27 August 2022

Review: Warcry - The Heart of Ghur

Garage Reviews: There's a good bunch of people over on the Discord Community. Once in awhile a great review pops up. This is such a review, re-posted here on the blog as it deserves to be seen by others. 

Written by - Peter Dyring of Dyrings Dark Dreams

Warcry - The Heart of Ghur mini review. 

I am writing this review before actually trying the new version. But, as we shall get to shortly, it is essentially the same rules system with minor (but significant changes), so I feel that I can write a somewhat nuanced review. I'll divide it into these sections: 1) Overall impressions 2) Rules 3) Minis, tearrain, counters etc. 4) Lore 5) Value.

1) Overall impressions
The Heart of Ghur is a BIG box filled to the brim with content. Seriously, this is kilos of stuff. It includes two softcover books (rules and a campaign book), a double sided playing board, 20 minis (two warbands), loads of plastic terrain, dice, counters and cards. When it says that it includes everything to play Warcry, it's really not kidding. Of course you can always extend your collection (and GW clearly wants you to), but this is plenty of stuff to keep you occupied and engaged for months (if not more).

The artwork has a decidedly digital style - it is clearly painted in Photoshop or similar and it lacks the different personalities of old GW. Writing that, I realize that I'm an old fart. GW in the 80's and early 90's was way less corporate and allowed for official material to be more diverse in style and tone. Not so anymore, which I can understand from a commercial standpoint but still makes me miss the "good old days". 

It's all pretty pro, though - I tend to not like the painted style of artwork they employ, but it's very atmospheric and pretty well done. There are LOTS of great photos of amazingly painted minis. GW surely has some great photographers on staff. 

4/5 stars (my gripes are basically just an expression of my particular taste in game art).

2) Rules
I love the Warcry rules. They fall right at my personal sweet spot between simplistic and detailed. Some people will find it too random and might miss e.g. armor saves, but I find great joy in a robust and simple basic rules engine that allows for fast and cinematic gameplay. All my games so far have been gripping and exciting and even losing has felt good. 

The main rules addition is Reactions which are kinda like a specialized Overwatch. I like the rule in principle but need to try it out before I come to any conclusions. For now, it reads as if the Reactions are a tad overpowered compared to the regular actions, but that totally may not be true. Another change is a new and improved campaign mode that just had me drooling. 

This is where Warcry enters into pesudo-RPGs and also shows off the heritage from good old Mordheim. Based on my reading, it even seems as if Warcry solves the issue Mordheim had with winning warbands getting overpowered when playing against warbands that had had a less lucky fortune. For me, this is close to the perfect skirmish ruleset. 

I can't really find significant problems with it, so I'll award it the full 5/5

3) Minis, terrain, counters etc.
Let's not kid ourselves: this category is primarily about the minis and then probably terrain comes in as a close second. What can I say about the minis? There are 20 in all, 10 in each warband, and the design and production quality is just the best out there. We can argue about style, (too many) details, size etc. all we want, but I have yet to see commercially available minis of a higher quality than GWs. They are market leaders for sure. Little to no flash or mold lines. 

Assembling took a bit of time but was overall pretty straightforward. Many in this group will probably not like that they are not very good for conversions or for extra parts for other models and while I sympathize with the sentiment, the quality is plain for all to see. I've written about my preference for the Rotmire Creed warband elsewhere - and that still holds true. 

The other warband, the Horns of Hashut, is simply more generic GW chaos. That being said, the quality is top notch. For me, the big selling point was actually the terrain (that I still have to assemble). And boy oh boy, it really delivers. This set of terrain is simply in top three of any commercially available terrain sets I've ever seen. It's pretty original and doesn't look like all the other terrain sets (which, to be fair, you could have said about some of the other Warcry terrain sets out there). 

For me, it carries a clear Zelda: Breath of the Wild vibe, which I really appreciate. I have heard some gripes online about the paper stock of the included cards but I have no issue with this. The printing is crisp, the card stock ok without being flashy. The counters are great although I fear that there aren't enough wounded counters. The playing board is of high quality although one side is a bit bland. 

