Warhammer 40k is a old-school wargame. You have an army, and your opponent has an army, and setup on a large table and push your little men around until all of one side has fallen over. Well, it's a lot more complicated than actually, but thats the general sense of it. Your table is usually full of cover (trees, ruins, etc) that inhibits line of site and movement, and different units have different weapons, armour and special abilities. Add on top of this that there are many different armies in play, each designed along different lines, then there is a pretty impressive range of forces you can field. Add onto this the universes depth of "fluff" - the Lore behind the world, its a game that developed a long and strong following over several decades that is actually quite unique in the gaming space.
It's actually an odd beast though. For a start it's scale seems un-intuitive - too many units for a proper "skirmish" game and on too tight a scale for a strategic game, it sometimes feels like it's war with itself. You do get some vast games with even vaster units (which look fantastic on the battlefield) but at both ends of the spectrum the system strains a little. It seems to play best at the sort of size that takes a couple of hours to play, you have make some hard choices in unit selection, and the turn order cycles quickly. It helps if you like rolling a lot of dice, too.
|Anyone order some Tanks? Tanks Here!|
One of the questions I've been asked this year, as I've played a few more games, is "Is it Balanced". Certainly its a long running issue in the community. And after some thought, I think the answer is "no, but it's balanced enough", which may be all you can ever hope for. One of the attractions of 40k is the vast diversity of forces you can slug it out with, even within any given faction, and that's a huge amount of moving parts. It's also pretty clear from just reading the Rulebook that Games Workshop wants this to be a game that you don't take hugely seriously, where the fun is the playing, not the winning/losing, and wants you to field armies at least in part based on the "cool factor".
|Someone forgot to put out the|
"No Parking" sign on the Tower
In the end, I've developed quite the affection for this corner of the gaming world. It's far from perfect - I'd like to see smaller, skirmish version properly put together, for instance - but it is a lot of fun from the assembly all the way to fighting them out in the ruins of a once-grand empire. For the Emperor/Greater Good/Craftworld/Dark Gods/Hive Fleet!! (*delete as appropriate)