Cry Havoc & Let Slip The Hogs Of War

September 22, 2020 by avernos

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Twenty years ago a game was released on the Playstation that combined whimsy with a tactical team combat game, like a 3D version of Worms the Hogs of War dropped your squad into a map with only your cunning and airdrops of weapons to help complete the mission.

Fast forward to today and  Stone Sword Games have already successfully transferred the essence of the Hogs of War into card game but are now heading to Kickstarter to bring it to the tabletop in a miniature board game.

Hogs Of War // Stone Sword Games

Game Play

Hogs of War is a boardgame for 1 -4 players and can be played as teams or as every pig for themselves in a death match across a hex map to complete one of five missions from the campaign book, such as Take and Hold or Fortified Swine. These five missions explain the board set up and what the Primary Victory Conditions are for the players although you and your opponents can chose to build your own sandbox to play in. The game is won when a player reaches 12 Victory Points.

The board itself represents the battlefield for your hogs and there are three types of terrain that can be deployed mountains, forests and water ways, each of these is very reminiscent of the console game for example water would drown your pigs and in the boardgame it can't be crossed by land moving troops and vehicles.

Mechanically the game is very simple to pick up with a set of custom dice to make your attacks you simply have to look at the colour cubes on your units cards and count the colours. Each colour represents a certain type of attack, red dice are for melee, blue are gun dice and green are explosive dice. Dice have different combinations of hits, misses, glancing hits, and critical hits on them and some attacks require higher results, vehicles can only be damaged by critical hits. But even in this simple mechanic Stone Sword Games have added an interesting touch. Two glancing hits can be combined into a single hit, while two hits become a critical hit giving so combined fire and the right weapons will always give your Hogs a chance.

Pork From Above // Hogs Of War

Mini Games

While not strictly mini-games the first two phases of any turn do give that feel. First off is the Base Phase. Your hogs base is represented on the battlefield by a single hex, but this is represented off the board with a smaller grid into which you build up a network of constructions to aid you in victory. It gives you a feel of an online strategy game, you chose whether to construct an airfield, or refinery and place it on the grid, just make sure you leave enough room for further constructions later. These constructions allow you to train your hogs in the art of war more effectively, equipping them with flame throwers and tanks, or sending biplanes up to harrass your enemy.

Speaking of biplanes the second game phase is the Aerial Action Phase and this is the second mini game. In a simplified style of aeriel combat that I remember from games like Blue Max, all the players simultaneously set their speed and turn direction and reveal them together. You then move and attack in initiative order starting from the lowest. Here's the rub though, moving quickly means you have a low initiative for movement, but a high one for combat.

Moving too slowly or quickly can cause the biplanes to stall out so you have a lot to think about in this simple phase and I do so love a game that offers choices. Damage on the aircraft is also handled in a compellingly fun way. Each critical hit has a chance to block off a part of your aircraft's dashboard. Maybe your bombbay doors are broken, or the throttle gets jammed on high so you can't slow down. Damage is accrued until it can't take any more and crashes.

The Sow-A-Krauts // Hogs Of War

Ground Troops

Tommy's Trotters, the Sow-a-krauts, Uncle Ham's Hogs and the Piggystroika, four teams that will be well known to players of the old game, these are your hooves on the ground and there is a simple Action Point system for them. Hogs have an initiative and starting with the lowest and going around the board each player activates their hogs so all the initiative one will activate before returning to the first player for any twos and so on. Action Points can be used to move, shoot, deploy upgrades like pillboxes or big guns, or capture areas for your team.

While the gameplay itself is mechanically simple there are a variety of troop types that are available and depending on your base construction they can gain various upgrades, however only two upgrade cards can be played on a hog troop and they can't be removed or replaced later so you have to think carefully about what you want your war pigs to be able to do in the field.

The tank acts in much the same way as the troops although it's hit points also count as its action points, so as it becomes battered by the conflict it becomes more ramshackle and less dependable until it is damaged beyond repair.

Tanks For The Memories // Hogs Of War

Final Phase and Final Thoughts

The final two phases are Recruitment and the End Phase. In the Recruitment phase you spend swill you've collected to deploy new units on the battlefield and purchase upgrade cards and apply them to units. If your base is surrounded by units you cannot deploy new ones unless they are airdropped in, so make sure to clear your own lines and stop your opponent from blocking you in.

The end phase you receive Victory Points and sort out new Secondary conditions and check to see if anyone has received the 12 VPs required to achieve victory.

Overall I love what the guys have done at Stone Sword Games they've managed to recreate the simplistic fun of exploding your friends pigs while at the same time create a strategy game that has a surprising amount of depth and replayability all without needing a rule book as big as the yellow pages. There will definitely be a nostaligia hit for a lot of people backing this game, but I have to say for people who never played the console game and are looking for a light strategy miniatures game give Hogs of War a go.

It will be enjoyed by young as well as old the Kickstarter goes live at 13:00 BST today check it out

Lord Flashhog // Woof Woof!

I couldn't talk about Hogs of War without mention Rik Mayall, who voiced the original game and brought so much of himself to the script you can't tell what was scripted and what was Rik, but every line brought a chuckle or a grin to the players faces. Well for the first 24 hours backers will get the gift of Lord Flashhog, the best damned pilot in the war. A lovely touch for those who remember him that he remains forever a part of the Hogs of War.

Woof Woof

"I love what the guys have done at Stone Sword Games they've managed to recreate the simplistic fun of exploding your friends pigs while at the same time create a strategy game that has a surprising amount of depth and replayability"

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