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Wolf Monty's Man O' War Rules Summary

Man O' War is a game of raging sea battles in the Warhammer Fantasy Gaming World. The main objective of the game is to wipe the enemy from the table by using your tactical skill, forethought and ultimately, your luck.

This is a brief summary of all the rules and conditions that you, the player need to know in order to play Man O' War correctly.  

It should be noted that this Rules Summary is only the Basic Game, and excludes all rules on magic.


Counters are a major part of a game of Man O' War. The counters most commonly used are:


The ship templates are one of the most important elements of the game. They show how each ship is divided up into different areas, how fast it moves, and the saving throws needed. (More about combat and damage later!)


Formations are the most important part of squadron movement. If your ships are not in formation, they cannot fire, board or ram, and must move in the end phase. To keep in formation, make sure all ships at the end of the movement phase are within 6" of their elected flagship


Fleet Lists show all details about the ship, such as firing arcs, weapons, movement ability, ramming ability, ship type, crew, special rules, and points cost.

Ship types include:

Fleets are organised on a points cost basis. A typical squadron costs 150 points, and a typical Man O' War costs 150 points.


These cards are special abilities or features that are built in to the ship. They consist of several types, and each Man O' War may only receive one free. Any more must be bought with remaining points, and selected randomly from pack. Each ship may possess only one card of each type. (ie Special, Crew, Guns, Hull)


Terrain consists of islands, headlands, rocks and sandbars. The rules for this are simple. Do not have your ship touching any part of the illustrated landform. If you do have bad luck, and happen to run aground, make a roll on the obstructions chart.



Each Admiral rolls a die. The highest number wins. If it is a draw, then a wind change is emplaced. This is done by moving the arrow on the wind template according to the type of double rolled. The wind arrow points in the direction the wind is blowing.

If the double rolled is:


The player with the initiative makes his actions first, then the second player performs his actions.



Each ship has a movement limit. Most ships have about 6", or 9" with wind behind them. This is represented on the ship template as - 6"(9"). Turning is done by moving around a 45 degree angle (see below). When a sailing ship sails into the oncoming wind, their movement must end immediately. Next round, they may only make a 2" turn in either direction.

However, sails are not the only form of propulsion. There are also oars and paddles.

Oars can enable the ship to move against the wind at a rate of 4" if you wish to turn, or 6" in a straight line (called ramming speed). Generally, unless specified, only ships with oars or paddles can ram. (the ability to ram is shown on the fleet list) Oars have another advantage. This is that turns can be made on the spot. It costs a ship half its movement to turn 90 degrees, and all its movement to turn 180 degrees.

Paddles can propel ships into the wind, and if specified can make turns on the spot.


In combat, all ships may perform any action possible, but only once. For example, if you are a Wargalley 4" away from a target, you may ram, fire and board.


To fire, simply decide on your target, then lay down the range ruler. The first object it touches, whether it be friend, foe, landform, or wreckage.

When you fire on an enemy, lay down the template and see which range he is within. Then roll a die for each battery of cannon you have (as stated on the fleet list). The numbers you roll represent hit locations. If the ship does not contain the number you rolled as a location, then your shot is a miss.


If you hit, then the target must make a saving roll. This is stated on the ship template, and represents the strength of the location you hit. The target must roll on of the numbers stated, or damage is allocated. If the area is already damaged, and they fail the saving throw, then a critical hit is applied from the critical hit table. A critical hit can sink a ship instantly, set it on fire, or prevent it from moving or firing.

Fires can spread throughout a ship by rolling on the blaze table in the end phase. Each location alight must be rolled for, and each location the fire spreads across is damaged. (no saving throw allowed)


Cannons and Catapults are the most common weapons in the Man O' War world. Both cannons and catapults use the 9" range ruler, however that is where the similarities end.

Cannons hit the first obstruction within the range ruler, whether this is a friend, foe or landform. Saving throws are modified depending on range and cannons can only damage what they hit first. In addition, cannons can be used to repel boarders with Grapeshot.

Catapults, however, cannot fire at targets within close range, nor can they repel boarders. The advantages of these weapons are that any target hit by a catapult has no saving benefit brought about by the firing range. Also, and by far the biggest advantage is the damage wreaked by the boulder. If the target fails the saving throw, the area hit is damaged, and the boulder goes down to the next level of the ship, attempting to cause more damage. With each level the boulder falls, the target adds one to the saving throw. Finally, if the target's luck is extremely low, the boulder can fall all the way through the ship, causing below the waterline damage.

Another type of catapult is the Orc Bigchukka. This weapon is bigger than a standard catapult, and so, fires bigger boulders. It follows the same rules for normal catapults, with one exception. This exception is: because of the larger boulder, a -1 save throw modifier is imposed on the target.


If you are in contact with an enemy ship, you may make a boarding action.

To perform this, the attacking player rolls one die, and adds his crew to it. If an Admiral is aboard, add another one to your die roll. This will then be totalled.

The defending player rolls one die, adds his crew, and adds the number of cannons he has facing in the direction the attack is coming from. Only defenders can add their cannons. This is called grapeshot. This is then totalled.

The player with the highest number wins, and a crew counter is removed. If the attacker wins, he can choose to continue with his attack, or break off. If the defender wins, he can choose to board the attacker, or break off from combat. If it is a draw, both sides lose a counter, and the defender decides whether to continue or break off.

If a ship is left with no crew, the enemy can occupy it, but not use it. Crew of the same race from another ship can, however re-occupy and use it. (Note: the number of crew counters aboard cannot exceed the number stated in the box in the right top corner of the template)


A ship can only sink when all below the waterline hit locations have been filled up. This is usually done by ramming. The ship ramming must be more than three inches away from the target, and move towards the target in a straight line. The target then makes a saving throw. If this fails, the ramming player rolls on their ram chart.


Each fleet's starting position is called their deployment zone. This zone exists 9" in from each table edge (North - South), and 9" in towards the centre of the table from the Eastern / Western edge.

Man O' War Additions and Adaptations

Man O' War Scenarios

Man O' War Stories

Man O' War Admiral Dossiers

The Wolves Man O' War Pages

The Wolves Lair