This is a review of the Warcry skirmish game made by Games Workshop. In this warcry review, I will not only look at the original starter set, but the game as a whole with all the warbands and how healthy it is (and will be). I will try and describe some of the rules, because I believe it is hard for you to understand if this is a game for you if you do not get how things “work” inside the game. I will also try and explain what type of gamer I am, in order for you to understand if you are going to share my views or not.
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What is Warcry?
Warcry is a skirmish based wargame released by Games Workshop. It uses miniatures and lore from the Warhammer: Age of Sigmar setting. If you are familiar with Kill Team for Warhammer 40k, you will see quite some similarities.
- The standard game is a two-player game, but rules exist for team games and big free-for-all battles.
- A campaign system is also in place (a bit Mordheim style, but much lighter so do not get your hopes up).
- If you are quick you can knock out a game in 30. min, but your first few games will last longer (it all depends on how well the players know their Warband and abilities, if they have played the mission before and so on).
- Each player controls a small warband (3-15 miniatures) fighting against the other players warband to control in a race to complete their mission.
- The objective of the game changes depending on what mission you draw (or select). They range from objective holding, treasure grabbing to killing a specific fighter or part of the other players warband.
- The game makes a big deal out of using all three dimensions, with fighters jumping up and down the terrain used in the game.
- It uses a “you-go-I-go” style of play, where you alternate moving one miniature at a time. This means that there are no big pauses where you just sit and watch your opponent.
- The battleplans (missions) in the pick-up-and-play style are generated by drawing a terrain (how to set up the terrain), a mission (what the goal of the game is), a twist (in this game we got +1 toughness, ranged attack is harder etc.), and a deployment card (where each warband can set up different parts their warband). This variable mission setup gives a lot of replay value, but also introduces some problems.
- There are also rules for matched play (with a stricter mission setup) and narrative play (mainly campaign style)
- The background of the game is that the different chaos warbands are fighting for Archaons attention. This means that the unique warbands for the game are all chaos, but it is possible to play the game with warbands from different Age of Sigmar factions (if you buy their Warband Card Packs and can get the miniatures some way).
- Right now there is quite a lot of Warbands available, with two more chaos and a truckload of non-chaos coming up in the next expansion. If you want an overview of the different warbands, my guide here is probably your best bet.
- The Chaos warbands are kits of brand new miniatures (all of them useable in the new Slaves to Darkness Age of Sigmar army). The warbands for non-chaos factions all use current miniatures from Age of Sigmar. This seems like the way it will continue to be.
I go through the rules in more detail further below.
What was the release date for Warcry?
- The Warcry starter set was released on Saturday 3 of August 2019.
- We know about two more Chaos Warbands, we just do not know their release date yet.
- The first expansion for Warcry come out not very long after release. The “Monsters and Mercenaries” book came out 7 September 2019, not very long after the initial release. This expansion was focused on adding a few extra allies, big monsters and other elements. Those rules are purely optional and very focused on campaign gaming (so no rules bloat yet).
- Next up we will see the Tome of Champions, with preorder 7 December and release date 14 December 2019. In this book, you will find a reprint of all the non-chaos warband cards (sweet!), new campaign elements, added stuff for matched play if you want it, and it will introduce 15 (!) new non-chaos warbands.
What factions, warbands and models are available for Warcry?
Since Warcry was released, it has changed super much in what warbands you can play with. I suggest taking a look at our Warcry hub for an overview (where you can also find a guide for each warband).
What are the core rules for Warcry and how does the game play?
In the next couple of chapters I will dive into the core mechanics of Warcry. But first, a short story about me. In order to decide whether you will value my opinion on the game, I think it is important that you know a bit about me as a gamer. When we first got our hands on Warcry, I thought it would replace some of the AoS gaming I did. Well it did! For quite I while I only played Warcry. Funnily enough, I have mainly played it with people that are not that into Age of Sigmar or not into it at all. Think more boardgame type people.
See the games speaks to me on many different levels in scratches my gaming ich in many ways. As a gamer, I would describe me in this way:
- I am more concerned about the “fun” of the game and not so much with perfect balance. I very much like to know what is the optimal choice, but in-games against real-life opponents I shy away from the obnoxious/overly broken stuff.
- Fun for me is a game where both parties are enjoying themselves and where they would both like to play the game again and they would not mind playing against the same opponent.
- A game where one player wins because of some overly powerful mechanic/abuse is not fun. So balance is important to me. But I also think it is up to the players to self regulate their playstyle and I think it is up to gaming groups to decide on changing the rules if things get out of hand.
