Gameday First Play – Cry Havoc

Malorie: Sterling, no! You’re not well. What are you going to do?

Archer: Cry havoc and let slip the hogs of war!

Lana: Dogs of war…

Archer: Whatever farm animal of war, Lana! Shut up!

Cry Havoc is a card-driven, asymmetric, area control war game set in a brutal, science fiction setting.

Each player controls one of 4 races, 3 are invaders and 1 is an indigenous race just minding their on business. This race, the Trogs, are always in play so it’s controlled by the game if there are fewer than 4 players.

cry-havoc-race-card

The game is played over 6 steps, step 1 is to reveal the event for the round which also acts as the game timer… You also update the turn order track if it changed last round.

cry-havoc-inititive-track

You also refresh your skill cards. Everyone has 3 and you can use each one once per round… One of these is always in play for the race you control and the other two can be selected randomly or picked from a selection.

cry-havoc-skill-cards

In step 2 you draw 4 cards…  There is a bit of a deck building thing going on here so the cards you draw can come from a somewhat crafted deck, albeit crafted fairly randomly. You all start off with a deck of similar but slightly different cards, each leaning towards that races speciality.

cry-havoc-cards

Step 3 is where players take actions… You take turns taking one action each 3 times per round over 5 rounds. Not a long game…

 So the actions are…

Move, the cards in the image above show the symbols in the top left… You discard as many as you like and for each’Arrow’ icon you discard you can move one unit to one adjacent region. Some cards lets you draw more cards when you play them.

If you move units into an area where other units are you put a battle token underneath to show the order the different combat order…

cry-havoc-battle

Recruit, for each ‘Person’ icon, add a unit from your supply to your starting area on the board.

cry-havoc-minis

Build, discard a number of ‘Spanner’ icons to build a building… I didn’t do this all game, I was focused on the other stuff but buildings provide abilities.

You can draw 2 cards and keep one…

Lastly, you can enable scoring by playing a card that allows you to do so and this triggers some scoring at the end of the current round…

One everyone has taken their actions you resolve battles…

This is done via a separate board so the players involved (The players to the right of the active player plays the resident Trogs if they’re not controlled by a player)

Units are moved to a separate board which is divided into 3 sections, the attackers place first.

cry-havoc-combat

You then take turns playing cards to move units on the board and even resolve the order of battle from bottom to top, as it’s generally top to bottom… The cards you can play depends if they match the territory the battle is in…

Whoever has the most units in the top section wins control of the region and scores 2 points.

Whoever wins the middle section captures one of the other players units from this board, anywhere on this board. So in the example above the Green Trogs could capture a Red mech thing from the so far unresolved bottom section, bringing it level.

Whoever wins the bottom section kills one of the enemy units from this board, removing it from play. (But I think it’s one kill per unit placed here, not sure if we played that right or not)

After the battles are resolved players score 1 point per prisoner they have and in initiative order can spend 2 points to buy a prisoner back.

Then, if scoring is enabled each player scores points equal to the value of crystals in regions they control. I haven’t spoke about crystals yet but they’re important for scoring and the point of the game really. They’re added at th start of the game then via events, Trog tokens, combat and other things and you want to control as many regions as possible to control the most crystals… But obviously you don’t want to spread too thin and not be able to defend yourself.

The player that enabled scoring, and only one player can do that per round, scores points equal to the number of regions they control.

After 5 rounds, most points wins.

It’s a pretty good for a dudes on a map game… They’re not my thing.

It’s very pretty and the combat system is really good but the game as a whole isn’t as good as I’d hoped. I thought it was similar to Blood Rage and even reminded me of Small World a bit…

My random skill card choice got me more points than anything else in the game… One let me control an empty adjacent region for free, the other let me score a point for each region I controlled… That was a good random combo 🙂

So yeah, it was good, not as good as I’d hoped and I’m still looking for that game I really like in that ‘Kemet‘ style, but better… maybe I’ll just have to stick to El Grande? 🙂

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