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Front Cover

Cruel Necessity

(1 review) Write a Review
$43.99 $30.99
(You save $13.00)
John Welch
Play Time:
90 minutes

Gold Banner product

Named one of the Top 100 Solitaire Board Games of 2015 by Box of Delights!

Voted one of the 2013 Best Thematic Solitaire Games for the Spare Time Challenged on BoardGameGeek!

Cruel Necessity, from designer John Welch, is a solitaire game simulating the military, political, and religious struggles of the English Civil Wars (1640-53). You attempt to stop the advance of four armies bent on destroying Parliament and Puritanism, whom you represent; simply holding on to London is not enough!

There are civil wars going on not just in England, but in Scotland and Ireland too; and each will have varying impact on the play of the game at different times. You can also play Cruel Necessity cooperatively with a team of players working together and deciding how best to preserve and propagate the principles of the Enlightenment and Reformation.

The title comes from the purported response to the beheading of King Charles by his implacable foe, Oliver Cromwell, who remarked that this act of regicide was a "Cruel Necessity."

Note: Cruel Necessity is our first Gold Banner wargame to exclude a mounted map inside. We hope our vaunted wargame customers can soldier on with our sturdy paper maps as the great wargames of yore have long provided.

What's In The Box?:

• One 20-page, full-color Rulebook (Designer's Notes included)
• One 22" x 17" cardstock game map (in sections)
• One 11" x 17" Battle Display mat
• 75 cards
• 98 thick, two-sided, multi-shaped game pieces
• One two-sided player aid
• One blue (Parliamentary) 6-sided die
• One red (Royalist) 6-sided die
• One bright red, 9" x 11 7/8" Deluxe cardboard VPG game box
• One beautiful box cover sleeve
• One "Wipes-A-Lot" napkin
• One charcoal desiccant packet


Game Design: John Welch
Docs & Development: Alan Emrich
Map Art: Tim Allen
Battle Event Card Back Illustration: Vinh Ha
Playtesting: Dylan Alliata, Steve Carey, Wes Erni, Tim Harrison, David Kennedy, Stephanie Newland, Eric Nyquist, Tim Porter, David Spangler, Hans von Stockhausen, Ian Wakeham
Proofreading: David Spangler, Ian Wakeham, Dan Wiley, Karen Wolterman


Cruel Necessity by Gameruman
Personally, I love it. You need to create an overall plan, covering all of your bases. You need to decide where to push and where to hold; what can you sacrifice and what must be achieved in order to survive. Assailed from all sides it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning but there’s always hope. Careful resource management, a few risky plays and maybe a prayer or 2 and you will win the day. ... Cruel Necessity is a great way to while away an afternoon lost in the throes of an imaginary version of a real war while you are sipping a nice whiskey or a cup of tea.
Top 100 Solitaire Games of 2015 by Ricky Royal (Box of Delights)
The most enjoyable play-through I think I’ve done on Box of Delights was for this game, Cruel Necessity – The English Civil Wars. ... I’m a history-buff, and this one really delivered. John Welch is a high school history teacher who really knows his material, or at the very least has done a great job researching his material. The game is packed with flavour text that unveils the story behind the action being played out on the board. ... The main story sees you defending London from the encroaching Royalists (and their allies), in true States of Siege style. But supplementing this, and making this a stand-out game in the series, are the political tracks, the battle map where we focus in on the battles being played out on the map, and the Achievements that give you rewards and allow you to build your victory point score. In particular, the Achievements give the game its layer of re-playability, because it’s these that can alter your strategy as you divert attention from the Royalists to the demands of those achievements. The order they come out and how they line up can give you a very different game experience and are a lovely and gentle touch to the game. There are nuances with the smaller scale battles, but I love them all the same. Set amongst the context of the bigger game, they take on a level of significance that adds to the tension of every die roll. It’s a great piece of work, and for me is the highlight of the SoS series.
Trust in God, and Keep Your Dice Dry by Travis Williams (TechRaptor)
Cruel Necessity is an amazing, deep solitaire experience. The game is at its best when played as a full campaign, offering layers of strategy, risk, and luck mitigation that come together to form a tense and exciting experience from the first moments of conflict through the final resolution and cessation of hostilities. The theme is presented in a way that makes the history it is based on feel alive and vibrant, and encouraged me to look further in to how the English Civil Wars actually unfolded. While there are dice and card draws involved, player skill and choice are the most important factors to the game, and figuring out ways to deal with, and overcome, the steep challenges that the game presents you with is incredibly rewarding. (9/10)
The Appeal of Zeal by Tracy Baker (The Lonely Meeple)
Between 1640 and 1653 a series of civil wars were fought in England that I have no earthly interest in. Pikes and muskets? Oliver Cromwell and King Charles? Parliamentarians and Puritans and Catholics and Monarchs and … yawn. None of that has ever piqued my interest.

And then I played Cruel Necessity. ...

Welch has really outdone himself with this design. ... I’m glad to have another meaty States of Siege game, and am awed by John Welch’s ability to turn any historical subject that interests him into a neat little clockwork of gaming goodness. Cruel Necessity successfully fired up an interest in a topic I had willfully ignored up to this point, and it was interesting to see how educational a States of Siege game could be as I’ve known much about the conflicts in the other historical titles in that series I’ve played.

This is a beautiful and polished game that should be on the short list of any solitaire gamer, and on the shorter list of any States of Siege fan.
You Gotta be Cruel to be Kind by Jeff McAleer (The Gaming Gang)
[Cruel Necessity adds] lots of new twists to the States of Siege line [and] provides plenty of meat and potatoes for gamers who dig jumping into a longer solo title. You can't help but be educated about this period of England's history while you play. (9.3/10)
Cruel Necessity by Boardgames in Blighty
I can’t wait to play Cruel Necessity again. It delivers an awesome gaming experience and a step in a brilliant direction in terms of quality of the experience and game dynamics. The addition of the tactical player mat and simple fast tactical battles adds [to] the charm and is pure genius in design.

1 Review

  • 5
    Difficult, but rewarding

    Posted by franck Leopold (SangDragon) on Aug 11th 2018

    Assuredly the #1 States of siege game for me : you not only must repel armies advancing towards you, but also watch (and manage) closely the political and religious factors, as well as conduct yourself the tactical battles on a separate map .The level of difficulty is rather high, but as a solo game you don't want to win too often to keep the challenge interesting, and there's also plenty of tricks to learn and ways to upgrade yourself over time .
    A must-buy !