- I enjoy “crunch”, big rulebooks, depth and figuring out what the best strategies are in a game.
- I paint a lot more than I play.
- I enjoy shorter games and I can feel like a 2.5-hour wargame to be a bit of a drain.
So yeah, that is what I think and enjoy. This will hopefully give some perspective on my thoughts and feelings on the game.
3 ways to play
Warcry embraces the same “3-ways-to-play-concept” as Warhammer, giving you options for open, matched and narrative play.
If you would rather watch a video going over the core rules, GW has made an excellent “how to play” video on their Warcry page (embedded below).
The core rules for Warcry are as follows:
- Each player controls a Warband consisting of 3-15 fighters. Exactly one of them can be a Leader. Each fighter will cost a number of points. The start point is 1000 points for a standard warband.
- The fighters must all come from the same Warband. An example would be the Iron Golems (one of two the warbands found in the Starter Set)
- Each fighter in a warband has a Fighter Card. This states the stats of the fighter (how long the fighter can move, what weapons he has and how he hits with them, how many wounds he can take before he dies and so on). This is like a warscroll in Age of Sigmar or a Data Sheet in 40k.
- Each warband has an Ability Card. The ability card states the different special abilities available to the warband. This is similar to Command Abilities in Age of Sigmar or Stratagems in 40k. On the back of the Ability Card, you can also see all of the different fighter available in the warband.
- All warbands also have access to 5 generic abilities (found in the core rulebook).
- Warcry shares a lot of general rules with Age of Sigmar and 40k: distance is measured in inches, re-rolls, true line of sight, roll-offs, stats and so on. Warcry does not share the same method of rolling to wound, rolling to hit, rolling for saves and rolling for damage. Instead, a fighter makes a roll for each attack, compares the strength to the toughness of the target and that is it.
Setting up the game
Before setup, the players make a roll off. One player rolls highest and he wins priority.
Now each player splits their warband into 3 different groups – Dagger, Shield and Hammer.
- Each group must have at least one fighter in it
- None of the groups can have more than half of the fighters in the warband
- The Shield group must include at least a third (rounding up) of the fighter in the warband
The battleplan (mission) for the game is now drawn. The battleplan is made up by drawing one card from these four different decks (or made by rolling if you do not have the cards)
- Terrain Deck (shows how the terrain should be set up on the field)
- Deployment Deck (shows you the deployment zones of warbands and groups)
- Victory Deck (shows the objectives for the mission and how many rounds it will last)
- Twist Deck (shows any special rules used for the game)
The player who won priority gets to select what deployment options from the card (blue or red) he would like.
After this, the players set up their warbands (as indicated by the Deployment Card):
- The player with priority sets up his Dagger group. After that, the other opposing players set up his Dagger group.
- Then priority player sets up his Shield group, followed by the other player.
- Finally, priority players sets up his Hammer group, followed by the other player.
The Victory card determines what the goal of the game is. Most times you will see Objectives in the game (points that need to be captured and controlled). These work like Age of Sigmar (you gain control if you have more fighters within 3″ of it than your opponent does and you keep control until the enemy takes the objective).
In addition to Objectives Warcry also includes Treasure. Treasure can be picked up, dropped or your opponent can take out the fighter with the treasure to try and claim it.
The Battle Round
Warcry is fought in a number of rounds. In each round, both players alternate doing stuff (which is quite different from AoS or 40k). Each round is split into 3 phases: Hero Phase, Reserve Phase and Combat Phase.
In the Hero Phase: both players rolls 6 dice each, called the initiative dice. This roll is used to determine which player goes first and what special abilities (either from the Warband Ability Card or from the 5 generic abilities) each player can use.
- To determine who won initiative, both players count up all unique rolls (singles) on their six dice. The player who has the most unique (non-duplicate or singles) dice wins “initiative”. If they are equal, it is a roll off.
- After that, both players sort their remaining dice into groups of duplicates. Having two dice with the same side up will give you the ability to use special abilities that require a “double”. Having 3 dice with the same side gives access to using a triple, and 4 dice of the same side will give you access to quad abilities.
- If an ability refers to the “value” of the ability, it means the number of eyes on the group of dice. So if you have two sixes and use them on an ability that says it deals damage according to the value of the ability, it will deal 6 damage.
This, quite clever, mechanic makes it so that going last is not always bad, because it will likely mean you have access to more special power juice. Do note that after each round your remaining dice get removed, so you need to use all of your abilities in that round (it is easy to save them for later, then realizing that the round is suddenly over).