This category should be a 5/5 but I'll take one point off because of the lackluster design of the Horns of Hashut. 4/5 (redigeret)

4) Lore. 
Now we are entering a territory where I'm decidedly less enthusiastic. To understand my thinking here, we need to divide lore into two parts: A) Overall AOS-lore and B) Lore directly about the Heart of Ghur. 

I am NOT a fan of the AOS lore overall. There are is lot of writing about gods and realms and it totally misses the much more grounded old Warhammer feel to me. The writing in this part is also weirdly unengaging to me. I simply don't care about the gods and their realms and it feels too video-gamey and not very believable to me. I know this is a weird complaint because what part of Warhammer is believable? 

But personally, this really doesn't speak to me. When the writing then goes into the B-part, there is a clear raise in quality to me. I love, love, love the idea of a Slann spaceship having crashed in the area and creating all sorts of weird changes because of their advanced tech - and the wreckage functioning as a weird and wondrous dungeon that adventurers and treasure hunters come from afar to check out and loot. 

Although not very original, this really speaks to me and is much more grounded (it probably also hits my RPG-spot). That the Slann-tech also shows its face in the terrain is just an added bonus. 

So, overall Lore gets a 3/5, which is 1/5 for the AOS-lore and 4/5 for the Heart of Ghur lore.

5) Let's talk about value, price and moneyz. 
The official GW price for The Heart of Ghur is 1400 kroner. I paid 1200 kroner for mine. Now, is that a lot of money for some dolls and a couple of books? Of course it is. Is it expensive, though? That depends on what you value, I think. Breaking down the contents and what they would be priced individually, it becomes clear that the box is a good deal. The price point IS pretty high, though, and there are much cheaper ways of getting into fantasy skirmish games. 

My other favourite skirmish game, Relicblade, cost me around 500 kr (excluding tax and customs which became it's own little nightmare. Not the games' fault, though). Relicblade included 8 metal minis, a rules manual (hardcover, smaller format) and a softcover booklet with the campaign rules. On top of that, it also included some counters and a measuring gauge. 

No terrain, though. No dice. No cards (there are a LOT of cards in Warcry) and less than half the amount of minis (although they were metal and thus more expensive to produce). Looking at it this way, I have no good way of gauging whether Warcry is expensive. I strongly feel that I got my money's worth. I don't need to buy more stuff (apart from paint but since that's a common feature of all mini games, I'll ignore that). In order to play Relicblade, 

I actually invested in some Warcry terrain (which was pricey ;)) - and a gaming mat. Of course, it is quite possible to make one's own terrain DYI-style. But part of the price for Warcry is that you pay NOT to have to do that. Convenience is part of the price. Now, I love creator-owned content to no end. And although I am no GW-hater and I appreciate a lot of commercial work out there (comics, animation, movies etc.), I'm no fan of their more corporate identity (I think it's sucky of them not to include names of their artists and writers, for instance). Where does all this land on?

I look at it this way: Warcry will most likely see much more play than either Relicblade or Sludge for me. Why? Simply put: I know more people who would play Warcry than Relicblade or Sludge. Warcry is a great pick up and play game - so is Relicblade, but not Sludge in my humble opinion. 

By buying this box, I in one fell swoop have all I need for TWO people to play Warcry. And the stuff inside is excellent. In that context, I'm OK with parts of the price of the box going to a large staff of marketing, management etc. I fully understand the reality of that big an organization. And to be honest, I actually think it's a good deal if you can afford it. If not, or if parts of the game is offputting, there are so many other options out there.

Overall, Warcry is a great, modern skirmish game that does away with some of the broken parts of older GW games. It's exciting, fun and looks great on the tabletop. If you want crunch, the special abilities of each wargame might be just what you are looking for.

Overall rating 4/5


  1. Excellent review! I think that's a very fair assessment. I've seen one of the earlier versions of Warcry and, while it's not for me, you do get very good value for money. I agree with you about the AoS setting not being very appealing, although you're right that it's a matter of taste. It feels too vague and computer-gamey to me as well.

    1. Personally I've really not looked too much into AoS. Initially it said me nothing (back in End Times / end of 8th edition). I've read nothing official since then, no armybooks or rules. So I not idea about it.

      The looks for much of the stuff is not for me. But something - like Underworld, Warhammer Quest, WarCry and their ghosts - perfect miniatures.