Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.
There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.
Warhammer 40,000, known informally as "Warhammer 40K," "WH40K," or just plain "40K," is a miniatures-based tabletop war game released by Games Workshop in 1987. In its beginning it drew heavily on GW's previous Warhammer Fantasy game, and was essentially "Warhammer In Space," but over time grew distinct from (and much more popular than) its counterpart. Its tenth edition was released in 2023.
More than anything else, 40K stands out from other tabletop wargames because of its extreme darkness. Set roughly thirty-eight thousand years in the future, the most basic summation of the game's plot is that our galaxy has been twisted into an unfathomable horror where an eternal, impossibly vast conflict occurs between several absurdly powerful genocidal, xenocidal, and (in at least one case) omnicidal factions, with every single weapon, ideology, and creative piece of nastiness imaginable cranked to an outlandish extreme... and even it has a Hell.
The fallen Imperium
In the distant past, humanity held immeasurable power and glory, but no longer. In the waning years of the 41st millennium, the game's central faction, the Imperium of Man, is a paranoid, authoritarian theocratic state which spans the galaxy but is struggling mightily to maintain its grip on its territory. Its leader, known only as the Emperor, was betrayed and laid low by his most beloved son, and for more than ten millennia has been locked up in an arcane life support mechanism that anchors his soul in his withered corpse and requires the souls of a thousand psychic humans to be consumed as fuel per day. Since then, he has become the godhead of the Imperium, and the incomprehensibly vast Ecclesiarchy spreads the Imperial Cult and commits horrible atrocities in his name (but against his philosophy) on an almost-daily basis.
The Space Marines (capricious, fanatical, genetically engineered Knight Templar Super Soldiers based on the genetic traits and personalities of the Emperor's clone-sons) and the Sisters of Battle (the Ecclesiarchy's private army of equally fanatical, pyromaniacal battle nuns) serve as the Imperium's special forces, while the Imperial Guard, its at least trillions-strong regular army, takes disregard for human life to new and interesting extremes.
A futuristic Inquisition ruthlessly hunts down anyone with even the slightest taint of the heretic, the mutant, or the alien; those in its grasp can expect to be press-ganged into its service should they prove useful, and meet sure death otherwise. Its most extreme measures go as far as destroying entire planets, just to be sure.
Science and technology have scarcely progressed for ten thousand years, partly because they are treated with fear, ignorance and magical superstition, and partly because the Adeptus Mechanicus, the secretive, deranged machine cult that maintains the Imperium's technological base, generally sees innovation as blasphemy against the wisdom of the ancients and rightly fears the possibility of daemonic corruption of unproven equipment.
The Warp, a corrupted parallel dimension connected to the material universe, provides the Imperium's only means of Faster-Than-Light Travel. However, traversing it is incredibly dangerous due to its disregard for the laws of reality, the prospect of being ripped apart by daemons should a vessel's protections fail, and the requirement of a specific kind of mutated human to perceive both the currents of the Warp and the Astronomican, a navigation beacon controlled by the Emperor's soul. Should it fail, the worlds of humanity would essentially be stranded, and the Imperium would wither and die.
As bad as the Imperium is, however, all the other major factions are just as bad, if not far worse.
The alien menace
The most powerful alien races are all hostile to the Imperium and other factions in one way or another.
The Aeldari, an ancient, mysterious race nearly destroyed by the fallout from their ancestors' decadence and now splintered into several distinct subcultures, see all other species as inferior and work to stave off the hellish afterlife looming over them in ways that put themselves and their kin at the centre of things. The Asuryani, a society of rigidly disciplined warriors and psykers who live in vast Craftworlds, coldly manipulate other factions into conflicts and wars that will guarantee massive casualties, either to spare the lives of their own civilians or to ensure the safety of the soulstones that preserve the spirits of their fallen, because if they don't, the destroyed crystals doom their dead to an eternity of torment in the depths of the Warp. Their wicked cousins, the Drukhari, who live in a city in the Warp populated by depraved hedonists and mad scientists, invade worlds to slaughter and enslave sentient beings in order to inflict horrific physical and mental tortures on them, partially to satiate their profane and sadistic appetites and partially because they psychically feed on pain to prolong their lives. The Harlequins, servants of the cunning Aeldari Trickster God, guard a vast library filled with tomes documenting things that can drive mortals mad and work to enact prophecies woven by the now-deceased Aeldari pantheon millenia ago.
