played as the human faction which I came to find was probably the easiest of the four. If you were like me and new to the game do yourself a favor and be a human. You’ll thank me.
The factions are broken into 4 races indicated by their own colors, cards and miniatures. There are 54 custom miniatures in the game and they are one of my favorite parts. Not only are they great looking but they’re also large! The game begins when three groups invade a new land ruled by the to steal their resources. One player will play as the Trogs defending their home world’s resources. These resources mainly include crystals that will help players gain victory points.
Learning the game took a while. Sean spent 45 minutes explaining the rules. Since the roles are asymmetrical, every faction has their own abilities. Thankfully we all did our own research learning our specialties cards and structures. There are also various ways to score so pay attention! I ended up winning the game by a point until they realized they had forgotten to count hostage points which then put me in second place. The the game took 3 hours in total to play not including learning the rules. For someone like me who enjoys long strategy games I enjoyed myself, but this is not a game meant for casual gamers who like Hasbro and Party Games.
I enjoyed the minor elements of deck building in preparation for coming battles. The choice between the following actions added a lot to the strategy.
Build and/or activate Structure(s)
Draw 2 Tactic Cards, keep 1
I mainly recruited and spread out my human soldiers around the board to win. Since the humans are yellow, other players called them a swarm. The machines best strategy seemed to be building/activating structures. At the end we all decided to combine forces to stop the machine’s satellite. This was done by winning their territory and having them get stuck in battles.
The combat board was an interesting idea of how to make a multiple lose situation. You can gain territory while having all your players captured or killed at the same time. The same cards you use for actions also at times contain text used to help you in battles. I found that saving those cards helped me get closer to winning the game. Battles were started by one player going into the same region as another player. Once this happened the battle was closed. Meaning no reinforcements or other players could join in. A crystal gets added to the location any battle takes place in. You also get a marker to indicate what number battle this was. So in the three rounds you don’t battle until the end so there is plenty of time for multiple battles to start. The markers help you resolve the battles in the order they occurred since they can affect future battles. If you chose to be the Trogs know that you will be in a lot of battles so save as many cards as you can. When you lose your people after a battle they will regenerate at an adjacent base. If there are no adjacent bases the miniatures are returned to your pile and you will need to use a recruit action to get them back.
Cry Havoc was a lot of fun planning strategies, managing cards and moving around this new world. The battle board had me second guessing myself more than any element of any game I’ve played. Even though it took a long time to be told the rules, the game was easy to pick up. The graphic design makes it easy to understand with the use of symbols and descriptions on the cards and structures. If you’re planning on a game night be prepared to have this be the only game played otherwise you’re in for a late night! For any Euro gamer or fan of strategy games check this game out!
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