The Mind of Thor: My Love of Warhammer 40K

I thought it was time for a proper introduction. Some of you simply know me as that guy who wrote a bunch of stuff about successful blogging and SEO and many of you probably didn’t care, and that’s fine. I know that sort of stuff isn’t exactly catering to the demographic here. A few will know me from my blog Creative Twilight. Today I thought I’d write about something I love, Warhammer 40K.

Warhammer 40K: Horus vs The Emperor

There may be no more iconic image than this one for 40K.

I’m an avid Warhammer 40K player. I’ve been playing since 2006 back in 4th edition when just prior to my 10-year high school reunion I met up with some old friends. Those old friends were still playing 40K a decade after high school and my fate was sealed. I could never afford it in high school. I think we can all agree it’s not a cheap hobby, especially for a teenager. As a married adult the barrier was no longer present and I was sucked into the game, the hobby and the world.

Despite that playing all the cool small skirmish games is the rage, and getting free stuff off Kickstarter for up and coming wargames, I remain faithful to 40K. In an article here a few months back SinSynn made a comment about how he couldn’t understand how a player could play just one game. For me that reason is simply a matter of time and money. I get out to play 40K once a week and typically manage a few hours a week of hobby time. If I were to split that time up between different games then I would never get anything accomplished and never really have the time to appreciate a system. Financially I would never have the chance to fully buy into a system if I was splitting funds multiple ways to support various games.

That’s the practical truth. The other reason is because I absolutely love the game of 40K. I’m not a big sci-fi fan. I’ve always been a huge fan of fantasy and have devoured the works of George R. R. Martin (before he was cool), Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, R.A. Salvatore, L.E. Modesitt, Jr. and of course Tolkien to name a few. I often found sci-fi stuff cliché and growing up steampunk was coming into its own, which I still don’t care for today. However, once I began reading the fluff for Warhammer 40K I found a setting that was not unlike today’s world but with a dark and sinister feel. There’s a harmonious merging of fantasy and sci-fi with 40K to create a Gothic setting that I really found myself drawn into. Once I found myself absorbed into the story of the game, I was sold.

Warpsmith Grimtech

My lovingly converted Warpsmith Grimtech of the Disciples of Twilight.

For me being able to jump into the world in which you play is a requirement. I’m not going to bash other games but I have not heard anything about the worlds of other games that has the same draw to me that 40K does. In fact, I hardly ever hear anything about the setting of so many of these other popular games. Players seem more concerned with a game that’s cheap to get into and fast to play than they are why they play, why the struggle they are representing. That’s what I’m doing when I play, I’m leading my army in some desperate struggle against an enemy who seeks to deny me that which I seek. I am my Chaos Lord and those loyal to the Emperor fail to see the truth of the galaxy.

I have no doubts that there are other games out there with just as deep and rich a history as 40K but when I’m so enthralled with the game, why do I care? For me 40K is like a home. I lovingly build my models, paint them, create fluff for my armies and play out battles with friends. Why would I seek another home when this one has everything I want and need?

Maybe I’m just built differently. In an age where attention flutters likes leaves in the wind, I’m not surprised that so many gamers play so many different games and never truly find one to call home. I know so many people who just bounce game to game. They might give a system a few months, maybe a few years, but eventually they just move on and seek another. They are restless, not even sure what they are seeking, yet my choice to fully immerse myself into one game is seen as the oddity. I would rather play one game that pulls me in and absorbs me than many games that are cool and fun yet fail to offer me something more than passing time.

My point isn’t that 40K is the best game ever. What I’m trying to say is that finding a game where you just feel at home is an awesome thing, whatever that game is. To be able to slip off the robe of reality and jump completely into another world, if only for a few hours, is an amazingly rewarding experience.

I love writing editorials. I came into writing this article with something else entirely in mind but this is what came out instead. I’ve struggled since signing on to being an author here about what to write about and I think I might have finally found something. I don’t just mean 40K but my mindset about gaming. Another 40K player, when I mentioned I would be writing here, had told me I could write about how I create my armies for 40K. I nodded but didn’t really see that being anything more than an article, maybe two. However, it’s the thought process, the mind of the gamer, that’s the interesting part (I hope). So I think my plan is going to be just that. To let you step inside my mind and show you what I see. I hope it proves interesting and becomes a learning experience for you as well as I.




I began playing Warhammer 40K in 2006 and have been an avid player and hobbyist since then. Blood Bowl is also a favorite of mine though I rarely get to play it. Blogging has become my outlet for all those random thoughts regarding the games I play.

