WarCry is a fast paced and quick to play fantasy skirmish game set in the chaos wastelands of GW’s Warhammer universe. Taking 8 new styles of fanatic to add to the existing diverse range of factions, and with a completely fresh set of mechanics, even for fans of the game this can take a bit of getting used to. Especially as the wonderful icons, whilst great of the experienced, can take a new player a bit of time to learn. But never fear – we have this starter guide to help you through the first few games.
The Fighter Card
Ok, there’s a lot of information to unpack here! Rather than explain it all now I am going to reference the card as I go through the explanations of how to play the game and pick your force. When you see some red text refer back to this card.
Picking your Warband
The first thing to do is select which of the available factions you want to play. There will be 8 WarCry specific chaos marauder warbands with new themes (although these are also able to be used as part of a Slaves to Darkness AoS army), as well as a huge selection range from the Age of Sigmar armies. Each faction gets their own Runemark, and this is located in the top left of the card, in position 2.
Within the warband each faction has a range of different Fighters available to them. Typically they can be thought of as Leaders, Heroes, and Henchmen. Depending on the type of game you are playing, whether it be a quick one off friendly or part of a larger campaign, the rules on creating your warband will differ slightly. But generally the following rules will always be true:
- Each warband must have 1 and only 1 Leader
- Each warband must have at least 3 Fighters and no more than 20 Fighters
- Each warband may select Fighters up to an agreed number of points
There’s no rule discrimination between Heroes and Henchmen, those are just terms that I will be using to help explain the game. Everyone, including Leaders, are also referred to as a Fighter, so the minimum of 3 will be a Leader and 2 other Fighters.
So how do you know who the leader is? Well all Leaders are marked with a skull inside a star in the fighter Runemark section, which is marked as position 13 on the fighter card. Here’s the Corvus Cabal Leader’s card to show us what it looks like (it’s the left most one in the Runemark section):
This card can also help with the next part, as the Corvus Cabal leader costs 185 points. This is marked in position 6.
When selecting your warband you will typically want 1 or 2 Heroes to add to your Leader in giving real power to your force, with the rest being Henchmen to tie up the enemy and screen sway vital parts of the battlefield. The Henchemn will be the lowest points cost Fighters (usually between 60 and 80 points), whilst the Heroes will be around 100 or more.
In the top left we see the stats of each Fighter. Toughness (position 4) we have just seen is used to determine what number of the dice is required to hit the enemy. Next we have the Wounds of the Fighter (position 5). This determines how healthy a Fighter is. Over the course of the battle this number will go up and down (mainly the latter!). If the Fighter reaches zero Wounds then they are Taken Down. The Fighter is removed from the game and plays no further part in the battle. Finally we have the Move stat (position 3). When a Fighter takes a Move Action then this is the number of inches that they may move, although Terrain and other features may adjust this. There are 4 types of movement: Normal, Jumping, Climbing, and Flying.
So now you know how to build a warband, how do you know who is good and who is not? Well beyond the number of points being a good indicator you need to know a bit about the mechanics of the game. Each Fighter has 3 important areas on their card, the circle in the top left (their stats), the long bar with numbers near the bottom left (their weapons), and then their Runemarks, which are in position 13 alongside where the Leader Runemark would be. We’ll start with the Weapon area, and talk a bit about the fighting mechanics of the game.
When you activate a Fighter they can take two Actions. Each of these are selected from a range of possible Actions, one of these being the Attack Action. Here you use the Weapon profile of the Fighter Card to work out what you need to roll. First there is a picture description of the weapon that may be used, in position 7. If the Fighter has more than one weapon there there will be 2 areas here, with the second weapon in position 12. When you select the Attack Action you will choose one of the weapons and also a target enemy who must be visible to the Fighter.
|Range||position 8||The number of inches that the enemy must be within. Note, some weapons may have a minimum range.|
|Attacks||position 9||The number of dice that you must roll when attacking an enemy.|
|Strength||position 10||The strength of the attack; compare to the enemy toughness to see what you need to hit.|
|Damage||position 11||A successful hit does the damage of the first number; a critical hit does the damage of the second number.|
The most common thing to work out in the game is the hit roll required, but this is simple. If the Strength (position 10) of the attack is higher than the target toughness (position 4) then you need a 5 or 6 to hit the enemy. If the Strength and Toughness are the same then a 4-6 will hit. If the Strength is higher then a 3-5 will hit. In all circumstances a roll of 6 is a hit, and it also counts as a critical hit. If a hit is scored then deduct the first number of the Damage stat (position 11) from the enemy’s Wounds (position 5). If a critical hit is scored then deduct the second number. And that’s it! As simple as that.
