Gorkamorka is one of the Specialist Games set in the Warhammer 40000 universe. It is functionally identical to Necromunda, and its Warhammer Fantasy cousin Mordheim, in that it is a narrative skirmish-level wargame, revolving around two or more players and their personalized band of fighters in a story-like campaign setting. Its selling point is that it was themed as the story of mobs of Orks fighting for survival, entertainment and riches upon the desert world of Angelis. This makes it the only Specialist Game where the focus was on playing nonhumans, an approach that has only recently been looked towards in the form of Fantasy Flight Games' Chaos-focused Black Crusade and now as of January 2017 Gangs of Commorragh.
Only three books for Gorkamorka were ever released; Da Roolz (rulebook), Da Uvver Book (background fluff, scenarios, and campaign running), Digganob (expanded fluff, new factions, special characters and new missions), alongside a short run of a magazine called "Gubbinz" (added scenarios, weapons, gubbbinz for vehicles, tips to build terrain, a new faction, and a scenario to use Necrons).
The backstory of Gorkamorka is a simple one. A Space Hulk full of Orks crashed upon the desert world of Angelis, and miraculously managed to not kill themselves in the process. Since Angelis is a barren wasteland empty of life, the ticked off Orks are dedicated to gathering up all the technological scrap they can from the wastes and building themselves a new machine in order to get them off of the planet and get back to the Waaagh! Due to certain little incidents, like the orkish inclination towards factionalism and a civil war that destroyed the miracle machine once (they couldn't decide whether it looked like Gork or Mork), the Orks of Angelis are ruled by their Mekboyz, who are busy working on Gorkamorka - the aforementioned miracle machine - and keep the other Orks distracted by making them fight to gather the most scrap. Doing so is essential to get "tags", which will assure the bearer of a place on Gorkamorka when it's finally finished.
For the most part, Gorkamorka played a lot like Necromunda and Mordheim. The primary difference was the use of vehicles. Instead of having rules for the number of occupants in a trukk, one simply had to have enough space on the actual model to place the miniatures on. While this means that vehicles could be huge and hold a whole mob this generally resulted in crashing into everything and being immediately crippled by template weapons. As well, consider the risk of relying on one or two large vehicles: your shit will get countered hard by the other players in the campaign and one bad roll that leaves your vehicle broken at the onset means being gimped or losing a match before it even begins. Its best to have as many specialized vehicles as possible, with back-ups and spares as needed.
It should noted that the bases of Gorkamorka models were different when the game was released. Rather than using a standard 25mm circle base seen in standard Warhammer 40k, Gorkamorka used these strange egg shaped bases. The idea was that the bases would be small enough to allow more models onto a truck -- the "trukk" model that came with the game could take no more than two 25mm bases before things got difficult, and it's not hard to imagine that the bases may have been introduced at a late design stage to accomodate this fuckup. Or, if you're feeling super cynical, maybe it was so players couldn't just buy the base game and suddenly have a good starting point for an Ork army. Either way, you can't get these bases anymore but custom-cut plasticard bases work just as well, and since modern Ork vehicles have better carrying capacity anyway, you can probably just use 25mm circle bases (although now Ork boyz are based on 32mm bases... the cycle of greed and scale-creep being a reassuring hallmark of all GW properties).
As in Necromunda, a warband consists of a mandatory leader and some troops, with options to further pad out the warband with rookie fighters and some specialists, though what those specialists are depends on the mob in question; Ork warbands include Spannerboyz (rookie Mekboyz) and Slaverz, plus Gretchin as cannon fodder, whilst Diggas only have Shamans and Rebel Grots only have Banna Wavers. Muties are an entirely different breed; they have no rookie fighters, instead having two different kinds of fighter (the tough Unk and the fast Snaga) and a mandatory specialist in the Keeper (a mutie tech-priest). All warbands start with a pool of 100 teef, the proper orkish currency. For the warband that doesn't use teef (Muties) "teef" are instead representing renown, fame, or favors regarding their efforts. These teef/favors are used to buy all of the warband's fighters, and their equipment, and any upgrades - so, needless to say, it's very important to consider your options.
