Avalon Hill plans to release an updated version of Richard Borg’s American Civil War game, Battle Cry, on November 23, 2010. Having the backing of parent company Wizards of the Coast, itself a division of Hasbro, enables Avalon Hill to produce the game with an impressive inventory of components: rulebook, board, 46 double-sided terrain tiles, 60 command cards, 8 custom dice, numerous tokens, a flag label sheet, and 122 plastic figure for infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Battle Cry also includes 30 battle scenarios, 13 more than the previously released version.
Although the Avalon Hill website doesn’t list a suggested retail price for this newest edition, a quick online search showed Battle Cry priced at $60, though Amazon.com’s supplier Funagain Games offers it at a 20% discount at $47.99.
You can download a black-and-white PDF of the rules from the previous edition at the Avalon Hill website’s “downloads” page. Although designers might have revised some rules and added 13 more scenarios, there’s a good chance the gameplay remains similar.
Games like Battle Cry, Days of Wonder’s Memoir ’44 (also designed by Richard Borg), and Nexus/Fantasy Flight Games’ Battles of Napoleon help introduce new players to the gaming hobby based on engaging periods in history. They provide an entry point into wargames and miniatures games based on their historical themes and components similar to typical board games. The game systems balance easy-to-learn rules with the complexities of period battles. The components include all the goodies one expects in a boxed game: board, cards, plastic soldier pieces, custom dice, terrain tiles. In many cases players can purchase supplemental materials (maps, pieces, cards) to expand the game depending on their interest; just take a look at the numerous Memoir ’44 expansions Days of Wonder has released to cover various World War II campaigns.
Granted, the retail price of such games can run between $50 and $100, but the replay value remains nearly limitless with the included scenarios, those created for online resources, and situations players can create on their own. For history enthusiasts, these games can help their favorite periods come alive and enable them to explore them from a fun, first-hand perspective of battlefield commanders.