Games Workshop seems to be having a resurgence of sorts lately. With the release of Age of Sigmar 2nd edition and Warhammer 8th edition, GW has seen almost a new golden age. Regardless of your particular flavor of tabletop wargame (40k, AoS, WM/H, Malifaux, Guildball, etc) it is hard to miss what GW has been putting out and their ‘standalone games’ have been knocking it out of the park. I have not personally played all of the standalone games, but I have dallied with Warhammer Underworlds and Killteam and I enjoyed them both, and I have a friend who swears by Blackstone Fortress. I really enjoyed Killteam and the customization that you could bring to your team. The tactics where sound and the game play solid.
When Warcry was announced I was rather excited to see that they were bringing a skirmish game to Age of Sigmar…and then I saw the first models and spoiler videos and my heart sank. I was expecting Killteam for AoS and instead it was a whole new game with a whole new model line and it was heavily focused on Chaos. The first thought through my head at that point was ‘whelp, I am out!’ The game didn’t seem to have any of the customization that came from Killteam or anything to do with Killteam other than it being a skirmish game. Seeing as how Warcry was being made by the same people that made Killteam, I was disappointed with what I read.
I kept tabs on the game as it was announced and more info was previewed on the Warhammer-Community website and the more I learned about it, the less and less I thought about not buying into the game. I watched the ‘How to Play Warcry with Becca Scott” and the preview of the Cypher Lords warband…that was the end for me. I knew then that I was going to purchase into the game no matter what and honestly I am glad I did.
I assembled all of the terrain and the warbands (and yes, I did purchase the Cypher Lords). I have also purchased the addition terrain sets…I bought the farm. I had watched lots of YouTube videos on how to play, I had read the rulebook front to back, but I still hadn’t actually played a game. Amazingly enough I just got in my first games this past Saturday almost a month or so past its release. My buddy and I had an absolute blast. We spent some time going over the rules and then we just dove right in.
The game plays very simply and I think that is the best-selling point, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. It is a very strategic game, so put those strategy caps on. The rules are well thought out and well organized in the rulebook. The ‘Getting Started’ guide pointed right to where the pertinent rules were located and the cross-referencing in the main rulebook is spot on. When we actually had a question about the rules (and there were not very many at all) it was easy enough to look them up and get our answers. The longest part of the set up was matching the game board to the Terrain Card and once that was done the game was quick, fast, furious, and fun. We got in a few games and then had a sit down to chat about the game itself
*****A note of caution, the Terrain Cards require you to assemble the terrain a very specific way so if you plan on using the Terrain Cards, please assemble the terrain according to the picture on the front of the assembly guide (Terrain Assembly Guide and Video).*****
To begin the game, you select your Warband and then you divide it up in three battlegroups: Hammer, Dagger, Shield. Once your battlegroups have been selected you then you draw your Terrain Card and set up the game board. Followed by the Deployment Card which dictates when and where your three battlegroups come onto the table. Once your models are down you draw the Victory Card to see what your victory condition is and then finally you pull the Twist Card, which adds a nice well…twist to the game. After that you dive right into models jumping, flying, doing somersaults, and attacking the other models in a bid to win the game.
I played the Cypher Lords who are very agile but very fragile, they don’t have a lot of wounds but they have a lot of attacks and they have abilities that play up to that agile style. My friend played the Iron Golems who are a bit slower and more purposeful and while they don’t have a lot of attacks they are tougher and can dish out the hurt (the Ogor is no joke). He won one game and I won the other game. Everything flowed very smoothly and didn’t feel awkward at all. Neither one of us felt like the other had the advantage in the two games we played. The randomness of the game board generation made it so that neither one of use could min-max the list or specifically tailor our list to the other person. I couldn’t plan to counter his Dagger battlegroup with my Dagger battlegroup because I don’t know if his Dagger would come in 2nd round or be deployed 1st round. The attack rolls are simple, you compare your strength to the opponent’s toughness and roll. If you hit you wound. Nice and easy.
Our first game played a bit slower as we were reading up on the rules we didn’t quite understand, learning how to spend Quads, Triples and Double to power abilities and just generally getting a feel for the game but it didn’t take much more than 40 minutes. The second game we played took about 25 minutes and if it hadn’t been for the fact that we went out for dinner and stayed a bit longer than intended we would have gotten in another game or two before we called it a night.
After playing the game (admittedly twice) I think this game is a keeper and will bring to AoS what KillTeam brought to 40k. A fast-paced skirmish game that will allow people to get in lots of games with minimal investment (comparatively speaking) and when you have limited time to get in a game, Warcry will be perfect to meet that requirement.
I play lots of wargames and I tend to have way too many models for all of them but the appeal of purchasing one two player starter box for around $150 and getting almost a million different games out of it is pretty staggering. Adding in additional Warbands and Terrain sets gives different play styles and GW hasn’t just limited it to the different warbands designed for the game but they have also included 3 different Warbands from the three other Grand Alliances (Order, Death, Destruction) which totals up to 17 different warbands. That is pretty impressive list of Warbands to choose from at the launch of a game.
I am just a casual player so I play the Open Play games but GW has also put in a Narrative Campaign play and Competitive play so they are appealing to a broad category of gamers. I know the play style and simplicity of Warcry won’t appeal to everyone and I think my only real complaint is that a few extra dice of each color would have been great but overall I think GW has got a great product on its hands and I can’t wait to see what the next expansions are for the game. I genuinely enjoyed playing the game and like I said a bit earlier I am itching to get in more games.
The big thing to remember is that Warcry takes place in the Age of Sigmar Fantasy Realm but the game is not Age of Sigmar by any stretch. It is a Stand Alone Game in every sense of the word. If you are looking to play small point AoS games go get the AoS Skirmsh book, if you want to play a fun game full of random twists, changing terrain and awesome looking models…go buy Warcry.