But wait, it gets more crazy! After you have rolled for initiative, both players get a Wild Dice.
- The wild dice can be used in that hero phase or saved for later hero phases (making it possible to store up for a “big turn). Each wild dice can only be used once.
- The wild dice can be used to add to your amount of singles for that turn (in order to get initative).
- The wild dice can be added to any pile of dice, making a double a triple or a triple into a quad (you cannot add two dice to a double to make it a quad).
- The player with initiative needs to decide first how his wild dice will be used (if at all). This makes for an interesting dynamic around who actually gets first turn.
The Reserve Phase: is quite simple. Sometimes the deployment card will indicate that a group will be in reserve. This just means that in a specific round, after the first, it will come onto the battlefield instead of being set up at the beginning of the game.
Now the Combat Phase: this is where it gets really exciting.
First, the player with initiative picks a fighter and makes 2 actions with that fighter. After that, the opposing player picks a fighter and activates him. You keep doing that until all fighters have been selected and acted.
Doing an activation, a fighter can also use one ability. When you use an ability, you discard the initiative dice you used for it. If you only have one fighter left, you can use more than one ability with the same fighter.
You have 4 actions to choose from and you can pick the same action twice.
And well, that is basically the game. You fight a number of battle rounds as indicated on the Victory Card. If you are tied at the end of the game, you take one more battle round. You keep doing that until someone wins the objective or one warband has been wiped out completely.
A fighter card in detail
Above you can see the fighter card for a Drillmaster in the Iron Golems.
The different stats means the following:
- The image of the fighter (with the faction runemark in the background)
- The Faction Runemark (all fighters in your warband must have the same runemark).
- The move characteristic of the fighter. This will mean how many inches the fighter can move with a move action.
- Toughness. Yeah, you read that right! Toughness, which is non-existent in Age of Sigmar, makes a return in Warcry
- The number of wounds a fighter can take before he dies
- The point value that the fighter costs to take in your warband (standard warband size in core rules is 1000 points)
- The first weapon of the fighter (fighters can have multiple weapons)
- The range of the weapon in inches
- The Attack characteristic of the weapon – the number of attacks you make with the weapon
- The Strenght of the weapon
- The first number is how much damage the weapon makes when you hit and wound. A wound roll of a six is a critical and means you deal the second number in the bracket in damage.
- The fighters second weapon profile
- The runemark of the fighter. They are bit like keywords in Age of Sigmar, deciding what special abilities the fighter can use and what buffs can be used on them.
- The Divider area – not shown on this image. If you use multiple of the same fighter, you can keep track of tokens for the specific fighters here.
This is all pretty much as expected. The major surprises are the (re)introduction of Strenght and Toughness AND the lack of any kind of saves. In fact, combat in Warcry is really simple (some might say too simple).
The Attack Action in more detail
When attacking you pick a weapon and an enemy fighter within the weapons range. You roll dice equal to the attack of the weapon. You then compare the strength of the weapon with the toughness of the enemy fighter.
- Higher strength than toughness: +3 on the roll will equal wounds
- Equal strength and toughness: +4 on the roll will equal wounds
- Lower strength than toughness: +5 on the roll will equal wounds
You score wounds on the fighter equal to the number in the first bracket of the damage profile of the weapon. Any 6 you roll will be a critical hit and deal a number of wounds equal to the number in the second bracket. Criticals are usually double the normal amount of wounds but on some fighters, it is higher.
And that is how you fight in Warcry. One roll and you know exactly what happens. Pretty simple, right?
What do I think about the combat mechanic?
I love the combat mechanic and I hate the combat mechanic:
I love how simple it is. just roll the dice once and we know exactly how much damage the enemy takes. No reason to roll for hit, roll for wound, roll for saves and roll for damage. At the end of the day, this much simpler system results in the same thing (x chance to do x damage). Boardgamers will pick this rule up instantly whereas the AoS/40k rules can seem confusing to newer players.
On the other side, I kind of hate it. Crits are king in Warcry and rolling those sixes at the right time will win you the game. This can lead to situations where I feel like I win despite not being the best player and it can lead to situations where I feel like I got “cheated” because of some lucky crits. On the other side, this adds quite a lot of tension and makes the game bloody and fast. Fighter die and they die quickly.
Overall, I think the elegance of the “one-roll” system wins and I can swallow the “bad beats”. It is, after all, a dice rolling game.
