There are a million and one things vying for our time when it comes to recreational pursuits these days. Restaurants, bars, computer games, the cinema – the list is endless. It’s becoming difficult to choose what to do when we want to get together with friends and have a bit of good clean fun.

So instead of the usual options – how about this for something completely different – Tabletop Gaming.

This is a kind of game that forgoes the traditional use of a board as part of the game – instead utilising your run-of-the-mill table-top, coffee table or kitchen counter. It’s a game genre that has now been around for about 30 years, and has changed quite a lot since it was first created in the UK in 1987 by Rick Priestly.

The game is set in a grim, dystopian universe of the 41st Millennium. Essentially a science fiction game, it does include elements of magic, with some of its characters using spells and psionic abilities as weapons. The original versions of the game were concentrated on role-playing, which subsequently evolved into tabletop wargaming.

Warhammer 40k is a table top war-game that uses miniatures (also known as figurines) as game pieces for infantry, air and ground vehicles – to conduct tiny military battles in your own living space, either at the kitchen table, counter top or coffee table. It can even be played on the floor or at selected game shops around the city. The miniature figures are placed on the gaming area and move around the “battlefield” – and dice are rolled to determine who wins the battles.

Photo: Nick T.

Different units on the battlefield have different strengths and weaknesses – and various bonuses and deductions are made to the dice roll depending on which unit is in combat. Terrain is another element of the game that is important. This often determines which units on the field can see other units, as line-of-sight decides which units can be shot and which are safe behind cover.

It is possible to buy elaborate kits from stores to build futuristic terrain in keeping with the science fiction theme, however common household items like blankets, cereal bowls, food containers and styrofoam cups can even take the place of alien terrain, habitats and environments!


There is a huge range of armies to choose from and many different units of infantry and vehicles to select within each army. Some of the exotic alien races involved in these little wars are Eldar (very much like futuristic elves), Orks (yes, just like ones in Lord of the Rings), Necrons (a little like the terminators from the film of the same name), Tyranids (very similar to the creature from the Alien film), Space Marines (essentially human soldiers) and many, many more.

Although there are the physical elements of the actual miniatures on the battlefield, I found there is also a great amount of imagination that is tapped into when playing a game. It very much takes me back to my childhood when I used to physically play with a toy, but there was much more going on inside my head – which made playing with the toy so much more engaging.

The scope of the game is massive, with additional armies available, so if you get tired of playing the same race, you can always switch to another one for a completely different gaming experience. Furthermore, when you have chosen which army you want to use, you can then paint the miniatures in your own style, which is a great outlet for creativity. This adds another level of interest to the game, on top of the actual gameplay itself.

Photo: Nick T.

However if painting miniatures isn’t your thing or is too time-consuming for you, it’s even possible to get enthusiasts of the game to paint them for you, for a nominal fee per figure!

Age ranges for playing the game stretch from 8-years-old and upwards, with some players even well into their 50’s and still very much involved in the gaming scene.

The game has developed over many years and the rules in particular have changed since its creation. They’re now much easier to understand and have been very much simplified when compared to the earliest incarnations. A demonstration was set up for me today and I was playing and winning skirmishes and battles within 45 minutes. There is a great amount of player interaction, and within the huge universe that has been created it is very similar to role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. The action is pretty fast-paced and no two battles are ever the same.

Warhammer 40k is a new take on the miniature wargaming scene, which has actually been around – well – probably since there have been wars. Great authors like H.G. Wells and famous actors like Peter Cushing have been fans of this style of miniature wargaming, which goes back many years.

Warhammer 40k is a natural progression for this exciting and engaging game, which has also created a niche subculture worth checking out, especially if you’re tired of Monopoly or Stratego!

Nick T.

For more information about Warhammer 40K visit this link:

And of you feel like jumping straight in and joining a game yourself, click here: