List Price: $60.00
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(Worth 4,799 Funagain Points!)
from 55 customer reviews
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From 1861 to 1865, the United States was at war with itself. The battles of the American Civil War have taken a place in the fabric of American history. And here is your chance to recreate 15 of those Civil War Battles.
Battle Cry elegantly and simply recreates the Civil War experience. The gameboard can be setup with woods, hills, houses, and other features to recreate the specific terrain of the battle. The game system involves using cards to issue orders to specific units on the board. Combat dice decide the outcome of an attack, modified for terrain, distance, and other factors. Whenever a unit is completely destroyed, the victor gets the flag from that unit. Collect six flags first and win the battle.There are also rules for campaign play.
Average Rating: 4.4 in 55 reviews
I've owned Battle Cry for a couple of years now, and it's one of my favorites. The rules are simple and fairly clear. The components are terrific looking, and the board/tile system gives you lots of flexibility. Initial set-up is definately a pain--lots of figures and flags to assemble--you will want to set aside an hour or two before you are able to play your first game. Once your figures are ready to go, getting ready for a scenario only takes 5 minutes or so.
Althought the rules are not at the level of a 'simulation', I feel the game is excellent at emulating the ebb and flow of a battle. It 'feels' right to see your infantry charge a hill, only to be beaten back by withering cannon fire. Calvalry can be very effective, especially against isolated forces without protection on their flanks. Terrain is crucial. Leadship from your generals on the field can make or break a battle.
As stated in other rules, there can sometimes be a fairly high luck factor, especially with some powerful cards (All-out-attack can generally turn the tide of most battles). However, there are some good resources on the net with alternate rules, new scenarios, etc.
Not a game for grognards, but a ton of fun for anyone interested in an entry-level wargame. Highly recommended!
I love this game because it captures the FEEL of a Civil War battle in a short, FUN gaming session. The pieces and board tiles are well done, the flavor of the War Between the States is here, and the dice you must roll to determine battle casualties seem to be balanced in favor of common sense. Battle Cry's theme is strong, even if its mechanics are rather abstract.
If I expected a highly-detailed, historically accurate wargame, though, I'm sure I'd be disappointed.
Battle Cry's board allows you to customize the landscape to reflect the basic layout of the battlefields. If you've ever walked these killing fields (and, here in Virginia, it's hard not to), you can see just how important holding a hill, or controlling a bluff truly was. Battle Cry reflects, in abstract, the feel of a battlefield. Winners seek out the hills, strike from the woods, and use buildings to their advantage.
The cards that give you the commands at your disposal CAN be frustrating when the luck of the draw doesn't go your way. Dice rolls that force you to retreat from a hill when you're WINNING a battle can be infuriating. I like to think of a bad hand or rotten dice roll as reflecting the communications problems and utter confusion that was often encountered in this war, but, having had my share of unlucky streaks, I can see how this misfortune could turn a wargamer off.
So, here are my suggestions to help a wargamer like this game:
1. Change your expectations. This game is heavily luck-based, and abstract in nature. While a bit more challenging than vanilla Risk, Battle Cry is NOT a wargame. If you look at it as a bridge game to other wargames, or as a filler, you might be able to tolerate it, or...
2. Change the GAME. By its nature, Battle Cry is easily adaptable. Suggested 'house' rules include reducing the units affected by the 'All Out Offensive' card to four, instead of ALL units, allow Skirmish cards that affect only one unit to apply to ANY flank, not just the one listed on the card, and be more liberal on the rules regarding discarding useless cards.
Okay, I know the argument that a game should be playable out of the box and not have to be 'fixed' with a litany of house rules. In Battle Cry's case, I don't agree. You can tweak the game to cut back the dependency of luck, and to increase the historical accuracy. There are trainloads of options at www.boardgamegeek.com including rules changes, new landscape tiles, more battle scenarios, etc.
Battle Cry is one of my favorite 2-player games, but unlike The Lord of the Rings: The Confrontation, and Hera and Zeus, Battle Cry is just as much a game KIT as it is a game.
I already have this game almost two years and I never wrote an article about it. But at this very hour of the day I have the feeling I have just to do this. I'm not going to give an overview of the rules because many fellow gamers already did so! I only want to say that Battle Cry and its designer Richard Borg earns every bit of respect. His game is a hit because it doesn't pretend to be an exact simulation of the battles of the American Civil War, nor does it pretend to be a wargame. I have quite a lot of wargames (75 Avalon Hills) and I played most of them, but Battle Cry surely doesn't fit in this category, nor does it want to.
It's however a terrific game for a moment when you don't have the time to set up Third Reich, World in Flames, Advanced Squad Leader, or the like. It's brilliant in its simplicity and we play it quite a lot.
Much has been written about the first rate appearance of this game, the clarity of the rules, the brevity of playing time, and the pure fun of playing - and this is all true. To this I will add that the game design is ingenious. The modular nature makes it easy to design additional battle scenarios. There are a few dozen online (unfortunately the novelty seems to have waned and there have not been many posted recently). Furthermore, although I believe the rules as written are great, the system is flexible enough to allow tailoring of the rules while still staying within the overall system.
Detractors point to the luck inherent with cards and die rolls and lack of detailed historical accuracy as downsides. It would be inaccurate to totally deny these charges, but I would argue that these attributes are overall strengths as opposed to weaknesses. While occasionally card/dice luck can get carried away (I recently blasted my way nearly unopposed through the center of the Union line at Gettysburg day 3 against an unfortunate opponent who was victimized by the 'luck of the draw'), on balance cards and dice do a very nice job of creating the fog of war during the period. Many of the battles during the American Civil War leave one wondering why a particular general failed to attack, failed to recognize an all out enemy attack was more than a decoy, etc. Battle Cry in many ways simulates this far more successfully than map and counter games where large armies move in perfect coordination across massive geographic areas.
In terms of detailed historical accuracy, granted Battle Cry sidesteps details such as strength of specific historical units, range of particular models of weapons, etc. However, without detracting from playability, the game system does effectively capture factors such as the relative strengths of generals, the supremacy of infantry units, the vulnerability of artillery in the middle of the battlefield, and the passing of the frontal cavalry charge as an effective tactic.
In summary I highly recommend this game to anyone interested in an enjoyable tactical simulation of the American Civil War period.
I love this game so much I play it solitare (unforunately I usually beat myself). You do not have to be a Civil War enthusiast to appreciate this game. Here is what it has going for it...
1. Quick to play- maybe 45mn to hour.
2. Lots of strategy
3. Historically accurate-recreates conditions and terrain of actual battles as best it can.
4. Loads of fun- I could play this game non-stop time and time again.
It does have a few drawbacks-
- setup time is a little longer than I like but not too bad
- you are at the mercy of the cards that you draw, sometimes one of your flanks remains inactive until you can draw a particular card
So load up Johnny Reb and lay down the greenbacks for this one- you will thank me later.
It took me a year to buy this game. Im not a wargamer. I used to make fun of them, actually. The genre just doesnt do much for me. I bought this one anyway and I understand its wide appeal now and part of it is that it plays more like a boardgame than those convoluted war games. But make no mistake: Battle Cry is meant to be a FOUR player game and Ill explain this in a moment.
Ive never seen a game that is so labour-intensive. Two whole days of separating pieces, putting on stickers, sorting out units . . . only a good game would make me forget about all that work. And good it is. Tense, chaotic and fast. Just like the reviews said.
The main reason why I like this game is because I have balanced the cards and created some new ones. The original cards are not balanced and, while some will argue that having stronger and weaker cards are part of the game, I think many of the cards are so lopsided as to make the game unstable, which is really bad given that theres enough luck with the dice. Cards should have variety, but there still needs to be a balance within the cards or the randomness becomes more pronounced. I will share with you what I changed as well as my 4-player recomendation.