Movement, Disengage and Waiting actions in more detail
Move: When you make a move action you move the fighter a number of inches equal to the movement value found on the figher card. You cannot move over another fighters base, out of the board, through terrain or away from an enemy fighter you started within 1″ of. If you are moving around on terrain peices, movement is pretty straightforward. Measure and then move.
As part of a move, you can also jump, climb, or fly.
Jump just means that you jump down from some terrain. Technically, it means that you do not count the vertical distance downwards when you move down from a terrain piece. If you jump down from a terrain piece 3″ or more, it is possible to suffer impact damage (roll a d6, 4-5 1 damage point and on a 6 you get 3 damage points).
Climb means climbing up or down any terrain. It is possible to combine a normal move, a jump and a climb into one movement. You just measure the distance you climb up or down as you would if you were walking along as normal. The important thing here: you can only end your move action when the centre of your base is on the battlefield flor or on a platform. So you cannot end your move hanging on a wall. Sometimes this means that you miss some of your movement (you move up to the terrain you want to climb, but you only got 2″ move remaining and the hight is 3″. You then have to end your first move action and begin the next one to climb up).
If your fighter has the fly runemark, you do not measure the vertical distance. So a flying fighter can jump all over the place!
Besides jumping down, there are other ways a fighter can get hurt running around on old ruins. If you end your move climbing you fall down. If you a fighter is attacked while within 1/2″ of the edge of a platform AND that attack has a critical, you fall down on a roll of 1.
When you fall you pick a point within 2″ that is lower then where you are now. The fighter then falls down if it is 3″ or more they take impact damage.
Disengage: if you start a move action with a fighter that is within 1″ of an enemy fighter, you cannot move further away from the fighter than the distance you started (so you can lap around, but no move away). If you want to move away, you need to take the disengage action. It simply means that you can make a move of 3″ and you must end more than 1″ away from all enemies.
Wait: the wait action is a bit tricky to understand. If you use the wait action as your last action, you simply forfeit that action and nothing happens. If you use the wait action as your first action, the fighter is “waiting”. This simply means that you can activate him again at a later stage in the combat phase.
The wait action can be used for 3 things:
- Skipping your last action that you got no use for.
- If you are forced to pick a fighter (because you have no more left) but you desperately need to act with that fighter later in the combat or you want to use an ability with him now (a buff, a defensive thing or an ability attack) and the possibility of acting with the fighter later.
- If you want to use two abilities with the same fighter in the same combat round. You can use an ability each time you activate the fighter.
What do I think about the movement rules?
The rules where written slightly clunky, so at first it was hard to gather exactly how it worked. Now that I have played quite a lot of games, the movement moves very fluidly and it is easy for new players to pick up how it works when you explain it.
You simply move around, jump and so on. It is very “action-style” and you can pull off some pretty cool moves (jumping up on terrain, killing a dude, activate an ability to jump down, kill another dude).
That said, while the king of combat is crit the king of movement is… well movement. A high movement, especially if coupled with fly, as really, really good. So good that warbands without will struggle majorly with some types of missions. Quite a few times we have seen units come onto the battlefield in turn 2 and NEVER reach the fight or do anything. This is because their low movement and the way the missions and deploy cards work. You could argue that the player could have done something different in the way they divided their warband up into the different groups, but it is bound to happen sometimes no matter what you do.
What this means is that high movement and high damage/high attack/high crit fighters are really good. Warbands without them can really have a hard time competing.
A closer look at Ability Cards (special powers) in Warcry
What you can see above is the Ability card for Iron Golems.
- The runemarks you can see is like keywords, indicating that only fighters with that runemark can use the ability.
- Double means that it requires a “double pool” from the initiative roll to use. The same goes for triple and quad.
- The value of the power is the symbol on the dice shown on the pool you use (so a minimum of 1 and a max of 6).
My overall thoughts on the core rules
The core rules seem solid enough. Everything is quite simple, but the depth and tactics is still clearly visible in initiative roll + wild dice mechanic + how you spend your abilities + how you move your fighters to win the missions.
- The four different card decks that construct the game is a good choice for easy setup and giving a lot of different possible games. The twist cards sometimes do nothing and sometimes they do a bit too much.
- I really dig the ability and initiative mechanic. It really satisfies my lust for dice rolling and decision making in games.
- The simple combat, movement and quick play still really suits the part of me that just wants to play board games instead of a 2+ hours wargame.
- It has happened quite a few times that one player could instantly win the mission with their first activation, without the opponent could have done anything different in terms of setup. This is due to the random nature of the setup and mission (where you decide on groupings of warband before you see the mission), some high movement fighter and a few other factors. This is clearly not cool if you want to play a competitive game. What we have done is simply to redraw all of the cards and quickly start over with the same setup. I have only played a few of the “matched play” missions and I hope that issue is not as big an issue there. But, looking at the way the missions are structured in matched play it is bound to happen anyway.
