Man o' War game

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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 set

Released 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 set

The 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 set

The 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' War

Wanting 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.

Misers Guide

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.

Like all misers the thought of paying £20 for three tiny miniatures doesn't thrill me but there are other options. One of which is to use the Pirates! miniatures from Wizards of the Coast. These are just card pieces that slot together but they are well made and make a fair proxy for other ships while you look, or save up, for the real thing. Another thing to consider is that like a lot of wargames Man o' War is roughly 1/1200 scale so keep your eye out for other ships from ancients to Napoleonic - any of them are useful and useable. Also be on the lookout for the pirate ships released as part of Mighty Empires, these fit perfectly and are well made. If you are a total miser and a bit handy with your hands you could try sculpting your own out of a modelmaking material like Fimo which is suitable for the amateur modelmaker. A ship isn't really a complicated shape to make and is a lot easier to make than for example a WWII soldier or a tank. Give it a go, plenty of other people have. Epic stuff is good for converting as it's about the right size, there are a few good sites on the net with lots more examples. My main miser tip for this game is to pick a fleet that you like and collect that and use other cheaper stuff for the rest until you have a full fleet and want to move on to another. ALWAYS be on the lookout for badly listed items, stuff for this game is often dumped into lots of other old warhammer stuff so look at pictures carefully. Is that a set of skaven ships in the corner of the picture? Most sellers will send you more pictures if you ask nicely as it doesn't cost them anything. Keep your eye to the telescope and eventually you'll find yourself a total bargain on eBay, unless I spot it first of course!

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!

If you found this guide useful please vote yes for usefulness, this helps eBay identify the useful guides from the pointless spam and inaccurate ones. Also check out my other guides for more classic games.


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