Players A1 & A2 will battle B1 & B2. Each player starts with 2 regular cards and 1 special order card. Players cannot show each other their cards. The order goes A1, B1, A2, B2. At the start of A1s turn, he draws a regular card. He cannot talk with A2 about strategy until he has chosen the card he wants to play and dropped it on the table. Then they can talk. Ultimately, A1 gets the final decision on what to do (it IS his turn) and he has to roll the dice himself. If he happens to win a flag he earns 1 special card. If he happens to win a generals flag he earns 2 special cards: 1 for himself and 1 for his partner. Therefore, the only way to collect special cards is by winning flags. Game goes to six flags unless there is a 5-5 tie and then it goes to 7 flags.
What you'll notice is that over the course of the game, as you win flags, the number of cards in your hand will increase. This accelerates the pace of the game as you have more, and better, options to strategize. Most importantly, though, enforce that 'no communication rule'.
How I changed the cards: some ideas I found on the internet, some I made up myself. For all the special cards, I wrote a small S in the top right corner to easily sort out the special card deck from the regular deck:
1) All Out Offensive card changed to any 4 units
2) 2 Sharp Shooter cards changed to Movement: move 5 units no attack
3) Counter-Attack changed to unit that was attacked (must still be alive) gets 1 free attack' (play 2 cards this turn)
1) 1 Skirmish and 1 Probe card changed to Double-Blitz: activate 2 units in each L & R flank
2) All Skirmish cards changed to activate 1 unit in any flank
3) 4 Probe cards changed to activate 2 units in any flank
4) All Assault cards changed to activate 4 units in the front. The farthest 4 units in the front are activated. So if you have 2 units in the very front row and 3 units in the next row back, the first 2 units have to be moved and your choice of 2 of the 3 units in the next row back can be activated.
This becomes a thrilling game of teamwork now. I much prefer this over the 2-player version.
Battle Cry is one of the most versatile board games created. Its theme lies in battles, played with a set of simple, yet elegant rules.
The versatility begins with the hex tiles that alter the texture and flavor of the battlefields. Hexes can be altered by river, hills, forests, groves, fences, impassable rocks or buildings. There are countless strategic advantages to spaces and tightly defined, tactical mini-battles will emerge over critical bits of board space. A battle for a hex can be costly in terms of plastic life and victory. You can hear the rumble of cannon, the charge of hoof beats and the crack of muskets. I also think of the lives that were lost over these battlefields many years ago. Not too many games can do that.
The basic rules lend themselves to modification and this is where the game really shines. The game can be simplified or made more complex by making adjustments to the rules. The rules are easily manipulated and you may create games that take place with Ancients, Napoleanic Era, World Wars or Sci-Fi, basically what ever your heart desires.
Furthermore, there are fantastic, well researched scenerios for Battle Cry. Based of actual battles, they are readily available on the net. The game has a strong presence on the internet. There is a wealth of resources available for fans of the game.
In addition, it plays wonderfully as a (unauthorized) solitaire game.
There is a bit of dice-fest to the game. And since your orders are based on cards that you hold (or use of dice in a solitaire game), there sometimes is a sense of helplessness as you can do nothing for a besieged unit. The game mechanic does a good job of giving you the sense that your orders may have been sound but that fate intervenes and throws you a curve ball. How you handle it is up to you.
This game will appeal to those who enjoy such games as Condittiere where you must be able to make the most of your current situation and can roll with the punches.
This game has legs. My five year old son plays with me and I use Battle Cry as a teaching aid, introducing him about American history through this game. It is a classic and deserves a place on any gamers table.
Check out http://users.erols.com/jadf/bc/ for a tour of the depth and breadth of this fantastic game. Highly recommended.
The modular game board, the drawing of order cards, and the luck of the dice makes this game from becoming boring with repeated plays. This game has that feature that makes the good games fun; the after game analysis. You always find yourself saying 'if I only had that one card' or 'you got so lucky with that roll, it could have been so different' or 'I should have moved in the cavalry earlier' and best of all 'Let's play again!'. Even the same scenario will play different each time due to the card draw. Soon you will be finding yourself inventing your own scenario for even more variation.
I have played war games for many years. I still really enjoy the meatier games, but like many gamers it is hard to find a willing opponent. Battle Cry is a great introduction for new gamer or great for when you don't have all day to play a longer game. A newbie can be taught in 10 to 15 minutes and be fairly proficient after one scenario. A scenario typically takes 55 to 75 minutes. So games are fast and furious. After a game I feel like I should head off the the field hospital and saw off limbs from the wounded.
Because of the randomness of the cards, and dice, and variable terrain, the opening moves are not dictated like many war games with set boards. But do not get the impression that the game plays itself and luck determines everything. This is NOT true. The skilled general usually wins. Two skilled generals make for a very close and exciting game.
Now for a couple thoughts on game play. I view troop movements aross the battle field sections as generally occuring simultaneously. Just because a unit is down to its flag doesn't mean it did not get to return a defensive volley before it was decimated. That is why it still has full fire power. I keep the 'All Out Offensive' card in the deck. It is needed because it causes a re-shuffle of the cards. We do modify it slightly to make it a little less powerful. Count your flags (generals included), divide by two (round up) and make that many orders BUT never less than five.
If you are looking to get into wargaming or need a break from heavy duty wargames, then pick up a copy Battle Cry. For pure fun it is hard to beat.
This game is a treat. Having played some of the longer ones like Diplomacy , Shogun and Axis and Allies, this game is quick to play. After tearing through the 15 scenerios with my 13 year old son during the Christmas holidays we decided to buy a second copy of this game and set up our own battles. I bought a roll of green felt and using a Settlers of Catan hexagon, mapped out a bigger version of the Battle Cry board using a thin black marker. We made the center and both flanks two hexes wider and four hexes deeper so that instead of a 9x13 board we now have a 13x19 board with bigger hexes and more room to roam. We battle for eight to ten flags and each player customizes his army behind a screen with 20 to 25 units. This has made an interesting variant to this game for us. You can even use the bigger hexagons from 'Settlers' on the felt board ie: wood,pasture, hills,Etc. Give this a try and I think you will find it an interesting alternative.
This is a great game for 2 players. I would liken the complexity of the game to risk, but with a much better system and a little less luck involved. This game has great pieces and the the battles are always changing. If your looking for a 2 player game to play when you cant get enough people to play settlers or Puerto rico then look no further.
Though my husband has already submitted a review for this game, and gave it the same 5-star rating, I wanted to mention a version we now play that might interest those who complain about the luck-of-the-draw factor. It's quite simple.
Instead of dealing out a hand to each player we deal out one card to each player and then lay out five cards, face-up, to the side of the board. (If the scenerio indicates that one side gets more cards than the other than the player who would normally get the greater number draws the difference from the deck to put in their hand. For example, in the Antietam scenerio the South would draw two extra cards, 5 minus 3, to put in their hand.) When it's a player's turn to play he must draw one of the face-up cards to either put in his hand or play down. If a player has a card in his hand that is not playable, because he has no units in that flank for example, he may play it down and draw the top card in the deck which he must play if possible. If that card is also unplayable his turn is over. Once all five face-up cards are drawn then the dealer lays out five new cards.
This version is surprisingly more satisfying. Not only is it rare that you get stuck with useless cards but it adds a whole new level of strategy. You must now consider what cards your opponent can use against you before selecting a card. At times it's necessary to draw a less useful card to keep your opponent from getting it. It also feels more realistic as you have at least some knowledge of where your opponent might play next. (They weren't completely oblivious as to where the next attack might come from during most of the civil war battles.)
