Warcry, the skirmish wargame from Games Workshop, set in their Warhammer Age of Sigmar setting recently had several new books released, which changed the system from having physical stat cards for each fighter, into printed pages in army books. This has caused some confusion as to what’s required to play and what’s still in date. In this article, we’ll look at everything required to play Warcry, and what the new books include.
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What Do You Need To Play Warcry?
The best way to start playing Warcry is to pick up either the Warcry Starter Set if you can find it, or the Warcry Catacombs Starter Set. Both give you everything you need to start playing right out of the box, but there are some differences between the sets:
- Includes Khanite Shadowstalkers and Scions of Flame warbands
- Only way to get the indoor scenery and Catacombs rules
- Includes half of the outdoor scenery that the original Starter Set had
- No Battleplan cards (not essential)
Warcry Starter Set
- Includes Untamed Beasts and Iron Golems warbands
- Full set of outdoor scenery
- Includes Battleplan cards (not essential)
- No Catacombs rules
If you don’t want to pick up a starter set, this is all you need to play Warcry, and we’ll refer to these as the Warcry Essentials:
- Warcry Rulebook
- Several 6-sided dice (D6)
- Tape measure/Measuring stick
- Warband miniatures plus warband rules (we discuss this in more details below)
What Are All These Cards?
Warcry originally had a set of cards, known as Battleplan Cards that were used for terrain set up, deployment, victory conditions, and an extra set of rules for that battle known as a Twist. These cards are still available, with Deployment, Victory, and Twist cards in the Battleplan Pack and the Terrain cards included in any Warcry Scenery Packs.
The rulebook does include tables for all 4 card sets, which can be rolled on at the start of the game and the new Catacombs rules have their own dedicated setup. This means that you can play games with just the rulebook, and Battleplan Cards aren’t essential for play if you don’t want to buy them. They are a nice to have and add some variety to narrative games, but less so to competitive games.
Warbands also used to have a Warband Card with the fighter types and abilities listed on them, along with individual cards for each fighter. These have now been replaced with the Grand Alliance books, which include all the rules for the different warbands and a lot of the cards have been updated in these books. We discuss the Grand Alliance books in detail later in the article in the warbands section.
Tome of Champions
The Tome of Champions books are update books that supplement the Core Rulebook. They include scenarios and new rules and options under the 3 different ways to play, Open, Narrative, and Matched.
There are 2 Tome of Champions books, 2019 and 2020. 2019 is now out of date, and the only information that hasn’t been republished is some of the different scenarios. This means that unless you really want those scenarios, you don’t need to pick up Tome of Champions 2019.
Tome of Champions 2020 isn't an essential purchase, but it does include a lot of options for games, including some awesome narrative play scenario and balanced matched play setups.
How To Pick A Warband
Warcry has a huge selection of warbands and choosing one can be as simple as liking the look of one. If you already play Age of Sigmar, you probably already have a Warcry warband or 2, or if you want to start playing Age of Sigmar, Warcry is a very easy way to start, letting you get playing with a small number of fighters, and building up to a full Age of Sigmar army.
There are a few warbands that are more competitive than others, and they are generally those that have access to a higher movement value, and cheap fighters that roll a large number of attack dice. The Gloomspite Gitz and Flesh Eater Courts are 2 such warbands, having access to a mix of swarm and fast fighters.
This is because positioning in Warcry wins games, and as each dice rolled in attack can deal damage, rolling a lot of dice with a low chance of success is better than rolling a few dice with a high chance of success. This is a generalization, and it is possible for a slow tough warband, or a low fighter count accurate warband to do well, they’re just less forgiving.
It’s also worth noting that most of the Age of Sigmar warbands, those taken from the Age of Sigmar system, tend to be better than the 8 Chaos warbands that were introduced with Warcry. The 8 Chaos warbands are fun and have some great miniatures, fighters, and abilities, but if competitive is your only interest, then look more towards the Age of Sigmar warbands.
How To Collect A Warband
After the Warcry Essentials, to play a particular warband, you’ll need miniatures and the Grand Alliance book that includes that warband. The 4 books are the warbands they include are:
Sentinels of Order
- Cities of Sigmar
- Daughters of Khaine
- Khainite Shadowstalkers
- Idoneth Deepkin
- Kharadron Overlords
- Lumineth Realm-Lords
- Warrior Chamber
- Vanguard Auxiliary Chamber
- Sacrosanct Chamber
Agents of Chaos
- Beasts of Choas
- Khorne Bloodbound
- Daemons of Khorne
- Tzeentch Arcanites
- Daemons of Tzeentch
- Nurgle Gotbringers
- Daemons of Nurgle
- Slaanesh Sybarites
- Daemons of Slaanesh
- Slaves to Darkness
- Iron Golem
- Untamed Beasts
- Corvus Cabal
- Cypher Lords
- The Unmade
- Splintered Fang
- Scions of Flame
- Spire Tyrants
Harbingers of Destruction
- Gloomspite Gitz
- Ogor Mawtribes
Bringers of Death
- Flesh-Eater Courts
- Legions of Nagash
- Ossiach Bonereapers
Each book includes all the stats for the fighters for each warband, along with background tables, fated quests, and challenge battles for that Grand Alliance. Picking up the Grand Alliance book, gives you all the rules you need to play the warbands it contains, so no other purchases necessary.
Warcry warband boxes vs Age of Sigmar warband boxes
The original Warcry warband boxes included the cards for the warband, but as the cards are now out of date, the Age of Sigmar warband boxes are much better value. The Age of Sigmar warband boxes include 2 sprues for the warband, over the 1 sprue in the original, which does mean that you’ll double up on some fighters that you can only take 1 of, but it gives you a much better chance at an optimized warband, as it will include fighters that you really want at least 2 of. You can always use the extra fighters to convert others to give some cosmetic variety.
If you’re looking to play an Age of Sigmar warband, rather than one of the Warcry Chaos warbands, then you might need to pick up several different packs in order to get the miniatures you need. Some Age of Sigmar warband boxes have been released, and are generally great value if you can get hold of them. We break down the best way to purchase some of the various warbands in our warband guides.
You can pick up a Warcry Warband box and start playing with the cards it contains, but some updates have happened, so for competitive games, you will need the Grand Alliance book eventually.
As a quick overview of all the products and what’s essential and what’s not:
- Warcry Essentials (Core rulebook, dice, tape measure) - Essential
- Grand Alliance Books - Essential for your chosen warband
- Warband Miniatures - Essential for your chosen warband
- Scenery - Scenery is essential to Warcry games, but any scenery will do and can be used with the scenery set-up in the books or cards
- Catacombs - Not essential, but a solid purchase. Catacombs is a great for getting into Warcry and the underground setting provides a unique experience for Warcry games
- Battleplan Cards - Not essential, but they do provide an easy way to randomize games
- Tome of Champions 2020 - Not essential, but recommended. It offers a huge amount of content and game options
- Tome of Champions 2019 - Superseded by ToC 2020 . Not essential unless you want some more scenario options which are unique to the book
- Monsters and Mercenaries - Superseded by Grand Alliance Books. Not essential uness you want some more scenario options which are unique to the book
- Warband Cards - Now superseded by the Grand Alliance books. Can be used for your first few games as you learn to play
The Warcry Products used to produce this guide were provided by Warhammer Community and Firestorm Games.