Warhammer 40,000 puts you in command of an army of mighty warriors and war machines as you battle for supremacy in the grim darkness of the far future. In each game you deploy your forces against those of your opponent and strive to achieve victory in your chosen mission. Each of you will take it in turns to manoeuvre your units, fire upon the enemy lines and charge into combat, claiming contested ground and driving your foe from the battlefield. To emerge triumphant will require cunning, bravado and the luck of the dice, and through your conquests you can spread hope across the stars or set the galaxy aflame.

Over the following pages you will find the rules for playing games of Warhammer 40,000. The first step is deciding what sort of game you want to play. There is no right or wrong way to play, and so long as you and your opponent agree you can play in any way you choose. However, there are three broad categories of games - open play, matched play and narrative play. All of these use the same core rules.

After reading the basic rules and choosing the type of game you want to play, simply turn to the relevant section in the core rulebook to learn how to engage in an open play, matched play or narrative play game. These sections outline how to select your mission, as well as any other rules that will apply to your game. After that, you are ready to square off against your opponent and wage war. Dont worry if you forget a particular rule or make some tactical errors at first - the important thing is to have fun and to watch your collection of Citadel miniatures come to life on the tabletop. With every game you will become a more seasoned commander, and as your collection grows so too will the fear you strike into the hearts of your enemies!

Open Play

Open play allows you to play Warhammer 40,000 with as few boundaries and restrictions as possible. It is both the most straightforward way to play and allows for the greatest freedom in terms of the rules and miniatures you can use. Stripping away much of the framework that guides matched and narrative play, this style allows players to leap straight into the action and play out whatever game comes into their heads.

Open Hostility mission pack, allows you to dive headlong into a range of open play games.

Matched Play

For those Warhammer 40,000 collectors who want a balanced and dynamic gaming experience, matched play is perfect. The refined rules of this style of play ensures that no matter who you play or with what armies, your games will be nail-biting strategic contests. Points values are used to determine the strength of matched play armies, allowing the effectiveness of a given force to be fine-tuned down to the last bit of wargear.

Eternal War mission pack has all the rules you need to fight engaging matched play battles.

Narrative Play

Narrative play is the style of Warhammer 40,000 gaming focused on the storyline of both your army and its battles. With each game you will inject an element of backstory into your collection, while the personality of your collection will inform the types of games you will play and the missions you take on. Games are often linked together with the result of each influencing the next and rolling together into a grand storytelling gaming experience.

On this page you will find rules for fielding a Crusade army, as well as the Crusade mission pack for waging battles with your thematic force.
Points Values
Every model and weapon has a points value, which is found in a number of Warhammer 40,000 publications. Points values are similar to Power Ratings, in that they give you a guide as to how powerful certain warriors and weapons are, but they offer a greater degree of granularity. A unit’s points value is calculated by adding together the points value of every individual model in that unit and the points value of every individual weapon equipped by a model in that unit. Certain items of wargear also have a points value, and must be included in a unit's points value if equipped by a model in that unit. While it takes a little longer to work out each unit's points value, doing so enables you to differentiate between two similar squads equipped with different weapon options, as the points values listed in our publications reflect the fact that some weapons are more powerful than others.

  • Points values: Detailed measure of a unit's efficacy.

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