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Subject: After nearly 30 years... rss

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Chris Rice
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We used to enjoy this at college and I recently picked up some stuff on eBay. As my wife is getting into gaming and is enjoying light Wargames such as Battlecry, I thought we'd give this a go.

First impressions of the components are that the maps are nice and printed on a sort of vinyl-paper that still looks brand new. The counters are smaller and thinner than I remember. They are also harder to read (that's probably my eyes!)

Each basic foot character has two counters; the first has the full-strength stats on one side and stats for "Stunned" on the reverse. The other counter has "Wounded" on one side and "Dead" on the other. This strikes me as unnecessary and fiddly. I would just have had a single counter for each character with full strength on one side and dead on the other. I would track wounds and stuns with coloured markers. This would halve the number of counters required.

On our first play we noticed two major oddities that I did not remember. The first had to do with the infantry/foot combat table. If two equally matched characters fight, the table has the attacker at a severe disadvantage. Other than "no result", the only results possible are "Attacker wounded", "Attacker retreat" or "Defender retreat". In reality don't see why the Attacker should be at a disadvantage unless the defender holds some sort of terrain advantage. To me, two equally matched characters should be just that - equal.

Since I had purchased some of the later editions of the game in the same bid, I checked their rulebooks, but the situation was exactly the same. Clearly then, this is integral to the design, but I'm not sure why.

Second problem: Archers. The turn sequence allows archers to fire, move their total movement allowance and fire again. As if that isn't bad enough, on the opponents turn the Archer defends with his full defence factor. So having shot, ran as fast as he can, and shot again, he can somehow get out his sword and shield to defend. Next turn he magically has his bow available again and does the shoot, run shoot trick again. Considering that the turn length is about 5 seconds this just doesn't make sense.

To make matters worse, in the game we played most characters had attack numbers of 5-7 and defence numbers a bit less, 4-6. A short bow has an attack factor of, wait for it..38!

We both laughed as the Archer superheroes ran about killing everything in their path.

I certainly would not play the first scenario again with the rules as they stand.

Perhaps the rules will work better with the larger scenarios where Knights appear and higher defence values give some defence from the God of Archery.

Unfortunately, I'm unlikely to be able to persuade my opponent to give it another try.

I'd be interested in long time players commenting on the two main points I raised in case I've made a mistake in my interpretation of the rules or to demonstrate how they actually work as I've played them.
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Stuart Holttum
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No, I think you're quite right in what you say.

Regarding the combat odds, I think they're actually one of the most realistic I've seen. With two equally matched opponents, neither should get wounded - or even strike a blow at all, as I believ one Samurai legend has it. The rationale I think is that striking a blow opens you up to a return strike when you're slightly off balance.

Gamewise, I think it needed to be that way in order for mounted knights to be suitably tank-like at the higher ends of the scale, and to ensure that a knight would need to be literally surrounded by peasants for them to have any hope of defeating him.

With archery, again I think pretty realistic. I've often looked at medieval army lists and wondered why any footsoldiers were included at all, when archers were available. In a one on one fight, you can stick your shield in front of a sword, or dodge to the side. An arrow is too fast and more likely to hit.

Again, in game terms, bows had to be that good in order for an archer to be able to take down a knight using the combat tables - though perhaps a more realistic table would ignore stength ratios and be more of a hit/no hit style.
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Dan Buman
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Those are several issues of the original game. In one of the other games in the series the rules do not use the odds column system for archers. This makes them less powerful... was it Siege that changed this or Outremer?

You should check out the rules for the latest game in the series, Guiscard. Both of these issues and several others are addressed in this rules set and they work very well. They are available on for download on BGG
http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/99810/guiscard-rules-bookl...

Check it out, these are excellent rules and can be easily adapted to the other games in the series.
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pascal bons
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About archer, there's long discussions (check guiscard forum too). It seems fair to have an archer shooting twice (well one if not adjacent to enemy at the beginning of the turn and one after moving if I remember) due to the scale of the game : a turn is about 20-40 sec long...

The game is excellent, and you should not attack equal, you have to attack with an advantage (as in real life ? how many people go one on one with equal chance of winning ? when you see brawl or melee reconstitution, the most often, people tend to be 2 against 1 or more if they could).
With last version of the rules (guiscard), the table use a differential not odds, it's simpler and better.
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Chris Rice
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Thanks for the responses, especially the heads up on Guiscard.

The designer has helpfully included a copy of the rules in the files section and I've had a quick look at them. They appear to address most of my concerns and dislikes with the original Cry Havoc rules.

For example :

An Archer can still fire twice but not when adjacent to an enemy.

You can move through friendly characters but must roll to "infiltrate" past an enemy one.

The rules also mention changing the odds to better reflect reality in 1 on 1 combat, which is desperately poor in the original rules. Unfortunately, the tables which show this are not in the rules.

If you have Guiscard, can you give me an idea of the odds and results in 1 to 1 combat. Thanks.
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Daleks stole my lunch box
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Wimplesaur wrote:

If you have Guiscard, can you give me an idea of the odds and results in 1 to 1 combat. Thanks.


Even better, you can get all the needed charts on the official website: http://cryhavocfan.org/eng/extensio/guiscard/guiscard.htm (bottom of the page).
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Chris Rice
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cafeine wrote:
Wimplesaur wrote:

If you have Guiscard, can you give me an idea of the odds and results in 1 to 1 combat. Thanks.


Even better, you can get all the needed charts on the official website: http://cryhavocfan.org/eng/extensio/guiscard/guiscard.htm (bottom of the page).


Ha ha! The defender can actually be wounded, it's a miracle!

Thank you good sir!

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