Warhammer (game)

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Warhammer is a term commonly used as an abbreviation for a series of games published by Games Workshop[1]. The series spans tabletop games, pen and paper role-playing games and computer games in several genres. A massively multiplayer online role-playing game was released in 2008. The series also covers two settings: "Warhammer Fantasy" games play in a medieval/fantasy world comparable to the world of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings", while "Warhammer 40,000" (often abbreviated as "Warhammer 40K") describes a dark science fiction world of the far future. Two other minor settings have also been developed in Games and Novels: An alternate version of the fantasy setting for the game "Blood Bowl" and a largely discontinued post nuclear holocaust setting for the car battle game "Dark Future".

Warhammer Fantasy

The Warhammer Fantasy world is modeled closely after the fantasy world invented by Tolkien, including the major races such as Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Orcs, and so on. The Warhammer world is also threatened by dark forces, which take the form of "Chaos", represented by four chaos gods and their hordes. The evil forces of Warhammer corrupt the good races of the world, especially the human race, and turn them against their own kin.

The general setting of Warhammer Fantasy is darker than most other fantasy literature, and includes some elements from the horror genre, such as vampires and undead, but also chaos mutations and its own races such as the Skaven, which add to a dark and sometimes claustrophobic atmosphere.

Warhammer Fantasy Battles

This was the first game in the series, originally published in July 1983[2]. The current 7th edition was released in 2006.

Warhammer Fantasy Battles is a tabletop wargame, in which two armies of miniatures fight a simulated battle, usually until elimination of one side, or control of the battlefield. Warhammer Fantasy Battles uses 28 mm scale (approximately 1:65) miniature figurines.

The first 3 edition were released as books, with miniatures sold separately. Since the 4th edition, Warhammer Fantasy Battles is released as a boxed set with the box typically including the rule book as well as miniatures for two basic armies and a few other items (dice, rulers, explosion markers and other tokens, etc.)

Release History:

  • 1st Edition: 1983[3]
  • 2nd Edition: 1984[4]
  • 3rd Edition: 1991[5]
  • 4th Edition: ?
  • 5th Edition: 1996[6]
  • 6th Edition: ?
  • 7th Edition: 2006

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying

After the tabletop game, Games Workshop published a pen and paper roleplaying game set in the same world. After being discontinued and out of print for many years, despite having won respect among gamers for its straightforward rules and its (then) unique career system, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying was published again as a 2nd edition in 2005[7].

The main difference between WFRP and other games of its kind is still the career system, in which character progress along actual career paths, such as starting out as a militiaman, being promoted to sergeant, becoming a knight, and so on, instead of using abstract classes like "fighter" or "wizard".

WFRP 2nd Edition has won critical acclaim in many reviews.


Warhammer Online

A MMORPG set in the Warhammer Fantasy world has been developed[8] and was released in 2008.

Warhammer Fantasy Computer Games

Several computer games were set in the Warhammer Fantasy world:

  • Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat (1996[9])
  • Warhammer: Dark Omen (1998[10])
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos (2006 ?)


Warhammer 40,000

The Warhammer 40K world is a dark future setting which merges technology and magic, usually in the form of psionics. According to the setting the human empire spans most of the galaxy. It is a strict military dictatorship, with the emperor being regarded as a god.

Warhammer 40K contains the same Tolkien-like races as Warhammer Fantasy, though adapted to a futuristic settings. The Elves have been renamed Eldar and there are additional races such as the Tyranids (a merge of insects and the aliens from the "Aliens" movies).


Warhammer 40,000 (tabletop)

Like Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the tabletop game of Warhammer 40K is a wargame pitting off two armies against each other. Due to the scale of the models, Warhammer 40K "armies" are actually of a much smaller size, typically about 10-50 individuals plus a few larger units such as one or two tanks or cannons.


Epic 40,000

Epic is a smaller-scale version of Warhammer 40K. It uses 6mm instead of 28mm miniatures, which leads to the typical battle being much larger in the number of individual units involved. Due to the small scale, infantry units are not played individually, but in units of 5. A typical Epic battle will involve 10-20 such units (50-100 infantrymen) and 10-20 other units such as tanks, cannons or flyers. Armies can also contain a few (usually 1-2) very large units such as Titans (giant two-legged robots similar to the "Mechs" from BattleTech).


Warhammer 40K Computer Games

  • Dawn of War


Warhammer 40K Board Games

Several board-games set in the Warhammer 40K world were published by Games Workshop, usually only for a limited time (typically about a year or two).

  • Space Marines
  • Necromunda
  • Gorkamorka


Warhammer 40K role-playing game

A pen-and-paper role-playing game set in the WH40K universe, Dark Heresy, was released in January 2008. However, just after the game's launch, Games Workshop announced that it was closing its RPG publishing arm, Black Industries.

References