Game Review: Husky 8
Posted On March 7, 2020
# of Players:1-2
Time: 3+ hours
Game Type: Adv Strategy War Game
Gamer Type: Intermediate-Hardcore
A War Game Well Worth Checking Out
War games are one of the most interesting genres of games out there on the market. There is a wide range of time, complexity, and skill that determines the quality of a war game. Husky 8 from DDH Games has put the effort in to address each. In doing so, they have created a top-level war game. They were able to maintain the playability some other high-level games have forgotten in their quest to be the more realistic war game on the market. Husky 8 balances playability and realism to create a fun playing experience.
The story of the game is based on a World War II battle in Sicily, Italy. Code named Operation Husky, this battle took place on July 1943. It began with 3,200 ships carrying eight Allied divisions plus elements of two Airborne Divisions. The Allied troops fought along a 100 mile front against roughly 235,000 Italian and German defenders. In this battle, you are the Axis or the Allies battling out for this very important piece of Europe. Not only does this game have an excellent historical story, but it also makes you want to learn more about the battle and what actually happened. Play to find out what are you and your friends doing differently than what some of the greatest military minds did in history. It is also fun to attempt to replicate some of the moves they actually made. This earns Husky 8 a very strong 8.5 out of 10 for the story.
The artwork of the game is classic militaria. From the hex map to the unit pieces, you have the feeling of moving your forces across the map. That being said, this game would be served well if there was a mini-expansion that had injection molded pieces for the units. The map is a classic style battle map, which is excellent. The cards have historical pictures on them. This all comes together to create a great experience for the player. This earns DDH a score of 7 out of 10 for the artwork (minis would move this to 9.5).
The mechanics of the game are war game mechanics (attack, defense, and movement). This makes it comfortable for people who are used to using war game mechanics. I did notice, however, that the allowable movements were a little farther than I have seen in some war games such as Next War Korea. This could be explained as the terrain in Italy is more hospitable than in Korea. That being said, the mechanics and the cards work well together and really immerse the players in the game. I did not find any broken mechanics which bias the game, for this Husky 8 earns a 7 out of 10 for mechanics.
This is a war game and war games are all about strategy. Husky 8 moved forward with a slightly simplified game to increase the playability/realism balance. Doing so worked well for them. All four elements of strategy present, although zerg rush will tend to get you destroyed. You can build a supply line (engine building), sit back on defense, or break the middle of enemy lines. How you play, and your ultimate success, depends on your opponent’s moves. This cat and mouse war game is a great game to get people into the genre. For this, Husky 8 earns a solid 9 for strategy.
Novelty is always a tricky thing for great war games. Most of the classic games, chess and checkers included, were war games. This makes it difficult to create a totally “novel” war game. This comes down to mechanics and story. In this case, Husky 8 uses classic mechanics to make the game work efficiency, which results in a trade-off in novelty. There are a couple of games with a focus on the Battle of Sicily, but this is by no means a played-out topic. This is especially true since students are not being taught real history in school any longer. This dichotomy earns Husky 8 a 5 out of 10 for novelty. It should be noted this game is great to bring new wargamers into the fold.
A Three Hour Battle Much Worth the Time Spent
Husky 8 is a commitment to play at 3 hours, but it is worth the time. Players really have to balance their strategy against that of their opponent (or the board) to make sure they win. This not only changes with player moves but also with each card drawn to the board. “The best-laid plans of mice and men” can be set awry by the simplest actions. With a score of 36.5, this game is a monster of a game, but an approachable monster. If you are looking to get into high-end war games, this is a great entry into the market. If you are a wargamer and want more friends to play, then this is a great way to bring them in. Thus for advanced gamers, this is a fun game to have on your shelf.
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Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.