Walt Mulder's website also adds an excellent rule regarding infantry units that have been reduced to just one piece, the flag bearer. It goes as follows:
- When an infantry unit is reduced to one piece, that piece may retreat one space at the end of the turn.
- When that unit fires it shoots at 3-2-1-1 instead of 4-3-2-1.
- Color in one of the infantry icons on each die. When a unit that starts the turn with only one infantry piece is fired upon it can only be hit with a roll of of either sabres or the colored icon. (Representing a more thinned out, spread out battle line being harder to take out.)
This rule seems more realistic as a badly crippled regiment didn't generally keep charging into a suicide situation. We also play by the rule that when an infantry moves and fires, sabre rolls don't count on the die, representing charging units being less likely to fire as accurately.
These minor modifications do not seem to slow up the game in any way, feel more realistic, are simple to implement, and add some strategy to an already great game. We never seem to tire of Battle Cry. Let's hope there will be more scenerios coming fron Avalon/Hasbro.
I bought Battle Cry - initially only just increasing my huge collection of boardgames and wargames - on the September 2000 and since that time I have not found a game similar.
It is a nice game, easy to learn and quick to play; but, pay attention, even if B.C. is a simple game, it is a game that offer a lot of possibilities and cunning. To play well, it is necessary to use at the best the cards and move your troops remembering that conditions can be change every minute.
And there is not a match similar another one.
Me, my girlfriend, my friends, we do like to play with this game; we suggest to buy this game to all the gamers that want to stay with other people without spend lot of time learning instructions and deciding how to start a battle.
More again: I would like to add that the luck of the dices and cards (is not possible to choice them)is, in my opinion, a way of life. I do not agree with those who thing that you are always able to control all the evenements, especially during a battle.
Were generals of ACW - during battles dominated by chaos, confusion, screaming peoples, guns and muskets fume - copletely capables to control all the evenements?
No doubt for me: five stars!
My brother and I have been playing war games together for as long as I can remember. We are constantly picking up new ones that look like fun and trying them. Battle Cry is our latest endeavor. Game setup is generally quick but the first time you play you can plan on spending at least a half hour punching out all of the little figurines and assembling them, and thats if both of you work at it.
Once everything is assembled though, you have some really cool looking armies. Weve played many AH games in the past where the standard military unit was a bland cardboard piece with numbers on it, so we especially appreciated the cool little figurines. We then went through the rules in about a half hour. They seemed very well written and straightforward. After setting up the first scenario the battle began.
First off, I really thought the command cards were a clever idea. They severely limit the number of units you can order on your turn. In a lot of war games, your turn consists of moving and attacking with ALL of your units, which first of all takes forever, and second of all leads to analysis paralysis because the number of things to consider can be too overwhelming. I actually think the command cards make the game more realistic, because real battles are chaotic and orders must be made quickly with very limited information and many times orders cannot be relayed to battle groups who are separated from you, especially in the Civil War (before radios). So, like any commander, you are forced to make the best of the hand dealt to you on the battlefield.
I had the Confederate army in the first scenario and my brother had the Union and I just annihilated him (6-2). Its true that some scenarios favor one side or the other, so to make it fair the rules recommend match play where you play the same scenario twice, swapping sides between games, and the player with the most captured flags after the two is the winner. I offered this to my brother but he said that he thought he played the Union army very poorly and wanted to try again with the same sides. So we did and he beat me the second time 6-5.
After every game we both like to discuss things that we could have done better. Each time I have lost Ive said to myself I should have played that differently. Luck can tip the scales in this game but is not near the factor that strategy is. All in All, we love this game. We lose track of time every time the box is opened. I would also highly recommend it to someone new to war games because it is much simpler than the typical war game and nowhere near the time commitment.
We have played many different war strategy games (board and computer) and so far Battle Cry gets my highest rating! We opened the box (my brother-in-law did all the preparations) and started the first scenario. The game is quick to learn and play. The colors and design are fantastic!
The things I did not like of this game are:
1) there are 2 mistakes in the manual - a river that should be forest, and 1 army too many on the board
2) the instructions can be interpreted in different ways - luckly I found a site that explains everything in black and white
3) the manual should atleast tell the players who won every scenario in real life!
4) some scenarios leaves one of the players with only 3 cards against 5 - something wrong here!! All I got were what we consider worthless cards (build trenches, resuppy, etc..) and of course ended up loosing that game 6-1!
5) the calvary is very week in this game. We no longer use them (we send them in a corner or on a ridge). There should be more cards for these teams.
6) some games are completely decided by the dice. I have lost very well set-up games just to the dice rolls. It gets very fustrating when you can loose 3-4 infantry armies, canons and horse all by one of the opponents suicide infantry!!
All in all, buy this game!! (Is it available for the computer yet???)
My gaming group is usually limited to two people, my wife and myself. Because of this I'm constantly shopping for the perfect two player game. Most challenging games offer a 2 player version that is just a dumbed down version of the 3+ version. Battle Cry has brought my search to an end. As a civil war buff its fun to 'recreate' the different battles. But strip away the Civil War trappings and you have a FANTASTIC game. It has great bits, easy to understand rules, and is quick to set up and break down. The battles are challenging and after the first couple scenarios you really get a feel for the strategy. My sole complaint would be that unfortunately they dont give you enough pieces for a couple of the scenarios. It was easy enough to improvise but it was surprising from a game that obviously took the time to do so many other aspects correctly. If you're looking for the perfect two player game, this is it!
What a Game!I bought it last month and ive played it everyday since.I bought it ,but wasnt sure if it would be hard to learn.But guess what it isnt at all.Yeah it has its luck,but still some strategy to be used.But it is worth my money,one of the best games I ever played.Its fun,challenging,luck,different senerio,everytime.And it only takes a hour to play.And set up is only abot 5 minutes.Everyone would like this game.Best thing to do is make reference cards for both players.
To say I'm amazed is an understatement. This game is a stroke of genius in its simplicity. The play of cards gives you the very real feeling of the frustrations of human fraility and the dice, the fickleness of the fates.
For traditional wargamers or abstract gamers, it is no surprise that this game causes consternation at the apparent luck factor. In my mind, however, this game perhaps does a better job at portraying the true variability that does take place in a battlefield. Yes, it is true that a weaker force poorly led can win the day on the luck of the dice, but surely that has happened before beyond the confines of a gameboard.
The most amazing thing about this game is the way it distills the key decision making down into a system which can be understood and enjoyed by a variety of gamers and gaming personalities. This is not only the first wargame my wife has willingly played with me, but also the first game anything of the sort. Despite this apparent simplicity, however, the game still rewards careful consideration and planning of such things as an organized advance, appropriate cover, flanking opportunities and other basics of the battlefield.
If you don't have this game, get it.
I first saw the game before it was published--at the 1999 WBC in Baltimore. That effectively ended my week for playing anything else--I had found my game! I returned home to tell my gaming buddies I had found the 'game I've always dreamed of'. However, the buy-out of Avalon Hill by Hasbro followed shortly thereafter and it looked like the game would never be produced, until Hasbro decided to 'test the waters'. And the rest is Civil War History.
Need I tell you this is a great game?!
- First, it's a WAR game!
- Second, it has a QUICK SET UP TIME (unlike most war games which may take hours to set up).
- Third, it is EASY TO LEARN (unlike most war games which take days to digest the rules).
- Fourth, it is FAST PLAYING (about and hour). How many war games fit that category?
- Fifth, it looks great--the miniatures and changable terrain add yet another dimension missing is most war games.
