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File: Warhammer 40K
Warhammer 40,000 (informally known as Warhammer 40K or simply 40K) is a tabletop miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop, set in a dystopian science fantasy universe.
Warhammer 40,000 was created by Rick Priestley in 1987 as the futuristic companion to Warhammer Fantasy Battle, sharing many game mechanics. Expansions for Warhammer 40,000 are released from time to time which give rules for urban, planetary siege and large-scale combat. The game is currently in its fifth edition, which was published in 2008.
Players can assemble and paint individual 28 mm (1.1 in) scale miniature figures that represent futuristic soldiers, creatures and vehicles of war. These figurines are collected to compose squads in armies that can be pitted against those of other players.
Each player brings a roughly equal complement of units to a tabletop battlefield with handmade or purchased terrain. The players then decide upon a scenario, ranging from simple skirmishes to complex battles involving defended objectives and reinforcements. The models are physically moved around the table and the actual distance between models plays a role in the outcome of combat. Play is turn based, with various outcomes determined by tables and the roll of dice. Battles may last anywhere from a half hour to several days, and battles may be strung together to form campaigns. Many game and hobby stores host games, and official tournaments are held on a regular basis.
Warhammer 40,000's space fantasy setting spans a vast fictional universe set 38 millennia into the future. Its various factions and races include the Imperium of Man, a decentralized yet totalitarian interstellar empire that has ruled the vast majority of humanity for millennia, the Orks (similar to Warhammer Fantasy Orcs), the Eldar (similar to Elves in Warhammer Fantasy Battle), and Daemons (very similar in both universes, although the precise natures of their creation and existence vary slightly), among others. The background and playing rules of each faction are covered in the game's rule books and supplemental army 'codexes', along with articles in the Games Workshop magazines, White Dwarf and Imperial Armour. The game's miniatures are produced by Citadel Miniatures and Forge World.
The Warhammer 40,000 setting is used for several tabletop games, video games, and works of fiction, including licensed works published by Black Library, a subsidiary of Games Workshop.
The Warhammer 40,000 game takes place in a dystopic, science-fantasy universe. Set in the 41st millennium AD, most of the major storylines that provide the backdrop and history span over millennia.
"...the grim nightmare of the far future, where there is only war and the galaxy's alight and everyone's got a headache..." - Dan Abnett in Eisenhorn
In the WH40K setting, mankind is largely united in the Imperium of Man, which has expanded throughout the Milky Way galaxy. The Imperium is at war with various alien empires, which include:
Each race has playable figurines. Other playable armies include the Witch Hunters, Daemonhunters, Sisters of Battle and the Imperial Guard, organizations within the Imperium; the Kroot, first introduced as a member of the Tau Empire; and the Daemons of Chaos. Central to the WH40K setting is the existence of a parallel dimension called "the Warp" or "the Immaterium," which is utilized for interstellar travel. The Warp is a realm without conventional laws of nature that evolves in response to psychic activity in real space, and is inhabited by the four gods of Chaos—Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh—embodiments of vice who attempt to corrupt members of all races to serve their ends. Psykers, humans capable of mentally interacting with the Warp and capable of using 'psyker abilities' make up the bulk of the Imperium's information infrastructure, handling interstellar navigation and communication, but are always at risk of being perverted by the Warp or being possessed by daemons. The Warp and real space connect in some locations, notably the "Eye of Terror". From here Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of the servants of Chaos, launches "Black Crusades" to conquer the galaxy in service of the Chaos gods.
While the bulk of humanity's military power is found in the Imperial Guard, the Space Marines (Adeptus Astartes)–giant, 7,2 foot tall, genetically enhanced super-soldiers with world-destroying firepower and unswerving, fanatical loyalty to the Emperor of Mankind–are the most famous. The Emperor created the Space Marines, and their leaders the Primarchs, for use in "The Great Crusade," a two-century effort to re-unite the far-flung colonies of humanity following a "dark age" known as the "Age of Strife". Unfortunately, some of the Primarchs and their legions gave their devotion to the chaos gods, becoming the Chaos Space Marines and bringing war to Holy Terra during a conflict known as the Horus Heresy, after the Primarch who led the attack. This war left the Emperor crippled and dying, and he has since been immobile on the Golden Throne, a comprehensive life-support apparatus that sustains the remaining living cells of his body as he uses his vast psychic powers to combat the gods of Chaos and help smooth interstellar travel.
In former years, Games Workshop released "global campaigns," a political and military scenario detailing a wide-spanning military action. Players who subscribed to the campaign were allowed to send in the results of any matches played in its service, and the results would be tabulated and then translated into story progression. This allowed players to directly impact the franchise's story: for instance, the 13th Black Crusade formed the backdrop to 2003's "Eye of Terror campaign." Players with Chaos-affiliated armies excelled, and Abaddon's forces gained a foothold on the strategically important world of Cadia (the planet nearest to the Eye of Terror, and thus a natural bottleneck and battleground). This was followed up by 2006's The Fall of Medusa V, in which all eight major powers converged on the titular world with their own agendas and goals. Games Workshop announced that it would be the last global campaign for the foreseeable future.