This is a review of the Warcry skirmish game made by Games Workshop.
In this article, I go through the rules, the different warbands, the factions and models you can use for non-chaos factions, the price point and what I think about everything so far.
Note: this article is being updated
Table of contents for this article
- What is Warcry?
- What is the release date for Warcry?
- What factions, warbands and models are available for Warcry?
- Will the miniatures from the different warbands in Warcry be usable in Age of Sigmar?
- What is the price of Warcry?
- What exactly will I need to play Warcry?
- How does the campaign (narrative play) work for Warcry?
- How does matched play work for Warcry?
- What are the possible expansions and future releases for Warcry?
- What map/battlefield size is Warcry played on?
- What is the lore for Warcry?
- Other Reviews for Warcry
- What is included in the Warcry Starter Set? (£100/$170)
- What other items can I buy and what can I get separately if I do not want the Warcry Starter Set?
- What are the core rules for Warcry and how does it play?
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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).
- Each player controls a small warband (3-15 miniatures) fighting against the other player to control various objectives and treasures.
- 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, a mission, a twist, and a deployment card. This variable mission setup gives a lot of replay value.
- There are also rules for matched play (with a stricter mission setup) and narrative play.
- The background of the game is the different chaos warbands fighting for Archaons attention. This means that the unique warbands for the game are all chaos, but it is possible the 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).
- At launch, there are 3 different chaos warbands to choose from (with two in the starter set) and 9 non-chaos factions available.
I go through the rules in more detail further below.
What is the release date for Warcry?
- The Warcry starter set was released on Saturday 3 of August 2019. The cards for non-chaos factions are released at the same time as well as the Cypher Lords Warband.
- The Corvus Cabal, Splintered Fang and the Unmade Warband was released 10 of August.
- We still do not know when the last two
What factions, warbands and models are available for Warcry?
On release 3 different unique chaos warbands are available. We know the models and name for 4 more. Also, we know of two more Warbands already being confirmed for future release. The Warcry website says that there are 9 Warbands, so there is at least one more we do not know the name.
The Warbands for Warcry are:
- Untamed Beasts (in the starter set)
- Iron Golems (in the starter set)
- Cypher Lords (available on release)
- Corvus Cabal (released 1 week after the normal game)
- Splintered Fang (released 1 week after the normal game)
- The Unmade (released 1 week after the normal game)
- Spire Tyrants (future release)
- Scions of the Flame (future release)
GW has made a website that (very quickly) describes the six warbands that we have seen the models for. It is embedded below for your convenience:
You also have the option of playing the game with miniatures from your existing factions, provided you buy their Battle Cards (special abilities and Fighters cards)
The non-chaos Factions available at launch for Warcry are:
A lot of factions are missing, but my guess is that they will release a lot more factions quite soon. It will only require the making and printing of a small set of cards, so no big investment (and those packs will likely sell like crazy!).
Will the miniatures from the different warbands in Warcry be usable in Age of Sigmar?
GW's Facebook page has confirmed that the miniatures from the warbands will get Warscrolls card and Pitched battle profiles (making them usable in Age of Sigmar).
What is the price of Warcry?
Prices are confirmed (but remember you can get it at a discount from Goblin Gaming).
- Warcry Starter Set will be: £100/$170
- Warcry Core Rulebook (included in Starter Set): £25/$40
- Battleplan Card (included in Starter Set): £12/$18
- Cypher Lord Warband (and possible all other warbands): £30/$50
- Non-chaos faction/warband card packs: £5/$8
- Carry case for your warbands: £20/$35
- Corpsewack Mausoleum (Garden of Morr terrain repacked): £55/$90
- Warcry ruler: £10/$15
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
How does the campaign (narrative play) work for Warcry?
[Will be updated]
How does matched play work for Warcry?
[Will be updated]
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.
- More Warbands are for sure coming (with names known for the next two).
- The two Warbands for the Starter Set will probably be sold separately in the future.
- Out of the gate, Warcry will not include a lot of “special units”. If we extrapolate from Killteam (the 40k equivalent) expansions with bigger monsters and more different models will surely be inbound.
- 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 is the lore for Warcry?
[Will be updated]
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 Iron Golem Warband (roughly 1000 points)
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)
Cypher Lords Warband (£30/$50)
Rule cards (ability card and all fighter cards) for the 9 different factions available at launch (£5/$8)
A funky 8″ ruler (£10/$15)
The Core Book (sold separately from the starter set, £25/$40)
The Battleplan Cards (sold separately from the starter set – do notice that there are no terrain deck included, £12/$18)
What are the core rules for Warcry and how does it 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 core rules mention 1000 points as being standard
- 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 Strategems 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 and roll-offs.
Setting up the game
Before setup, the players make a roll-off (highest on a d6 wins and has 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 no 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). is 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 on their six dice. The player who has the most unique (non-duplicate) dice wins priority.
- After that, both players sort their remaining dice into groups of duplicates. Having two dice with the same phase 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 two sixes and use them on the ability 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.
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 though.
- The wild dice can be used to add to your amount of singles for that turn (in order to get first pick)
- The wild dice can be added to any pile of dice, making a double a triple or a triple into a quad.
- The player with initiative needs to decide first how his initiative dice will be used.
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: 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 seem a bit like keywords, deciding what special abilities the fighter can use and stuff like that.
- 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 (maybe too simple?)
The Attack Action in a bit more detail
When attacking you pick a weapon and an enemy fighter within the weapon range. You roll dice equal to the attack of the weapon. You compare the strength of the weapon with the toughness of 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?
Movement, Disengage and Waiting actions in more detail
[Will be updated]
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 initial thoughts on the core rules for Warcry
The core rules seem solid enough. Everything is quite simple, but I can still see some depth and tactics in the initiative roll + wild dice mechanic + how you spend your abilities.
The four different card decks that construct the game is a good choice for easy setup and giving a lot of different possible games. Time will tell if the scenarios are different enough and whether the twist cards provide enough meat for the long term replayability.
I really dig the ability mechanic, mainly because of how the resources are distributed.
Combat seems very simple. While I personally like strength and toughness making a return, I think I will miss the added complexity of saves and to hit. Combat is now one dice roll and you know how much damage you deal. While it might lack added complexity, it certainly speeds up time and will provide quick and brutal games.
Overall it clearly looks like the core rules can make for quick, simple and fun games. The question will be if the campaign has enough meat to keep the game fun and fresh.
Warcry (Warhammer: Age of Sigmar)