- The issues in matched play, as well as the balancing between warbands, makes me believe that Warcry is NOT for very competitive matched play gamers. You will simply run into too many instances where you will feel like the game is “broken”.
- On the other hand, more casual and narrative gamers will find quite a lot of fun in the way the core rules are structured.
Overall, I think the core rules are good. For me the big question is if the campaign mode has enough meat on it to keep me interested.
How does matched play work for Warcry?
The book has 2 ways of playing a matched play (overall a more balanced style of play) as well as some rules for running a tournament.
- The first way of running a more balanced version of Warcry is to remove all of the cards in the four setup decks that do not have the “symmetrical” runemark. Quite a lot of the setup cards are non-symmetrical. If you remove them it gives a more even setup. I feel that this does not really remove the situations where the game is very quickly over, without both sides having a fair chance of making decisions that could win them the game.
- The second version of matched play via the pitched battle system. In this version you skip drawing the deployment and victory cards (so you get a twist and how to deploy the terrain as normal). Instead of using the cards, the core book contains 12 pitched battle games each with their own mission and how you deploy your warband. I have only played a fewe of those, but some of them solve the problem of the game ending in a quick victory. On the other hand, the pitched battle system does not do anything about the balance between warbands.
The book also includes two pages covering how to run a tournament in warcry. It includes:
- A simple point system according to how much you won or lost
- Hidden agendas that you can complete in each game (they give very few points, so they seem like they will act more as a tiebreaker)
- Rules for having the tournament “escalate”, a bit like a campaign (so the warband and the fighters get better the more games you play)
My view on the matched play system in Warcry
I guess it is ok. My feelings are that Warcry will never be a big competitive tournament game, so I am actually glad they did not use a lot of time fleshing out this side of the game. For me it will remain a somewhat casual beer and pretzel boardgame, acting as a very good gateway into AoS and wargaming/skirmish games in general. If you come to Warcry for some very competitive, balanced gaming I am afraid you are not even gonna find it in the matched play rules.
I think my dedicated Warcry gaming group will transition towards playing mainly campaign and the pitched battle battleplans. Over time, the very random nature of the cards can a bit annoying.
How does the campaign (narrative play) work for Warcry?
The campaign in Warcry is a bit different than what I expected and what I am used to:
- At the start of the campaign, each player picks a Campaign Quest for their warband.
- The chaos warbands have 2 different quests to choose from and the non-chaos warbands have 1 they can select (there are more campaign quest to choose from in the expansions)
- The campaign quests will detail the overall mission for the campaign and storyline you are following. Each campaign has 3 convergence battles, and your quest basically consists of winning those battleplans.
- All warbands starts at an even 1000 points playing field
Effects of playing in a campaign:
You start the campaign by just playing a game against another warband in the campaign. After the battle there is an aftermath sequence where you gain and lose stuff:
- Your warband earns glory points by winning the battle, killing the leader of the other warband, killing a lot of the fighters in the other warband and so on.
- For each fighter in your warband that got taken out, you roll an injury roll. The fighter can die completely, he can lose favour (lose one destiny level) or nothing can happen.
- Each fighter that was not taken out gets to roll to see if they have gained the favour of the dark gods (or whatever they are after). On a six they gain a destiny level. 1 destiny level gives you the ability to reroll one dice used by that fighter in the game.
- You roll to search for lesser artefacts. The artefacts is a shared list of one use and items that might go away after the game. Some are good, some are less good. You get to pick which fighter gets the lesser artefact.
Growing your warband and completing your quest
Over time your warband slowly gains in power (destiny and lesser artefacts). You need to follow the campaign tracker found on the last page of the core book to see when you need to play a convergence map instead of normal game. It also shows when you get an artefact of power and a command trait. Both of these are specific to your campaign quest (each quest has 3 traits and 3 artefacts to pick from).
You can also spend 10 glory points to dominate territory. This basically gives you 50 more points to add to your warband. These can be used on thralls (the monsters in the starter set) or on more dudes.
After two normal games, you play your first convergence. You have to win that convergence game to move onwards in your quest. If you fail the game, you have to play it again. When you have completed the third and final convergence map, your quest is completed. You gain a bit of text to read (the outcome of your quest) and a pretty good artefact. You now play along in the campaign without a quest or you can pick a new quest.
