This will not be a Sunday Set Up as when you get a game with a mechanic as elegant as this… I am talking about, as mentioned, Cry Havoc.
Cry Havoc is a 2 to 4 player (BUT 4 is best) game about three factions invading a planet or the indigenous race trying to kick them off. I’m focusing on one concept and it’s combat and it’s closeness to another classic concept.
Let’s brief you on this shall we…
When combat is triggered you take all the units off the main board and move them next to the combat board.
The attacker then places their units on any of the three spaces on the combat board followed by the defenders. Both sides then each get to play 1 card at a time back and forth to adapt to the opponent.
Then, working top down, the 3 main objectives are checked. The top decides who controls the region, the middle decides who gets 1 of their units captured and the third decides who is going to lose units.
All three score Victory Points (VP) in different ways:
- Winning control (top) gains 2VP and controlling a region during scoring scores 1 per crystal on that region.
- Capturing a unit (middle) gives 1 VP per unit in that player’s capture pool at the end of EVERY round..
- Killing an enemy (bottom) gives 1 VP per unit killed in that battle
The result is an interesting decision to make every time you have a battle instead of rolling dice and adding your units to the result.
On a 4 on 4 battle both sides could place all 4 units on the bottom board and just get 4 Victory Points each, however the Defending Unit would also gain an additional 2 points for maintaining control so the result would be 4-6 (A-D).
The best idea would be to place an attacker on the top row… but how may will be enough? Apart from cards there is no way to adapt the final result (no dice) so if the Defender places equal to that they keep the location and denies them not just the points for the Region but any points that could be earned for Attrition.
At the same time the prisoner capture concept adds another wrinkle and strategy which we will passionately call, KILL DENIED; when you capture a unit you can capture from anywhere on the combat board including the Attrition box.
This is relevant because when you capture the only objective left to activate is the Attrition box. As such you take 1 opponent unit from that box, you deny them 1 Kill, 1 Victory Point, reduce their unit pool by 1 and give yourself 1 Victory Point per Round end you have that prisoner. The opponent can rescue that unit but that’s costs 2 VP per rescued unit. Actually now after writing this down… this is actually very powerful and can be a viable option to restrict options.
Yet it’s nothing really new as it is, at the core level, a worker placement game… just replace workers for soldiers.
Which is why it works so well, this game doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it uses the wheel in a different way.
And that’s just looking at the combat board itself, add the fact that every battle adds one crystal to a location, that there are existing crystals in each region and that there are key locations for movement and places you have placed your own structures, it makes this very simple choice powerful enough to create analysis paralysis and be very deep.
So you can understand why I believe that you can’t change … wait I may have a better idea… Sunday may be interesting.