“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war” Gandalf in the movie Heart break ridge.
Cry havoc is an asymmetric area control conquest game. It reminds me a bit of a study in emerald first edition (amazing) and blood rage (pretty amazing).
Players start with a hand of action cards a home base and a map of a dozen plus locations full of native trogs (damn trogs) ripe for the murdering of. The map is tight with every spot next to three or four others. The map wraps around so there are no safe spots to hold.
Each round of which there will there will be 4 to 6 roughly consists of three moves per player in which you raise troops, move them, build structures and maybe kick off scoring. When troops wander into enemies they halt and once everyone has had their moves battles are all resolved. Battles are clever and different. There’s no dice. You have limited troops. Twelve in total (sixteen If you’re trogs (damn trogs)) it’s possible in a battle to not only kill enemy troops but take them hostage which is worth points and reduces a player’s ability to impose their rule.
The game is all about taking territories which have crystals in them (battles add more) and holding them during a scoring round to gain points. To operate you spend your cards leveraging in icons on them for movement, recruitment, building/activating and scoring. The other action available is drawing cards from the four terrain decks. Terrain decks add more cards with specific actions on them so you can beef up your action deck with more movement cards, more building cards wherever suits your strategy.
Cards also have actions on them, a lot of which can be used in battle and knowing if an opponent has a stack of cards in their hand before you kick off is important.
Now what’s really interesting is how each faction works. The trogs are the planet natives and are fast at moving via tunnels, can lay traps and defenses and pretty much annoy the shite out of you. The robot dudes have access to lots of defensive and offensive buildings so they are masters of digging in and slowly advancing. The humans are great at scouting, fast moving and calling in really unwelcome artillery. The other dudes (space elves or something) are fast and well I dunno they’re good too. Each of them is different enough to warranty many replays. Each of them have (which I obviously love) a real FU sting in their tail. Being a king maker or vengeance is just a move away.
Production quality is very good. Not exceptional. The models are serviceable but could benefit (much like myself) from more definition. Cards and components are bang on. No complaints.
So far I’ve played the same faction a couple of times and my overwhelming urge is to play again.
I like games where all the factions are different to each other. I couldn’t say for sure if one is more powerful than another but it didn’t seem that way. There’s so much going on here that it would be hard to figure that out.
I REALLY like this game. I thought I might when I first heard about it but I wasn’t so sure after my first game. After the second I was sold. Just like a good album. I’ll tell you how much I like it. I’m going to lobby my wife to buy it for me for xmas
Very high marks