Campaign play mostly revolves around fighting scenarios in which you duke it out with other warbands over valuable resources. Victory and the favor of the Random Number God in your post-battle explorations is essential to survival, as a certain amount of "currency points" is spent after each scenario to represent your warband taking care of all the stuff it needs in order to survive; getting fuel, ammo, food, spare parts, medicine, replacement hair squigs etc. In this, Gorkamorka is more forgiving than Necromunda, as there's no official rules about members deserting if your income is too low; it just means you got no extra currency to spend on anything like upgrading weapons, getting damage repaired, or buying new warband members. Conversely, so much of the campaign play between actual battles is random, as costs for upgrading weapons/vehicles, repairing or healing, or basically anything other than spending on new warriors or equipment tend to be determined by a cost of 1D6 teef. After this, there's still no guarantee that what you've asked for will get done. Players of the right temperament may find increased entertainment value in this alone, and it certainly means the narrative doesn't stop when the actual game on a table stops. It does make it harder to plan, of course, but that's not an especially Orky way of thinking anyway.
Orks - Orks are the primary faction of Gorkamorka. Divided along religious lines (Gorkers vs. Morkers), Orks dedicate themselves to fighting and gathering scrap for fun and to secure the tags they need to be assured of being taken off to the Waaagh! when Gorkamorka is finally built.
Diggas - When the Orks crashed on Angelis there was a human ship, implied to be an Adeptus Mechanicus exploration and research vessel in orbit having already landed a mission on the planet. The cataclysm of the space hulk's impact separated the humans into two factions, based on where they were at the time. Diggas are descended from those humans who were exploring the pyramids and the caverns below; taking shelter under the planet's surface, they survived the holocaust above, but descended into primitivism. Diggas have forgotten all about their ancestral connections to the Imperium and have come to revere Orks as the most awesome and impressive creatures they have ever seen. Therefore they try to emulate the Ork lifestyle as much as possible. Orks tolerate this with almost paternalistic disdain; it is, ultimately, much simpler than trying to wipe the Diggas out, especially since they have the protection of "dem fings under da pyramids". The home of the Diggas is referred to as "Morgarg-Durlurk-Gulskar-Dregsnikslag". "Fortress of ancient, terrifying power. Land of waiting death, pain and destruction". This shows just how much dread the Orks have of the place. Besides, the Diggas happily trade technological gear dug out from under the pyramids and scrap they have gathered for good Orky stuff and it's funny to watch them try and be Orks, so it's not so bad.
Gretchin Revolutionary Committee - Gretchin who have risen up in protest against the fact that they can't earn tags for Gorkamorka, even though they work and slave for their Ork masters.
Muties - When the Orks crashed on Angelis, there was a human ship, implied to be an Adeptus Mechanicus exploration and research vessel, already landed on the planet on a mission. The cataclysm of the space hulk's impact separated the humans into two factions, based on where they were at the time. Those who remained within their own ship, the now-crashed Eternal Vigilance (or "Etervigila", as the muties call it), mutated into horrifically deformed beings. Ironically, they retain more of their Imperial culture than the Diggas do, and as a result, they are dedicated to wiping out all other life on Angelis in hopes of being restored to the power and glory of their ancestors.
Necrons - Known only as "dem fings under da pyramids". For whatever reason, they are oddly protective of the Diggas who live under their pyramids and destroyed the Orks when they first tried to enslave the humans. While not normally playable in regular gameplay, there is a fan scenario in Gubbinz that brings Necrons to field.
Outside of the official factions, there are a few homemade factions. Here are just a few.
Freebooterz - Added to the game by an article in the Citadel Journal (reprinted in Gubbinz), basically outlaw Orks with a pirate theme. Slightly different from regular Orks due to some special skills and how they get income.
Outlaw Motorcycle Club - Another outlaw Ork gang. As the name suggests, this mob uses a lot of motorcycles. More mobile than regular Orks, but still relies on spanner units to take care of bikes.
Feral Orks- Fantasyesque Orks that use a lot of squigs and squiggoths.
Dust Rats - The survivors from an Imperial outpost, Base Station Angelis, established by the Adeptus Mechanicus expedition. Somewhere between Diggas and Imperial Guard.
Dark Eldar - Raiders that are looking for slaves.
As with its relatives, Necromunda and Mordheim, Gorkamorka has a couple of different characters of particularly notorious repute roaming the wasteland, and sometimes they might even join a warband. Aside from deliberately seeking them out, there's also the option to make a single roll before a battle starts to see if a given special character will show up for that fight; the lower your mob rating compared to your opponents, the better the chance that this will happen. The latter option does give you their aid in a fight for free, but if you want to make them stick around, then you gotta pay for the privilege, just as if you deliberately hired them in the first place; a "finder's fee" of 2d6 currency points, and then they count as two models for determining expenses, due to their particular needs and tastes.
