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GorkaMorka Gaming

Having been cutting, gluing and painting ork miniatures and post apocalyptic terrain for the last few months, MT and SOS paid a visit to play some GorkaMorka a couple of weeks ago.

The plan was to concentrate on putting our respective mobs through their paces by playing nothing but GoMo for the duration, which is what we did.

I used my Bigdogz mob.  SOS had plans to paint a Freebooter pirate mob, but only got a couple of figures painted.  MT didnt have anything ready so he used SOSs figures.

SOS "Kaptin"

One of the reasons that GoMo was chosen for this particular gaming weekend is that SOS has enough orks already painted to allow us to build pretty much any ork mob we could want.  That way we had a fallback in case painting plans didnt come to fruition.  Therefore MT and SOS picked their mobs from SOS older stuff and we got going.

The look of SOS ork army is largely themed around WWII Wehrmacht, in case you were wondering, with each squad looking like paratroopers or desert camo guys or whatever.  SOS chose the ride above to start with.

MT chose the vehicle above as his first transport.  He chose to use one of SOS squads denoted by their soft brown caps.

We played a number of games over the day.  We didnt record exhaustive details of each game (there was enough bookwork in keeping track of the mob development itself), but we took photos of some of the more memorable moments, starting with the distinctly unmemorable picture below.

The opening three way game. Believe it or not, that turned out to be too much terrain for a game of GoMo...

GoMo needs very little terrain.  Manoeuvring the vehicles is sufficiently difficult that including too many obstacles makes things a bit too frustrating.

Playing with miniatures on gaming tables that are largely devoid of scenery is anathema to me: part of the point of tabletop gaming is the visual vignettes and the 3D, train set nature of the pasttime.  Without those it quickly becomes something that would be better played with cardboard counters on a hex grid.

That said however I think that elements of the vehicle side of GoMo work well and give an unusually fluid (some would say non-existent) battle line.  For the unique game experience that this brings I am willing to suck up the fact that GoMo games are played on largely featureless plains.

A head on ram by SOS causes MTs truck to explode, while my boyz circle in for the kill...

... but a lucky shot from SOS jams the throttle on the Bigdogz truck, sending the lot of them hurtling off the table with flame shooting from the exhaust. Giggling ensues.

The end of the first game had amply illustrated the Keystone Kops nature of Gorkamorka.  It is very much a think-on-the-fly followed by shoulder shrugging and laughing sort of affair.  There is a lot of screwy randomness involved.

In addition this game illustrated that despite having a combined age of ~105 that the three of us are categorically not too old to titter in a juvenile fashion at repeated uses of the words “Nob”, “Chopper”, “Thrust” and “Ram” (all deliberately incorporated into the rules by puerile designers, bless ’em).  Examples included:

  • “All of my guys jump on your Nob”
  • “I Thrust my Nob at your Nob while that guy hits the guy with the hat with his Chopper”
  • “My Nob is a Spanner”

I didnt think that I would laugh as much as I did either, but it wore me down 🙂

Chase Scenario 2 starts with two trucks hurtling through the wasteland, but...

...rapidly turns into a collision, an explosion...

...and a fistfight, with very little chasing involved.

Next we tried a couple of Chase scenarios.  During these games most vehicles largely remain stationary on the table, while the terrain travels towards the edge, giving a “rolling road” effect.

This was something that I had been looking forward to trying for quite a while, but our two attempts didnt work out terribly well.  It is likely to me that this was due to the fact that we were using mobs composed of raw recruits, with only one vehicle each (plus the usual caveat about the Yahtzee like random elements in GoMo).

I think that chase scenarios would likely work better with more vehicles involved and with potentially more skilled vehicle drivers (models that is, not necessarily the players) to flatten out the averages on some of the more extreme results of GoMo games.

King of the Hill three way fight.

MTs mob tries to shift the Bigdogz from their tenuous foothold on the plateau while SOSs boyz opportunistically flank the Bigdogz at ground level.

SOS boyz forgo the enfilade in favour of hurtling bodily into one of the Bigdogz trucks, as is traditional in GoMo. This causes engine explosions in both vehicles (also traditional).

The King of the Hill (or “Nob of da Kop” to use the vernacular) scenario turned out to be one of the more enjoyable games for me.

I specifically made the daft but (to my eyes at least) somewhat charming “Kop” with this scenario in mind.  It was fun for me to have a purpose built piece of terrain with its (albeit limited) functionality (well it is large and flat) in full use.

The game was the usual shenanigans of course.  Nonetheless it gave us all a few laughs and was unpredictable fun.  MT won as everyone else ran away but, in true GoMo style the Bigdogz ended up with the lions share of the booty.

Trucks chase around the fort while the Bigdogz rescue their brother in arms.

More tyre squealing antics as MT rescues his comrade from SOSs clutches.

The last couple of games that we played involved the fort.  I was hoping for a little bit of a Mad Max like siege atmosphere and I got a little of that at least.  I got a kick out of finally using the fort (having owned it in various unfinished states for about sixteen years).  The games themselves were mediocre from my perspective (and I think MTs) and “shit” from SOSs perspective if memory serves.

