Exactly what the title says! Today marks the 25th anniversary of Warhammer 40,000, one of Games Workshops flagship titles, and the game that – in a roundabout way – got me into science fiction in the first place.
For those of you asking “What the in the Burning Hell’s is Warhammer 40,000?” I’ll try and summarise it briefly. It’s a science fiction universe set in the 41st Millennium, where mankind has had interstellar golden ages, and dark ages, and everything in between. Then this chap known only as the Emperor pops up during Earths darkest hour, and through his amazing powers of, well, everything, unifies Earth, the Solar system, and eventually millions of other worlds out in the galaxy. Then his favoured son Horus – one of eighteen genetically engineered by the Emperor himself – turns on him when he’s corrupted by the Chaos Gods, sparking the Horus Heresy, which rips the shiny new Imperium of Man asunder with war.
The end result is that Horus dies, the people that followed him get all twisted and evil, and the Imperium becomes a very grimdark place to live. It’s besieged on all sides by aliens (such as the enigmatic Eldar, the brutal Orks, and the all-consuming Tyranids), heretics, mutants, daemons, and everything else the galaxy can throw at it.
It started as a table-top wargame back in the 80’s, but has now expanded into books, video games, board games, even a film.
It’s massively geeky at heart (assembling and painting the models, playing wargames, etc) but is so much fun and the writing that creates the universe is so masterfully written that I know people who’ve never played a game in their lives who are fanatical about the books!
I’ve no doubt that at some point I’ll write a blog where I reminisce, all misty-eyed over my twenty-year history of playing the game in various guises, and you may even get to see some of my gloriously (ahem) painted miniatures, if I’m feeling bold/generous.
But in the meantime, happy Anniversary Warhammer 40,000. Stay grimdark.