Only Orks and Diggas can use most of these character, except for the Red Gobbo, who is obviously restricted to parties of the Gretchin Revolutionary Committee.
Nazgrub Wurrzag: - A crotchety hermit of a scrap prospector, and also an unrecognized Weirdboy. Though the ork mobs battling over scrap piles are certainly numerous, they aren't the only orks out there in the desert looking for scrap. Some orks want the teef for scrap, but don't really want to hang out with other orks to get it. What makes an ork take up the lonely, hermit-like life of the scrap prospector varies a lot. Maybe they're just not right in the head, or perhaps they're so greedy that they just can't stand to share in the profit. Nazgrub kind of fits both categories. See, Nazgrub is something that the primitive tekno-barbarian orks of Angelis have no idea how to handle: an unrecognized Weirdboy. Being too close to other orks, especially when they're fighting, makes Nazgrub's head hurt, which only tends to alleviate itself in a random but spectacular flare of telekinetic energy. Needless to say, as fun as this could be to watch, few orks wanted him around, and so he struck off into the desert. Being a particularly greedy soul by ork standards, this suits Nazgrub just fine, as it meant he could focus on the most important thing; finding "Da Big Wun" out there in the desert and becoming the richest damn ork on all of Angelis. In fact, he's so greedy, he actually has two special rules based on it; Scrap Fever means he gains the benefit of Hatred against any enemy model either carrying scrap or on a vehicle carrying scrap, whilst Thievin' Git! means there's a 1 in 6 chance for each scrap counter you retrieve in the fight that Nazgrub will nick it for himself, meaning you get zilch for it! On the plus side, his psychic powers manifest as both precognition, giving you a chance a dictating which scenario you fight against a rival ork or digga mob, and telekinesis, meaning he may randomly fire bolts of powerful destructive energy at people if he gets too close to fighting orks.
Bad Dok Dreggutz: No ork really likes the Painboyz, as they combine an already irritating tendency to get distracted and bodge up the work with a tendency to charge what orks feel is far too many teef for the actual quality of the work they do. But it is those painboyz who allow their experimental urges to get too far who acquire the dubious and deadly moniker of "Bad Dok". Whilst most of these end up under their own knives when they piss off the wrong ork, a small few retain enough sense to scarper for the desert after they get the branding but before the lynch mob comes for them. Dreggutz is one of the more successful of such characters, deemed a Bad Dok after infamously being unable to resist the urge to see what would happen if he "fixed" the head-wound of the Gorker Nob Snakrat with a kustom booster jet. Being crazy but by no means stupid, Dreggutz decided to leg it whilst Snakrat's boyz were busy scraping their boss' remains off of the side of Gorkamorka, lest he get a first-hand demonstration of why they'd named themselves "da Twisted Nex". Aside from his super-lethal Bone Saw making him dead choppy in a fight, Dreggutz has the added bonus that the mob can use him to try and patch up their injured orks for free. Of course, since he's working only with salvaged parts and is a bit of a loony, that's risky, imposing a -1 penalty to the roll on The Big Day table.
Dregmek Blitzkart: Working on Gorkamorka is a sacred responsibility that all mekboyz are supposed to undertake -- after all, whether the thing turns out to be a new Space Hulk, or a boarding platform to attract a new hulk, or something else entirely, no ork is getting off of this worthless dustbowl without it! But, like all orks, mekboyz have an independent streak, and more importantly, work on Gorkamorka is done pro bono, and so there's a thriving "side-line" of mekaniks working on their own projects. More devout mekboyz are, of course, irritated by this lack of devotion - and the fact the upstarts are getting rich. So, many ork inventors have issues getting their own "dream machines" built, especially if those projects are likely to consume a large amount of the precious scrap needed for Gorkamorka. Dregmek Blitzkart is one such mek; possibly cursed with the Speed Freek gene, Dregmek was always obsessed with the idea of getting orks into the air. When he couldn't get any funding, he took matters into his own hands; stealing an assload of valuable parts, he created the first, and only, Deffkopta on Angelis. He now wanders the desert, hiring out his ded killy flyin' masheen to any orks willing to put up with his need for extensive amounts of fuel and parts.
