Sunday, 11 December 2011

Tactica: Ogre Kingdoms

For a LONG time I have had a second Ogre Battalion sitting in my attic almost untouched.

Then I decided to get a bit obsessive and have had a major splurge on Ogres. I've now painted every ogre I own and though there are a few Gnoblars yet to be done, the army is now pretty solid.

Here now, for your viewing pleasure are the models and units that make up the army as well as my thoughts on tactics... 

Ogre Tyrant

I always try to play big games and the Tyrant is the natural choice.

There's a lot of concentrated power in one place here. One of the great debates about army choice is how much to spend on characters. I find myself tending to gravitate toward going the full 25% on Lords and Heroes, using up fifty percent of the total army points right there.

In some ways that's bad - imagine how many more troops I could get on the table if I went more minimalist - but on the other hand, more units makes the table cramped (even on my eight foot board). Concentrating power into a single miniature means that the army width drops but I can apply a lot of damage in a single place.

I'm not a huge fan of the Ogre magic items so I tend to give simple weapons for my Tyrant. He already has Strength 5 which gives -2 to armour saves and wounds most things on a 2 or 3+. His Initiative isn't great so aiming for a Great Weapon isn't that bad a loss in terms of hitting last. +2 Strength means -4 to armour saves. That's the kind of thing that comes in handy against knights and heavy infantry. But be careful of overkill. If opponents' armour isn't great, an extra attack is probably more useful.

I always put him in a unit for missile-fire protection and the combat resolution bonus. 

Slaughtermaster & Butcher 

I love the idea of Ogre Butchers but found them a bit frustrating in the old rules. I'm VERY happy that the spell lores are less limited now (especially getting the Lore of Fire for Firebellies - my favourite lore).

With a Slaughtermaster and a Butcher in the army, and one of them having to use the Lore of the Great Maw, I'm inclined to give that lore to the Slaughtermaster.

The reason for this is that this lore becomes amazing if the Augmentation spells are cast at the higher power level. Placed in the centre of a densely packed army, the Slaughtermaster has a greater chance of getting the higher casting level off successfully and can potential affect a good portion of the force.

The Lore of Beasts is a pretty good lore in terms of augmenting combat spells and the Transformation of Kadon can't be beaten. It's my favourite spell in the game.

The Lore of Heavens isn't one I've had a huge amount of experience with so I'll hang fire on my opinion of that for now.

Hunter & Sabretusks

An interesting change for the Ogre Hunter now that Sabretusks can be a much bigger unit in their own right. I think if I could buy them cheaply I'd definitely go for a larger pack.

Now the Hunter slows them down a little (though he can be given a big name to speed him up a tad) so that's something to bear in mind.

Vanguard isn't as good as Scout (giving a free 12" move) but it allows the Hunter and his pack to get into a relatively good flanking position. This is a small and relatively manoeuvrable unit that does its best work in a supporting role. With Swiftstride and a flank charge, these guys can chase down fleeing opponents while their buddy unit repositions to take on the next enemy in the line.

Battle Standard Bearer Bruiser 

I've said it before but here it is again:

Always take a Battle Standard Bearer in every army! 

There are plenty of spare standards in the Ogre Battalion box to scratch build something like this. As with the Tyrant I don't tend to upgrade this guy. I don't rate any of the Ogre magic items and the Big Names aren't that useful either for my playing style.

There's two schools of thought here. Keep the Tyrant and Battle Standard together centrally for a tight, relatively unbreakable army, or split them up for a more spread out force, one covering each end.

In concert with a centrally-placed Slaughtermaster casting boosted augment spells, the central placing can lead to a devastatingly powerful elite force.

 Ogre Bulls 

 Except we don't call them Bulls anymore.

I just love these models. They were groundbreaking when they first came out and they look fantastic still. I have a six-man unit and an eight-man unit of these guys. They are REALLY vulnerable to bow-fire but in combat they can be wonderful.

As with all ogres though, don't forget:

  • The FEAR
  • The STOMP
I'm not a big fan of shields as I often forget to use them. An additional hand weapon is easy to remember and does a lot of extra damage from a high strength unit like this. 


 These guys excel at killing. And they excel at killing armoured opponents. -3 to opponent's armour saves is a wonderful thing but maybe we're going overkill against unarmoured opponents. Although we're wounding on 2s rather than 3s, could the points be better spent against horde armies...?


 These little chaps have been thoroughly marginalised in the latest army book, hardly mentioned in the background and snipped out of the new battalion box. Which is a shame in many ways. 

They provide a great rank bonus (hard to get for an Ogre) and because they're so cheap they can waste an opponent's time and not be a problem. Cunning uses can be found for luring enemy units into bad positions as the Gnoblars flee and angling so that charging enemies have exposed flanks from Ogre charges. 

And the trappers upgrade (though extremely expensive compared to the Gnoblars themselves is worth every penny against hordes or elite enemy units. And it becomes more cost-effective the larger the Gnoblar unit. 

After experimenting with Gnoblar hordes, I now use blocks of twenty. They just seem more versatile and manoeuvrable.


 What a beautiful unit! 

I used to just have fours of these dudes and they look so much better now! 

Their firepower isn't quite as potent as it used to be but they don't shoot themselves anymore which is also good. This unit can put out tremendous damage and move while they're doing it. Plus they're great in combat. I see them more as flankers, shooting away for as long as possible while moving about before crashing into the side of the enemy army as needed. Is eight of them overkill? 

Or is it just-enough-kill?



I really love this unit and thank GOD they reduced the points by 20 each with the new army book. I can finally start using them again (a good thing after spending so long converting them).

You can read an article about how I did it here.

They don't get an Ogre Charge but they're faster and stronger and they reduce the enemy weapon skill (if you remember it) - much needed as their Weapon Skill isn't great.

These guys hit like a ton of bricks and can Swiftstride their way to more reliable long-distance charges and better pursuits.

The official models really do suck but do what I did and enjoy!


Speaking of sucky official models, here's my version of the Ogre Gorger (really a Hogsquasher the Troll from Red Box Games).

In the game, this guy has five Strength 5 attacks (including Frenzy) with Killing Blow. He's Unbreakable so can trap units in place while his pals get ready to charge and best of all, he's an Ambusher.

This means, after rolling for his arrival from Turn 2 onwards, he can turn up from any board edge (generally in the rea of the enemy army).

Never underestimate the effect this can have on your opponent's battle plan. He costs the same as three Ogre Bulls but with that kind of ability he can be the proverbial spanner in the proverbial works and do a lot of good.

No comments:

Post a Comment