Kings of War Armada is a ship wargame by Mantic Games, set in their fantasy Kings of War setting in the world of Pannithor. In our Kings of War Armada Orc Guide, we'll look at the faction as a whole, and break down each ship.
The Orcs are a warlike race that live for battle, only stopping fighting amongst themselves if they find a worthy opponent from another race. Their ships are Goblin design, whose only purpose is to get them into battle with other races fighting on the seas. As a result, their ships are ramshackle constructions of random materials, bristling with cannons and anything else that can cause damage to enemy ships.
Orc ships use sails for movement, likely in imitation of other fleets they've seen, which means when using the full rules for wind, they need to consider wind direction for positioning, especially as their sole focus is to get in close with the enemy. Most Orc ships have the Ram special rule, which means they can deliberately collide with other ships and most of their firepower is close range. They also have easy access to grappling hooks to keep the enemy close when they get there.
Ripper Hulk / Maul
A Ripper Hulk's only purpose is to smash through enemy vessels. Armed with an indirect fire weapon on the front to give it something to do on the way in, and six close boardside and four close rear mounted weapons to ensure 360 degree carnage while it's engaged. It's also armed with a Grappling Arm, which means it can attempt to grapple enemy ships moving at full speed without modifier. A move of three can means that you'll have to pick your target and run it down, but once there, it will be hard to withstand the sheer mass of the Ripper Hulk.
The unique named Maul version of the Ripper Hulk is twenty points more expensive, and loses the indirect fire weapon, which are replaced with four front mounted close weapons. It also gains the Ensard Special Rule, giving a -2 modifier to any ship attempting to disengage.
The Smasher is a main battle ship of the Orcs. Stats-wise, it's very similar to the Basilean Abbess, but with a lot fewer guns, which it makes up for with Ram 3, letting it ad additional damage when it collides with other ships. Both ships take damage during rams, so target selection is important, and targeting smaller ships will mean that Smasher is more likely to come out on top. Taking grappling hooks and Morax or Morguns (or both) on the Smasher will really add to its productivity. But it really needs to focus on getting in close.
The Hammerfist is a smaller Orc main battle ship. At thirty-two points they're much cheaper than the Smasher, but they have lighter guns and lower durability. Taking two over one Smasher, with their extra inch of movement, means they can threaten a much wider area with their Ram 2 and are more likely to catch their prey than the slower Smasher, but won't be able to deal out as many rams.
Bomboat's are cheap, small support ships armed with a front-facing indirect fire mortar. The mortars, while very inaccurate, have a long-range, random damage that can be devastating, and can scatter onto other targets if they miss. They aren't very durable and are slow, so keeping them at range and dropping fire on your opponent's fleet is essential for their survival.
Blood Runners are light support ships with two heavy broadside guns and Ram 1. They're not very durable, and as support ships will have a hard time ramming larger ships, but they're great for softening up larger ships or tying up enemy support ships with boarding actions.
Rabble Squadrons are groups of two tiny ships which are incredibly fast and maneuverable. They're extremely cheap but offer very little in the way of threat to any large ships. They come with the helping hand special rules, which lets them boost boarding actions for nearby ships.
There are several products for Orc fleets, which are listed below with the ships they contain.
Orc Starter Fleet
- 1x Smasher
- 1x Hammerfist
- 1x Bombboat
The Orc Starter Fleet comes with both main battle ships, and a support ship, coming in at 110 points for the ships alone. It's a solid foundation to build up from with a focus on ramming with the two main battle ships. Adding in additional support ships to help with the ramming and tying up enemy ships is required to get the most of the fleet.
Orc Booster Fleet
- 1x Hammerfist
- 1x Blood Runner
- 2x Rabble Squadron
The Booster Fleet fleshes out from the Starter Fleet, or 2-Player Starter Set Orc side, adding in another Hammerfist and 3 support ships. There's sixty points in ships, and when added to the Starter Fleet, or building out from the 2-Player Starter Set, it gives a great foundation to build up from.
- 1x Abbess
The Smasher is available separately, so it can be added to your Orc's from the 2-Player Starter Set or used to build up a larger fleet if you're going for full ramming smash.
Kings of War Armada 2-Player Starter Set
- 2x Hammerfist
- 1x Bombboat
- 1x Blood Runner
The Kings of War Armada Starter Set contains several Orc ships, along with the full rules, components, and a Basilean fleet.
Orc Ripper Hulk
- 1 Ripper Hulk (optional part to build the named ship Maul)
The largest ship of the Orc fleet comes in its own box and can build the standard Ripper Hulk, or the unique, named ship Maul.
Orc List Building
The variations between the Orc products means that you're going to have a lot of Hammerfists (as they come in every set), and you will probably use most of them as they're a great balance of ramming power and durability, without tying up loads of points in a Smashers.
We're still exploring list-building options and will update this guide when we've played more games (post-UK lockdown).
All of the Kings of War Armada products used to produce this guide were provided by Mantic Games.