The Tyranids, an extra-galactic race of ever-hungering virus-like monstrosities, are rampaging across the galaxy in nigh-incalculable numbers. Guided by an animalistic but highly intelligent Hive Mind, their singular motive is to consume everything they come across in order to evolve and become stronger, to the point of completely stripping planets of their biospheres. The Genestealers, a highly-specialised Tyranid strain designed to operate independently and scout out worlds suitable for devouring, lurk in the ruins of abandoned planets and aboard the wrecks of spaceships to infect unwitting travelers with their Mind Control genes, then infiltrate unsuspecting worlds and create large Genestealer Cults who worship the Tyranids as divine figures and act as subversive agents who work to facilitate the Tyranids' arrival and devouring of the planet.
The Necrons are The Remnant of an ancient alien civilization who surrendered their physical bodies to capricious godlike creatures in selfish pursuit of immortal lifespans. Having gone into hibernation millions of years ago after defeating and enslaving those same godlike beings, they are awakening into a galaxy they see as rightfully theirs and intend to reclaim. With their minds transferred into the bodies of undying robot warriors made of living metal and incredibly advanced technology at their disposal, they work to scour the galaxy of the taint of organic life, enslave them or seek ways to reclaim their lost flesh.
The Orks, a warrior species that is as much a fungus as flesh and blood, infest every corner of the galaxy. Utterly devoted to a Might Makes Right mindset, they cheerfully battle anyone that might give them a good fight — including each other, if nothing better presents itself — because it's literally hard-wired into their genetic code to do so... and because it's fun. They also have a latent psychic ability that makes their ramshackle technology work better than it has any right to and enhances their aggression with numbers. Sufficiently large populations can turn into enormous hordes of bloodthirsty warriors and vast armadas of cobbled-together ships stolen from other cultures and "Orkified", which will travel the stars ravaging anything in their path.
The T'au, a comparatively small and young race with an insurgent cross-species empire located on the galaxy's fringe, are defined by their belief in the Greater Good, a secular philosophy that preaches the importance of acting for the benefit of the entire galaxy rather ahead of the needs of individuals, and that as many races in the galaxy as possible must be unified under their benevolent leadership. They readily use diplomacy as their first tactic and treat their allies kindly, but those who refuse their open hand are reputed to meet a closed fist of Orbital Bombardment, concentration camps and possibly mass mind control. They are aided in their endeavours by a large number of auxiliaries drawn from their many client races, the most notable of which include the Kroot, avian aliens who draw on the strength and adaptive traits of other races by eating them, hire themselves out as mercenaries and are rather sceptical of the T'au and their ideals, the Vespid, an insectoid race with crystal-based technology who are highly loyal to the T'au and want to find their place in the Greater Good, and the Gue'vesa, humans who are recruited to the T'au cause (voluntarily and otherwise) and whose mere existence makes fighters of the Imperium almost choke with rage.
The Leagues of Votann are an offshoot of humanity that settled in the galactic core and are considered a xeno race by the Imperium, with whom they have tenuous diplomatic and trade treaties. They are a race of clones that are shorter and stockier than baseline humans, and their civilization uses advanced technologies that, if the Mechanicus knew about them, would be considered tech-heresy on a level that would warrant their extermination. Opportunistic and committed to self-preservation, they will seize worlds for development and mining regardless of who lives there if they feel it's necessary, and will form Grudges against those who especially offend them which can lead to devastating reprisals.
The horrors of the Warp
Even more dangerous than the threat of xenos is the Warp, as it is permeated by Chaos, a deadly energy force that taints anything it comes into contact with, including people's bodies, minds and the ground under their feet. Chaos is most prominently represented by the Chaos Gods, four ruthless, destructive deities who are sustained by the emotions of living beings and the fervent beliefs of their worshippers, and who have been the root cause for most of the setting's darkness.
The Chaos Gods can only exist in the Warp due to their nature, but their fighting forces are a constant threat to the Materium. Chaos Daemons, fragments of the Chaos Gods given life and guided by the bizarre morals and motives of their masters, strike Faustian bargains with, manipulate and possess people in order to directly spread the taint of Chaos through their presence. Chaos Space Marines, heretics who have turned against the Imperium due to greed, lust for power, disillusionment, revenge, and other reasons, sow ruin and bloodshed wherever they go. Humans, mutants and aliens perverted into Chaos worship take up arms as cultists who fight as fervently for their new masters as they did for their former ones.
Most infamously, either directly or through rituals performed by cultists, Warp portals and rifts can be torn into the material plane from which the forces of Chaos can emerge to wage war. The most infamous was created by the birth of a Chaos God and nearly annihilated the ancient Aeldari empire, while the most recent stretches across the entire galaxy and has split the Imperium in two.
