The coolness of the Gorkamorka Dok.

edited November 2008 in Story Games
The whole "nothing happens thread" spurred me to recall a little mechanical bit from an old game. Not everything in the game was awesome, but this thing was.

Gorkamorka is a miniatures skirmish game, in the 40K universe, with Orks. Basically, you create a gang, with trucks and motorcycles and really big guns, and you want to kick the crap out of the other guy. You can play it as a campaign, with a downtime system.

Got that? Okay, the cool bit:

In downtime, you could send characters to the doctor. Usually wounded ones. And the doctor would mess around with them, randomly; the doctor was a series of tables, with "you pick" as a fairly common but not universal option. You might send someone in for a leg wound, and have them return with a cybernetic jaw. And yes, I'm aware how dumb that might sound, at first read.

But something always happened, and it was always something cool. The people I played with locally at the time would send as many of their guys as they could out to the doctor, and basically gamble with them, to see what cool thing happened next. This was often a very bad tactical choice, but it was hilarious and crazy and fun. Really heavily tactical players would have just one guy they'd send out, and name him "Guinea Pig" or something like that; if he sucked, kill him off; if he rocks, he can stay home and the gang can name a new test subject.

I'm not sure what the takeaway design lesson is from that. I'm sure there is one, just not what it is.


  • Random tables are actually fun in and of themselves?
  • All games are improved by the phrase "gyro-stabilised mono-wheel"?
  • Posted By: Simon CAll games are improved by the phrase "gyro-stabilised mono-wheel"?
    Very possibly.
  • The Maid RPG has rekindled my love of random chargen and event tables. Sometimes, being forced to deal with the Tempest of Chaos is fun on its own. Also, games like IaWA and others use random chance as a jumping point for great story aspects by "reading the tealeaves" of that chaotic maelstrom.
  • I think random tables are excellent simply because they are a very direct starting point for creativity. IAWA exemplifies this, but so does the Maid RPG. You can get the same kind of "reading the tea leaves" out of a series of random events in the Maid RPG, and doing it in such a way would make the game feel a lot more coherent.
  • I'm not sure what the takeaway design lesson is from that. I'm sure there is one, just not what it is.
    GW actually makes really fun skirmish games?

    Caesar X and I jus played a Legends of the Old West game today ( whick is basically similar to Gorkamorka), and it too was fun, especially since we actually tried out the after action campaign rolls just to see what would happen ( usually, we play one offs rather than campaigns).

    Oh, wait, design-wise:

    Um, sometimes the fun is developed during play, rather than at the start, and random tables can help with that, especailly if you aren't only locked into a single character?
  • I loved Gorkamorka. I was playing a campaign of it and my Nob got a chest wound that was keeping him out of battles. I sent him to the Dok and he came back with a Squig Brain Transplant. Uggh.

    I also loved how if you wanted to switch your orks out of their positions as the driver or gunner on a vehicle, the new ork had to beat them in a fight.

    Basically for me the fun of the game came from the inhabitants of this world not reacting mechanically to me. The Doks wouldn't do what I wanted to do. The orks in my gang wouldn't even do what I wanted to do. There was even a mechanic for an ork getting too big for his britches and challenging for leadership of the gang whether you liked it or not. Sometimes this little internal skirmishes led to fatalities.

    It was definitely not a game for control freaks but man oh man was it fun.
  • The basic game ended up too much like "Truck Jousting" for me. We'd spend ages just getting into position for a pass at each other's trucks.

    What made the game was the "Race" game we made up, with the terrain scrolling 12" every turn, and the person who made it off the far table edge first being the winner. Motorbikes would race off ahead at the start, only to be gunned down. The other vehicles would jokey for position the whole game, trying to get ahead.

    The other game type we loved was "chicken". Two vehicles start facing each other, and drive towards each other each turn. There's a leadership test to see if you swerve away. First to swerve loses. In the event of a head-on collision, it's last orc standing. I won that with my leader standing atop the corpse strewn wrecks of two trucks, swinging hs power axe.
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