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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.
These copies include "The Jackson Campaign" the limited set of scenarios given out at Origins and GenCon 2000.
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.
"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.