In addition to the basic stats and weapons that each Fighter has they may also have some special abilities. These are shown in the Runemark (position 13) section of the Fighter card. We’ve already seen one of them to mark the Leader of each faction, but there are a lot more. Here’s the list:
For example in the card shown above with all the different positions marked we see in the Runemark section there is a skull with flames coming from the top. This burning skull is the mark of a Berserker!
Starting a Game
The first thing to decide is what type of game you want to play. For a quick one off game I suggest you play an Open Game. This is the quickest way to get into the action where the results matter less than the fun of getting straight into the action. If you are looking for something a little more even and competitive then the Matched Play Game type is the one for you. This is what you’d expect to find in a Tournament or at a local gaming club where both players want more exactness and a level playing field. However for me the best type is a campaign where you see how your warband grows and evolves over time as they fight their way to be the most favoured of the Chaos Gods. For this you want a Narrative Game, which includes an Aftermath sequence to see what happens to each of your Fighters.
Regardless of the game type there are 4 things that you need to consider. Each of these has a deck of cards in the large Starter Set (for a review of this go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxnhXlXQt84 ).
The Terrain Deck randomises how the terrain set in the box should be placed over the battlefield and is a great way to ensure fairness and variety.
The Deployment Deck requires that each player pre-randomises their Fighters into 3 groups, Dagger, Shield, and Hammer. Then once the card is drawn it tells each player how those groups are to be deployed onto the battlefield. This might even include the group being put into reserve and deploying in a later round. It is generally a good idea to put a Hero/Leader in each group, supported by some Henchmen.
The Victory Deck shows you the objective of the game and how to determine a winner.
And finally the Twist Deck adds a random element into the game to keep things different. After all the Chaos Gods are fickle and who knows how they might want to interfere!
Playing a Game
The game itself is divided into rounds. At the start of each round both players roll 5 dice which are their Initiative Dice. These have 2 functions, they decide who gets to activate first and they power special abilities during the round. If two of the dice are the same this is known as a double; if three are the same it is a triple; four of the same is a quad. Each warband has a set of unique Abilities that require these to activate, and there are also another 6 which are shared by all warbands. During the round you can trigger these special abilities if you have the right Initiative Dice to do so and the right Runemarks if they are required. Meanwhile any dice which are not the same as any others are known as Singles; these cannot be used to activate abilities, but the player with the most wins Initiative and gets to go first (or second if they wish – they get to pick!).
Players also get a pool of Wild Dice. You get one at the start of the game, and then another at the start of every round. These can be used after the Initiative Dice are rolled and are added to this pool. Even better you can select them to be any number you want! Rolled a double-5 and really want a triple? Well use a Wild Dice to add another 5 taking it up to the triple you need. Once Wild Dice are used they are lost for the rest of the game, so you have to choose if you want to use them early to get ahead, or save them up to use in one big activation.
After this each player takes it in turn to Activate a Fighter and take 2 Actions. This can be to Move, Attack, Disengage, or Wait. A Fighter can also use 1 Ability during its Activation by spending Initiative Dice as per above. Although if there is only 1 Fighter left then they go a bit crazy and can use as many Abilities as they can power! Abilities can be used at any point during the Fighter’s Activation.
And that’s basically it! There are additional rules for campaigns and terrain, and other more detailed aspects of the game, but you don’t need to know those straight away, and can figure them out by referring to the rulebook during your early games. There are also a number of great expansions for the game, such as going on hunts against huge Chaotic Beasts!
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