My thought on the campaign system in Warcry
The campaign system is by far the thing I am most disappointed with in Warcry. It had so much potential, but I feel like it is quite a letdown.
Things I find really weird:
- Each game you pick fighters from your roster up to the max point value (starting at 1000 and slowly growing by 50 points each increment to a max of 1300 points). Before a fighter gains an artefact or a destiny level, he is nothing to you. If he dies, so what? You do not lose points and you can just fill your roster up with John Nobody. This feels counter-intuitive to me after having played Mordheim, Blood Bowl and other GW games with a campaign system. On the other hand, this helps different warbands from snowballing into powerhouses and others from getting retired after the first game.
- The random rolling for lesser artefacts and the random rolling for destiny levels is not really my taste. I would much rather that the glory points was a currency for buying all of the different stuff.
- While I can see the reason for doing the campaign quest as they are, it feels slightly disjointed. My warband is doing something while your warband is doing something completely different. It will require some work to blend these quests together in a bigger overall narrative.
- The “ending” of the campaign feels weird. Should you just play on with the warband that has completed his narrative? Did you win the campaign?
After having played quite a lot fo just random games, we have finally gotten our act together and started a campaign. Time will tell if we are going to love it. My guess is that we will play it once, pick the things we like and completely rewrite the campaign system into something deeper and more Mordheim-esque.
What is the price of Warcry?
Note: these are the GW prices. If you use one of the links below, it is likely you can find it cheaper from a good site. At the end of the this Warcry review, I list the extra stuff you can buy (other terrain, expansions and so on).
- Warcry Starter Set: £100/$170 (includes two warbands, terrain, core book -> everything you need to play)
- Warcry Core Rulebook (included in Starter Set): £25/$40
- Battleplan Cards (included in Starter Set): £12/$18
- Warbands: £30/$50
- Non-chaos faction/warband card packs: £5/$8 (going out of stock and is not getting reprinted)
What exactly will I need to play Warcry?
As usual, the Starter Set will give you everything you need to get started. But if you are trying to avoid buying the starter set, this is what you will need:
- The Core Book for Warcry
- A warband consisting of minimum 3 and a maximum of 15 models (either a warband or a box or two from an AoS faction).
- The Ability Card for your Warband and the Fighter Cards for your Warband (included in warbands or can be bought on the side for other non-chaos factions).
- Six-sided dice
- Terrain with some hight
What is the lore for Warcry?
The lore for Warcry is pretty sparse. You can find some in the Core Book and you can find some in the anthology stories.
The lore for warcry is actually pretty cool. All of the new warbands are different chaos worshippers, but this time around they are quite different from the normal followers of the 4 (5?) Dark Gods. In Warcry, most of the warbands do not know exactly what kind of god it is they worship. The bird bois might worship Slaanesh, but maybe it is Tzeentch? They worship what they think are gods, but in reality, it is probably different aspects of the Dark Gods.
Each chaos warband is vying for the attention of chaos and in particular Archaons attention.
If you want to know a bit more about the different warbands background, check out the different Warband Guides I have made. In each one, I have a small section about their story.
What are the possible expansions and future releases for Warcry?
- It is very likely that we will see a lot of AoS factions get a warband card set. They will be cheap to produce and easy to implement into the game. (Note: confirmed that 15 more are coming)
- More Warbands are for sure coming (with names known for the next two).
- The campaign system is quite robust for Warcry, but people really crave something more in-depth. A seriously detailed Mordheim-Esque supplement would sell like hotcakes.
What map/battlefield size is Warcry played on?
Warcry is played on a 22″ x 30″ (or 55,88cm x 76,2cm). The Starter Set includes a double-sided map on those specific dimensions.
What this really means: you can play Warcry on a much smaller space than a normal Age of Sigmar or 40k battle and you will need a lot less terrain to make it interesting.
The downside is that you will probably not have a battle mat that fits those dimensions…
What I like about Warcry
The core rules of the game
Movement, combat, you-go-I-go turn style and the fluidity of the game is just so good. After having played I game, I just feel like playing another. This, for me, is the best kind of game and not really something that Age of Sigmar (or any wargame) is gaming me on a consistent basis.
The abilities and initiative dice are really sweet
The initiative mechanic, the abilities and how they interact with each other and the initiative is really clever and feels enjoyable to play. You feel like you have multiple different options and angles to take in a turn, but it is also not overwhelming (at least after a few games). I think there is quite a skill cap attached to this, but it is also easy to learn.