The models are divided into nine distinct categories: Lords of War,note HQs,note Elites,note Troops,note Dedicated Transports,note Fast Attack,note Heavy Support,note Fortifications,note and Flyers.note The 8th edition rules allow players to build their armies either as Open Play (basically bring whatever you want), Narrative (recreating historical battles from the fluff or themed campaigns), or Match Play (building armies along an organized structure with specific numbers of certain model categories, determined by a Force Organization Chart). There are six default FOCs, each with a set number of HQ and Troops slots as base requirements and varying numbers of slots for other model types. Match Play armies also get bonuses that the other play styles do not, and give the player certain amounts of Command Points which can be used during the game in various ways.
For each army, the models available in each category have both a Power rating and a base point value relative to their worth in gameplay, which covers the # of models and their default weapons and armor. The Power rating is generally geared toward Open and Narrative games while the points values are geared toward Match Play. The rules give the player specific options to change the weapons, armor, and other bonuses depending on the category and model or unit in question, and to add models to certain units. Power ratings will generally only increase if models are added to units while points values will often increase with both additional models and weapon changes. Players assemble their armies to meet an agreed-upon total Power rating or number of points per army prior to play, with the upper limits usually determined by the type of game being played.
Before the game begins, dice are rolled to determine the Mission for the game,note how the battlefield will be divided between the armies,note various challenges and model abilitiesnote that influence gameplay, and who gets to begin deploying their army first. There are twelve Missions in the core rulebook, six "Eternal War" Missions that are carryovers from older editions and six "Maelstrom of War" missions introduced in 7th edition. These have a general theme like the Eternal War missions but also use Tactical Objectives which give specific tasks that the player can attempt to accomplish during each turn. The first player to finish deploying their army gets to choose whether or not to start the first turn; if they do, the second player has a chance to roll to go first, or "seize the initiative."
Games have a maximum of 7 battle rounds; whether or not rounds 6 or 7 happen is determined by die rolls starting at the end of round 5. Each round has two player turns, each having five phases: Command, Movement, Shooting, Charge, and Fight. In the Command Phase, each player receives a command point; these can be used in various ways, such as re-rolling a D6 or activating a stratagem. Also, certain model abilities are activated in this phase, and Battle Shock (a condition affecting squads that are below half their starting number of models) is resolved. In the Movement phase, the models' stats govern how far they can move and how movement affects what they can do in the subsequent phases. The moving player can also elect to Advance a model or unit, passing up the chance to shoot to move it further. Anything being held in reserve can also be potentially brought in during the movement phase, so long as all such models are deployed by the start of round 4. In the psychic phase, the attacking player attempts to use psychic powers by rolling 2D6 to meet or beat each power's casting cost, with failed rolls, "Perils of the Warp," and/or the defending player attempting to negate successful rolls factored in. During the shooting phase, dice are rolled for each weapon being fired to determine whether it hits and then whether it actually causes wounds. In the charging phase, die rolls determine whether or not a unit can move into range of a target unit to enter melee combat. In the Assault phase, units pile into each other and engage in melee combat, with the player that charged in the previous phase getting first strike and then alternating between players. As in the shooting phase, die rolls determine hits and wounds. In the morale phase, the players determine the number of models lost from each unit and, if needed, roll a D6; if the combined result is greater than the unit's max Leadership value, the unit loses a number of additional models equal to the difference. In the psychic, shooting, and assault phases, if possible, the defending player can roll for armor or invulnerable saves to attempt to negate wounds, and can potentially counterattack in the assault phase. Characteristic tests, special abilities and features unique to each faction, weapon-specific rules, terrain effects, and other such actions also influence the progress of each phase. A battle round is complete at the end of the second player's Morale phase; the process then starts over again with the next round.
Players acquire victory points as they eliminate sections of the opponent's army from the game, when Mission-specific objectives are achieved, and when Tactical Objectives are achieved during a turn. All Missions are won by majority of victory points; draws are possible. "Tabling" the opponentnote is an automatic win regardless of the score.
