My friend Jim brought over today a game he just bought, called Cry Havoc by Portal Games.
I thought it had something to do with the computer game Halo, but apparently not, though I'm sure the game publisher is trying to appeal to Halo fans given the similarity in the powered-armour look.
The game's premise is that on some planet with rich resources, depicted as "crystals" in the game, four factions are fighting it out for dominance.. machines, Humans, 4-armed snake-like Pilgrims and the local natives, the Trogs.
In a 3 player game like we had, the Trogs are more of a nuisance than anything else.
The mini quality is okay to be honest, with no real variety in sculpts..
However, the card art is nice and to a high standard..
Each card has about 4 uses, but you can only use 1 activity per game round.. to move troops, build your troops, build installations or have an advantage in battle..
Each arrow, for example, allows you to move 1 trooper to one adjacent area.. but you can use as many cards as you want to move however far you can..
In the example below, I had 4 arrows, so I used it to move 2 of my robot troops to a locale two areas away.
Each faction gets its own unique buildings. My robots for instance, had nice Orbital Snipers and shred drones where I picked off enemy troops at my leisure, usually at a distance.. This prompted my friend Jim to come hard at me to keep me from using my installations (You can't use a building facility when that area is locked in combat).
The game, as you can guess, is an area control game where glass markers in different colours (green for 1 crystal, yellow representing 3 crystals and red representing 5 crystals), act like magnets to draw in troops and battles. If you control an area with such crystals, you see, you score victory points every time scoring is done, so there is incentive to not only acquire but to hold key rich areas.
Like most modern games, Cry Havoc takes up a modest amount of room.
The most unique aspect, which I have never seen before, is the battle mechanic. There are no dice, just the use of cards. However, the cards are used to move troops from one battle objective to another, not to directly attack the enemy.
For every battle, you and and your opponent are seeking to have the most troops in 2 of 3 objectives: to win control of the area, take prisoners, or inflict casualties, or all of the above. The way to win in area domination or the prisoner objective is to have more troops in that battle objective than the other guy.. if for example, you have more guys in the take prisoners box, you take prisoners (for victory points), even if you lose that area control and/or the other guy inflicts casualties on you. The way to inflict casualties is to have troops in that objective on a 1:1 basis.
There is a battle once you and the enemy are in the same area..
You place those troops off the map and on to one to three objectives like I said, area control, prisoners or attrition..
Then you take turns moving your guys back and forth between objectives if you have cards that allow you to do so.. if you don't too bad..
The only thing I didn't like was just as you were getting started, the game is over after just 5 turns. It felt like, in the both times we played today, the game had a premature ending.
All in all however, this was a fun game and hope to try it out again.