Hobbies are things of magic. Before we come to college, there are hundreds of things that we were interested in and enjoyed while growing up. We did these things just for fun and invested time and money into it. Hobbies can range from small things like coin collecting to big things like boating. This week I would like to share with you something I enjoy: Warhammer 40k.

Warhammer 40k was initially a spin-off from the board game Space Hulk. In the board game, hulking armored soldiers trudge through a derelict spaceship to hunt down aliens (reminiscent of the ones from the movie Alien) and retrieve artifacts. Though before that, Space Hulk was a lore expansion from the role-playing game: Rogue Trader, akin to something like Dungeons and Dragons in space.

These games tie into the sci-fi fantasy world of Warhammer 40k where, in the grim and dark future, the mankind, the space elves, okrz, and many other factions are fighting by the skin of their teeth (or teef if you speak ork). The hobby itself is a game where you collect and buy miniature models, to paint, build, and battle other players.

This game appeals to people who enjoy the strategy of chess, the intricate action of DnD, enjoyed the little toy soldiers as a kid, and painting. Much like the collectible Gundam toys, the figurines require some assembly before play, but rewards players by having an army you can show off to your friends, and kick butt at your local hobby store.

The game can be played in a variety of ways, and in three sizes: Kill-teams, standard battles, and Apocalypse. Kill-team is a more economical approach to the game, where players take in one squad of soldiers (5-15) units and a few vehicles in which the battle lasts for about 45 minutes. Standard battles are usually how the game is generally played as army vs army, with varying game modes like Capture the Relic, Purge the Alien, or Vehicular Combat. Armies can range from just foot soldiers (20-50 pieces on the table), a full tank battalion, to a motorcycle joust/shoot-off, and everywhere in-between. These games can last for about an hour or two. Finally, there is Apocalypse, where it includes large armies, and titan-class figures which lead to mech to mech battles and takes the longest to play. Apocalypse matches can last all day depending on how many people are playing.

All game types generally follow this pattern: the moving phase, the shooting phase, and the melee phase (and a fourth phase we will not get into). The moving phase is where players position their soldiers around to get the strategic advantage. The shooting and melee phase come in three parts. Players must roll the dice to hit the enemy player, roll to see if they damage the units, and the opponent rolls to see if their soldiers make the save. This always leaves players biting nails to see if they made the save or not.

Though the tabletop game sounds pricey (for the most part it is), it is always possible to get into 40k via the novel series they sell. The stories can range from space faring adventures with the space marines, the battle of integrity with the eldar (space elves), comic brutality of the orkz, or a hard day in the life of a militiaman. Warhammer 40k is something fun to look at and discuss with friends. It has quite the expansive universe that hobbyists are free to explore.

There are quite a few players on campus who are more than willing to introduce people to. If you have heard of 40k, who is your preferred race? Please feel free to answer in the comment section below!


Picture Credits: PC Gamer & Comic Vine


  1. I play Orks mainly, as well as Necrons, some chaos (both marines and demons), and I’m currently building a Deathwatch Army. I also dabble in Age of Sigmar with some Stormcasts, chaos mauraders, and undead. I’m not a student at the UC, but I would love to meet other players in the Merced area, especially with a new edition of 40K around the corner.



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