Da Krusher: - A mysterious Ork warrior who has had almost the entirety of his body replaced by cybernetics. Many mysteries surround the heavily modified cybork known only as "Da Krusher". Who was he before "Da Accident" that required him to be rebuilt into his monstrous new form? Why did the Bossmeks of Gorkamorka feel obligated to save his life by rebuilding him as Da Six 'Undred Teef Ork after "Da Accident"? Come to think about it, what the zog was "Da Accident" anyway?! No ork knows. All that is known is that Da Krusher roams the wasteland, occasionally fighting alongside other mobs and intimidating or awestriking new mekboyz into patching up his temperamental, ever-complaining cybernetics. As it stands, although he is incredibly klunky, impossible to hide, and prone to erratic fits (his Temperamental rule gives him the Head Wound and Old Battle Wound serious injuries), he is still an impossibly deadly killing machine, with a great mess of cybernetic upgrades.
The Red Gobbo: The mysterious leader of the Gretchin Revolutionary Committee, and thusly the only special character open to Rebel Grot mobs, the Red Gobbo is a figurehead for Da Kommittee and the revolution as a whole, even if the actual gobbo wielding the sacred club and wearing the trademark outfit changes from time to time. This makes his abilities and statline generated randomly each time he appears, although certain aspects are set in stone. As the Revolutionary Leader, he takes over the role of Head Honcho whilst present, and likewise he forces the mob to use Honest Dealin's, preventing them from lying to Da Kommittee after the battle. However, he's so Inspiring that he offers his Leadership and a chance to recover from pinning to any friendlies within 6", and he's a Die-hard who can always try to shake off being pinned, even without any buddies to support him.
Though only Orks, Diggas, Rebel Grots and Muties can be played before homebrew mobs are included, each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Orks: Orks are the mainstream mob in Gorkamorka, and thusly they are the "average" by which other mobs are checked. Decently priced and with good, strong stats, possessing a resistance to Pinning that no other mob shares, they are the simplest of the mobs to use, as they require nothing more than the basic rules. If Orks have a weakness at all, it can be said to be their dependence on "oddboyz" to run their mob at full strength; Spannaz keep the vehicles working, Slaverz keep the Grots (who give orks a small but vital boost in income generation) in line, so if either of these go down, your mob suffers a serious blow. Addtionally, the faction mechanic actually plays a game role, as it affects what skills you can get. Gorkers are dedicated to combat, so all of their mob members can learn Muscle skills, only Spannerz can't learn Ferocity skills, and all of them bar Yoofs can learn Dakka skills. Morkers are more tech-focused, so they're smarter but not as killy: only Nobs and Slaverz can learn Muscle and Dakka skills, and only Boyz and Slaverz can learn Ferocity skills, but all Morkers can learn Driving and Cunning skills, and Morker Nobs can learn the Odd skills.
Diggas: Diggas can be summarized as "hard mode Orks", essentially. Of the three "oddmobs" they are the simplest to use, but they suffer a number of penalties in comparison to their Orky counterparts. Inferior stats, a special rule that means vehicles will eventually break down, the fact that a Diggamob cannot visit Mektown (and thusly get injuries treated at the Dok's Serjery or have their vehicles tended to) until they have won a battle or survived two fights, greater problems getting gubbins (vehicle upgrades) fitted, and increased risk when visiting the Dok all make life as a Digga much tougher than life as an Ork. On the upside, their Shamans grant them access to a number of useful tricks and skills, their troops are all cheaper than Orks, and they can also pick up a number of powerful "ancient tech" devices. Unfortunately, these devices are extremely unpredictable, and put you at the mercy of the random number god.
Rebel Grots: The Gretchin Revolutionary Committee is a classic "horde type" mob, using its cheap troops to swamp the battlefield in bodies; if it weren't for the very sensible rules dictating that a mob must have enough vehicles to transport them all, and weapons for each mob member, a Rebel Grot mob could number 48 models strong, right at the beginning of the campaign. Unfortunately, the Rebel Grots need that kind of numerical superiority to stand a chance; they have the weakest stats of all the mobs, they have to use their own vehicle types (very flimsy and with very complicated movement rules), their guns are weak, they can't visit the Dok's to get injuries treated, they have double the chance to run out of bullets in the middle of a fight, and it's harder for them to earn teef to buy stuff with.
