After a break from table top gaming enforced by 18 months overseas, I arrived back in Australia with a powerful hunger for moving badly painted toy soldiers around a table in a way that only vaguely resembles strategic thinking. However, in the time preceding my original departure Games Workshop had decided to “improve” Warhammer Fanstasy, my main tabletop cash furnace. Unfortunately, in their enthusiasm they may have killed off one game and created something completely different. This had serious implications for me, as my beloved Beastmen seemed unlikely to be supported much at all. In another crushing blow, Privateer Press brought out the third iteration of Warmachine. Suddenly my gaming group (two mates who live down the road) was no longer bothered with a game that had rendered half of their units useless, and so I had no-one to battle my sweet Pirate army.
So it was that, after being involved with wargaming to some extent since I was in high school, I finally had a look at Warhammer 40k. The newest edition had just come out and was expected to be better and more streamlined than the previous one, not that this meant anything to a noob like myself. Encouraged by a friend who seems to be personally funding his local games shop, I had a look at possible armies to command. Given my previous army choices of Beastmen (famous for raiding and pillaging the Old World) and Pirates (famous for raiding and pillaging the Iron Kingdoms), it may not be surprising that I was draw to the Orks (famous for raiding and pillaging the Imperium). I think I might have a type.
My choice was mostly motivated by the background fluff. Orks are tough, rowdy, stupid, superstitious, fearsome and hilarious. They are closer to fungi than animals, so they don’t die so much as explode into spores that eventually regrow. They put out some kind of innate magic field that makes shoddy technology work when it shouldn’t, but paradoxically, this magic would stop working if they were conscious of how it worked. Plus, their main motivation seems to be fighting for the sake of it, so they just roam around the galaxy looking for a bit of biff. Naturally, my fluff obsession got in the way of practical concerns, such as the cost of putting together a horde army in a notoriously expensive hobby, but thinking ahead wouldn’t be a very orky thing to do anyway.
The boyz are ready to fight over our makeshift battlefield.
Long story, not so short: I got some boyz together and had a few battles with a mate who invested some kind of dirty communist fish people, the Tau. With only a vague idea how to play we launched into a battle. Unsurprisingly, he went for the gun line approach. As a dwarf player from way back, I can hardly criticise the decision. I can, however, find and exploit the weakness of such a plan. Both the fluff and the rules pushed me towards fielding a whole bunch of boyz, with possibly other stuff supporting. I had been dying to use the Ork spell/psychic power ‘Da Jump’, which effectively teleports a unit anywhere on the board. This combined with a full unit of my green soccer hooligans forms the basis of the ‘make your opponent poop’ strategy.
I know, pretty cool terrain. What an awesome mix of realistic battlefield debris and random camping gear from the shed. We had not read as far as proper battlefield set up, objectives or any of that nonsense. We just went for n old fashioned fight. As you can see, I set up my teleport boys in a blob, then had a few other units that may or may not be legal in properly constructed play. My opponent set up his gun jerks strategically, and used the first turn to rush into cover behind the MtG boxes and the lolly jar. I want to draw your attention to the large open space in the photo above, filled only with a phone and a pair of dice. Guess where I jumped the boyz to on turn one? Not only was the psychic roll a success, but I managed to nail my 50-50 charge roll to get my 30 Ork squad in combat with two separate Tau squads. Yes, they got overwatch, but can wear that pretty well, and with the new rules they have no concerns about morale tests at all.
As you can see, my fellas did some pretty powerful chopping. I’ll have to model up some random Tau soldier limbs to represent the aftermath next time. The rest of the game ended up being my guys chasing down his Crisis suits, but I was already pretty overjoyed. I had been waiting weeks to jump a bunch of axe wielding maniacs into that back lines of a professional army attempting to employ proper tactics and strategy and it was worth the wait. I couldn’t keep the grin off my face as he moved himself into shooting positions behind cover, only for a bunch of disorganised thugs to nullify all that effort. Not only did their appearance freak out my opponent, but the sheer amount of choppiness my boyz put out was enormous.
In our second game I swapped the magic surprise for trukks full of boyz and some speedy vehicles coming from behind. It came down to my trukk boys chasing his silly jet pack suits. I won’t go into detail, because I’m pretty sure I was accidentally cheating most of the second battle. I may need to read the rules more in depth. Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to next time I get to have a couple of games (my one opponent and I are separated by a few hundred kilometres), and I hope Games Workshop doesn’t screw me over again when the proper Ork codex comes out. Fingers crossed.