Possibly even more important than assembling the models is painting them. It's generally seen as bad form to field an unpainted army, especially for factions like the Space Marines that have many different chapters and where a lot of the models look exactly alike, making painting them the accepted way to determine which particular chapter you're playing. Painting models to a "tabletop" quality levelnote is considered the norm, and tournaments will often require a certain level of completion of painting, but players can put as much or as little effort into it as they wish, although they're often encouraged to go beyond tabletop quality. GW produces painting guides and free online tutorials, but other tutorials are readily available through YouTube and dedicated painting sites. GW uses Citadel products for its models, paints, glues, and tools, and all of its painting methods and tutorials are built around using them, but equivalents from other companies are readily available, and tutorials will vary wildly between paints, glues, and other materials. There are many different ways to go about painting models, and settling on one is up to the player's tastes and budget and the availability of supplies... the general rule is "find what works for you and run with it."
Thus, 40K is just as much a hobby as it is a game. It's perfectly fine to ignore the game aspect altogether and devote yourself to building and painting the miniatures, whether it's for simple recreation, for display and competition, or even as a business. There are many artists and sites who do commission work for others, doing anything from simply painting minis to the entire process of assembly and painting, and from quality levels ranging from tabletop-quality to work similar to what you see on show cars. GW recognizes the best of the best through an annual competition called the Golden Demon Awards, where painters show off models that have been painted and based to standards far beyond tabletop-ready, to the point that they have become works of art.
Apart from the game itself and its rulebooks, faction-specific, setting-specific, and campaign sourcebooks, 40K has spawned a range of spinoff games and publications. Hundreds of novels and short story anthologies are published by the Black Library, a subsidiary of Games Workshop, who also published the now out-of-print comic book Warhammer Monthly and short story magazine Inferno. Marvel Comics now publishes comics set in the 40K universe, in the form of various mini-series, rather than an ongoing title. There is even a full-length fan film, Damnatus, which was approved, made, banned over conflicts between British and German IP laws, then leaked online. An official CGI movie, Ultramarines, was released in 2010, following up on a number of live-action shorts shown at various Games Day events in the 90s.
In the meantime, you can track down an old Games Workshop VHS release film called Inquisitor, or even watch Event Horizon (which has long been accepted as an unofficial prequel, since the creators seem to have accidentally matched the franchise's premise and style with remarkable exactitude, though not the time period). There is also another fan film being produced called The Lord Inquisitor, which will be fully CGI. Unlike the incident with Damnatus, Games Workshop is perfectly fine with the existence of the movie and will not be taking legal action against its production.
As you may have guessed from the incredible size and attention to detail on this page, 40K has a huge, diverse, and fanatical following, despite the niche status of the hobby. The franchise has a lot of appeal even to people who don't play the wargame itself (or used to play it and only keep in touch with the lore), and who only follow the spinoffs (many of which are perfectly good in their own right). You don't have to spend all your money to experience the inimitable insanity that is Warhammer 40,000.
- 40K Lexicanum and 40K Wiki — Two large and comprehensive wikis. Formatting and citation methods are very different between them, and the Lexicanum tends to be more concise.
- 1d4chan — Another wiki, a spinoff of 4chan's /tg/ board; it covers many games, but Warhammer 40,000 is highly represented. It features a lot of info about the game's fanon and fan works as well as the game itself. It's very informal in tone, steeped in 4chan's lingo and culture, and generally NSFW, so be prepared.
- Websites and YouTube channels featuring battle reports, painting lessons, discussions of rules, codex reviews, and other game-related items:
- Warhammer TV, GW's official YouTube channel.
- Beasts of War (40K hub), lots of 40k-related news.
- Miniwargamer Jay, codex reviews and painting tips.
- Duncan Rhodes Painting Academy, painting tutorials from a former Games Workshop model painter.
- Striking Scorpion 82
- Tabletop Tactics, battle reports and codex examination.
- Luetin09, in-depth lore and setting history.
- Adeptus Ridiculous, Generally for newer Warhammer fans (or people who never really got into the lore) with occasional book discussions.
A more in-depth look at the tropes specifically embodied by the various major factions can be found here, while the Expanded Universe can be found here.
Spin-offs and games of Warhammer 40000:
- Space Hulk: Space Marine Terminators attempt to cleanse aforementioned Space Hulks of Genestealer infestation. Has video game and tabletop game variants, and is notable for being particularly beloved by gamers of a certain age in its native UK, for whom the game was a gateway entry into wider tabletop and 40K play.
- Death Angel: A card game variant of Space Hulk.
- Conquest: An LCG based on the franchise. It pits different armies against each other for the control of a planetary system.
- Assassinorum: Execution Force: A 2015 limited-release board game in which a quartet of Imperial Assassins attempt to stop a Chaos Sorcerer from opening a Warp rift in the heart of the Segmentum Solar.