Not a gazzilion different weapon options
Options are cool and good. Options you have to decide on when you assemble your miniatures can be a problem in a miniature game. Warcry warbands only have a few different options, which I think is a very good thing. Even with 30 different weapon options a few of them are just going to be “the best” (look at Kill Team). Cutting down on this for Warcry was a good choice. I still feel like I can build my warband in different ways, but this is just by having a few other fighters than what came in the standard box. Good for beginners and I also think it is good for the game overall.
Everything fits in the box, even when the terrain is assembled
Take out the insert and put the assembled terrain on the bottom. Put your map and books on top and it all fits! Perfect for boardgame OCD type people.
Having a great gateway game into Age of Sigmar and having a great Skirmish game in the AoS setting
I had hoped that Underworlds was going to be a good gateway game into AoS, but that did not turn out that way. It was a great game, but too far removed from AoS mechanics-wise to make the leap to AoS easy. Warcry, on the other hand, is shaping up to be exactly what I wanted. A lot of the mechanics are similar and the way you can adjust the roster is very kin to how you put units into an army. Movement and line of sight are very similar and the battleplans also work in somewhat the same way. It would be easy to introduce a small game of Age of Sigmar after say 5-6 games of Warcry.
The fact that the models are usable straight in AoS and that the Chaos Warbands are looking like they are going to make an awesome new Slaves to Darkness army is just amazing. I can clearly see a way people will slippery slope into suddenly playing AoS an owning an army. That transition did not exist with Underworlds in nearly the same way.
Absolutely incredible miniatures and terrain
I almost forget about it, because I am so very used to this. But, if you have never played a Games Workshop game, you will be blown away by the quality of the sculpts on the miniatures. If you played Warhammer 15 years ago, you will be blown away by the leaps of lightyears they have moved since then. The minis are just that good.
Quick fun games in the AoS setting
Oh yeah, and did I mention I just really like the game? It gives me that AoS fix in a fast way. I can get multiple games done in one night and play against different opponents and warbands.
What I dislike about Warcry
The fact that we have had multiple games ending in the first few fighter activations
I ranted a bit about this in the section about the core rules, but the way the game works with setup of warbands, the mission card and the deployment cards make it so the game can be over before both players can react. An example would be one player getting to decide what mini they need to get to the other side of the board. They get priority, double move that high movement mini 20″ across the board and win the game. No players could have done any different and it was semi-luck that the fighter ended up in the correct placement. Sure, this is better in the matched play version, but this is not an ideal experience for new gamers (in this is where we have used the open cards).
The decision to not have names or any text on the fighter cards
This might be a small thing, but it is just weird to me. In order to see the name of the fighter, you have to look it up on your ability card (not on the side with the actual text on it). This is slightly confusing for new players.
Also, while the runemark system is neat, it does not really work. Why does the elite and leader symbol look so much alike? Beginners confuse these up a lot. When you play a new warband, you constantly have to look exactly what fighter can use what abilities. Why not just out some text on it with a name?
Having cards go out of print
The fighter cards for the warbands are necessary to play the warband. As somewhat predicted, those cards (for the non-chaos warbands) quickly went out of print. Granted, they are going to print the cards in the next book, so they are somewhat trying to remedy this problem. But still, what is it with GW and printing things once and then never printing them again?
Why did I receive 30 cards in languages I do not speak?
This is bound to be connected with the overall card design decision, but why that I should receive warcry cards on all multiple different languages they have been released in? Just a waste.
The campaign system
As I wrote in the part about the campaign, it just does not satisfy my need for crunch. I need more decisions, I need more things to do, I need tension and vulnerability. In short, I need more stuff! I had hoped for expansions to give us more, but it looks like it is going to be more of the same stuff. Maybe a fan module can help fix it?
In order to have a very competitive warband, you probably have to buy 2 boxes
I am really into the Corvus Cabal, but to create the best warband I need two different warbands. Granted, they are going to release boxes with 2x sprues, but my annoyance is still there. It would be cool if the box included just a few more models than you need (this would also make campaign play a bit easier).
You can assemble your terrain in a wrong way, even if you follow the manual in the box
Options are cool, but the terrain cards assume you assemble in a specific way. This means that some people have assembled their terrain and afterwards they have a hard time following the cards included in the game. This is just a poor design choice.
The video below will show you the “correct” way of putting it together.
Other weird pet peeves or decisions I find weird
- The bendy ruler is neat, but it is so damn difficult to pick up when it lies flat on a table. Also, why are there not two in a box?