- Sixth, it is FUN.
Battle Cry produces sweaty palms, tough decisions, anxious frustration, and endless variety with an ever expanding number of scenarios and battles. What more could you ask? This is definitely in my all-time top 5. Get it.
This game has so much going for it I could spend a couple of pages going on about it. But in short, its strengths are:
- it plays fast (average game time is 1 hour)
- turns are short, thus no time for boredom
- lots of tactics
- easy to set up
- fantastic replay value
- plenty of room to tweak it to your liking
- great for all ages (my 6 and 8 year old love it)
Some players I've played argue that a lot depends on luck of the dice and draw of the cards. These seem to be the same people who lose at Battle Cry consistantly. I highly recommend using a lot of the game tweaks suggested on Walt Malder's web site, particularly the one separating the deck into two equal battle decks and one special actions deck. This greatly reduces luck of the draw and allows you to control the number of special cards in your hand. We also use his suggestion that the ALL OUT OFFENSIVE only allows the player to choose any four units on the board to attack. This is still strong but not devastating.
Rumor has it that Mr. Borg has already completed a Revolutionary War version of his 'Command and Colors' game system, and has a medieval one in the works. Let's hope Avalon Hill/Hasbro is the publisher and does the same fine job they did on Battle Cry.
This game was a major find! Ok, it's a lot of money, and it takes you hours to assemble the pieces, and put the flags together. (I sliced my fingers plenty with razor blades trying to protect the pieces from damage--so much for priorities.) But it's worth it.
The game is very easy to play, and you can immediately double your battlefields by downloading them from the web. I even downloaded and created 48 new terrain tiles--it's like I bought two games.
A lot has been said already about the good things this game offers. Let me ease your fears on the bad, namely the 'All Out Offensive' card, and others that people find offensive and are busy creating variants about. I don't now how it was pulled off, but the results of the (many) battles I fought on Battle Cry, regardless of side played, were indeed influenced by the 'funny' or 'lucky' or 'unfair' cards, sure. But the result always matched the historical original!
Hey, this is not chess. You don't have equal forces on equal terrain. You're replaying actual battle scenarios, with cards that (in potency and number) modify or curtail your hand, so you're experiencing a bit of the original. I think the game designer deserves our unbridled admiration for having pulled this off! And no matter what, the game is loads of fun. Good job, 5 stars well earned.
This is a great game, it's fast and it's fun. Don't play Battle Cry if you're a hardline historical wargame-freak. There are some tactics involved, but it all depends on the dice and on the cards you draw.
Average gameplay is about 30 minutes, so you can play several scenarios in an evening.
Both I and my wife thoroughly enjoy playing Battle Cry every Sunday afternoon. We're working our way through the 15 battle campaign, keeping score of battles won, number of flags captured, and generals killed. When we have finished the campaign, we plan to repeat the process to determine who is the best General. Because my wife doesn't want to be a Reb, we will probably replay with the Union and Confederates switching set up positions only, rather than swapping sides. What we both feel makes this game fascinating is the beauty of the board and game pieces, the simplicity of play, and the way the game simulates (albeit in a somewhat abstract way) the 'feel' of what it must have been like to fight in America's only internal conflict.
We've managed to improve playability of the game with one crucial rule modification that works very well. After playing a command card, a player draws TWO new cards (rather than just one), and chooses which one s/he will keep. The other card is discarded face down into a discard pile. This not only helps players from getting stagnant hands where they can't issue any orders, but it also ensures that you never know whether the 'All Out Attack' Card is in the other player's hand or was discarded in favor of another choice.
Another feature of the game is that even after exhausting play of the 15 scenarios, one can (with a bit of creativity) use the 46 terrain tiles to create another battle field. This is a great game for novice and experienced gamers.
This game is not, repeat, not a clone of all the far-too-complex wargames of the past. It's little more than simple miniature combat packaged as a boardgame. And it happens to be the best board wargame ever published.
I'm not a huge fan of traditional wargames (Third Reich, World in Flames, or even A House Divided), but this game is really just a move-and-play strategy game with a Civil War theme. It's mutable, quick, and strategic--just like any abstraction of war needs to be.
There's ample opportunity to read how to play this game elsewhere (see other Funagain reviews), but the short answer is that this game can hook even non-wargamers like me into having fun on the battlefield.
This game does an excellent job of combining historical flavor with very contemporary game mechanics that emphasize interactivity, uncertainty, speed of play, and fun. My childhood gaming buddy was visiting recently and we managed to squeeze in 2 scenarios in the scant time after the kids went to sleep.
In spite of the simple mechanics, it does a decent job of portraying certain aspects of the civil war battlefield. Command and control, and the importance of combined arms, are very well simulated. In our playing of the Antietam scenario, things played out remarkably close to the historical facts.
The day I learned AH was bought by Hasbro I went into a deep depression. If the new AH keeps putting out games this good, I may forget some of that sadness. Now, how about a game like this that covers the milieu of Panzerblitz?
What did Montgomery & Shwarzkopf have in common?
Lots of time, money & resources to stack the deck in their favor for a set piece battle. Not here. This sophisticated game design uses action cards & special dice to simulate the more interesting 'near run' battles of history where commanders of great talent & ability played the right cards at the right time to pull off astounding success.
The system encourages--if not demands--maneuver & maximum aggression. You sit... you die. Montys & Blackheads should seek their entertainment elsewhere. I hope to see this system progress beyond the ACW.
When deciding to get this game I read a lot of positive reviews. I ordered it. While waiting for it to arrive, I found some negative ones: 'It's all luck', 'A game for babies, not war gamers', 'extensive house rules needed' and so on. When it arrived, all my fears were relieved. This game is great. It has easy to learn rules, lots of strategy, great replay value, and gorgeous components. I disagree with those who say it doesn't capture the feel of 19th century warfare. Real generals had to deal with command problems as well. Once again, this game is fantastic. My friends and I played A&A Europe once and put in on the shelf. We've played Battle Cry 6 times in the 3 days I've had it.
I have been a gamer since Avalon Hill first came out with Tactics in 1960. Their games were always based on history and played as such. What these games lacked was great graphics and pieces.
Well, the wait is over. Hasbro has now added these missing elements. Battle Cry is the first Civil War game in years that has plastic pieces representing Cavarly, Infantry, and Artillery units. Generals also have their own pieces.
What most Civil War games lack is the communication factor of that era 1861-1865. Battle Cry is the first game that uses cards to represent orders given on each turn. Now, you the player, have the same problems the 'Real' Generals had. You only have a few orders (cards) each turn. What you do will effect the outcome of the battle. (or what you can't do, is more like it.) The beauty of the card system is not all of your units can move each turn, nor can they fire! A fog of war is also introduced.
The system allows you to play multiple games, because each game only takes 30 minutes to play. Now you can actually complete a campaign (a series of games, usually seven (7) played) in one gaming session.
A lot of reviews have stated a problem with the 'luck of the cards' syndrome. Well, since each game only lasts a half hour, who cares? Besides, as I have already stated, the game makes you feel like you are experiencing command of a Civil War battlefield. Now, I have a few rule modification suggestions for you die hard 'Civil War' grognards out there, so never fear.
I will list these modifications:
Mark specific units as to show combat experience. White counter or a penny = veteran; Red counter or a nickel = crack; Black counter or a dime = elite. Veteran units = takes (2) Flag die to make unit retreat; crack units = takes (2) hits to remove a figure and (2) flags - retreat; elite units = gets (1) re-roll when firing and takes (2) hits - remove figure and (2) flags - for each retreat.
if only one flag or hit is rolled, it is ignored.
