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 miniature figurines produced by Citadel Miniatures, which represent soldiers, creatures, and vehicles of war.
Games Workshop does not officially have a fixed scale for Warhammer 40,000, but by comparing the actual and nominal lengths of vehicle models, we can obtain a rough scale ratio of 1:60. For instance, a Land Raider is supposed to be 10.3m long, and its model in the game is 17cm long — this give us a ratio close to 1:60.
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 9th edition.
- 1 Warhammer 40,000 - The Game
- 2 Setting
- 3 History
- 4 Expansions and Specialist games
- 5 Notes
- 6 Sources
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.
- Codex: Space Marines (9th Edition)
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus (9th Edition)
- Codex: Adepta Sororitas (9th Edition)
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.
As of July 2020 there has been 9 editions of Warhammer 40,000 released between 1987 and 2020.
Rogue Trader (1987)
The First Edition of the game, named Rogue Trader, was published in 1987. Games Workshop games designer Rick Priestley created the original rule-set and the Warhammer 40,000 setting, 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)
Seventh Edition (2014)
The Seventh Edition was released in May 2014 and is heavily similar to the Sixth, but the rulebook is in three separate volumes and there are more liberal army building list rules.
Eighth Edition (2017)
Over the years, the game has been expanded by many supplements. There has also been cross-fertilization from other games in the same setting.
Ninth Edition (2020)
The Ninth Edition announced in May 2020 and released in July 2020 is the current edition of Warhammer 40,000.
Unlike 8th edition, 9th edition isn't a total overhaul of the rules, as Games Workshop have already stated existing codices will still be compatible.
Expansions and Specialist games
- By Games Workshop
- Combat Patrol
- Warhammer 40,000: Fireteam
- Space Marine Adventures: Doomsday Countdown
- Space Marine Adventures
- Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress
- Kill Team
- Combat Arena
- Deathwatch: Overkill
- Shadow War: Armageddon
- Speed Freeks (Game)
- Stormcloud Attack
- Lost Patrol
- Gangs of Commorragh
- Imperial Knights: Renegade
- Assassinorum: Execution Force (Out of Print)
- Battlefleet Gothic (Out of Print)
- Epic (Out of Print)
- Inquisitor (Out of Print)
- Gorkamorka (Out of Print)
- Space Hulk (Out of Print)
- By Forge World
This article is based upon Warhammer 40,000 from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and is subject to GNU License for free documentation. There is a List of authors in the Wikipedia, which can be edited.
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