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Wargame system: Warhammer 40.000 Ed7 (including Update 1.2) (2017)
Product: Warhammer 40.000 Ed7 Rulebook (including Update 1.2) (2017)
Company: Games Workshop company
Reviewer: Kadmon
Reviewer's preferences: Immersive, Realistic approach
Review: Based on a copy I do not own, no real playtest yet

Reading the rules

The rules of Warhammer 40.000 are a mess. Even though I tried to take notes, I don't think it would be easy to play the game, even with those. There are lots of rules to remember, and several of them are so similar it's easy to mistake them. There are so many rules used for the same thing in various circumstances, I'm not sure it's worth memorising them. I know there's a lot of playtesting involved, but it doesn't show.

Most of the time it's easy to find the rule I'm looking for, but there are some places where the book hides important informations, so reading the rules in one place might not be enough. The language of the book looks easy to understand, however the wording of the rules can be confusing even for veteran gamers, as seen on several forums about rule interpretations.

While most of the rules are hard to read, the combat phase is so complicated I'm pretty sure I'd prefer to just shoot my opponents and avoid assaulting them, so I wouldn't have to bother with initiative phases, several small movements, rolling buckets of dice to attack, then to wound, then to avoid wounds. I wouldn't be surprised if most players couldn't keep up with playing the combat phase by the rules as written.

First play

The last time I played Warhammer 40.000 was when the Ed3 rulebook was published. As far as I know the Ed7 rules are the continuation of the Ed3 rules, so it could be a good basis for a review, but I have to admit it was more than 15 years ago, and I can't really remember the games. I probably didn't like them much, otherwise I would have played more. However from the couple of games I've played I don't remember that it was this hard to understand the rules as they stand in the 7th Edition. As I recall, the game was probably easier to read and play.

Feeling of the game

It feels like some ancient game that had been fiddled with for 30 years, and none of the developers know what was the original purpose of some of the rules.

What I liked

There are a great number of examples in the book, with nice illustrations.

What I didn't like

I don't like the memorising aspect of the game, and it doesn't look like I could just understand the rules themselves.

I don't like to spend hours with the army lists to come up with the most efficient armies with unbeatable strategies, but I see there are people who love this aspect.

The rules are very verbose, and instead of using clearly defined keywords, there are continuosly repeated phrases.

One of the problem that I see is that while the game has an abstract system, there are real-life justification beside some rules, and this leads to players to judge problematic situations with a realistic approach. As 40K is not a realistic system, this can leads to more problems.

As a friend of mine told me, they don't play 40K because they like it, but because this is the game that everyone knows, no matter where they go to play.

Getting it

The first Warhammer 40.000 rulebook I've received as a present. The recent one I've got from a friend to read through. I don't think I'd spend money on it though, as I don't think I'd play it frequently, and it's pretty expensive.


Wherever you go, you'll find Warhammer 40.000 players, so this is one adventage of the game. But I can't think of anything else.

Unless you'd really like to try Warhammer 40.000 I wouldn't recommend it, as there are lots of way better futuristic systems out there.

I don't recommend the game for immersive gamers, as it's mostly abstract.

I don't recommend it to abstract gamers, as there are several parts that try to be realistic in a really weird way.

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Further reading

Wargames - Warhammer 40.000 Ed1-Ed7 from Games Workshop - Wargame system analysis

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Buying the product - Warhammer 40.000

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Have you played Warhammer 40.000? How does it compare to this review? Do you agree or disagree with the reviewer? Tell your opinion in the comments!


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