- Space Crusade: An old board game, similar to HeroQuest. Squads of Space Marines each played by one player fight against a mixture of Orks, Necrons, Genestealers and Chaos Space Marines all commanded by the "Evil Overlord" player.
- Astra Militarum: A loose series of mostly stand-alone novels about the regular human soldiers of the Imperium.
- The Beast Arises: An interequel between the Horus Heresy and larger 40k universe, depicting the cataclysmic war waged between the Imperium and the most powerful Ork Waaagh! to have ever existed.
- Bequin: A sequel trilogy to the Ravenor and Eisenhorn trilogies, it follows pariah Alizebeth Bequin, raised from youth to be an agent for the Inquisition.
- Black Legion: Previously known as the Luna Wolves and later the Sons of Horus, they feature prominently in the backstory, and are an essential element in the Horus Heresy series. They have an upcoming series written by Aaron Dembski-Bowden in the works.
- Blood Angels: Covers the early history of the chapter, later moving to cover their inherent genetic flaws (the Red Thirst and Black Fury) and the effect they have on the chapter.
- Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!! follows the titular Commissar of the Imperial Guard through various conflicts. It is quite unique as these stories are written in a tongue-in-cheek dark comedic style while still maintaining the normal grimdark horror of the setting.
- Dark Angels: Half the number of this Space Marine chapter rebelled during the Horus Heresy. These books follow the general idea of hunting their Fallen brothers and keeping the secret of their failure from the rest of the Imperium.
- Dark Heresy: A series of novels written by Sandy Mitchell based on the tabletop rpg of the same name.
- Dawn of War: Novelisations of the Dawn of War video game series, with particular focus on the Blood Ravens Chapter.
- Eisenhorn: A trilogy of books, Xenos, Malleus & Hereticus, that follow Inquisitor Eisenhorn's adventures and attempts to avoid being named a rogue heretic.
- Farsight: A duology of novels that follow Commander Farsight and showing the events which led to him breaking away from the T'au Empire to form the Farsight Enclaves.
- Forges of Mars: A trilogy of novels centering on an Explorator Fleet of the Adeptus Mechanicus and its assorted hangers-on as it searches for the lost Archmagos Telok and the impossible technology he claims to have found.
- Gaunt's Ghosts: The Tanith First and Only are an Imperial Guard regiment who had to evacuate their home planet Tanith after an invasion by the forces of Chaos. They were the only people to get off the planet alive, hence the name. With over a dozen novels in the series, and spin-offs, it has spawned a mini-continuity called the "Sabbat Worlds Crusade" inside the overall lore of the game.
- Grey Knights: Follows the exploits of Justicar Alaric and his squad battling various daemonic and chaotic enemies of the Imperium. The Grey Knights are an ultra-secret, ultra-pure, ultra-elite chapter of Space Marines dedicated to fighting the most dangerous threats that the Imperium will face.
- Horus Heresy: This extremely popular (showing up regularly on the New York Times best seller list) series of 50+ novels, audio dramas, and related books that cements the canon story of the Horus Heresy, the foundation on which the Warhammer 40000 universe is built around, set around 30,000 AD.
- Inquisition War: A trilogy revolving around an Inquisitor's attempts to battle an insidious plot hatched by his fellow inquisitors, only to succumb to corruption himself. Written in 1990, its first installment was one of the first two books published by Games Workshop and is based on many elements of now-defunct 1st Edition lore.
- Iron Warriors: Feature in a series of 7 novels as Villain Protagonists, a Chaos Space Marine legion dedicated to siege warfare.
- The Last Chancers: A trilogy of novels concerning the 13th Penal Legion of the Imperial Guard, led by Colonel Schaeffer. The regiment is comprised of Imperial criminals that Schaeffer drags through hellish battlefields to build up an elite human suicide squad.
- Night Lords With 4 novels, 2 shorts stories and an audio drama, these stories provide an Alternate Character Interpretation for the previous "deranged pyschopath" image of this Chaos Space Marine chapter.
- Path of the Eldar: A set of two trilogies. The first is a "Rashomon"-Style story revolving around three Eldar of craftworld Alaitoc. The second follows the path of three Dark Eldar warriors.
- Ravenor: A trilogy of novels featuring the heavily disabled psyker Inquisitor Gideon Ravenor and his team.
- Salamanders: The Tome of Fire trilogy follows the 3rd Company as they uncover a relic from the past, fight the Dark Eldar, and defend their homeworld.
- Shira Calpurnia: An Arbitor Senioris of the Adeptus Arbites who is the central character of a trilogy of novels.