- The dices are sweet, but there are not enough for two players to play the game without running into some issues (this is mostly due to the fact that you would preferably want to not roll your initiative dice for combat).
- If you are red/green colourblind some of the things are hard discern from each other.
- The balancing between warbands seems a bit off. If you have a very good double ability, high crit + high attack, high movement and so on you can slaughter your opponent.
- Quite a lot of spiky bits are falling of my terrain via normal wear and tear.
- Quads abilities are cool, but they come up very rarely
- The decision to have the starter set go out of print already. Yeah sure, they are bringing out a new one (probably with the two remaining chaos warbands). But think about it from a new players perspective. You get introduced to a really cool skirmish game. You get your teeth wet and you want more. You decide on going out and getting that same game. You get to the store and you get told it is sold out to never come back. They tell you that the same game, basically, is coming out again in a new box with new minis. Would you not find it extremely weird? Sure, if this thing had been out 2 years. But this is just GW and how they handle printing of the non AoS/40K games.
Overall Verdict and an ending to this very long Warcry Review
So here we are. After having played 30+ games, introduced the game to 5 new players and having this slightly take over my AoS gaming time I am finally ready to give my verdict.
Warcry is a good skirmish game. It is fun, it is quick and it will bring you enjoyable and memorable moments with your friends. The minis are amazing the starter box is good value.
Warcry has some balance issues and some mechanics, particularly the random setup cards, seem to interact in clunky ways at times. If you want to break the game you certainly can. If you want to fix the game and enjoy it for what it is, that is definitely an option as well.
Warcry is not going to be a stable on the competitive scene in the long run. Those kinds of players will find more of what they want in Underworlds, AoS, 40k or other skirmish games that do this better.
In a few year time, when GW have moved on to releasing and caring for something else, this will still be on shelves around the world. It will get played and enjoyed by friends in a beer and pretzel style of setting. I am happy about that because this is the kind of game I needed in my life (with an AoS setting and quality miniatures on top). Others might not feel like it delivered.
My biggest disappointment is with the campaign system. Not enough crunch, too much bland stuff. On the other hand, this might open the gate for some amazing fan module that will blow the socks off everyone. It also leaves the gate open for forging a self-made narrative with my gaming group.
This is a game for boardgamers interested in AoS or a game with GW miniatures. It is a game for AoS players looking for something lighter and quicker to play at times. It is a game for players that like to make their own story and want a light game system to do it in. It is a game that you can introduce to your better half, without them running screaming away from the bloated rulebook.
This is not a game for uber-competitive players. This is not going to be a big competitive tournament game. It is not going to be a substitute for Mordheim fans.
Warcry is a light, quick, action skirmish game in the setting of the Mortal Realms. If that is what you are looking for, it has my highest recommendation.
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Other Reviews for Warcry
Below you can find more about the content of the Starter set in Warcry and other things you can purchase for Warcry
What is included in the Warcry Starter Set? (£100/$170)
The starter set includes everything you will need to get started playing Warcry. Below you can see some details.
8 miniatures for the Untamed Beast Warband (roughly 1000 points):
A big chunk of terrain
6 Raptoryx miniatures (chaotic beasts, not part of any warband)
6 Furies miniatures (chaotic beasts, not part of any warband)
The Battleplan Cards (a deck for Terrain, Deployment, Victory and Twist) and Ability Cards and Fighter cards for all miniatures in the set
A double-sided playing mat in the 22″x30″ size (foldable, but quite sturdy)
Dice, tokens and a 12″ ruler
What other items can I buy and what can I get separately if I do not want the Warcry Starter Set?
Warcry Carry Case (£20/$35)
Quite a lot fo different Warbands (£30/$50)
|Army||Battletome||Endless Spells||Terrain Feature||SC Box||Age of battletome||Age of models||Where are the rules?||Power level|
|Beasts of Chaos||9/2018||Getting aged||Battletome only||Low||Check Miniatures on Amazon|
|Blades of Khorne||3/2019||Somewhat New||Battletome only||Low||Check Miniatures on Amazon|
|Disciples of Tzeentch||1/2020||Somewhat New||Battletome only||High||Check Miniatures on Amazon|
|Hedonites of Slaanesh||2/2021||New||Battletome only||Average||Check Miniatures on Amazon|
|Maggotkin of Nurgle||1/2018||Somewhat New||All over the place||Average||Check Miniatures on Amazon|
|Skaven||2/2019||Old||Battletome only||Average||Check Miniatures on Amazon|
|Slaves to Darkness||12/2019||Somewhat New||Battletome and other books||Low||Check Miniatures on Amazon|