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Gorkamorka - the Strategy Game

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Gorkamorka is a Games Workshop tabletop battle game released by Games Workshop in 1997. Games Workshop were keen to expand their Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) universe with a series of games based on gang warfare. Necromunda was the first, and this was about gangs fighting it out in an apocalyptic industrial waste ground. Gorkamorka is about gangs of Orks.


Orks/Orcs appear in almost any fantasy universe. In the futuristic WH40K universe the spelling is 'Ork'. These are big, thick-skinned, single-minded green creatures with an immense love of warfare. They are roughly human shape, but bigger and meatier. They appear to be stupid things, and there is some truth in this. Their technology is certainly not as sophisticated as Imperial1 machinery, and they have trouble counting and spelling. There is also the factor of their said single-mindedness. Only the more gifted leaders will spend time dithering about what to do in a situation. Most Orks will charge straight into the fight without a second thought.

Orks love fighting. If they are not at war with some other race they are at war with themselves.


The game's history starts off in the past, with a spaceship full of thousands of Orks. They are on their way to 'Da Waaaagh!'. Normally a Waaaagh is where a band of united Ork tribes numbering many thousands (millions in the bigger ones) will go out to wage war on some unfortunate foe. In this case 'Da Waaaagh!' is where the biggest and best fights are. Naturally these Orks are making a beeline for it.

But something goes wrong. The Orks do not arrive at Da Waaaagh!, and instead crash on the planet Angelis. There are a troupe of humans from the Imperium on this planet who end up getting caught in this, and become 'Diggas' and 'Muties'.

The ship crashes, gouging a great hole in the sand known as The Skid. Of course, the ship is wrecked and bits of it scattered far and wide. The surviving Orks (of which there are many) set about trying to rebuild their ship so they can get to Da Waaaagh!

Their big city, Mektown, is the only permanent place on the planet. The Ork gang have forts for hideouts and homes. These are made of the scrap from the surrounding desert. The gangs of Orks fight for scrap so they can give it to the Meks in Mektowns. The Meks rebuild the ship, and the Orks that give in the stash have a better chance of getting on. They get 'tags'2. The more tags they have, the better their chance of getting on.

The diminutive race of greenskins, Gretchin3, cannot get tags at all. Which is where the Rebel Grots come in.

At one point the Meks did rebuild the ship. It looked like an Ork god. The Orks have two gods, Gork and Mork. The Orks had a massive argument over which god the ship looked like, and in the process Mektown burned and the ship was destroyed. So now they're calling it 'Gorkamorka', just to be on the safe side.

Playing the Game

This game will be familiar to 2nd edition WH40K and Necromunda players. The rules work the same as old 40K, and undergo the same principle as Necromunda.

First of all, you recruit your 'mob'. You have 100 'teef' (Ork currency), and buy Orks, equipment, vehicles and more specialised members. You can also recruit special characters to add some spice to your mob.

Vehicles are essential. Your mob will not be able to operate without any. You need enough to be able to transport all of your mob.

The equipment you can buy is mainly weapons. You can also have armour and 'stikkbombz' (grenades). Ork weapons are mainly crude guns for close range firing, and close combat clubs and the like.

There are also big guns for mounting on vehicles, ranging from almost mandatory 'Eavy shootas' (think in terms of a mini gun) to rockets and spear guns. Also available are 'gubbinz', which are to make life easier for you. These will range from spiked wheels (for better grip) to wrecking balls.

Once your mob is recruited, you go out and fight!

You pick scenarios, which are determined by a roll of two dice (2D6 in gaming terms). The scenarios range from mundane gang-bashes to more elaborate 'car' chases and small sieges.

More scenarios are occasionally printed in Games Workshop publications White Dwarf and Citadel Journal.

After the battle has been won or lost, you earn cash from the amount of scrap you've salvaged, either during the game or in the post-battle sequence. This will be spent as you see fit. Also, depending on how much fighting and winning your mob did, they will earn experience.

More experience allows you to earn interesting skills which will make future games a lot more interesting. These skills also serve to make your mobsters more individual. Players take great pride in their mob, some more than others. The more dedicated will come up with a history for their mob, or even individual Orks. They will customise and convert models, vehicles and the fort. This is part of the fun to be gained from Gorkamorka (or any GW game) - watching your troopers grow and mature with every battle, developing histories for themselves. This works more in Gorkamorka and Necromunda because they are much smaller scale affairs: you get to know everyone personally.

Plus, there is also the thrill of seeing your transport run over a defenseless foe, or clubbing an enemy with a metal pole!

1The Imperium is humanity in the 41st millennium.2Tags do not play a part in gaming, only in the background.3The Orks' slaves and cannon fodder.

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