- Sisters Of Battle: A series of books detailing the missions of Sister Seraphim Miriya and Hospitaller Sister Verity.
- Soul Drinkers: A 6 novel series about this Marine chapter who nearly fall to Chaos, reject it, but do not return to the service of the Imperium.
- Space Marine Battles: A series of novels about the various Space Marine Chapters' notable conflicts and battles against the many enemies of the Imperium.
- Space Wolf: Vikings IN SPACE with a wolf motif. 6 novels centered on Ragnar Blackmane.
- Thousand Sons: A Chaos Space Marine legion that makes extensive use of sorcery, has a trilogy centering around their most famous sorcerer, Ahzek Ahriman.
- The Twice-Dead King: A duology covering the exploits of Necron lord Oltyx.
- Ultramarines: The adventures of Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines, a mainstay of the Space Marines in the 40k canon.
- Watchers of the Throne: The Custodes and the Sisters of Silence, the Imperium's Gold-clad factions tasked with protecting the Imperial Palace, and their struggles in Terra after the Gathering Storm upends the order of things.
- White Scars: Featured in the Hunt for Voldorius, one of the few Asian factions in the entire Universe.
- Word Bearers: A trilogy of novels regarding a search by Dark Apostle Jarulek and his apprentice Marduk as they search for an ancient artifact.
- Warhammer Adventures: Warped Galaxies
- Brothers of the Snake: The adventures of the Iron Snakes Space Marine chapter, focusing on one Marine named Priad.
- The Emperor's Gift: A novel covering the First War of Armageddon and the Months of Shame from the Grey Knight's perspective.
- Fifteen Hours: A new recruit to the Imperial Guard gets his first taste of war.
- The Infinite and the Divine: Goes into Trazyn the Infinite and Orikan the Diviner's petty, millennia-long fued.
- Sons of Dorn: Follows three new Imperial Fists recruits through their training, and their first mission as Scouts.
- Titanicus: Although considered a spin-off of the Gaunt's Ghosts series, the novel is a standalone story that has little connection to the series' plotline.
- Lion: Son of the Forest: A standalone prequel to the Arks of Omen campaign books, talking about the early days of Lion El'Jonson's return to the Imperium of Man.
Published By The Black Library:note
- Bloodquest: Chronicles The Blood Angel captain Leonatos as he and his most loyal followers go on a bloodquest to retrieve the lost sword of Belarius.
- Deff Skwadron: Follows the adventures of an Ork fighta-bomma squadron fighting a war against another ork Waaagh!
- Kal Jerico: Follows the eponymous bounty hunter in his various adventures in Necromunda.
- Titan: Follows the actions of the Imperius Dictatio warlord titan and its crew.
- The Redeemer: Follows a Redemptionist priest and his followers in their never ending quest to purge the under-hive of Necromunda.
- Deathwatch: Follows a squad of the titular Space marines fighting a Genestealer infestation.
Published By Boom! Studios:
- Blood and Thunder: Follows the story of an Imperial Guard colonel during his captivity by orks.
- Damnation Crusade: Follows the life of a Black Templar, from his initiation to his final fate.
- Defenders Of Ultramar: Chronicles the titular ultramarine company as they defend Ultramar from an ork Waaagh.
- Exterminatus: Standalone sequel to Damnation Crusade. Follows Inquisitor Alastor as he investigates chaos corruption in the sector following the events of said comic.
- Fire And Honour: Follows the Cadian 71st hell hounds company in their war against the Tau.
Published By Marvel Comics:
- Marneus Calgar: Looks at the early background of the Ultramarines Chapter Master.
- Sisters of Battle: Has Canoness Veridyan (the cover figure of the first Sisters of Battle codex) and Novitiate Ghita dealing with a Chaos uprising on an industrial hiveworld.
- If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: A series of web videos, asking the question of what exactly would happen if the Emperor of Mankind could ask about the current state of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Hilarity Ensues as the Emperor proceeds to have some... colorful critiques about the universe as well as its numerous Retcons over the years, and begins some changes.
- A Day in the Life of a Commissar: A machinima series detailing the horrible day Commissar Steeve is having, and how he Must Have Caffeine but he can't because Nathan Johnson bought (and drank) all the coffee on the planet.
- The Lord Inquisitor: Animated fan-film.
- Damnatus: Fan film. Was banned due to German intellectual property law but eventually leaked to the internet.
- Exterminatus: French live-action short film.
- Ultramarines: CGI Animated official film.
