Enlarge (credit: Owen Duffy) Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com—and let us know what you think.

On first inspection, Cry Havoc looks like any number of similarly grim and gritty science fiction board games.
It comes with a stash of plastic soldiers, robots, and aliens, and its artwork paints a world in tones of mud, fire, and gun metal.
If you’re expecting a quick fix of hectic, dice-chucking combat, though, you’re going to be disappointed, because the game offers a much more thoughtful take on the concept of planetary conquest.

Review: Cry Havoc an intriguing sci-fi “dudes on a map” throwdown (credit: Portal Games)

Cry Havoc hands players command of rival factions competing to colonise a newly discovered world. Playing as aggressive and expansionist humans, merciless and powerful machines, or elusive and enigmatic aliens known as the Pilgrims, you’ll attempt to claim victory by seizing control of territories and exploiting them for their resources (in the form of shiny plastic crystals).
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