Muties: Muties are the opposite of Rebel Grots; a small band of elite forces. They have the best gear in the game, great stats, and are far less at the mercy of the random number god than other mobs, but they are also the most expensive mob - the basic trooper of a Mutie band is twice the price of his Orky counterpart. The fact that they ride on mutant steeds instead of driving vehicles also gives them a number of other weaknesses, compared to the other mobs.
Outlaw Motocycle Clubs: (Fanmade) If you ever dreamed of ork speed freaks stylised after hell angels this is a mob for you. This is by design ork mob that is solely concentrated on using bikes. Unlike normal orks they can actually dismout their vechicles so some additional modelling is needed to either duplicate some model features or have warbike a with removable riders (or both). They can have one bigger vechicle but that is it. All other vechicles have to be bikes. To sweeten this deal their bikes and gear are cheaper and their bad men’s (spanner equivalent) can take care of one additional warbike. They also have their own additional skill table which is were weird and thematic (so very orky). Saying that with so much emphasis on bike their vechicles are very fast but very fragile and have very limited access to a lot of fun (read very destructive) gear. They also can’t have runthered so no grots either. They can have one Vice President which is something between boss and a boy tho. They are typically screwed in scenarios where they cannot field their bikes en mass. Their lore is that those are orks that are rebelling against ork society standards (such as they are) and big meks of Mektown. They are outcast and kind of shady undergraound of Gorkamorka ork society, dealing with stuff that other orks avoid and doing it kind of mobster way. Such as offering “da protectshun”. This makes them somewhat similar to Freeboterz when income is concerned however that can still have fort and play Da siege.
Dust Rats: (Fanmade) This mob is attempt to introduce Imperial Guard models and players to the game (misguided ya git whoz needs doze umies!?). Their lore is that they were a detachment of IG sent to protect archaeologists on the planet of Angelis and when space hulk fell they simply locked down their base (that was conveniently not located near impact site) and survived fallout vault style through the worst of it. Now they resurfaces looking for scrap to rebuild their communication equipment and contact rest of the Imperium (with no astropath that should take only additional few hundred years ;P). They are humans and share some characteristics with diggas (like susceptibility to being pinned and T3) they are highly specialised for ranged combat and while with their decent gear this can be devastating if they ever land in cc they are in trouble. Even single boy can be an issue if he manages to board one of their vechicles. On the topic of vehicles. Dust rats have their own wariants. They have bikes, which are equivalent of ork bikes but much weaker (7 armor), buggies, that can carry small squads and tracked reclamation vechicles that are mix between bulldozer and chimera apparently. Either way Dust Rats vechicles are overall less durable than their ork counterparts. As for modelling with genestealer cults bikes and buggies it is simple task of replacing driver or his parts with IG parts and voila. Reclamation vehicle is typically chimera or some conversion of it (one possibility is to install crane from terrain set instead of torrent for example).
Continued Support and Legacy
Although Gorkamorka is one of the lesser known Specialist games (seriously, even when Specialist Games was still on GW's website, it wasn't even listed) there is still a good bit of online support for the game. Support ranges from an FAQ and house rules, to the inclusion of new factions such as Dark Eldar.
When Shadow War: Armageddon snuck into the GW catalogue and there was an unexpected (to GW at least) surge of enthusiasm for the idea of Necromunda returning, it triggered debate as to seeing Gorkamorka's return. While the rumour mill churned on this idea for a while, ultimately GW got cold feet, and gave the equivalent of an over-clothes handjob instead of what was being hoped for. This game - Speed Freeks - was not what anyone wanted, being such a forgettable compromise that there isn't even a page for it here on 1d4chan, the home of obsessive, autism-fuelled completeness. No foot models, no real campaign system, it's everything Gorkamorka isn't, although let's not kid ourselves, the models are quite nice.
For one of the bigger Gorkamorka fansites, check out this link here: http://gorkamorka.co.uk/
Long ago in the decade known as the '90s, there were plans to make a Gorkamorka video game for the Dreamcast. The game was never released, most likely due to the Dreamcast losing support early in its life. (A tragedy, really.) There were also plans to port the game to Windows, but that also never happened. An early demo of the Windows version is available online. Youtube video trailer is available here. Or just play Crash Tag Team Racing, it’s as close as you’re going to get to the game.