Conclusions

Definitely not for everybody, but despite (and sometimes because of) its failings, Gorkamorka proved to be ridiculous but entertaining fun for a day.  Not something to play every weekend, but for a while every so often, sure.

For a game as profoundly silly as it is Gorkamorka has a far too convoluted post game sequence, for little gain.  If that part of the game were smoother I could see my group playing it more regularly.

Our three mobs have a little history now.

  1. SOSs guys are basically crewing ghost trucks with swabs thin on the ground, but so far they have got away with it via homicidal ramming and dazzling accurate Kannon shots.
  2. MTs guys made an expensive fashion faux pas by buying (useless) Flak armour early on (thats what he gets for not even reading the rulebook in advance 😛 ) but still held the top of the leaderboard pretty consistently for the duration.
  3. My Bigdogz reputation for rubbishness is deserved with spectacularly slow experience advancement and the massive cost of having to replace an expensive atomised truck hampering their lacklustre efforts further.  Still none of them died or got injured and Ginormuz (my leader, “Norm” to his friends) finally won his last game, giving him his much needed compulsory leadership boost.
With the three mobs details on file I suspect that GoMo will get on the table again at a later date.
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Gorkamorka Project

CLICK HERE to see all of my Gorkamorka related progress since I wrote this post… boyz, vehicles, forts, buildings, terrain etc

Gorkamorka is a skirmish game system that GW brought out in 1997.  It has very similar mechanics to Necromunda but with the notable addition of vehicle rules that involve a little bit of risk management and a lot of shouting “Yahtzee!”

The game is strongly influenced by Mad Max II: The Road Warrior, except that instead of featuring Mel Gibson, actors from A Country Practice and pervert biker rapists it features orks.

Gorkamorka occurred during an awkward adolescence for orkoid development in 40K.  As a concept they had lost their way at some point before Gorkamorka was released, becoming gaudy buffoons rather than a proper barbaric menace.

Although Gorkamorka definitely didnt wipe that image out (I mean the game is called Gorkamorka for crying out loud), it certainly laid the groundwork for the single-minded, homicidal galactic plague that they became in 40k the 2000s (and which they seem to be moving away from again these days).  A lot of that was simply due to the top class miniatures sculpted by Brian Nelson for the GoMo range which took them from comical to monstrous.

As a GW fanboy I bought GoMo (as it seems to be called online these days) when it came out.  It sounded like fun and I had enjoyed Necromunda, which was largely an identical system.

Unfortunately at the time I didnt have many opponents willing to get into GoMo so it didnt get much table time, just an afternoon or two.  I bought some of the GoMo miniatures back then but they stayed in storage, until I sold on all of the orks to pay for a weekend boozing and clubbing in 2000.  It was the right decision at the time.  At least I kept the Mutie figures.

Zip forward a decade and MT, SOS and I have a weekend of GoMo planned for June.  I dont play 40K any more, MT plays a teeny, weeny bit and SOS is getting back on the 40K scene having played in a weekend long tournament in January, which included painting even more Orks for his already vast, epoch spanning greenskin collection.

We all have a lot of 40k (and other games) under our belts and we are all pretty familiar with the basics of the GoMo system.  SOS already has enough miniatures assembled and painted to field numerous mobs.  I have existing suitable terrain and the enthusiasm to make some more (like the ongoing Fort Grayskull and the recent Foam Rocks).  I am also looking forward to painting some of the nice ork figures that have come out in the last twelve years or so.

Somewhat uncharacteristically, MT is a bit of a wild card this time.  Often he is more reliable when it comes to getting a project finished for a deadline than SOS.  This time SOS has more than enough models ready to go before he starts and MT is in a something of a painting slump (a familiar thing to most figure painters I think).

Even if MT doesnt get his mob painted (it looks like even odds to me right now) he will still be able to use SOS spare figs so it looks like the project will materialise fully.  Hopefully MT will get to play with figures that he has done himself though.  He has had a Space Marine Land Speeder with wheels added to it knocking around for nearly a decade.  That really should get its time in the sun and if not now then when?

The GoMo rules system is familiar and will be quicker to play than Necromunda (its less fiddly for a few reasons).  We have also agreed on a handful of very straightforward streamlining house rules.  They should hopefully help us to get enough games in to watch our mobs gain skills and the like and for us to experience the over the top and hopefully entertaining intra-game Gorkamorka elements (visiting dodgy car mechanics and over enthusiastic doctors with a penchant for amputation).

All of this means that many of the hurdles often encountered when we try to get some gaming off the ground have already been passed.  Hopefully that means that we can concentrate on having fun rather than on rules intricacies or other tedious slog and just have a few giggles.

That in turn means that barring something serious that some GoMo will definitely be played this summer.  So I will be putting my progress on it up here for the foreseeable future, starting with the as yet unnamed ork and his gretchin buddies above.  Here is a picture of one of the grots standing in the mine entrance part of the Fort Grayskull project next to a Copplestone figure (Dr Leghorn), for scale.

In the interests of getting the project finished in a reasonable timeframe the ork and gretchin were painted quickly, with some areas getting simply a base coat and a wash.  Not too bad as a prototype models I think, but I have decided to try a different approach overall.  More on that at a later date.

Comments and criticisms welcomed as ever 🙂

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