Ogre Kingdoms Tactics: Core
Ogre Kingdoms core is thankfully brief and efficient, with only 3 units to choose from, it can actually be difficult to decide which one is best for you. Two of the three choices are obviously Ogres, which have the impressive stat line which we talked about before, while the third choice are the lowly Gnoblars.
Regular Ogres, or as I prefer to call them, Bulls, are a unit of thugs who are both resilient and capable of dishing out quite a bit of pain. At 30 points a model, these are the most economical ogres in the army.
Their selection of equipment is fairly straight forward, either stripped with a hand weapon and light armor, with an additional hand weapon, or with an ironfist. With how cheap the upgrades are, it is safe to say that you should rarely, if ever, be fielding a unit of bare bones ogres, which leaves only the debate of ironfists vs additional hand weapons.
Personally, I vastly prefer the ironfist. For only 2 points, your ogres now have a 5+ armor save as well as a 6+ parry, which may not exactly be invulnerable, but it certainly helps them survive. The additional hand weapon isn't a terrible choice, but it's only giving you extra attacks to the front, so 3-4 tops and even only 6 in a horde, I think you're much better off spending the extra point and getting the save.
Bulls will often be your go-to unit when you're considering an Ogre Horde, at a fair cost of 606 points with ironfists and full command. That may seem like a hammering, but it's nearly 200 points cheaper than going with an Irongut horde. With a block of 18 Ogres, there isn't much that can stand in your way, but be careful not to get them in combat with units that have great saves, as S4 is only going to reduce the enemy's survival by a slight margin.
Typically, I run my bull units 4x2, which is a healthy unit of 8 bulls, with a rank that can suffer 5 wounds before losing that bonus, and at a relatively low cost of 286 points with all the upgrades.
Ironguts are our second choice of ogres for Core, that's not to be confused with second rate. An Irongut comes in at a hefty 43 points, but for that we get an ogre with a Great Weapon, Heavy armor, access to a magic banner and most importantly, LD8. Ogres aren't renown for their bravery, nor their cunning, so having a LD8 on some basic troops is definitely welcomed.
I have on occasion run Ironguts as horde, but I don't recommend it. This unit will cost you about 804 points and they are still just Ironguts. Pit of Shades and Dwellers will make you very sad, so to keep them alive, you should consider a BSB with the Runemaw, and now we're nearly at 1000 points for a unit, that will still suck down cannonballs and warplightning blasts like a magnet. If you are going to go with the Irongut horde, just be prepared to run a Deathstar army (the Gutstar) and hope you don't face dwarf artillery, warpfire throwers and anything else that hits multiple models and causes multiple wounds.
Personally, as with bulls, I prefer units of 6-8 Ironguts, with a sprinkling of characters for added utility.
Nobody likes a gnoblar. These guys are dirt cheap and come in vast quantities, they have the Beneath Contempt rule, which means that not even other gnoblars care about them dying or fleeing, and it also means that Ogres will not be caught dead joining them. What these pesky greenskins offer your ogre army is numbers, each bull you take could have been a dozen gnoblars.
Gnoblars also have the ability to be upgraded to Trappers, which force any enemy that successfully charges them to take a dangerous terrain test. This isn't huge, but killing 1/6 of the enemy before the combat starts is a lot more than the Gnoblars will actually do in the fight.
Typically, I don't take big units of gnoblars, often times just a unit of 20 or so to harass/annoy the enemy. One very important use of gnoblars though is to take a unit that is 5 wide and as deep as you can stand to help your bigger blocks strip steadfast.
There we have the meat of the book, the core section, at least 25% of your army has to be spent here, but it's easy to spend a lot more.