Neat huh? Now you just might be able to wait on that special card to come up. If no marker is used then they are militia units. I have developed a chart for each year, as to how many of these special units can be on the board at the start of each scenerio.
Inf 1862 1863 1864 Cav/Art 1862 1863 1864
CSA 1-0-2 1-2-3 2-3-1 C.S.A 0-0-3 3-1-2 2-2-2
USA 0-0-3 2-1-3 3-1-2 U.S.A 2-0-1 2-2-2 3-2-1
c-e-v c-e-v c-e-v c-e-v c-e-v c-e-v
in 1864 the CSA can only have 1 elite artillery.
Special Generals. Make a specific General able to move with any order card played, regardless of were he is located on the board! I'll list these Generals later. if these Generals are attached to a unit, they may move and fire also.
Some special Generals to consider. Robert E Lee always gets (5) command cards, except at Gettysburg, he gets (4) Lee had a bad 3 days! (Nobody's prefect). U.S. Grant always gets (5) command cards except at Shiloh, he was drunk on that one. (see Lee above). George McClellan (The Little Napoleon) always gets one less command card than his confederate opponent, but always gets (1) extra unit at the start of the battle. (Great organizer he was). Stonewall Jackson always moves (2) tiles on any move order card, regardless of his position on the battlefield. William T Sherman also moves on any move order card played. Both are worth (2) flags if killed! Also each may make a re-roll on the attack. Joseph Hooker and John B Hood (fighting generals) always take (2) flags to make them retreat, if any infantry is attached they also take (2) flags to retreat.
James Longstreet, J.E.B. Stuart, George Armsrong Custer, Nathan Forrest all can move with any move command cards, regardless of their position on the board.
Special Units. Make a specific unit able to move with any order card played, regardless of were they are located on the board! they can also be veteran, crack, or elite units, get the picture?
Some special units to consider: Hood's 4th Texas Brigade, 'Stonewall' Jackson's Stonewall Brigade 'the foot cavalry' have them always move (2) tiles and then battle. The Iron Brigade (always an elite unit) The Irish Brigade, The Glory Brigade (from the movie) or make up your own, The Medlin Brigade (always a crack unit, don't you know).
Hasbro has one scenerio that has one brigade less one figure to show previous battle losses. Well, to offset the Confederate advantage in the special General section above (most are Confederate), allow a few Union units (max three) an extra figure per unit. You can only play with 9 Infantry units though (unless you have bought an extra game already; shame on you if you haven't). This can show the Union's superiority in manpower!
Most artillery and cavalry were better equiped than your average infantry unit, so to reflect this, make these units all veterans.
If you love the Civil War, buy this game. If you love playing war games, buy this game, if you just love playing games, buy this game! I think I will pick up another copy of the game (need some extra figures you know). Let's see, should A.P. Hill be a special general or not? Hmmm....
Once in a great while, a game comes out that gamers will love, tinker with and play again and again. Battle Cry is such a game. It will become a classic... no doubt about it. It will generate official and unofficial extensions and variants, scenarios and the like and 15 years from now, we will still play this game and look fondly at the years we spent playing it with our friends, family and fellow gamers.
See you in 15 years... somewhere over Antietam's battlefield.
It's too bad that Battle Cry does not receive more mainstream exposure. For too long the American public has been subjected to crappy, mass-marketed games that are only variations on a theme (the umpteen perversions of Monopoly, for example--or anything with 'Pokemon' written on it [shudder]). Battle Cry could become one of the great classics in gaming, if only it had a little more exposure.
This game is, in one word, FUN! It is very hard to make a wargame that is simple, pure fun. But Avalon Hill has done it! Yes, its movement is card based. Yes, the luck of the dice is involved. But over the course of many games, our gaming group has found out that it all balances out in the end. This is the perfect wargame to play with people who otherwise would not play wargames. I hesitate to even call it a wargame, because that very label can bring up images of insanely complex, stuffy and boring games. But this one got it right, IF you are willing to have fun with it, and not be expecting a complex Civil War simulation. If simplicity and fun are not your bag, pass it up.
I was very nervous when Avalon Hill was bought by Hasbro, as I think a lot of us gamers were. But if this is the quality we can expect from the 'new' Avalon Hill, then I am eagerly looking forward to more.
Run, do not walk, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Buy this game. You won't be disappointed.
I have to agree with the majority. This is an outstanding game and I can't recommend it enough. Don't look for this to be a detailed recreation of ACW combat. It's not CWB, GCACW, or GBACW. It is a quick and very visual game where the ability to react to what the cards allow you to do and your opponents does to you is key. If you've got kids who player Warhammer or Warhammer 40K, they'll play this is a heartbeat and I'm sure it's something you'll enjoy more than those others (for a lot less cost).
I recently had some friends over for a night of Axis and Allies: Europe. We had three players total but I convinced my guests to try a quick game of Battle Cry (A recent purchase) before moving on to the main course. Despite having one person as a spectator for the entire time, we ended up playing four scenarios! Great fun in the simple die rolling tradition of the old MB games. I suggest that anyone turned off by the luck factor of the cards and the dice still give it a try. Proper hand management goes a long way, and the luck does even out.
The 1960's was a strange time; it was a period of anti-war protests and the development of the first boardgames which simulated actual battles and wars. Avalon Hill's games of Tactics, Gettysburg, Waterloo, and Stalingrad were simple (by the standards of later wargames) and included a bloodthirsty Combat Results Chart (CRT) and could be played in an evening or afternoon. They were most of all a lot of fun. Suddenly, wargames were no longer games but simulations. Learning a game was all the fun of cramming for a final exam. And for length, these weren't games, but a way of life. Battle Cry is a reflection of the old classics. It is fun to play, simple to learn, with a good blend of luck and skill. For those who are looking for a complex simulation, they will punch holes in this neat little game. What would they say if they reviewed lemon as a fruit? 'Tart, rather sour, needs more development....' Third Riech and Squad Leader fans need not apply.
There is a silent majority of wargamers out there whose muffled screams cry out for a tactical wargame that's simple and FUN. The cries have been answered. For those who have struggled over the rules of Successors, We the People, Paths of Glory, and Hannibal, along comes Battle Cry. It combines simple elements of the aforementioned (excellent) games along with the Beer and Pretzel atmosphere of games like Axis & Allies or Shogun.
Battle Cry simulates, on a tactical level, individual battles of the American Civil War. The basic units on each side comprise Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Generals. Each cohesive unit is made up of different number of figures (4 infantry, 3 cavalry, 2 artillery) one of which carries a flag. Additionally, each General figure has a flag and can be attached to a unit giving it an additional attack bonus. The board is a plain battle field, divided into center, left and right flanks. Included in the box are hexes which you place on the board to simulate different terrain ranging from hills, rivers, and wood, to fences, buildings and entrenchments. There are 15 scenarios included with the game from the 1st Bull Run to Gettysburg, and the game screams out for people to design their own battles.
The object of the game (other than to win) is simple. Capture six of your opponent's flags, in any combination of Generals or unit flags eliminated (or forced to retreat off the board). The twist that makes the game fun and adds atmosphere are the Command Cards. Each player gets a certain number of cards (depending on the scenario) which allow them to move and attack with certain units on a given area of the board. There are cards allowing skirmishes to all-out attacks. There are also flavor cards to allow for sharpshooters or an artillery bombard.
