Warhammer 40,000 (informally known as Warhammer 40K or just 40K) is a Gothic science fantasy tabletop miniature wargame, produced by British gaming company Games Workshop. Play centers around 28mm scale (approximately 1:65) miniature figurines produced by Citadel Miniatures, which represent soldiers, creatures, and vehicles of war. The game requires a combination of tactics and luck.
Warhammer 40K is the science fiction companion to Warhammer Fantasy. Warhammer 40,000 allows for less regimental, formation-based movement, and deals with more advanced weaponry. The game is currently in its 8th edition.
- 1 Warhammer 40,000 - The Game
- 2 Setting
- 3 History
- 4 Expansions
Warhammer 40,000 - The Game
Each player assembles an army from one of the official lists and constructs an army of pewter and plastic miniatures representing the various units in that army. Rules for constructing armies are contained within the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook, as well there are army-specific codexes that contain specific information on the units and rules for each army. (certain armies have multiple codexes - for example, many of the major Chapters of the Space Marines army have individual codexes).
Army size is determined by "points" (pts); each figure and vehicle has an associated cost proportionate to its potential worth on the battlefield. Players agree on how many points for the game and each assemble an army up to that maximum limit. Typical game sizes are 500, 1,000, 1,500, 1,750 and 2,000 points. Games can vary in length of time from half an hour to several hours, dependent on game size.
Play is divided into turns, with each player choosing specific actions for all of his units on his turn, and using dice to determine the results of those actions. Each match, at the onset, is assigned a set of additional rules and a goal (collectively called a "scenario") specific to it. The simplest of these is a basic "cleanse" mission, which ends after six turns, the victor being declared based on the control of the four quarters of the board; more complex goals can include night fights, take-and-hold missions, and various others.
Some players organize a series of scenarios, called a campaign, where two or more players fight against each other in a number of battles. These campaigns may feature their own special rules, and are tied together by a storyline, which might alter according to the results of each scenario when it is played. Every few years, a global campaign is held in which people record their battle results online. This affects the history of the game and is accounted for in the next rulebook. The latest of these global campaigns has been the Medusa V Campaign.
The hobby is widely considered very expensive, even by collectors and enthusiasts (though enthusiasts often wish to point out the reasonableness of the expense compared to other leisure activities). New players wishing to start playing should expect to spend upwards of US$200 to US$300 for a reasonably sized army (1,000 to 2,000 points worth of models), including costs for rulebooks and paints. Players must purchase units, sold individually in blister packs or in squads in boxed sets. A typical blister pack with one to three models will cost from US$9 to US$25, with the cost of boxed sets varying widely (US$35 to US$200) depending on the contents.
In addition to the current line of units, Games Workshop makes available past model lines as a part of their mail-order-only "Classic" series. These are models that have been used for earlier versions of the game. This is the only way to get certain factions (for example, Harlequins), which have been discontinued.
Since the models are hand-painted and assembled by the player, players are often encouraged to design their own paint schemes as well as using the pre-designed ones displayed in the various books. They are also encouraged to further modify their figures and vehicles using parts from other kits and models (sometimes known as "bitz" to players), or scratch-made from plasticard, modelling putty, or whatever the modeller can scrounge up. These conversions are often entered into contests at sponsored tournaments and similar gaming events.
Terrain is an important part of play. Though Games Workshop makes terrain kits available, many hobbyists prefer to make their own elaborate set pieces. Common household items like soda cans, coffee cans, Styrofoam packing pieces, and pill bottles can be transformed into ruined cathedrals, alien habitats, or the like with the addition of plasticard, a bit of putty, and a bit of skill.
The Warhammer 40,000 game world, based in a setting known only as The Galaxy, which is inspired by our own, is readily characterized as a Gothic science-fantasy setting. The central and most popular elements of the Warhammer 40K universe are the Space Marines, futuristic versions of fantasy knights and the finest warriors of the Imperium of Mankind, a dystopian and degenerate galaxy-spanning empire.
Since it originally was created as a sci-fi spin-off of the Warhammer Fantasy battle game, the 40K gameworld contains many elements of the fantasy genre, for example the concept of magic and adapted versions of classic fantasy races. The inspirational sources for the 40K universe include classic and contemporary sci-fi, horror, and fantasy movies and television series and the works of renowned genre authors such as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, H. P. Lovecraft, Michael Moorcock, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Robert Heinlein (Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers inspired many elements such as elite marines in powered armor, and drop pods in which encased Space Marines and equipment are fired from orbiting ships down to the battlefield); medieval, baroque, and surrealist art (especially H. R. Giger), popular parodys of our own historical settings, such as the World Wars, Victorian Britain, Imperial Rome, The Inquisitions, Nazi Germany, and Soviet Russia. This mix leads to a wholly unique fictional universe, in which every side is to some extent evil - though some are slightly less evil than others. The Imperium for example, is often presented as the "good side", and while it may be true that there are many good people within it, as a whole it is an oppressive, xenophobic, corrupt mess which is only able to keep control of its population through the fact that being worked to the bone assembling rifles and worshiping the Emperor is slightly better than being worked to the bone and then brutally killed by Ork warlords.
