Getting Started with Warhammer 40,000


Cecelia Rodriguez, Writer

Earlier this year I wrote an article called, A Beginners Guide To Warhammer 40k. This article will cover some of the same points as the other article, but it will go more in depth. I will also update it to 9th edition.The other article is for 8th edition. Ninth edition is the latest edition of the game and the edition you will find most often. In this article we will go over what Warhammer 40k is,  what to buy, how to play, how to build your first models, and how to paint your first models.


    Warhammer 40k, or 40,000 is a strategic miniature wargame. You can play with 2 or more people, but most of the time you play with only 1 other person. The game is set in the grimdark 41st millennium where you go head to head with another army in close combat or ranged shooting. People can choose between many different armies of different factions. Each faction has its own different armies.



    Warhammer 40k is all about war and chaos in the 41st millennium. In a huge galaxy overrun with life, for war to grind it all down to dust. All over you can find an abundance of ivory colored crainiums being crushed under boots or other alien limbs.

The Imperium

    The first faction is, The Imperium. The Imperium represents humanity in its broken, twisted state. Most of humanity warships The Emperor, a superhuman being controlling the human race of genetically mutated super soldiers called Space Marines bred only for war and destruction. Space Marines are the faction most people think of when they hear 40k. They are dressed in heavy power armour and adorn with quasi-religious symbology. Within the Space Marines they come in many different groups, from the Ultramarines to the Blood Angles and the Space Wolves. There are many other groups other than these three, but these are the ones you see the most. 

    Also in the Imperium under The Emperors’ rule are the Astra Militarum. Think of the Astra Militarum as like one of the armies we have now. They come in more quantity than quality with their large units of guardsmen, tanks and warplanes. The Astra Militarum is the closest to today’s armies.

    Warhammer 40k in general struggles with diversity and doesn’t really include much female respenitation. With that in mine there are the Sisters of Battle. You could think of the Sisters of Battle as a force of Battle Nuns attacking you with faith, fury, and a whole lot of flames.

    The final piece to The Imperium is Adeptus Mechanicus. The Adeptus Mechanicus is a group that worships the Cult of Machine and creates the most deadly warmachines in the 40k universe. They use ancient almost-forgotten blueprints they believe are holy text. The Adeptus Mechanicus inhabits Mars, in which they turned into a giant munitions factory.


The Forces of Chaos

    In the 40k universe there exists ruinous powers. Four gods were brought into existence by the tendencies of sentient races. They are known as Tzeentch: Change and Magic, Nurgle: Entropy and Decay, Khorne: War and Bloodshed, and Slaanesh: Perfection and Temptation. In 40k, they exist inside The Warp. The Warp is a dimension used for cross-space travel. In humanity many worship these gods and in return are gifted horrendous powers and mutations allying themselves with the Traitor Legions, Space Marines who defected from the Imperium in the Horus Heresy. THe Horus Heresy is a schism formed between different Space Marine chapters leading to a long drawn out war that broke the Imperium in two.


The Xenos

    The Warhammer 40k universe isn’t fair without its share of aliens, with the Xenos forces adding some needed colour to 40k. A race once unified, the Aeldari fell to decadence and birthed Slaanesh, ripping a gaping wound into space known as the Eye of Terror. The Aeldari split into the Crafwotld Aeldari and the Drukhari. The Crafwotld Aeldari maintain a tradition of asceticism and go into war only when necessary with their elegant warmachines made of living bone and terrifying psychic power. Then the Drukhari are pirates who come out from secret pathways throughout the warp in raiding parties, enslaving humans and aliens to torture in their hidden city of Commoragh. Lastly are the secretive Harlequins, roving warriors that constantly act out the fall of their race in a ballet of violence.

    Next is the Tyranids, inspired by the Alien movie. Tyranids are a massive swarm turning biomatter into fuel for their armies that float fr

 Next is the T’au Empire. They are the youngest and are the most advanced faction in 40k. The T’au jump into war with their fleets of drones and high-powered battlesuits. 

    Lastly, Orkz. Orkz are 40k at their most loud and fun state. There is a brawling mass of brutish warriors and scientists who build crude weapons and are never happier than when they are caring enough dakka (firepower) to topple an whole army.



    Warhammer is an expensive hobby, but it can also be very fulfilling. You get a sense of accomplishment from building, painting and playing with your armies. You get a lot more out of your money then just a regular board game. To get started you will need a few things: a rule book, a friend to play with, an army, some dice, tools, paints and some rulers that measure inches. If you are interested in either Space Marines or Necrons you should get the 9th edition starter set. There are three starter sets as of today. Each range in price and value. 

    The smallest one is the Recruit Edition. The Recruit Edition is the perfect box set if you don’t want to spend a ton of money at first. In the box you get 20 miniatures (unassembled), the Warhammer 40k Recruit edition manual, a paper gaming mat, range rulers, dice, datasheets and a Space Marine transfer sheet for adding easy markings. In total the box is $50. 

    The next box is the Elite Edition. This box will cost you about $99. This box included a bit more than the recruit. In the box you get 27 unassembled miniatures, the Warhammer 40k Elite edition manual, a paper gaming mat, range rulers, dice, datasheets, and a Space Marine transfer sheet. This box set is good if you are willing to spend a bit more money.

    The final box is the Command Edition. This box is the biggest of the three and contains the most stuff. Inside this box you will find 27 unassembled miniatures, the Warhammer 40k Command edition manual, a 30” by 22.4” gaming board, push-fit terrain, range rulers, dice, datasheets, Space Marine transfer sheet, and the Warhammer 40k softcover rulebook. The command edition will cost about $165. This is the edition to get if you want the most for your money.

    If you don’t want to play Space Marines or Necrons, you can always buy other armies. First you need to choose which army you want to play. Then you are going to want to buy a start collecting box. The start collecting box is just what the name says, you should start collecting that army there. One of these boxes can range in price from about $90 to $140. These boxes are a bit expensive but they are the best price for what you get. Once you get your box set you are going to need a few more things. 

    First you are going to want to buy some dice and inch rulers. The dice need to be six sided. You can get the dice for a decent price and you might also have an inch ruler at home, if not you can buy one cheap too. Next you should buy the Warhammer 40k rule book. This book will be really helpful. It will show you how to play and it will also contain some lore on the different factions.The rulebook will cost about $65.  I would also recommend getting a codex on whichever army you choose. A codex basically goes more in depth to a certain army with more rules and lore. You don’t need to get one right away but they do really help. A codex will cost about $40 to $50. This is basically everything you need to start playing your first game of Warhammer 40k.

m planet to planet blotting out the stars with their huge numbers. Their gestalt consciousness also manifests itself in the minds of many as a godlike entity. Causing Genestealer Cults to be seeded in advance of the main fleet’s arrival, sowing chaos and disorder. Before the Aeldari fell, they faced the Necrons, a race of living metal bodies tricked into sacrificing their flesh. The Necrons resurfaced from ancient Tomb Worlds to reclaim the galaxy with their implacable antimatter weaponry.