Each scenario can be played in under an hour which almost puts the game into the 'German Style' category. There are plenty of decisions to be made even with the luck of the Command Card draw. The rules are simple (more so than Axis & Allies: Europe), The bits are good quality and gorgeous, and the game is just plain FUN! And that's what it's all about. There are many other companies that do 'serious' wargames like GMT or Victory Games with rules that will certainly take you longer to read than to play the game Battle Cry. If that's what you're into, steer away from Battle Cry. You probably won't like the simplicity or luck of the draw. But, if you want to play the game with your 11 year old, hold a significant lead as the Confederates, and get trounced by overextending your left flank into open terrain rather than falling behind the ridge with inferior forces at the Battle of Bull Run, then buy this game. Ouch! (I've read of one player getting beaten by his wife 5 times in a row now, so the game stretches across all ages and genders.)
If you've read my other reviews, you know I'd rather have 1/2 stars. I really have to give this 4 1/2 stars or a big 95db on the Mulder Meter. It's far beyond the one-star review I noted elsewhere here (if you've ever tried designing and marketing your own game you'll know that even the sweat put into it deserves more than one star). It falls on the downside of 5 stars for just a few personal peeves. I wanted more. More terrain, more scenarios, more board space, more varied Command Cards. Oh Well. I'm also working on a FAQ in conjunction with the designer for some rules questions that have invariable popped up. So buy this game, buy two for the extra pieces, and don't repeat Pickett's Charge! You'll be playing this one for years to come.
Out of all the Civil War battle games I have played, Battle Cry is the best-produced, fastest, funnest game of them all. It reminds me of a combination of Battlemasters (great production quality, unique dice, moveable terrain), Axis & Allies (outstanding miniatures, high quality), For the People (interesting card play, very high level of tension), and the ancients miniatures rules system DBA (not too big, manageable time per playing session, and the mechanism whereby you lose a certain number of units and lose the battle). The game is simple, but not simplistic. The more you play, the more you can appreciate the subtleties of the card play that are not immediately apparent. A great game for newcomers or veterans. Buy it!
Several of my friends and I played this game and we all agree. It is a FUN game. The mechanics of the game are simple enough to learn, but there is a lot of challenge in playing the game. It takes about 30 minutes to play a game.
There a 15 scenarios included. They range from easy to difficult due to Terrain and Unit mix. Units are figures representing Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, with Generals to provide Leadership. The mapboard is basically blank with terrain counters to use for setting up the different battles. The units are activated by the use of Order Cards, so you have to plan your movement and attacks wisely.
Overall we all gave it two thumbs up!
Having sampled this game at various conventions and gaming groups it always attracted a crowd of eager converts. The game mechanics are easy to learn yet mask a nice complexity. You have to constantly revise your plans as your hand of action cards changes, the results of your attacks, and your enemy's actions.
The game has tremendous educational appeal. Battle Cry forces you to think critically, calculate your ever changing options, evaluate actions based on risk, and balance your need to be aggressive to win with a true need to consider force conservation.
You must wrestle with adverse terrain, troop mismatches, leadership disparity, and uncertainty that you can only minimize.
Games have a subtle historical feel and you have every opportunity to design your own battles, operate a campaign, run simple tournaments. Clear winners can be decided in about an hour so you have plenty of opportunity for replay and revenge.
This is great game design, and the designer deserves an award! Way to go Hasbro for running with this one!
Marketing Consultant, and School Board Member
Battle Cry is an awesome game of strategy and planning. The only negative is regarding the randomness of the cards. They essentially dictate what your course of action will be. However, this does add to the strategic element and no two games will ever truly be alike. Very good two player game.
My wife and I consider ourselves casual gamers. We really enjoy this game and its correlation to the Civil War. We like the detailed pieces and the different scenarios which bring variety to the game. We have found it brings a good balance of enjoyment and competition. Game length works well also - long enough to get into the game but short enough to fit other things into our evening. We think you'll find it is a good choice if you want a hands-on fun two-player game.
I bought Battle Cry a few days ago kind of on a whim. I had read the rules, looked at the board and components and debated the merits of the game.
The components are typical American plastic components with an average board and terrain pieces that are nothing to brag about. The rules sound questionable. Drawing and playing cards to move and battle with units? Blah. Overall, the first impression of the game just by looking at it is just 'yuck.'
Gameplay, on the other hand, has proven to be incredibly fun. Others have gone into the mechanics of it, so I won't do that here. I will simply tell you that while luck is involved, it can be mitigated by a skillful/thoughtful player. It can be frustrating at times not being able to draw the cards that allow you to move the units you need to move, but that more than anything else to me is a truer test of generalship. How do you maximize performance and minimize disaster with the resources you have at hand?
All in all, well worth the money. Quick to set up, quick to teach, quick to play, quick to put away, plenty of different scenarios to keep things fresh. I've played through about 10 games now and I'm thoroughly addicted. It's just plain fun.
I have played this game a number of times with different people. From the very first game, I was surprised at how fun the game is. But the more I play it, the more my frustration grows when I have a hand full of wimpy or unplayable cards, and my opponant keeps hitting my with very powerful cards.
The last game I played I had about ten units in the center section and only a couple in the flanks, but could not draw a center section card to save my life. The result was that I had to sit and watch my opponant pluck off my 'frozen' units like tin cans on a tree stump.
But, in spite of the major luck factor, the game usually is driven by good tactics. And I would certainly put this in my Must Own category for two player games. Every time there's just two of us, Battle Cry is always requested.
If you can find this one on sale, don't hesitate.
I recently played a session of this game over the weekend involving four skirmishes over the space of about two and a half hours.
First of all, I have to say this game is really fun. The idea of restricting the possibilities by which cards you play in your hand is a brilliant idea. However, this also introduces the possibility of one player getting really great cards (like the forced march card) while the other player is stuck with a whole hand of single unit attacks. This, with the addition of the dice rolling, adds a large amount of luck into what many would consider a full strategy game. This reasoning forced me to give this game a 4. I would have liked to give it a 4.5 but that's not an option.
This game is very enjoyable and involves enough strategy as long as the cards dealt are not completely unfair, which I'm sure would happen very infrequently.
Okay, Ill jump on the bandwagon. This is a great game. For all of you old-timers out there, this is even more fun than the original Milton Bradley American Heritage classic Battle Cry (which was a "strategic" level two-player game covering the entire war on a map of the US). Both the old game and the new "tactical" version require varying degrees of luck. In the original, it was a dice driven type of chess match, in which whoever rolled the most doubles usually won. For the new and improved version, yes, the cards and battle dice make it a bit high on the luck scale, and the strategy level is low, but there are plenty of decisions to make, and enough scenarios for variety.
With a quick play time, super components, and since my number one priority for playing a game is for fun, this one hits the top. Good job Hasbro/AH! Now, how about a remake of Broadsides?
Not a traditional wargame. But, it has has plenty of strategy. A lot of luck involved, but luck is part of real battles that these complex, boring wargames try to 'simulate.' Some people complain that the cards sometimes leave you without many options if you draw a bad hand. I say, 'deal with it!' Life isn't fair. Just like real generals, you have to deal with unfair situations. Battle Cry is fun and quick! Hopefully they'll release some more battle scenarios. And there is talk of a Napoleonic Battle Cry!
The bits are great; the ability to mix-n-match terrain is a wonderful addition; agonizing over which card to play is sweet torture; and the assortment of special cards makes for great variety!
Yes, the cards and dice are a luck factor, but even the best laid plans go by the roadside in war, and the game is still a blast! And when you get over-confident like I did in a recent game and launch that powerful 'All-Out Offensive' card, move your troops out of their defensive cover to blast at the enemy, and your opponent counters it with a 'Counter Attack' card that cuts down your newly exposed troops en masse, you'll appreciate the intricacies of the system.
