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Warhammer Fantasy. 40K's older brother. Simple pros/cons breakdown, since I'm lazy.
In conclusion: 7.5 out of 10; it could be 8.5 or even 9, but Games Workshop doesn't care about it because they're too busy trying to get out Codex: Some Space Marines Who Are Only A Very Tiny Bit Different From Other Space Marines.
No, I'm not bitter. Why would you think that?
I know i am in the minority and i might sound heretical but i find myself more interested in the original fantasy battle version of Warhammer than its space opera counterpart 40k for the following reasons.
1. The empire of Karl Franz is more nuanced and likeable than the pretentious nazi-puritans of the imperium. (trigger happy Witch Hunters being the main exception)
2. Skaven are the most hilarious villains in most gaming universe next to the orks.
3. The Dwarf Trollslayers and Giantslayers. Chaotic Good and Hot-Blooded barbarian dwarves with a mohawk who regularly kill monsters much bigger than them.
4. Some of the best vampires in any canon.
5. Fantasy chaos warriors are blood thirsty psychotic Vikings who listen to bands like Slayer and venerate their ancestors >>> 40k chaos space marines are like edgy teenagers who listen to bands like Seether and have daddy issues and they are Sith and Mandalorian fanboys.
6. Landmarks and geography with history and character all over the place. 40k has few notable places that feature continually in the fluff (this is due to 40k's vastly larger galactic scope).
7. Fantasy has no invincible Mary Sues that I can think of (vs 40k and its several Matt Ward creations)
8. Dark elves more nuanced, seductive and interesting than the campy edgelords dark eldar
9. 40k is too fixated on Space Marines, Chaos and Orks while other cool factions (Necrons, Tau & Kroot and Tyranids) get the shaft.
10. Fantasy was a better tabletop game. It had its issues with barriers to entry but once you got over those it was amazing. 40k was/is more or less decided during list building (same with age of sigmar); fantasy was decided on the battlefield. I feel mentally drained after a 4 hour 3000 PT game of fantasy. I am usually thinking about stuff I have to do at home an hour into a game of 40k.
11. Fantasy seems like an amazing place to run a detailed and darkly humurous D&D style RPG. The villains are real people and not over the top screaming warlords turned sour by the system. All these groups just fighting to survive on one planet. Itís got weight.
12. Fantasy is a light hearted dark comedy, kinda like what if you put Elric of Melnibone, Berserk and Monty Python in a blender, while 40k tries too hard to be grimdark and controversial.
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