The new edition of the Ogre Kingdoms army book comes in hardback with a very friendly looking blood-splattered ogre on the front cover.
Typically the book is split into different sections with suitably orgrish names; Big and Brutish, The Lumbering Hordes, Gathering of Might and The Ogre Kingdoms Army List.
Big and Brutish
This is the background story section, filled with the history of the Great Maw and notable events and characters.
The first thing you notice is the artwork – the new Stonehorn and Thundertusk lumbering into battle. Much of the artwork looks great even if some of it is recycled from the either the old book or the old unit packaging.
Just like the artwork, much of the content of this section has been lifted from the previous army book albeit mostly rewritten but really you can’t blame GW for that – you can’t just rewrite the history of a whole army so it fits into a new rule set…
Also in the section there’s a very nice double page full colour map of the Mountains of Mourn with the different ogre tribes and historic battles labelled up. This is a definite upgrade over the map in the previous book which was single page, black and white and not too detailed.
More background material follows, the various ogre tribes and their symbols, a timeline of the ogres and great battles of the ogres.
Overall there’s a lot of good info in this section to help you get a feel for the army, or to give you pointers on creating your own tribe.
The Lumbering Hordes
A scary looking ogre army accompanies the intro pages to this section which focuses on detailed unit descriptions and special rules.
We open with a page of army special rules and there are quite a few changes here over the old book. The big one for me is actually the first up.
Ogre charge: Previously Bull Charge (Ogres are just Ogres now, not Ogre Bulls) This is still all about impact hits but now they’re even scarier. No longer ‘any unit of ogres charging more than 6″‘ it now works on any charge… nasty. brand new addition to this rule is that if you roll 10 or more on your charge roll the ogres cause D3 impact hits instead of the normal 1, that’s potentially a lot of free hits.
One of the new special weapons is the Chaintrap: This is essentially a bear trap on a chain. SNAP!
Next we move to specific character and unit descriptions and predictably start with the biggest and meanest ogres, the Tyrants and other Lord and Hero choices.
Many of the stats are the same and it’s only until we get to the Firebellies that we get something new.
Firebellies: The new hero choice in the army. A level 1 wizard that uses the lore of fire (duh). Same stats as butchers with a couple of additional special rules including a breath attack.
Now onto unit choices, lots of fun new stuff here although Ogres, Ironguts, Leadbelchers, Gorgers, Yhetees and Gnoblars are much the same as before. Some of the new stuff includes Sabretusk Packs – Yes they now come in packs, Mournfang Cavalry who have D3 impact hits on the charge and the mighty Ironblaster – Booooom. Who can say no to a cannon that can move and fire.
Big creatures now, and they look fun. Stonehorns and Thundertusks – both are good choices and bring something different to the battlefield. Stonehorns with their Earth-shattering Charge and the fact Hunters can use them as mounts making them a mobile bolt thrower and Thundertusks with their Numbing chill and their own shooting attack – a mobile stone thrower – Sphere of Frost-wreathed Ice.
Next up are the famous characters, some old, some new. Bragg the Gutsman is a newbie with a nice looking model and some chilling acompanying artwork. His weapon gives him Heroic Killing Blow in any challenge meaning he can take down any sized opponent on a 6 to wound not just man-sized.
Ogre gut magic is next although most of it is the same as before but reworded to work with the 8th edition rules.
Big Names: No major changes other than Giantbreaker has changed with the lack of Slavegiants in the army.
Magic Items: Only 2 pages as they’ve cut down the number of items drastically and upped the points cost of the ones that remain, although they have combined some of the weapons together so they’re quite nasty.
Gathering of Might
This section is a showcase of various figures painted to the usual high standards. Gnoblars finally make an appearance in a photo (yaaay) and theres a double paged spread of Mournfang Cavalry showing off the way the Ogres are perched precariously on the mount as they bounce into battle. The highlights of this section are the Thundertusks and Ironblaster. The Thundertusk looks awesome if only because of the fact the ogres on top look ridiculous throwing bear traps on chains. The Ironblaster looks very nice painted up, maybe not as nice as the Scraplauncher but then again I guess a mobile cannon will appeal to more people in gaming terms than a mobile stone thrower.
Ogres Army List
The most important bit now (apart from maybe special rules) with points values and additional options for each unit. I was quite surprised and very happy as an Ogre player after flicking through this section. Many of the old units have had their points cost reduced to bring them more in line with other armies. This means rather than changing the stats to benefit ogres more in combat (still initiative 2 so usually strike last) they’re giving ogre players the ability to field bigger units to make up for it.
Notable mentions of points reductions would be Ogres (previously bulls) are now 5 points less that before, or 8 points less with the Ironfist upgrade. Leadbelchers are down to 7pts less and Maneaters – now a special unit rather than rare – have been reduced by a whopping 30 points whilst retaining the same stats. The last big change is for Yhetees which are now 21 points cheaper, making them much more viable.
The last page is reserved for the stats summary page as always and comes with a photocopyable fallen giant template for those shaky moments.
Overall the new Warhammer Ogre Kingdoms book is a nice addition to the existing line. It has built on the previous release, adding in some cool new units and accompanying artwork. However the older units aren’t given much love and the artwork for them is mostly recycled from the unit packaging rather than the awesome artwork from the old book.
The background content is well written to really inspire you to get into the ogres story and the showcase really highlights how great they can look on the table. The main aim of the book is to obviously confer the rules of the army and any Ogre Kingdoms player will be happy with the new set as it offers a larger variety of units that can fulfil roles the army was previously lacking in and the lower points value of the old units is great for fielding bigger armies, or just to fit the new stuff in. A must have for any Ogre players but a nice read for non-player and a good inspirational point if you’re thinking of starting up your own mighty tribe.
Overall score 9/10