Warhammer 40,000’s Orks are perhaps one of the most fun things about the franchise. A perfect storm of parodies, not only of British 80’s subcultures but fantasy tropes, creating a brutish, sinister and ridiculous band of villains that you never the less root for. They tend to be at their most interesting when the story is about them. Speed Freeks is Games Workshop's latest box that’s just about the Orks. Namely, it’s a miniatures racing game about these horrible monsters trying to prove who’s the better driver while making horrendous amounts of noise.
The box comes with enough for two players - six warbikes and two larger vehicles unique to the set. The warbikes are nothing special; Ork fans will have seen them before. The other two items are something else, however. The Kustom Boosta-Blasta is a nightmare beach buggy with massive wheels and a huge gun. The Shokkjump Dragsta is a race car from doom - imagine the sort of Formula One vehicle that the devil would invent. These two pieces are your main counters for the game and they fight each other. The models come unpainted, but the two mobs are in different colours (mustard yellow and bright red) for ease of distinction. You have to glue the models together yourself, and this will take most of us a couple of hours to do so. We also get some solid looking scenery which can be used in other games, and component quality is thick and solid.
Gameplay wise, it’s a cunning and brutal game. Stats are split into Kunnin’, Speedin’ and Shootin’, and dice are allocated appropriately. Movement is by template (or "gubbinz" as the game calls them) and the idea is that these vehicles don’t move in a straight line. Instead they skid, drift and spin across the board, mostly in a controlled fashion but not always. This adds a "push your luck" element to the strategy, making the game a faster, chunkier and more satisfying vehicle combat game than X-Wing. What it lacks in depth it makes up for in explosions. The game comes with four reversible boards and yes, these can be used in games of Kill Team if you must. We have four scenarios, which all use the boards in a different way, including a Mad Max-style chase mode that will have you repositioning the boards as you zoom across a desert landscape.
Speed Freeks is a smoother, quicker game than we expected. As fans of the 90’s Ork racing game Gorkamorka, we were expecting something deeper and were pleasantly surprised. Gorkamorka was a gang war game with vehicle rules; Speed Freeks is a racing game and not much else. That’s a good thing. A must have for Ork fans, and a welcome addition to anyone who likes racing board games.
SPEED FREEKS / PUBLISHER: GAMES WORKSHOP / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW