• Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon: Da Orks review by Rick Moscatello

    Orks with mops

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    Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon: Da Orks (I’ll just call it “Orks”) is a stand alone sequel to Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon (which I reviewed here). If you haven’t played the original, that’s fine: you’re probably better off starting with Orks, as this is a (slightly) superior game…so let’s get down to the review.

    This is a turn based strategy war game along the lines of old Panzer General (or it’s incredibly beautiful grandchildren, the Panzer Corps series of games). While those games are masterpieces of fun WW2-era combat, Orks is a pale imitation, only playable because it’s set within the great Warhammer 40k universe. While the writing in the previous Armageddon game was weak (to be generous), it’s improved at least a full notch here. Granted, Orks are probably a bit more interesting as characters than the communofascist Imperial humans, but it just seems like the storyline is a bit more interesting read…if you’re into that sort of thing. You can click through all the story in a few seconds, so on to the actual game.

    The general idea of these types of games is you pick and choose what you want in your army, paying for your units with points. Your units gain experience as they fight, but they lose experience when they take casualties (alas, the “recruit veterans” option of Panzer games isn’t here)…only well armored or long-range units have much chance of gaining and actually keeping experience.

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    Orks about to die, we salute you!.

    The highlight of this series is the sheer variety of units you can choose to have in your army. There are seven classes of units (from infantry to flyers to tanks to big clunky robots), and each class has many types and weapon variations. While various unit types mattered in Panzer games, there are only two types that actually count here: infantry, and non-infantry. Victory is usually determined by occupying victory hexes (clearly highlighted for you), and most such hexes can only be captured by infantry.

    So, you must have infantry in your army, and past that, you want the highest armor units you can get, followed up with long range units (maximum range runs about 5 hexes, and you’ll learn to love ork artillery). I really wish there was more interaction in the unit types, but the developers are still clearly constrained to staying close to the Warhammer 40k rules system, which is based around tabletop games with so few units that the reasonably deep strategy of Panzer games isn’t possible.

    As much as I want to forgive the game for staying close to its roots, it makes my teeth itch fiercely that Ork helicopters can’t fly over a single story building, much less go over infantry, or that all assaults are lone frontal assaults, no matter the direction or if you have other units involved…but that’s how the game is played.

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    Maps look a little familiar here...

    The battles themselves are generally more challenging than in the original game, especially the first few rounds. You don’t get access to powerful units until later in the game, and orks have a striking weakness against armor—what made the previous game so easy makes this game hard initially, until you finally get some pieces with good armor-piercing ability.

    Once you fight off the huge rush, there is often a long mop-up part at the end of battle. After you’ve taken out all the enemy tanks/heavy hitters, you’ll still have to wade through swarms of relatively helpless infantry. Granted, it may just be the limited design of the tabletop game (which really was only meant for battles about 2% of the size of what you see in this game), but most combats are still relatively dull affairs, slogging through swarms of enemies while trying to keep casualties as low as possible.

    Overall, this sequel is a more fun version of Warhammer 40k than the original, but I suspect it’s mostly due to Orks just being more interesting. Hard core fans might get some fun out of this, especially if they’re always fantasizing about playing a really big battle which, if done on the table top, would require many thousands of dollars to get all the miniatures needed. Newcomers to Warhammer 40k should check it out, as it serves as a cheap introduction to a fun universe and gaming system. Past that, well, Panzer Corps is still the best in the genre, and always good for another round or two.

    Overall Rating: 71
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon: Da Orks review by Rick Moscatello started by Doom View original post