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  • Adrik

    I started wargaming with 40k, so I think I owe GW a little bit of a nod when I look at my FoW, WWX, KoW, or DBA minis.

    As for playing 40k, the One Page Rules version has actually worked pretty well, and has me looking at picking up a Battleforce.

    • Even when you move on from your first gaming system, it’s hard not to look back fondly on it and maybe the Battleforce will reinvigorate your interest.

  • Zab

    I love the whole universe, though i don’t play the game anymore. I would like them to give it the Aos treatment and see what happens when they move the time line forward. That might actually get me back inot it if it was quick and easy and skirmishy…I am loving the Horus heresy too, again the minis and stories not so much the game.

    • I would be all in favor of the 40K timeline finally pushing ahead; it has to at some point. All they are doing with it these days is rewriting existing historical events and plotting in some minor points to fill in some gaps. Let the Emperor die and ascend in the warp. Have the lost Primarchs make a return to lead humankind. Have the 13th Black Crusade reach a climax and the Tyranids push further into the system. So many possibilities if they just move forward…

      I, however, do not see 40K getting the AoS treatment with regards to rules. I believe GW’s plan is to let AoS be the affordable skirmish game, the easy buy-in, where 40K will remain as-is. The game of 40K is still making them money so there’s no need to shake it up where WHFB needed something to survive.

      Plus, why have two games that are that similar only in a different setting? WHFB and 40K shared similarities but both played out very differently, especially the earlier editions of Fantasy.

      • I have a slightly different perspective on advancing the timeline of 40k part of the intrinsic grim darkness is that we are perpetually at 5 minutes to midnight the imminent destruction of everything that never arrives.
        By advancing the timeline you would be forced to either destroy everything or save some stuff hence injecting hope in to your grim dark setting and that’s what it is a setting not a story many stories make up the setting but the setting has to remain the same or else it becomes a soap opera.
        The real genius of the 40k is that you have 30 thousand years of poorly recorded and deliberately mislead history in an almost infinite galaxy so any story you want to tell can be slotted into it by continuing the narrative forward you remove the ambiguity and hence makenit a smaller place and lose or abdicate your creativity to the studio

        • So long as the story progression doesn’t wipe everything out AoS style, that progression would not invalidate history. You’d still have that huge span to plot yourself into even if things stepped into 41,000. It’s still poorly recorded history regardless and nothing changes that. They don’t have to bring to light all the unknowns to move the story ahead, just work the obvious like the death of the Emperor and such, things we are aware of today.

          • Well no it wouldn’t invalidate the history but would alter the the nature of the thing you love and I think you need to be careful what you wish for

          • Good point. No argument here.

          • Zab

            Nah, blow it up! blow it up! To me they need to do something with it. I feel like i might be getting close to feeling like its gotten stale and stagnant. I have even cut back on how much 40k novels i read becuase frankly they are all very similar and the twists just arent there anymore. i still love it but I am starting to notice the cooling of my interest and that worrys me a bit.

          • Maybe that’s one of them life imitating art things a fictional setting based on a stagnating backwards society is beginning to get stale and looking backwards for inspiration you can’t make this shit up.

            I have to say the only black library stuff I read nowadays is the Horus Heresy stuff and it’s always been a mixed back for every betrayer there’s a battle for the abyss

          • But Battle for the Abyss was amaz…nah, I can’t even bullshit that atrocity. They had a good run in the middle on the series with a lot of back to back books that were great, barring Battle for the Abyss, but the last handful have definitely been a mixed bag. There’s a lot of new names on those books that I don’t recognize but the old authors are still putting out great books. The problem is they seem to be using them less.

          • My collection is a touch patchy having got almost all of them second hand from FLGs so was what they had rather than any kinda progression bjt they all read well enough as individual reads and also knowing the over aching story anyway its nit been a problem.

            My most disappointing booknwas Deliverance Lost although it’s wasn’t really bad it just wasn’t as great as a Ravenguard Fan hoped it would be.

            i loved the Aaron Dembski Bowden ones and Angel Exterminatus especially the bit where perterburo smashes Fulgrims face into the mini warhound

            enjoyed the fluff parts of all the supplements too the fluff being better fleshed out than the codexs which I feel are going down in fluff quality

        • Agree totally DC. One of the things that really gets me with the 40k setting is the Emperor’s sacrifice to the Astronomican. The way he’s frozen in the throne, and he has to be, to maintain the status quo. Perhaps he’s already dead, and has been since the Heresy (my favourite 40k conspiracy).

