64 pages. Color illustrations throughout. Introduction/contents page, introduction, author and illustrators notes.
This book is an attempt to "do an Osprey" on a fantasy topic, Orcs. It is divided into four chapters:
- The Orc
- Introduction to the Orc race. They are described as violent by nature, nomadic, meat-eating and cannibalistic. Orcs are divided into three subgroups: Goblins, Common Orcs, and Great Orcs; and also subgroups by terrain (desert, forest, hill, jungle, mountain, sea, swamp and tundra). They organize into warbands (25-200 Orcs led by a warchief) and hordes (led by a warlord). Dark lords often use Orc hordes as cannon fodder.
- Orc Troop Types
- Brief listing of infantry, berserkers, ironbacks (shock infantry), skirmishers, scout, Goblin Bushwackers (ambushers), Wolf Archers (Goblins riding giant wolves), Wolf Spearmen (Orcs riding giant wolves), Flesh Eaters (Orcs riding carnivorous horses), Light Chariots (pulled by giant wolves), Heavy Chariots, Fire-Shot Teams (Orcs throwing incendiaries), Orc Pirates, War Machines (ballista and catapults), Trolls, Dark Minions (evil humans), Hellmounts (demons), and Monsters.
- Orc Strategies and Tactics
- Strategy focuses on speed and terror, typically by raiding. Outlines which troop types perform which battlefield functions (i.e., breakthrough troops). Tactics are Pin and Flank, Spear Thrust (cracking the enemy battleline), Mobile Defense, and Feigned Flight. Also discusses siege and naval tactics.
- Orc Victories
- Five battle write-ups, including a caravan raid and a siege.
Of course, the difficulty with writing this volume is that Orcs highly differ from one game universe to another, whether it's Tolkien or classic D&D or 40K. When the author invents things, they may not fit into your fantasy campaign: Orcs tossing flammables? Flesh-eating horses? Orcs which scavenge for metal which they patch together for protection? It seems impossible to satisfy every reader.
The book is heavy illustrated (with non-green Orcs), but the art doesn't always tie in with the accompanying text.
Readers expecting that this book will tell them how to win with their Orc armies may be disappointed, as this book is not a tactical primer.
Recommended for players new to Orcs and eager to get some tips.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .