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Gangs of Commorragh: A History

Necromunda... Gorkamorka... and now to combine the two, Gangs of Commorragh!

I'm as excited as a homonuculus with a Space Marine on his slab!

Warhammer Community gave us this lovely little notice today. It's being billed as a violent skirmish battle system, suitable for campaign or one off battles. I'm a little surprised at choosing the Dark Eldar for their latest skirmish game, but it's going to make a nice change from Space Marines fighting Tyranids.

Okay, so that's a little unfair. Those are three completely different types of Space Marines, with completely different colours.

Either way, I'm looking forward to this new game, as only someone who knows how long it can take for a bunch of teenagers to put together 1000point armies can. Small skirmish games like this are gateway games for those who want to experience table top fun.

Not only that, but they enable a bearded lore hound like myself to go full nerd when creating a gang! If you've ever found yourself dreaming up a name for the guardsman who carries the flamer in the squad, then you know what I mean. You have absolute license to back story every model in your 'army', and bore your friends to tears with your minis struggles and tragic child hoods!

So lets look a little at what we have going into this game. There are the other two skirmish games I mentioned earlier, Necromunda and Gorkamorka. There was also a White Dwarf mini-game published a long time ago, which featured similar game mechanics to those advertised here.


This was almost a purist version of Warhammer 40K's Second edition. The rule set back then was very much more suited to skirmish style combat, and fairly clunky for larger scale armies. It fit perfctly though for Necromunda's gang style warfare, with some campaign rules thrown on top to develop your gangs story.

The big mechanical change for Necromunda was the fact that you had to look up. And down. Fighting took place on multiple floors, and the box set came with some factory style card structures. These were great things, and my friend's and I used it for a fair few games beyond Necromunda. We got the most use out of it for a 28mm Inquisitor campaign, Games Workshop's first dip into proper RPGs.


Whilst I have fond memories of Necromunda, Gorkamorka was what I really dove into. I had a biker gang of Orks (Mork's Angles (not a spelling error)), and they specialized in looting scrap and riding around in circles. They weren't terribly productive, but I got to make obnoxious engine revving sounds in the game shop!

The key difference between Gorkamorka and Necromunda (aside from the skin colour) was the fact the orks had vehicles. One of the rules stated that every model needed to be able to fit on a vehicle, meaning that trukks and tracks inevitably got huge outriggers for boyz to stand on. I got around this by gluing some bits of sprue to the back of my bikers, letting some ladz ride as a pillion passenger.

Come to think of it, I can't remember if that was legal. No one complained though.

What both above systems have in common is that they were both based off of Second Edition. It'll be interesting to see what the new Gangs of Commorragh uses. Post-3rd edition style AP values and fixed movements, or weapon modifiers as seen in Second.

But there was a game in White Dwarf that already had jet bikes in high speed combat:

White Dwarf 237: Jet Bike Duel

Digging deep into the annals of history now, this game was created in celebration of the Shining Spears being released. That was nearly two decades ago, and made by the legendary Gav Thorpe. And boy, does this bode well for the Game!

The idea is that the Dark Eldar have pinched some spirit stones from the Craftworlders, and now the jetbikes are off in hot pursuit! Mechanically that means the terrain is going to be moving backwards and a rate of 12-inches a turn! Models need to decide how they're going to negotiate the chase... whether they boost ahead, hit the breaks, or swerve to avoid terrain. Think the speeder bike scene in Return of the Jedi, and that's exactly the game!

The phases involved a Chase phase, where the models did their breaking and the terrain moved back, the Movement phase, and the Shooting phase.

Shooting was fairly standard, using normal 40K rules (3rd Edition) but with the addition of 45° firing arcs for bikes, and the Vyper Jetbike getting a full 360°. Close combat took place in the movement phase, a model swiping at anything it passes within 2-inches of.

Initiative and turn order is done by where bikes are in relation to the leading table edge... lead bikes go first and then they go back though the pack. The extra hook? You have 5 seconds to decide what each bike does in each phase. If you don't, then that bike does nothing!

So a couple of rules that may come out of this little mini-game. I'm really looking forward to this one!

Just as an aside, this was all done in the hay day of Games Workshop specialist games. Gorkamorka was just released, Battlefleet Gothic was doing well, and Mordheim was just around the corner. It's nice to see Games Workshop are really digging into their past to dig out the gems of old.

Until next time!

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