Warcry: Red Harvest – Review

The brutal, swift and deadly exchanges in Warcry have made it a system that I’m very keen to dive back into at regular intervals. Thus, when Red Harvest was announced with two new warbands, I was itching to snap it up and see what’s new in the Eightpoints. However, whilst the warbands are great in their own ways, it’s the terrain that steals the show for me!

Of course, as soon as I opened the box and saw the contents, I was elated to get stuck in! As with the original Warcry box, the box is a monster. For the cost of £130, you’d expect it to be brimming with sprues and, fortunately, this is certainly the case. The sheer weight of the box in your hands emanates a sense of impressive value.

You’d imagine that the two warbands should really be the stars of the show and I don’t mean to demean them with the implication that they aren’t! They are unique in their own way and ooze with style. The Tarantulos Brood are grotesquely creepy in their spider-drenched aesthetics and have a sense of the Unmade about them. The Darkoath Savagers are clearly a call-back to the classic barbarian style of fighter. I feel there’s no small coincidence that one of them looks like he’s been ripped straight from the box art of HeroQuest and given a Chaos twist.

Has anyone seen any gargoyles around here?

Terrain-ing Blood!

As stated at the start of this article though, it’s the terrain that really has me invested in this box. The sheer amount of terrain is reminiscent of the original Warcry box, stacked full of platforms, Varanite-mining machinery and sluices, plenty to populate an entire battlefield. These help to really further the almost apocalyptic feel of the wastelands surrounding the Varanspire. With the additional background information included in the rulebook, it’s almost too easy to imagine Chaos Duardin hurriedly churning the machinery to grind up the precious realmstone.

Naturally, it wouldn’t be appropriate terrain for Warcry if it wasn’t immensely dangerous for everyone who gets close! The platforms are elevated enough to provide the threat of falling damage to your fighters. The sluices, unsurprisingly, move the volatile Varanite from point to point across the area, so falling into them is ill-advised, to put it lightly. Fighters that come into contact with it take damage as there’s a high risk of them being mutated beyond all reason at the mere touch of it. Couple this with the great elevation of other elements of the scenery and you can have some fantastic cinematic developments in your games.

The box really is crammed full of wonderful hobby goodness.

Thus, the terrain itself in Warcry: Red Harvest is almost like a third warband or player. It is just as dangerous as a fighter charging you with a sword, if not more so! The molten pits and Delve Engines are as equal a threat. Some machinery can even be activated by a fighter during the game. This could, inevitably, end up grinding and crushing all who would come near.

Varanite Rules All

Within Red Harvest, a new rulebook can be unearthed from beneath all the sprues. This, unsurprisingly, includes the rules for the new terrain along with campaign rules for the new warbands. With this, the new warbands are already up to speed with the existing factions and their rules. However, not to let the new guys have all the fun, there are new rules for branching quests in campaigns.

There are branching quests for each major alliance and helps to incur even more replayability in campaigns. Once you complete your first and second convergence games within your campaign, you are given a choice of two to three options. For instance, for Destruction warbands that complete their first convergence mission to track and find Fangbounsa (their squig that has escaped), they can pick one of three options:

  • The warband could pursue Fangbounsa
  • They could follow a band of warrior thralls carrying curious satchels
  • Or they could investigate a strange drumming noise coming from the horizon

In pursuing these mission branches, they then branch off further and each branch/ending has its own rewards. This provides a fun sense of progression in a “create your own adventure” type of scenario. For those who love battles with a sense of overarching narrative purpose, I could definitely see these as being fun. Not just that, but it might be enough to push players to try out different alliances, too!

In addition to this, further exuding its usefulness and presence as a starter set (and not a mere expansion) is that the final quarter of the rulebook displays all core rules needed to play Warcry. This cements the box as being a superb purchase for both Warcry veterans and newbies alike. The updated rules themselves answer a few questions that arose from the initial box (such as whether the terrain cards should be followed stringently or not in games).

Costly Battles Indeed

I would say that the biggest sticking point of Warcry: Red Harvest is the price. Hitting £130 feels like the ever-rising prices of Games Workshop boxes are reaching eye-watering levels at a more rampant rate. It is a sizeable chunk of money to sink into a single box. Of course, you can dampen the blow by splitting the box with a friend. Alternatively, if you play Age of Sigmar or other fantasy games, I imagine the terrain and models will see plenty of use in other systems. It’s a somewhat harrowing cost, that cannot be denied. Although, those who have been keen to give Wacry a go or are looking for another reason to charge in blade-first will find plenty to enjoy.

I imagine many a hobbyist pulled a similar facial expression when the price for Red Harvest was revealed…

Red Harvest is another Warcry offering that does exactly as it sets out to do with a great and powerful punch. Once you get over the cost of the box, the sense of excitement you’ll get in opening the box and imagining all the vivid and savage exchanges between your fighters will imbue you with an urge to get building and start rolling dice posthaste. The Warcry game system is a tremendous, break-neck romp into bloody skirmish combat within Age of Sigmar and it genuinely makes me so happy to see the system receiving this level of support. Boxes like this will help to keep Warcry not just relevant but wonderfully enjoyable. Then again, I’m always happy to see more Chaos love – the more spikes and skulls, the better!

Games Workshop provided us with a copy of Warcry: Red Harvest for review purposes.

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