Battle Cry – Review
For strategy war game enthusiasts, history buffs, and those people in the South that keep complaining that they lost the Civil War.
I read once that Risk is the gateway drug of boardgames. When you play it you either decide then that it’s too harsh and you would rather not play anything like it or you go deeper into the world of strategy board games. This is one of those games. Battle Cry, however, isn’t the most complicated game you can find. I find it is a happy medium between Risk (simpler) and Axis and Allies (takes an hour to explain it to people).
The game has many of the biggest battles in the Civil War all set up so you can reenact specific clashes. They even give a quick synopsis of what really happened. It makes an interesting facet of play since you can try things that they didn’t to see if it could have tipped the scales. The board is all set up in advance with specific locations for each unit and terrain feature. They have the rivers, fields, and even fields and orchards that can be set down in their historical locations with the tiles. The actual play consists of units such as infantry, cavalry, and, my personal favorite, artillery. They also have the generals of each battle like “Stonewall” Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant. The winner has to collect a number of flags from their opponent by defeating their units or sometimes, for specific win conditions such as taking over special map locations. The different units have particular ranges of attack and movement as well as different percentage chances of getting hit in a battle.
One particular part of the game that is a great feature and an annoying detriment is the card system. You
don’t get to move all your pieces during your turn. You instead have to play a card from your hand that issues orders to a particular section of the battlefield; left flank, center, or right flank. It can be nice because you never can tell whether the enemy is capable of retaliating against your assault. Then there are the times that you really can’t retaliate because you haven’t drawn a worthwhile card for half the battle. Adds some random chance to the battle overall instead of just your dice rolls for the attacks themselves. You can also use this to your advantage as well by saving up certain cards for a time when you think they’ve exhausted their capabilities in one area.
The Anniversary Edition also comes with the setup and synopsis for 13 additional battles.
The total time to play is somewhere between half an hour to a couple hours. Time to learn is about 15 minutes (more if they are slow learners). Thankfully the manual is pretty easy to understand. That’s a factor that is really important with more complicated games.