Imperium of Man
The Imperium of Man is the galactic empire under which the majority of humanity is united. The founder and ruler of the Imperium is the god-like Emperor, the most powerful human psychic to date. Founding the Imperium ten thousand years ago, he continues, at least nominally, to lead it.
Mankind is not the only sentient race in the galaxy. Many other races vie for survival and dominance of the galaxy. To the Imperium, all of them are enemies to be destroyed. The name for these are the Xenos.
Ten thousand years ago, the Horus Heresy nearly tore the Imperium apart. The daemonic Gods of Chaos corrupted half the Space Marine legions, and plunged the Imperium into a cataclysmic civil war. The Imperium defeated the traitors, but at great cost.
The Forces of Chaos still tear away at the Imperium. The sinister whispers of the dark gods turn many people away from the Emperor and their own people, and the remnants of the traitor Space Marine Legions still reside in the Eye of Terror, occasionally striking out in what is known as the Black Crusades.
Rogue Trader (1987)
The first edition of the game (Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader) was published in the year 1987. The man responsible for creating the original rules set and the Warhammer 40,000 gameworld was game designer Rick Priestley. This original version came as a very detailed rulebook, making it most suitable for fighting small skirmishes. Much of the composition of units was determined randomly, by rolling dice.
A few elements of the setting (bolters, Dreadnought armor) can be seen in a set of wargaming rules called Laserburn written by Bryan Ansell and produced by Tabletop Games in 1980. The influence of these can also be seen in the prototype Necromunda game mechanics. Laserburn was turned into the computer game Laser Squad that subsequently evolved into the X-COM computer games.
Second Edition (1993)
The second edition was published in late 1993, aimed at making it easier to fight larger battles. This version relied greatly on cards, and came as a boxset including Space Marines and Orks miniatures, scenery, and dice, as well as the main rules. An expansion pack, Dark Millennium, was later released.
Third Edition (1998)
The third edition was released in 1998, and again concentrated on streamlining the rules for larger battles. The rulebook was available alone, or as a boxset with miniatures (Space Marines and the newly introduced Dark Eldar).
Fourth Edition (2004)
The fourth edition was released in 2004. It was not such a major change as between previous editions, as it did not break gamers' old army lists or codices. The rules are available either as a separate hardcover rulebook, or in a truncated — but still usable — form within the Battle For Macragge boxset, which also includes models for Space Marines and Tyranids, scenery, dice, and templates.
Fifth Edition (2008)
The Fifth Edition was released in 2008. This, too, comes in a box set (with Space Marines and Orks) or as a rulebook. There were many major changes between fourth and fifth edition; however, it did not invalidate any codexes or army lists.
Sixth Edition (2012)
The Sixth Edition was released in June 2012. New editions include a larger emphasis on flying units and hardcover all-color Codices.
Seventh Edition (2014)
The Seventh Edition was released in May 2014 and is the current edition of Warhammer 40,000. The edition is heavily similar to the Sixth, but the rulebook is in three separate volumes and there are more liberal army building list rules.
Over the years, the game has been expanded by many supplements. There has also been cross-fertilization from other games in the same setting.
|Cities of Death (2006)
The Cities of Death expansion adds rules for playing in an urban environment. It deals primarily with combat in cover, combat between different heights of terrain, and objectives that are catered to an urban setting.
Apocalypse is an expansion dedicated to large-scale games. Since its release, Apocalypse has been frequently supported with additional material, such as Datasheets, which provide additional rules for army formations and special units. Datasheets printed in White Dwarf are often digitally distributed on Games Workshop's website. Following the release of the first book, several other publications solely dedicated to Apocalypse have been published, such as Apocalypse Reload, Apocalypse (2013), Imperial Armour - Apocalypse and Imperial Armour - Apocalypse II.
Planetary Empires is an expansion that provides rules and pieces to wage campaigns over planetary-sized landscapes.
|Planetary Empires (2009)
Planetstrike is an expansion that provides rules to represent planetary invasions. In Planetstrike, players take the opposing roles of attackers and defenders, each with their respective rules and victory conditions.
|Battle Missions (2010)
The Battle Missions expansion offers various scenarios and missions based on the styles of warfare of the factions in the game. The majority of the missions are faction-specific. Additionally, there are a few special missions (such as Kill Team) which can be applied to any army.
|Spearhead (2010), published in White Dwarf #366 (U.K.)
The Spearhead expansion focuses on large tank battles.
|Death From the Skies (2013)
Death From the Skies expansion offers rules and missions for aerial warfare. A second edition was released in 2016.
Imperial Armour is the name of a series of miniatures and publications produced by Games Workshop's subsidiary Forge World. They create and support variant miniatures that are not featured in normal games of Warhammer 40,000. The Imperial Armour project also includes accessory and upgrade kits for vehicles and even some specially sculpted troops such as tank commanders for use within Forge World kits.
The Horus Heresy
The Horus Heresy, sometimes referred to as Warhammer 30,000, is a a popular expansion to Warhammer 40,000 by Forge World. The game changes the setting to the events of the Horus Heresy and includes many units, rules, and characters not seen in the standard Warhammer 40,000 setting.
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