Thursday, 23 March 2017

[review] Gangs of Commorragh

By the Emperor what the hell is this. I bought a new Games Workshop game?!

Yes I did, and it is good.

Gangs of Commorragh is a reasonably priced boxed game for 2 players, where gangs consisting of murderous Dark Eldar screech about the skies of the torture empire of Commorragh, deep in the Eldar Webway. Within the game are enough miniatures to represent 2 gangs of Dark Eldar - a gang of Hellions who ride on skyboards and wield hellglaives, and a gang of Reavers who ride about on jetbikes bearing protruding blades. There are enough models for 10 of the former and 6 of the latter. That means there are an excess of models for the basic game, but extras that are ideal when playing the game as a campaign. In the box are also plenty of card counters, and some card terrain that represent the tips of the spires that thrust into the skies above the nightmare city of the Dark Eldar.

Now we know what is in the box, what is the game? Essentially what we have is the long overdue idea of gaming overfiend, Andy Chambers, that is in the same vein as Necromunda, Gorkamorka and Mordheim, and the forthcoming Shadow War. The game has far more in common with Gorkamorka of course. The Dark Eldar gangs fight it out for supremacy and glory and that all important money, diving about the gaming table on their vehicles. Much like Gorkamorka, or even Battlefleet Gothic, the skyboards and jetbikes must move a minimum distance, and get to turn up to a certain amount depending on the vehicle. Skyboards are slower than bikes, but have a shorter minimum move, but are also able to make a tighter turn. Bikes when shot at though are much tougher to kill than skyboard riders. And of course the riders of these vehicles have unique manoeuvres they may take advantage of. Bikes can ride past, raking their enemy with their protruding blades, or engage a white knuckle turbo boost to escape their enemies. Skyboards can make dead stops, hurl chains to drag their opponents of course, and use chains to hook onto spires and swoop about them.

So essentially movement is rather simple, and their are options to allow for some cinematic and tactical movement options. But is that it?


Gangs of Commorragh at the heart of it uses a novel movement turn sequence. At the start of the turn, hunters and prey and denoted. Each hunter and their associated prey are within 18 inches of each other, and such that the front arc of the hunter is facing the rear arc of the prey. These pairs of hunters and prey are marked and then movement begins. Hunters can also be prey to another hunter. Having rolled off in the case of both players having hunters, the winner moves one of their models that is a prey, performing any manoeuvres they like if they pass a skill test (get lower than rider's Pilot Skill + the vehicle's Agility rating). In response any hunters of that model then activate and give chase as best as they can. The movement of a hunter can of course trigger the movement of another model that is the hunter of them - leading to some interesting chases as models tail each other. Once a player has performed their prey movement, and all movement responses have happened, then the other player does the same with a prey model of theirs that has yet to move.

Once hunters and prey have moved, having rolled off, players take it in turns to each move their remaining models.

The next phase combat. Again players take it turns, having rolled off to find out who goes first. Much like Battlefleet Gothic, the ease of hitting a target depends on the relative motion of attacker to defender. So a target moving away or towards you is easier to hit than one rushing past you. But, things get a bit more involved than that. If the target you are attacking is your prey, it is much easier to hit them. In response a model can jink, making it harder for them to hit, but at the expense of not being able to attack. However, models designated as hunters can't jink - they are too preoccupied with keeping their target in their cross hairs.

Shooting is as simple again, where you roll to beat the target's Agility (or Agility + Pilot values in the case they jink). If hit, each weapon has a "kill value" you roll to beat. If you do, the enemy model is take out of the game. If you fail, a wound is dealt, which diminished the models Agility, and also makes future rolls to kill easier. Furthermore Hellions on the skyboards are easier to kill.

In the game there are a multitude of weapons to use. Reavers are armed with splinter pistols, and able to fire in all directions with those weapons, and the bikes have front arc firing splinter rifles, or can be mounted with other weapons such as a heat lance, blaster, and also further equipment to aid them like caltrops. Bikes are thus able to fire at long range, race past and rake the enemy, and use further equipment to hinder those that chase them. Comparatively Hellions skyboards have fixed armaments, but a skilled Hellion can have grenade launchers on their skyboard. But skilled Hellions can carry different close combat weapons, replacing their hellglaive with a power sword, stunclaw, or agoniser whip, and a splinter pistol. Thus Hellions are much more restricted in their weapon ranges though are much more agile on the table.

And that is really it in total. The game has rules for a campaign, though simpler than those of Gorkamorka and Necromunda, and that rely on dividing your gang up to gain greater amounts of loot. This means that when gangs come into conflict, there is much more diversity in which gang members, and how big those groups are, that fight. Of course there can be times when entire gangs fight each other. This should help stop one gang by luck always overpowering others in a campaign.

So in conclusion, having only played the basic game, it is a simple and quick to learn game, but has some deep tactics, without being cluttered on the table like X-Wing. The game also features cinematic combat, with the Hellions reminiscent of the Green Goblin, and the jetbikes being much like the hoverbikes from Star Wars. The combination of bikes streaking about and Hellions swooping about makes the chase of hunter and prey dynamic and cunning as you lure your enemy into the sights of your gang.

What is missing though? Well gangs can consist of Hellions and Reavers, but in White Dwarf there are already rules for the mysterious Harlequins.Though, it would be excellent to play defend the base games, or like Gorkamorka, use the concept of the rolling road and have one gang protect a skimmer, while the other attacks, and the spires of Commorragh move along the board to represent motion (and things that have to be dodged out the way of).

Finally for the price, you are getting the Hellions and Reavers at a serious discount.

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