Man o' War
What is Man o' War?In GW's own words Man o' War is a game of "Raging Sea Battles in the Warhammer World" which pretty much sums it up. Fantasy races take to the high seas to battle it out. All your favourite races are present with two noteable exceptions, the Undead and Lizardmen though the Undead got a White Dwarf article but sadly - no ships.
What's Man o' War like?Man o' War is a brilliant game, easily the best game GW ever made if you ask me. Like all truely amazing games the rules are quite simple but the strategy is deep and absorbing. It's a real challenge though like Blood Bowl the races vary in effectiveness, which seems reasonable. For instance the Dark Elves are generally regarded as an above average fleet whereas the Orks are pretty rubbish. These days GW produce games that are highly balanced (to make sure all models are equally desirable no doubt) but part of Man o' Wars charm is that each fleet plays very differently.
The Man o' War setReleased in 1993 the Man o' War box set was pretty hefty. The main contents were two sets of ships, the rulebook and enough tokens to float the Ark Royal. The main rulebook covered the key races of the old world and provides all the rules you need to play.
Plaguefleet setThe Plaguefleet expansion included rules for fleets of the chaos gods - Nurgle, Slaanesh, Khorne and Tzeetch as well Chaos Dwarf and Skaven. This was a pretty significant update and is therefore very desirable.
Sea of Blood setThe Sea of Blood set includes rules for sea monsters which are fantastic and flying units which can be fun too. Two more empire ships were introduced as well as one for the dwarf fleet and rules for shore forts.
Collecting Man o' WarWanting to get into an out of print game can be a costly business and I won't lie to you, this is probably about the most expensive old GW game that you can pick. But don't be put off - Man o' War is brilliant and there are ways to play cheaply as I'll explain in the next section. The first unavoidable step is getting the rulebooks. Unlike most old GW games there's no online PDF provided to ease you into the game, if you want to play you'll have to buy the rules and as far as I'm aware no sites offer them for download. This is going to cost you. If you are in the situation of needing all 3 rulebooks your best bet is to look for a set of all of them together, it will be expensive but it won't be as expensive as buying all three individually as people looking for that one last rulebook are more likely to go bid crazy than someone looking for all three to start playing.
The Man o' War ships are also not cheap but here's a tip - if you are looking for ships remember that the ones that come in their original boxes will be more expensive and avoid them unless you actually feel the boxes are worth paying for. Collectors will pay a premium if miniatures are boxed but if you don't care about that and would only throw it away anyway then don't get into a bidding war partly based on something you don't need! Another thing to look out for is ships without sails. Almost all ships come with seperate sail sprues and many on ebay are missing this pretty vital bit.If you buy ships without sails they will generally be cheaper but you'll then have to make your own masts and sails. This is far from impossible, I've made plenty and found once you've done a few it's dead simple just a little fiddly. If you aren't the kind of person who enjoys - or has the time - to make things then avoid ships without sails as you'll be sailing for the island of frustration when you realise how hard it is to obtain the sail sprues. Some scurvy eBay sellers will take their old ships and list the ship and the sail sprue seperately which is really annoying for the buyer and typically only nets them an extra couple of quid but can ruin two bidders days as they end up with one half of the auction but not the other.
Crappy recasts are rare on eBay but the rarity means you see the odd one. Typically they are so badly done and photographed out of focus that it's a dead giveaway. If you are looking for that ultra rare chaos dwarf leveller (this is just an example, not based on a real auction) and you see someone with 16 of them something isn't right. Don't be tempted to buy them, the quality is sure to be awful and the seller is breaking the law.
I try to include a misers guide for all of my game guides so that people who are a bit strapped for cash or just plain miserly can still enjoy the wonderful games I enjoy. It contains information on proxy ships etc.
Other useful information
Sea of Claws is a Yahoo Group that's very lively, helpful and full of resources for the same. Everything you could want is here but NOT the rulebooks. If you are new to the game this site is a great place to visit, there's more great stuff than you will have time to read!
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