Before I begin I was sent a prototype and will receive a production copy of the game upon fulfillment in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you would prefer to watch a video of this review you can check it out below. Learn more, and get your own copy here.
We all have those games from our youth that we remember fondly…but honestly have no idea if it was actually good or not. Hogs of War is that game for me. I legitimately have great memories of playing the game on a PS1 rented from Blockbuster…and I remember the voice over being all kinds of fun…but I have no clue if the game was good or not. None.
However, being the sensitive soul that I am, and a lover of bacon I leapt at the chance to preview the upcoming KS version of the game. Unfortunately the designers did not send any bacon with the game when it arrived from the UK, but it did arrive with a big ole box filled with dice cards, and miniatures for two armies. (The final game will play up to 4). Then the designers were kind enough to stay up until 2 am AND let me win a game via TTS, just to make sure I knew what I was doing.
Hogs of War is a miniatures game that will give the vibe of playing old school Warcraft. (Warcraft, not World of Warcraft). You will set up the terrain and establish the objectives of the particular scenario. Then you will place a building or two in your base. That building will give you access to units of some sort.
Then you will send your hogs out to claim objectives and swill pumps. These pumps will allow you to pump out more units each turn, or upgrade the abilities of your units. Each turn you will receive another building which you will slot into your base.
Each building is a different shape and you will have to manage your base like a miniature game of tetris to make sure you have what you want. In addition to being oddly shaped each building has a cost in swill, so it will reduce how much you get each turn in exchange for the ability to build new types of units.
Combat is managed through various types of dice rolling, with different types of units gaining immunity to certain types of attacks. For example a plan cannot be struck with a melee attack. Vehicles are slightly more complicated as they have to be crit to potentially take damage. Each crit causes you to roll a vehicle damage die which results in the vehicle actually being damaged, or it catching more and more on fire.
The game ends when one army reaches twelve victory points. Victory points are gained from the main objective of the scenario, or from a constantly rotating series of secondary objectives.
So what do I think?
The game absolutely captures my memory of the PS1 game. It is wacky, tongue in cheek and relatively easy to play. I like the base management, and I love the seemingly unending amount of upgrades each type of unit can have. I also am a big fan of the way air combat works, as well as the regular influx of buildings that you gain allowing you to always keep building up your options, even if things have taken a turn for the worse.
The creation of your base is a fun little mini game, I like shuffling all the pieces together, and figuring out the perfect order of things, though I wish there were more buildings, or more rules that went with what can go where, as currently it is quite easy to fit all the buildings onto the base, without issue. This winds up making the exercise fun, but not particularly impactful.
The variety of vehicles leaves a bit to be desired. While the ability to create wacky blimps that can do all sorts of things adds fun variety to the air, the ground vehicles are limited to tanks only. I know they have some stretch goals for more vehicles planned, but only having the tanks right now is just lackluster compared to the awesome variety of infantry.
Bringing it all together
Hogs of War is a light miniatures board game that captures the vibe of the old video game, while also adding in some elements of RTS strategy games as well. There is a ton of fun to be had with the upgrading of units, flying units are a total blast, and the rotating objectives keep the game just as chaotic as I like. I wish there were more buildings to clutter up the bases, and there was more variety in vehicle offerings. This is a good option for those of you suffering from nostalgia, or looking for a light miniatures style board game.
That looks like 6 or 7 “oinks” can’t you do it in 2?
* Captures my memory of the old PS1 game
* Very light ruleset, quick play
* Air combat is ridiculous, and fun
* Ground vehicles, and buildings need more variety
* Delightful system of upgrading units
* Quick combat system, that encourages strategic movement