A majority of the original reviews were submitted by Charles Bahl and Robert Waters...Thanks!!!
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Game: Battle Cry (Avalon Hill)
Submitted By: Charles Bahl (The Quake Coast Game Club, San Jose, CA)
Battle Cry is the new, highly anticipated Civil War battle game by Avalon Hill (i.e., neu-Avalon Hill, aka Hasbro). For those of you looking for some kind of Civil War simulation, forget it. Battle Cry's game system bears as much resemblance to an actual Civil War battle as Monopoly does to the actual real estate market. But Battle Cry does provide a light but very fun way to spend a half-hour or so pushing some nice-looking miniatures around an equally nice-looking game board.
As long as you are not looking for too profound of a game, Battle Cry is hard to criticize. The game system is very clean and quick to learn and does provide the flavor (if not an actual simulation) of a Civil War battle. You've got infantry, cavalry, artillery, and command (general) pieces, terrain and line-of-sight rules, and movement and battle rules. In short, Battle Cry provides all that you'd expect from your basic hex-based wargame (as made famous by Avalon Hill and similar companies over the last four decades). But in Battle Cry everything as been refined to the very simplest of levels, in a game that can be learned and played in just a few minutes.
The heart of Battle Cry is in its card-based command system. Each turn players perform an action or actions based on a command card that they play from their hands. Most cards allow a player to move a certain number of units on one particular area of the battlefield. (For this purpose, the board is divided into left flank, right flank, and center.) Other cards allow special actions. For example, the Sharp Shooter allows you to target an opposing general anywhere on the board; the Leadership card allows you to move all your generals and the units to which they are attached; the Counter-Attack card allows you to duplicate the orders on the opponent's last-played card. Because players usually only move a small fraction of their available pieces on any given turn, there is very little downtime when it is not your turn, and the game moves very quickly because of it.
The game comes with fifteen scenarios representing fifteen Civil War battles, and it is a very simple matter to design more of your own. (I designed a Bentonville scenario for myself in about twenty minutes.) The game comes with a large collection of terrain tiles, so developing a customized battlefield is a snap. All in all, then, Battle Cry possesses a great combination of features, and as long as you don't demand too much realism from your wargames, the game is almost sure to please.