One reviewer commented on the ability of depleted to units to fire at full strength. I prefer to think of the figures as representing morale rather than casualties, although it might make for an interesting variant to toggle the firepower (e.g., a 3-man infantry unit might have a 3-2-1-1 firepower instead of 4-3-2-1). However, I'm inclined to think that would make the luck of the draw too significant.
I agree with the other reviewer who is looking for an expansion pack. I would love to see more scenarios and some new units. I've love to recreate Gettysburg, Day 1, but how should I simulate Buford's cavalry? Use regular infantry but give them a 2-hex movement allowance with reduced firepower? Maybe a 4-2 firepower to simulate their shorter-ranged carbines?
Regardless, it's a great game--not too serious and not too long with lots of possiblities for customization and expansion. A good buy for my money!
What everyone else has said about the 'fun factor' of this game is true. Battle Cry is a lot of fun to play, and it looks absolutely great (which helps a lot, of course). It's short, plays quickly, and is fairly tense.
I think what keeps it from being a real classic, though, is that the luck of the draw can be immense. 3 of the 4 games we've played recently have been decided because one player or the other had horribly bad draws; if that's the case, there really isn't much you can do.
The game still rates well for me because it is fun to play, and despite the card draw issue you can persevere through relatively bad luck until the luck of the draw turns around. But, you do have to be prepared to lose maybe 25% of the games you play just because your opponent drew better cards.
For experienced gamers, this is a game which invites fiddling. The base system is great, but wargame veterans will probably want to try to tone down the luck factor somewhat (Battle Cry is far more luck dependent even than Victory in the Pacific or We the People). We've toyed with modifying the All-Out Offensive card (which does seem a bit over the top) and adding some kind of discard rule. Both would help the game a lot, I think.
I just recently played BATTLE CRY and I enjoyed it a lot.
The basics of the game have been stated in other reviews, so I won't go into them here. But some of the things I found enjoyable were as follows:
- Interesting command cards, such as Sharp Shooter, Call for Reinforcements, and Counter-Attack. A carefully played card such as one of these can create some unique situations.
- The ability to 'attach' a general to a unit and then go on a killing spree (i.e., cavalry hit-and-run tactics) can be a blast.
- And of course, the historical significance of replaying the battles of the Civil War (albeit simplistically) is a great rush.
Some of the things I didn't care for, however, were:
- The 'All-Out Offensive' Card. Too powerful in my estimation. Being able to move and attack with all your units on the map at one time, can deliver a killer blow to your opponent, even if your army has been whittled down to the bone. Makes for some radical shifts of power on the battlefield. Granted, there's some fun in that, but also ample supplies of frustration.
- Unit firepower remaining at full strength regardless of the number of soldiers in the unit. In other words, a 1-man infantry unit has the same firepower as a 4-man infantry unit. This mechanic works just fine in the overall scheme of the rules, since it applies to both sides, but it doesn't seem logical to me. Theoretically, you could have every non-flag unit killed on your side, and still win because you pull an 'All-Out Offensive' card, move to get good position on your opponent, and then score serious kills with your full-strength dice. Not likely, but possible.
But regardless of these complaints, the game has good value. Very replayable, since luck of the draw and dice rolling can secure a victory for even the weakest side, and the Line of Sight rules and (as stated) interesting command cards offer enough strategy for the more serious gamer.
And the simplicity of the game opens major doors for house rules, advanced rules, and the scenarios available don't even scratch the surface of the battles that the initiated could create to keep the game fresh for a long time. Is there an expansion pack on the horizon? Let's hope so.
A good amount of thought was put into the battles. That part of the game is very well put together. The pieces are very good as well. They and the board make for a very attractive setting. However the fact that command cards must be drawn and played in order to move or attack took away from the realism that an advanced player would desire. It is a very nice game for a teenager or a beginning war gamer.
This is a good game. Don't get me wrong. It's fun, stimulating, and entertaining. The board, pieces, artwork, tiles, etc are all well done and look great. The rules are clear, it's easy to learn and game play is fast. But a true strategy game, it ain't. Whereas the cards add a certain twist and excitement to the game, they totally remove any chance of forming real, long-term strategy. Second, the goal of capturing six of your enimies flags for each battle is flat and frankly, gets a little dull. The game would be so much better if each battle had specific victory conditions - capturing Big and Little Round Top, Crossing the Antietam Creek Bridge, taking Fredricksburg, etc...
In short - good game. Fun. Easy to play. But I honestly think it's been way way over rated as a strategy game and certainly as a war simulation. That being said, it's a game that many will enjoy and that belongs comfortably in anyone's collection.
Here's something unusual, a 'German' game with a war theme -- an American Civial War theme no less. Battle Cry looks really great: the board depicts plains with a hexagon grid overlay, and on that grid terrain hexagons can be placed depicting mountains, rivers, houses, orchards, etc., to create historical battlefields and provide some interesting movement and attack strategies.
And attack you will; this game is a really light wargame. Each player has units (infantry, cavalry, artillery, and generals) that have movement abilities and attack abilities, and the players move their units by way of cards that allow a certain number of units to move in a certain area of the battlefield. Because of the terrain mix, units can be slowed down, made vulnerable, or become better protected from the enemy.
Where this game is really strong is the theme. The game comes with 14 'maps', or setups, that allow the hexagons to be placed in such a way as to create actual Civil War battlefields. There is some luck in the cards and in the dice rolls, but this seems to also fit the theme: Luck in the cards can simulate communication difficulties that would have affaected armies of that era, and the luck of the dice represent the accuracy of weapons and skill of the soldiers of that era.
However well this game captures the theme, as a game it still remains that there is a lot of luck in this one. Wargamers will probably like it, and Civil War buffs too. As for gamers, it is a pretty good title, but the luck is bound to scare some people off. However the short playing times and great theme help make up for it. The biggest knock on the game, for me, is the price. It a big game, but it does have a bigger pricetag. This game certainly has its fans though, but non-gamer appeal is definitely hit and miss, but if you like Risk, the luck in this game ought not to bother you at all!
Remember Lynard Skynard ripping Neil Young's 'Southern Man'? Classic North versus South. Unfortunately, this game isn't.
I was eleven years old when I played my first MB American Heritage board game, Dogfight! I was immediately hooked and went to get the rest of the series, Broadside, Battle Cry, Hit the Beach and Skirmish. While they are a bit dusty and dog-eared, I still own all of them. They ranged from no luck (Broadside) to pure luck (Hit the Beach) with the other three falling in the middle. While I hate to rain on the accolades of this current Battle Cry, it simply has too much luck involved and weak victory conditions.
The production values are gorgeous, but it is not an out of the box and play game. It took me over an hour to snip the pieces from their molds and then fold the little flags around them. The multiple terrain features are beautiful, and my rules say it comes with 46 terrain tiles (which it did) but try playing the 'Gaines Mill' scenario. You come up needing nine straight river tiles, and it only comes with eight!
Unlike other reviews, I have no problem with cards dictating actions. Command Control, battle orders lost or intercepted were very much a part of the Civil War, and there are enough cards to fairly level the battle (remove the 'all out offensive card' though, it's simply TOO overwhelming). My concern is the victory conditions: Capture six opponent's flags and win. This pretty much forces both players to simply charge forward and blast away, hoping for luck to rule the dice. There is no sense of manuevering, flanking, holding positions, i.e., pretty much what went on during the war. I would like to have seen more 'territorial' victory conditions like the 'Shiloh' scenario where the 'south' player gets points for advancing his troops forward.
Overall, I love what Hasbro's new Avalon Hill series has done for classics like Acquire, Diplomacy... and look forward to more quality games, but when creating new products like Battle Cry, put some teeth in them.