- Battlefleet Gothic: Space Is an Ocean naval combat involving the major powers in the game fighting over the Gothic Sector of Imperial Space.
- Inquisitor: A 54mm scale RPG. Extremely detailed both in minature, rules and backstory and the narratives involved in the gameplay. The backstory discusses a factional civil war at the highest levels of the Imperial Inquisition, the most powerful organisation of humanity.
- Necromunda: A skirmish-level small unit combat set on the human Hive World of Necromunda, with mostly human factions fighting an underground gang-war. It is the Sci-Fi Counterpart to the Warhammer skirmish game Mordheim.
- Gorkamorka: A skirmish-level game similar to Necromunda but featuring Ork gangs fighting for fortune and power, to dominate the other tribes and lead the Waaagh! offworld. Considered a less serious game than the others, due to the Orks' role as what passes for comic relief in the setting.
- Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team: A skirmish-level game that uses the same models as the main game, with new rules to represent small units fighting each other in covert missions.
- Black Crusade: The fourth in the series, this switches the focus from Imperial heroes onto dark villians working for the ruinous powers of Chaos.
- Dark Heresy: Spiritual Successor to Inquisitor and noted for eight gruesome pages of critical hit charts. The game was created by Black Industries (GW's in-house RPG studio) but soon the rights were given to Fantasy Flight Games, which later created the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay series. Narrative revolves around the Inquisition, corruption and conspiracy.
- Deathwatch: The third in the modern RPG series that started with Dark Heresy, this gamebook revolves around the Space Marines of the Ordo Xenos Deathwatch, a special operations group tasked with defeating alien horrors.
- Rogue Trader: The first game by this name was the original name for 1st Edition Warhammer 40K. The second is the 2009 follow up to Dark Heresy, an RPG that is about exploration and adventure in what has been called a grimdark version of Star Trek.
- Only War: The fifth in the series; it turns the focus onto the Imperial Guard and more traditional warfare.
- Wrath And Glory: A new RPG, developed by Ulisses Spiele, the team behind The Dark Eye, and later the license was transfered to Cubicle 7. Wrath & Glory takes a more generalist approach, allowing the premises of all above games (and also playing as other species), while mechanically it goes the opposite to the rules-heavy approach from the FFG games, with a narrativist system.
- Necromunda: Underhive Wars: A skirmish tactics game based on Necromunda, developed by Rogue Factor (previously responsible for Mordheim: City of the Damned).
- Chaos Gate: A turn based strategy game from 1998, notable as it was built before the introduction of the 3rd Edition of the tabletop game which radically changed so many elements of the lore.
- Dawn of War: A Real-Time Strategy series created by Relic Entertainment. The storyline of the first game is a campaign by the Blood Ravens chapter to rescue the planet Tartarus from an Ork invasion. The plot of the sequel revolves around the Blood Ravens' efforts to regain control over the Aurelia Sub-Sector.
- Dawn of War III: A sequel to the second Dawn of War series, again developed by Relic Entertainment but now published by SEGA.
- Fire Warrior: A First-Person Shooter where you play as a Tau Fire Warrior. There is also a novelization of the game which greatly expands on the story and characters so much that it could be considered its own entity.
- Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team: Downloadable twin-stick shooter.
- Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine: A third person shooter created by Relic Entertainment involving Ultramarines Captain Titus fighting against Orks on the Imperial World Graia as both sides fight to recover an Imperial Titan.
- Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade: An MMORPG announced on E3 2013.
- Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus: A Turn-Based Strategy Dungeon Crawler, developed by Bulwark Studios about a Techpriest expedition encountering a Necron tomb world.
- Warhammer 40,000: Gladius: A 40K Four X Game from Slitherine (who also made the 40K game Sanctus Reach).
- Adeptus Titanicus - Dominus: A turn-based strategy game from Membraine Studios about the Titan Legions.
- Space Hulk: A game based on the board game of the same name. Three iterations have been made with the third releasing in 2013.
- Space Hulk: Deathwing: An FPS created by Streum on Studio where you take the role of a Dark Angels Deathwing Librarian fighting against Genestealers on a Space Hulk.
- Space Hulk Tactics: A turn-based strategy game that copies the rules of the board game, although with several spins of its own. You take control of a squad of Blood Angels Terminators that explore a Space Hulk and try to purge it of the Genestealers within.
- Warhammer 40,000: Regicide: A Chess Strategy game developed by Hammerfall.
- Dark Nexus Arena: A MOBA game developed by Whitebox Interactive.
- Battlefleet Gothic: Armada: A Space-Battle Strategy Game developed by Tindalos Interactive set during the Gothic War.
- Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2: The sequel to the above set during and after the events of the Fall of Cadia.
- Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor — Martyr: A Action-RPG game developed by Neocore Games.
- Eisenhorn Xenos: A third-person action game based on the novel Xenos, the first book of the Eisenhorn trilogy.
- Battlefleet Gothic: Leviathan: A Battlefleet Gothic-themed Turn-Based Strategy developed by Grand Cauldron.
- Warhammer 40,000: Darktide: A four-player FPS game developed by Fatshark.
- Necromunda: Hired Gun: An FPS set in Necromunda, developed by Streum on Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive.
- Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters: A Turn-Based Tactics game centered around the Grey Knights. It is a sequel to Chaos Gate, developed by Complex Games and published by Frontier Foundry.
- Shootas, Blood & Teef: A 2D Run & Gun from the developers of Guns, Gore & Cannoli.
- Warhammer 40000 Speed Freeks: A Vehicular Combat game centered on the orks. Developed by Caged Element Inc. and Published by Plaion.
- Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader: A CRPG that has the player as the new head of a Rogue Trader Dynasty, Developed and Published by Owlcat Games.
- Astartes: A CGI web series centered around the Retributors chapter.
- Angels of Death: A CGI Animated show set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, featuring the Blood Angels chapter.
- Angels of Death: Origins: A prequel series set before the events of Season 1 of Angels of Death.
- The Exodite: A CGI animated show set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, focusing on a T'au Stealth Team.
- Hammer and Bolter: An anthology series set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Interrogator: An animated show set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and centered around an Inquisitorial Interrogator's quest for vengeance.
- Iron Within: A one-shot CGI animated short-film set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, focusing on an imperial world being ravaged by marauding Drukhari.
- Pariah Nexus: A CGI animated show set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, focusing on a group of imperial survivors on a Shrine World lost to a Necron invasion.
- Aeronautica Imperialis: Air-combat spin-off tabletop game.
- Epic 40000: Uses very small scale miniatures (6mm vs the usual 28mm), allowing the players to field huge armies and extremely powerful units such as the largest Titans and Gargants and even Daemon Primarchs.
- Final Liberation: Epic-based turn-based strategy video game, with FMV cinematics that look like a fan film.
- Aspect Warrior: Isometric shooter video game.
- The various counter-based Board Games, including Battle for Armageddon (and the add-on Chaos Attack), Horus Heresy, Doom of the Eldar, Warmaster, Arena of Blood, and Relic.
- The card games.
- Dark Millennium: Upcoming RPG, initially an MMO until THQ's financial difficulties forced cut backs. An unconfirmed rumor claims it has been passed to EA for further development.
- Blood For The Blood God, Hive Infestation and Inquisitor: Obscure live-action shorts.
- Rites of War: Turn-based computer strategy game starring the Eldar, using the Panzer General engine.
- Armageddon: A turn-based computer strategy game, using the Panzer Corps engine, from Slitherine Games, about the Second War for Armageddon involving various Space Marine chapters, Imperial Guard & Orks.
- Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command: A Turn-Based Tactics game for PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS, in which the player controls Space Marine units to liberate Rhur III from Chaos Space Marine forces.
- Space Crusade: A board game somewhat similar to Space Hulk in which up to three players control a squad of Space Marines each, attempting to fight their way through a space hulk filled with a mix of Orks, Genestealers and Chaos troops controlled by another player. Although apparently set in the Warhammer 40K universe, including use of Space Marine chapter names, it was developed jointly with Milton Bradley and, as with other similar joint games such as HeroQuest, never makes any mention of the actual setting.
- Warhammer 40000: Glory in Death: An obscure title for the ill-fated Nokia N-Gage handheld/cellphone combo released in 2006. Either nobody bought it or it had a hilariously limited release because it's got a stub on The Other Wiki and is mentioned on the N-Gage page, and not a lot else.
- Warhammer 40,000: The Freeblade Chronicles: A Rail Shooter/Action RPG hybrid for mobile phones, dealing with a dispossessed Imperial Knight rescued by the Dark Angels.
- Space Wolf: A mobile phone card-battle Strategy RPG.
- Battle for Vedros: A "beginners-level" version of 40K introduced in 2016, with greatly simplified rules. Pitting Space Marines against Orks, it uses the snap-fit models from the old starter set Attack on Black Reach.
- A Warhammer 40,000 live-action series is in the making at Amazon, produced by and starring none other than franchise superfan Henry Cavill.