          If he ascended to the Warp and became a god I think it would lessen the setting. It would just be a war among the gods through their mortal allies, blah blah blah, good versus evil. Whereas now it’s a grossly unfair war between the gods and humanity, and humanity’s only god-like ally is neutered and unable to act except through his servants. It’s really interesting. I think I’d be really sad if 40k advanced in the way many people wish it would. Each to their own though.

          • If done properly they could just shift the struggle. Say the Emperor dies. That means the Atronomican will fail. Without the guiding light humanity will be seriously crippled; moreso than now and basically become lambs for the slaughter. To offset that, but still keep the eternal struggle, the Emperor becomes a god. Now humanity has a champion against Chaos in their realm but he cannot take on all four Chaos Gods. I mean, Kaldor Draigo can but that’s Matt Ward sniffing warp dust. Gains and losses in equal measure could keep that precarious balance of humanity on the verge of extinction but move ahead.

            Hell, it doesn’t even have to be so overt either. One of the things many of us enjoy is all the speculation. GW tossing you a morsel and teasing you but never fully explaining. The same could be done here as well. Have the Astronomican begin to fade year after year and eventually vanish. Meanwhile shit gets stirred up in the warp and Chaos finds itself in a new struggle. You get the idea.

            It could be done and I have every faith that GW could pull it off well. They have an arsenal of writers with the Black Library and I bet many would jump at the chance to do something like that justice.

          • Hey Thor I just spilled tea on my laptop so I’ll have to reply to you properly later. Great post by the way.

          • Tea on laptop is not good. Hope it’s OK.

    • That’s one thing 40k does have – a long standing diverse and well fleshed out history. Which goes a long way to making it feel like a real universe and invests the players in the game.

      Killing the Fantasy universe reminded me of White Wolf rebooting theirs and flushing all that history destroys the players connection.

      • It does for sure but I have faith that GW can build it back up in due time.

  • ming2005

    As my moniker dates it, I’ve probably been playing 40K since 2005 and Epic before that. I just love the huge universe of fluff around the game, all the possibilities, and all of the models to collect and build over time. It has set the standard for game play and longevity, and frankly I hope it continues until I can’t read the pips on my dice! My second favorite game right now is the APP “card based game” Space Wolf. After that I run out of free time…Nice seeing you over here writing for the House of Paincakes! I love your regular site and this is a great venue for your writing and painting skills…

    • There’s a trend with your gaming: it’s all the 40K universe. It’s one of the things I love the most about 40K, the setting, and it’s hard to look at another game as I expect the same depth and quality that GW gives the 40K universe and just find it lacking.

      Thanks. I didn’t realize you were a reader of HoP. Always good to see familiar faces here.

  • See, that I can respect. I may not enjoy 40k anymore nor feel like after everything GW’s done, they deserve more of their fans’ money, but you’ve got a system you enjoy playing with your friends. I agree that time is best spent focusing on a single system. I can’t fathom the people that split their funds all over the place or buy army after army. I’d rather find something I enjoy with a good community to play it with and just go all in. Would I like to start another Warmachine army? Sure, I even have the art style envisioned. But a) I can’t afford it and b) TheWife says I’m not allowed until I’ve finished painting the Hordebloods – which I’m inclined to agree with.

    • That’s pretty much all I ask of anyone, to respect choices. If 40K isn’t you thing then that’s cool, just don’t go shitting on it because it wasn’t a fit for you. Every game has a draw and not every game is for everyone; it’s that simple.

      Agreed. It’s why I’ve stuck with Chaos Marines. I’ve got three other armies but once I started Chaos I was hooked. It’s the first army I got into where I wasn’t feeling the urge to try another after a year. Now I invest all my time, money and effort into that one army because I’d rather have one army I’m really invested in than a handful I tinker with.

  • We’ll have to get a game in one of these days Thor!

    • Love to but aren’t you on the west coast? I’m way over here in Maine.

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  • My love of the universe is why I am back at this stage after near 15 years of not playing or painting.

    • Hell, and still not playing yet but you are painting! You’re in a position many find themselves in, nobody to play with. The fact you’re working on an army and painting it up despite that is a testament for sure.

      • I will get in a game sure eventually. I have friends over in Nottingham who play the odd Battle Day at Warhammer World. I will just have to fly over and give it a shot at some stage.