I've played Battle Cry quite a bit and it can be fun game. The Pieces and board are very well made and the adjustable field of play is well designed. Rules are clear and concise so you are up and playing in no time. Select a side, scenario and draw the cards and away you go. To start, each person draws a number of cards dictated by the scnario--to simulate the ability of the commander. Then you play a card to allow movement or a special action. Then dice are rolled to see what the outcome of any battles were and/or special actions. Neither of these mechanisms are bad but the way they work together--or more to the point, don't work--is what changes the game from being something you'll play whenever your mates are around to being a game you'll pull out of the bottom of the closet and think, "I haven't played this in a while," have a go, and then not bury it again for several months. That is not to say that this is a game of pure luck, but it's pretty close. Decision making is very limited because the cards you have say what you can do and almost exactly how you do it. There are some tactical decisions that you can make but usually it's more of "I'll give moving this unit a go" and eventually the game comes down to whether you get the right cards at the right time and whether the dice rolls go your way. What's more, there are cards in the deck which if you get them first will almost guarantee a win. It's a shame really, because if the randomness were toned down this would be a very good game. I personally don't mind buying it, and play it occasionally, but it's pretty much at the bottom of the list.
The game's appeal is from the cute pieces (appeals to miniatures and wargame players) and the battle theme. Plus the build your own terrain. But it has very little feel of the civil war. It's as good a model of warfare as Stratego (in other words don't expect it to be realistic). As a game, it requires some skill, but is also luck dependent in which cards you get. There are plenty of games that are more fun. I think that if it didn't have the cute pieces (high production quality) and the civil war theme (which is very popular) it would be rated far worse. What this says to me is the game is overhyped and just about pretty physical components and not the game itself. The game itself is fair.
BattleCry is terrible! I will never play this game again. Who wants to play a game where you dont get to command your own armies. Randomly drawn cards decide the fate of your army. If you like historical fact, wargames, and are over the age of 12 then this is not the game for you.
I was predisposed to love this game, and played it just hours after buying it. My friend and I were wowed by the components but disappointed and angered by the gameplay.
The problem is the card system by which units are activated. Each card specifies a sector (center, or right or left flank) and the number of units to which you can give orders. There are also a number of special event cards, most of which do not allow you to activate units, but perform a (usually not very helpful) action.
I was excited by the idea of cardplay activating units, but this is a disaster. The combat is already wildly random, and the cards add yet another level of randomness to the mix. It's insane.
I like games that require me to make interesting decisions. (Favorites include Euphrat & Tigris, Up Front, Settlers of Catan, etc.) In the two games we played with the rules as written, neither my friend nor I ever felt anything except dismay and frustration. I won both games, but never had a sense it was due to even the rudimentary strategic thinking required by a game like Sorry.
For example, my friend played the confederates in at Pea Ridge. The scenario set up his forces for attack, heavily deployed in his right flank and center sectors. Unfortunately, his hand consisted entirely of Special cards (like Sharpshooter) and only a single unit activation card--for the inconsequential left flank.
Despite this, he could only get one new card per turn. And so I, with four 'center sector' cards in my hand, lashed him about while his men stood helpless, not even able to fire defensively (for this requires an activation.)
In effect, we played a game where the confederate army deployed for a fierce offensive but had no ideas about how to attack. This was not fun: not tense and chaotic; not 'fog of war.' It was frustrating and idiotic. And our play of the First Bull Run scenario was only slightly less random and infuriating.
I regret to give this game such an excoriating review. I have read and re-read the rules to make sure we were playing it correctly, and we were. So I pronounce the game broken, at least for any gamer who wants strategic thinking to matter even a little bit in a game. With the rules as written, you don't play Battle Cry; you watch it happen.
Again, the components are incredibly beautiful and the basic ideas of the game (quick play, modular board) are brilliant. This has inspired my friend and I to work up a variant with new decks that allows players to choose--imagine! You get to choose!--how to allocate levels of effort in all sectors each turn. We have been having much more fun with the variant, and if you're interested in the details, please e-mail me and I'll send you what I've got.
I just wish that a multi-billion dollar corporation like Hasbro could produce a game that didn't require amateur redesign to fix it. This could have been a great game, but it ended up being a great set of components. I am sorry to say such harsh words about a game that people have worked hard to produce, but that is my sincere opinion.
"Battle Cry of Freedom" was such a popular song during the American Civil War that both sides claimed it as their own. Just as many different players are claiming this ideal introduction to wargames as their favorite. The elegant and easily-learned rules will remind you of a larger version of chess. Battle Cry covers 15 battle scenarios featuring nine types of terrain, fieldworks fortifications, and strategic retreats. Your hand of cards lets you order your infantry, cavalry, artillery, and generals, represented by 116 plastic miniatures. You'll need clever strategies as well as the favors of the fighting dice to win by capturing six enemies carrying flags. If your plans don't work out, there's time for a rematch: Each game only lasts about half an hour. Even more of the inventor's scenarios can be found at www.avalonhill.com. Mine eyes have never seen such glory!
Because I am fundamentally lazy, what better way to review a game than by stealing other writer's ideas. And so I find Battle Cry described as "unique as a hybrid board/miniatures wargame and as such offers a new model for wargames..." (Alan Poulter, Games, Games, Games) and encapsulated thus by Chris Baylis, Games Gazette: "I would happily recommend this to anyone wanting a low complex but enjoyable 2-player tactical game." Where we have a major problem is in persuading non-wargamers that Battle Cry sits comfortably with Attila and Euphrat & Tigris in the complexity stakes. I am thrilled to bits that coercing the gaming crowd to extend their boundaries is a job that doesn't fall to me.
Battle Cry is, despite any argument to the contrary, a bone fide wargame, focused on the significant battles of the American Civil War. The basic hexagonal map is embellished by the addition of terrain tiles creating a compact landscape. No grand sweep here. After setting up the accurately detailed plastic miniatures (looks good!), the action is plotted by reference to a card deck which allows attacks through the centre and each flank or highlights a particular type of unit who can then be activated. For example: The Assault cards permit an order for all units and generals stationed on either the right or left flanks, or centre. A Skirmish allows just one unit the same order. Co-ordinated Attack, Probe and Attack complete the set.
Special Order Cards provide the subtext and colour: All Artillery units may move twice or attack twice (not both) with the Bombard card. Force March sanctions Infantry to move two hexes and fight. You may issue an All Out Offensive or run Short Of Supplies. The language of war is expertly encapsulated here.
Units move and attack as you would expect them to--cavalry are quicker than infantry, Generals hold sway, it is better to be up than down hills, etc. The absence of rules text detailing the workings of the additional weight effect of a jute covered handled bowie knife is a major godsend. It is plunder and run (if you can).
Combat is dealt with deftly. A set of Battle dice are included, and feature icons matching the Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry units. Determine the range, throw the indicated number and score hits for any matching symbols. A Crossed Sword graphic signifies a universal hit, including Generals. Units comprising flag-bearers are retained by the opposition, and the capture of six enemy flags concludes the game.
Because scenarios are not weighted evenly, it is suggested that players switch and "reverse" each contest. I have completed engagements in 20 minutes, so this is entirely appropriate. And remember that the deal of the cards can cruelly expose an army.
It seems to me that designer Borg has cleared his mind of any preconceived military notions and gone with his instincts in providing a fundamental Miniatures rule set. The fact that you get the whole kit and caboodle in time honoured Avalon Hill fashion is particularly satisfying.
And now the difficulty for our compadres from AH. Wargamers will likely stick with venerable favourites dog-eared by the years. The Risk crowd are unaware that anything else exists. Which leaves you lot. Perhaps the addition of a "Kosmos" or "Hans im Glck" label would evaporate barriers.