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Warhammer 40000: The Ultimate Guide to the Grimdark Future

Warhammer 40,000: A Guide for Beginners

Are you interested in Warhammer 40,000, but don't know where to start? Do you want to learn more about this popular miniature wargame that has captivated millions of fans around the world? If so, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will give you a comprehensive introduction to Warhammer 40,000, covering everything from what it is, how to play it, why to play it, and where to play it. By the end of this article, you will have a clear idea of what Warhammer 40,000 is all about and how you can join in on the fun.

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What is Warhammer 40,000?

Warhammer 40,000 is a miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop. It is the most popular miniature wargame in the world, and is particularly popular in the United Kingdom. The first edition of the rulebook was published in September 1987, and the 10th and current edition will be released in June 2023.

As in other miniature wargames, players enact battles using miniature models of warriors and fighting vehicles. The playing area is a tabletop model of a battlefield, comprising models of buildings, hills, trees, and other terrain features. Each player takes turns moving their model warriors around the battlefield and fighting their opponent's warriors. These fights are resolved using dice and simple arithmetic.

Warhammer 40,000 is set in the distant future, where a stagnant human civilisation is beset by hostile aliens and supernatural creatures. The models in the game are a mixture of humans, aliens, and supernatural monsters wielding futuristic weaponry and supernatural powers. The fictional setting of the game has been developed through a large body of novels published by Black Library (Games Workshop's publishing division).

Warhammer 40,000 took its name from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, which is a medieval fantasy wargame also produced by Games Workshop. Warhammer 40,000 was initially conceived as a science fiction counterpart to Warhammer Fantasy, and while they are not connected to each other in a shared universe, their settings share similar themes and tropes.

Warhammer 40,000 has spawned a large amount of spin-off media. These include board games such as Space Hulk, which is about combat in the narrow corridors of derelict spacecraft, and Battlefleet Gothic[^5^ , which is about naval warfare in space, video games such as Dawn of War, which is a real-time strategy game, and Space Marine, which is a third-person shooter game, and role-playing games such as Dark Heresy, which is about agents of the Inquisition investigating threats to the Imperium of Man. Warhammer 40,000 has also inspired fan-made films such as Astartes, which is a series of short animations featuring the Space Marines. How to play Warhammer 40,000?

To play Warhammer 40,000, you will need the following things:

  • The core rulebook, which contains the basic rules and guidelines for playing the game.

  • A codex, which is a supplement book that contains the specific rules and background for a particular faction or army.

  • Miniature models, which represent your warriors and vehicles on the battlefield.

  • A measuring tape, which is used to measure distances and movement on the battlefield.

  • Dice, which are used to determine the outcomes of battles and other random events.

  • A playing surface, which can be any flat surface that can accommodate your models and terrain features.

  • Terrain features, which are models or objects that represent the natural and artificial features of the battlefield.

The basic steps of playing Warhammer 40,000 are as follows:

Choosing your army

The first step is to choose your army. An army is a collection of models that belong to a certain faction or sub-faction. There are many factions and sub-factions in Warhammer 40,000, each with their own unique history, culture, appearance, and playstyle. Some of the most popular factions are:


Imperium of ManThe largest and most powerful human civilisation in the galaxy. It is a totalitarian regime that worships the God-Emperor of Mankind. It consists of various sub-factions such as the Astra Militarum (the regular human army), the Adeptus Astartes (the genetically enhanced super-soldiers known as Space Marines), the Adeptus Mechanicus (the techno-religious cult that maintains the Imperium's technology), and the Inquisition (the secret police that hunts down heretics and aliens).

ChaosThe main enemy of the Imperium of Man. It is a corrupting force that emanates from the Warp, a parallel dimension of psychic energy. It consists of various sub-factions such as the Chaos Space Marines (Space Marines who have turned traitor and serve the Chaos Gods), the Chaos Daemons (the manifestations of the Chaos Gods), and the Chaos Cultists (humans who have been seduced by Chaos).

EldarAn ancient and advanced alien race that once ruled the galaxy. They are now a dying and scattered people who live in giant spacecraft called Craftworlds. They are masters of psychic powers and graceful combat. They consist of various sub-factions such as the Craftworld Eldar (the main survivors of their race), the Dark Eldar (the sadistic pirates who raid other worlds for slaves and resources), and the Harlequins (the mysterious performers who serve the Laughing God).

OrksA brutal and barbaric alien race that lives for war. They are a green-skinned and fungus-based species that can grow anywhere and reproduce by spores. They are driven by a collective psychic field that makes their crude technology work. They consist of various sub-factions such as the Goffs (the most aggressive and violent Orks), the Bad Moons (the richest and flashiest Orks), and the Deathskulls (the most cunning and looting Orks).

TyranidsA horde of alien monsters that devour everything in their path. They are a hive mind that operates through a network of synapse creatures. They adapt to any environment by mutating their forms and absorbing biomass. They consist of various sub-factions such as the Behemoth (the first Tyranid invasion that attacked Ultramar), the Kraken (the second Tyranid invasion that split into multiple tendrils), and the Leviathan (the third Tyranid invasion that attacked from multiple directions).

NecronsAn ancient and mysterious alien race that has awakened from a long slumber. They are a technologically advanced civilisation that transferred their souls into metal bodies. They seek to reclaim their lost empire and enslave or destroy all other life forms. They consist of various sub-factions such as the Sautekh (the most unified and expansionist Necrons), the Mephrit (the most aggressive and destructive Necrons), and the Nihilakh (the most defensive and isolationist Necrons).

TauA young and ambitious alien race that seeks to spread their philosophy of the Greater Good. They are a technologically advanced civilisation that relies on ranged firepower and drones. They are composed of various allied races such as the Kroot (a savage and carnivorous race that serves as mercenaries), the Vespid (a winged and insectoid race that provides aerial support), and the Nicassar (a psychic and pacifist race that navigates the warp).

There are many more factions and sub-factions in Warhammer 40,000, each with their own unique flavour and style. You can choose any faction or sub-faction that appeals to you, or even create your own custom faction using the rules in the core rulebook or the codexes.

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