Man O' War

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Man O' War is a naval combat specialist game published by Games Workshop that takes place in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle universe. Later additions also included an aerial combat element, rendering the game somewhat akin to a World War 2 naval battle.

Like the other specialist games, it's much cheaper to get into than the main game, a fact which naturally led to Games Workshop killing it with fire because they're a bunch of dicks *FWIP* ALWAYS LOOKING OUT FOR THE INTERESTS OF LOYAL WARHAMMER FANTASY *BLAM* WARHAMMER: AGE OF SIGMAR PLAYERS. It is now utterly unsupported by GW and was one of the first dropped specialist games in the current era of Games Workshop -- in fact, Games Workshop supports MOW even less than most of the other specialist games because they don't even bother hosting the rules, making vidya, or selling old models. It was claimed that they dropped it because the original molds used to cast the models wore out. Most people with a lick of common sense would call bullshit, not only because molds can be replaced but also because new sculpts could have been made instead.

Empire, Bretonnian, High Elf, Dwarf, Dark Elf. Orcish, Skaven, Chaos Dwarfs, Norse, Daemon, Undead (the predecessor army to Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings), and Sartosan Pirates all had fleets in the game. Oddly enough, the Empire had primitive ships while Bretonnians had advanced ones from the Age of Exploration. High Elves had large and fast ships, Dwarfs had steam technology, Dark Elves mirrored High Elves but also got to field sea monsters, Orcs nailed boards together and painted it red so it would go fastah', Skaven somehow managed to ironclad ships, Norsemen rode the typical viking style longboats one would expect, Khorne got robot scorpion ships with big cannons, Slaanesh brought Arabyan pleasure boats, Nurgle brought in rotted pirate plague ships, and Tzeentch seemed to field hovercrafts and a giant flying castle. Undead never got models. Wood Elves were left out due to the fact that you need to cut down trees to build ships, and in Athel Loren trees cut you (although the idea of Wood Elf Gladestriders surfing on driftwood and sinking ships is indeed appealing). Generally speaking, most models themselves in Man O'War were very simple and lacking in much detail, with the most visual effect coming from the sails, which were mainly cutouts designed to be glued to the mast of your ship. The models were fairly difficult to make look anything close to decent and mostly end up as garish paintjobs looking nothing like a realistic ship anywhere outside the realm of Slaanesh (which is amusing, because Slaaneshi fleets tended to be a rather humble Arabian in appearance). They were also fairly expensive for what you got, but like all Warhammer products the setting and box art was able to sell copies.

In the fallout from the dropping of the game, many wargame and miniature manufacturers tried to cash in by selling minis that were suitable in the game (and ironically looked much better than the GW ones). Most of these have disappeared over time, with only a few remnants (most of which became their own games) remaining.

Games Workshop tried to cash in on nostalgia for Man O' War by making Dreadfleet, a superficially-similar naval combat game; unfortunately, they missed the mark by a wide margin, because Dreadfleet turned out to be more of a boardgame where you control one ship at a time than a wargame where you control a fleet of varying size (the irony in the naming was not lost on critics), with only one ship available for each faction (of the factions that are even in the game) and minimal possibilities for customization as each ship literally represented an individual and unique vessel rather than a generic factional class of ship. Phil Kelly must have sympathized with the Man O' War fans, because the Dreadfleet novella features a ship called Man o' War, the pride of the Sartosan fleet, which is brutally destroyed by the Chaos Dwarfs' mechanical squid submarine.

Fantasy fans bitter at their happy power armor-clad counterparts still enjoying Battlefleet Gothic, which was released to be Man O'War IN SPAAAAAAACE (because Sigmar knows Fantasy fans can't have anything without 40k getting it, getting it bigger, and getting Forgeworld support for it), found their prayers to Tzeentch answered when GW also dropped that game as well with the only remaining models being sold being overstock left in warehouses.

Today, the only way to play Man O'War (without dropping enough money to build a decently sized Warhammer Fantasy army new) is using paper printouts or similar proxies. Some fan communities still thrive, and mention of Man O'War on many GW product forums will bring a gathering of oldfags circlejerking about the glorious days of the 1990's when Bretonnians were OP and Space Marines had hair. And Warhammer Fantasy Battle existed.

It's also a fantastically cool animal[edit]

Most people wish they were also cool AND weird like this fella(s).

Also known as The Blue Bubble, or The Floating Terror, the Man o' War is not a jellyfish, but a marine cnidarian of the family Physaliidae It can be found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It's venomous tentacles can deliver a painful (and sometimes fatal) sting. Despite its outward appearance, the Man o' War is not a multicellular organism, but a colonial organism made up of specialized individual organisms called zooids. These zooids are attached to one another and are physiologically integrated to the extent that they cannot survive independently and thus must function together as if they were an individual organism.

And Suddenly a Video Game[edit]

In the oncoming swell of Warhammer Fantasy games and somewhat out of the deep blue, a video game has been announced titled Man O' War: Corsair. There isn't much information on it besides an announcement trailer which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twrLuASPnEI

Possible Future Re-Release[edit]

Rumours are once again 'floating around' that Man O War is due to be re-released in late 2017 or early 2018. A Games Workshop insider claims the game will be rebranded to suit the Age of Sigmar "realms" and is set to feature islands, sea forts, the ability to control weather conditions and a mysterious new "fish-like" faction known only as the Myrmidon's. From putrid seas of nurgle to the underground caves the dwarves the Man O War re-release looks very enticing.

See Also[edit]

  • Battlefleet Gothic, the Warhammer 40,000 space naval combat game and a descendent of Man O' War.
  • Dreadfleet, a board game made over a decade and a half later that shares the theme of naval combat in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle universe, but has little else in common.

External Links[edit]

The Specialist Games of Games Workshop
Warhammer 40,000
(Classic):
Battlefleet Gothic - Epic - Gorkamorka
Inquisitor - Lost Patrol - Necromunda - Space Hulk
Warhammer 40,000
(New):
Aeronautica Imperialis - Assassinorum Execution Force
Adeptus Titanicus - Betrayal at Calth - Shadow War: Armageddon
Necromunda - Kill Team
Warhammer Fantasy: Blood Bowl - Man O' War - Mordheim - Warmaster
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Gorechosen - Warhammer Underworlds
Board Games: Chaos in the Old World - Relic