How to get into Warhammer 40k video games?

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The grimdark future of Warhammer 40k is a wonderful setting for all sorts of video games. Unsurprisingly, this has been the thought of plentiful developers throughout the past few decades, resulting in dozens upon dozens of video games set inside the universe.

However, finding an entry point is far harder. With the myriad of available genres, it can be made even harder.

The best way to go about it is to start with some proven classics and then make your way through the rest based on your tastes.

A list of the best Warhammer 40k video games to get into

The Warhammer 40k video games span many different genres, from real-time and turn-based strategy to first-person shooters and more. Some of the most popular and well-known games in the franchise include Dawn of War, Space Hulk, Space Marine, and Mechanicus.

  1. Dawn of War 1 – a classic and most beloved real-time strategy game that executes the world of Warhammer 40k expertly while keeping the game fast and fun.
  2. Space Marine – a third-person shooter/hack-and-slash game that successfully combines melee and ranged combat. Extremely punchy in its combat which gets enhanced by impressive environments.
  3. Mechanicus – a turn-based strategy game that puts players in the role of a Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus as they explore ancient tombs and battle against the forces of Chaos.
  4. Darktide – a first-person action game with a co-op focus where players pick among the available class options, equip their loadout, and dive into hordes of horrible foes in attempts to save the city of Tertium.

the Warhammer video games

Warhammer 40k video games have been coming out since 1992. The genre they are most commonly associated with is strategy. This doesn’t limit their diversity as anything from RTS to TTS is present in the rich library of Warhammer 40k games.

The Warhammer 40,000 video games cover many different genres, including real-time strategy, turn-based strategy, first-person shooters, and more. Some of the most popular series include:

  • Dawn of War: This is a series of real-time strategy games developed by Relic Entertainment. It has a strong emphasis on army-building and tactical combat, and it has been praised for its engaging single-player campaigns and robust multiplayer modes.
  • Space Hulk: This is a series of turn-based strategy games developed by Full Control and set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It focuses on small-scale battles between squads of Space Marines and the deadly Genestealers that infest the abandoned space hulks of the Imperium.
  • Space Marine: This is a third-person shooter developed by Relic Entertainment. It puts players in the role of a Space Marine as they battle their way through hordes of enemies on a variety of different worlds.
  • Mechanicus: This is a turn-based strategy game developed by Bulwark Studios. It puts players in the role of a Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus as they explore ancient tombs and battle against the forces of Chaos

With more than 30 years of releases, other genres have also seeped in. Usually with mixed results, but we’ll get to those later.

How many video games are there?

There are 62 Warhammer 40k games out right now and another 4 which will be released in the coming future. 

That is a considerable number but barely a surprising one, considering how frequently Game Workshop gives the IP to studios. 

Some of the earliest Warhammer 40,000 video games include Space Crusade (1992) and Final Liberation: Warhammer Epic 40,000 (1997). 

Since then, many other Warhammer 40,000 games have been released, with some of the most popular and well-known being the Dawn of War series, the Space Marine game, and the recent Mechanicus game.

It’s worth noting that this number is always increasing, as new Warhammer 40,000 video games are regularly released.

Overall, the Warhammer 40,000 universe has proven to be a popular and enduring source of inspiration for video game developers, resulting in a wide range of games across various genres and platforms.

  • Do I need to play the Warhammer games in order?

No, there are very few games that have direct sequels or ties to each other. Even then, there’s rarely an overarching story. 

The unifying factor is the universe but oftentimes the games don’t even take place in the same sector of the galaxy. 

  • What is the most played Warhammer game?

Currently, the most played Warhammer 40k game is Darktide. Darktide is a first-person action game with a co-op focus. 

Players pick among the available class options, equip their loadout, and dive into hordes of horrible foes in attempts to save the city of Tertium.

While Darktide’s launch was a bit rocky, developers are working on ironing out the experience. 

Sadly, this is not a rare occurrence for Warhammer 40k games.  The best among them usually start with debilitating bugs. This does make hopping into games that have been out for a bit more enjoyable, as developers would’ve had the time to polish them properly.

Do you need to be a gamer, or with video game experience to get into Warhammer 40k video game?

For most of the 40k video games not really. Aside from a couple of more strategy-intensive games, you should be able to pick up and play most of the Warhammer 40k games. 

Most offer very thorough tutorials for you to get the hang of the basics.

If tutorials themselves don’t help, there are plentiful online resources and creators to turn to. The popularity of the franchise makes games decently covered, more mediocre ones included.

Recommended video games in the franchise to start with and which games to avoid

With over 62 video games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, it can be overwhelming for new players to decide where to begin. 

Some games in the franchise are known for their engaging storylines, complex gameplay, and satisfying mechanics, while others are criticized for their lack of depth or poor execution.

The best Warhammer 40k Video game to get into

There are a few games that are generally regarded as the best among the bunch. Golden standards of both atmosphere and gameplay. Those would be:

  • Dawn of War 1: the classic and most beloved RTS. It manages to execute the world of Warhammer 40k expertly while keeping the game fast and fun.
  • Space Marine: a third-person shooter/hack-and-slash game that successfully combines melee and ranged combat. Extremely punchy in its combat which gets enhanced by impressive environments.
  • Mechanicus: turn-based game where you control tech-priests of Mechanicus. Plentiful customization and splendid presentation are the core strengths of the game.
  • Necromunda: Hired Gun: A first-person shooter with an impressive pace. You play as a bounty hunter in the extremely criminal-filled world of Necromunda, doing bounties while upgrading your loadout.

avoid these Warhammer 40k video games universe If you are a beginner 

Of course, some aren’t the best entry points. As well as some that are just downright bad. 

To avoid sour experiences as a Warhammer video games newbie, avoid these titles:

  • Fire Warrior: a mediocre and old first-person shooter where you play as a T’au infantryman. While the ideas found within the game are generally interesting, the execution is exceptionally subpar.
  • Regicide: mix of chess and generic turn-based video game. The two work poorly together, resulting in a game that wears out its welcome quickly. What makes it even more tedious is that there are only two factions in the game.
  • Dawn of War 3: While not as bad as the previous two examples, Dawn of War 3 is an exceptional downgrade compared to previous installments of the series. Studio tried to reinvent the game but failed to deliver an engaging gameplay loop.

What is the best Warhammer 40k video game? Is it good for beginners?

No matter how many years pass it seems like the answer stays the same. 

The Dawn of War videos game, an RTS that came out in 2004 is the best warhammer video game for beginners to get into, as well as seasoned players, and it hasn’t been topped since. 

The game manages to perfectly capture the aesthetics, atmosphere, and brutality of the setting without compromising gameplay.

While slight knowledge of RTS games is recommended, Dawn of War can be played by beginners too. Stacking up a large army of fully upgraded units can work well throughout the campaign. The toughness of survival makes it still tense.

When searching for the game, you’ll notice plentiful standalone expansions. They can be a great way to expand the game. In fact, we suggest getting the standalone expansion Dark Crusade. It gives a lot of options while being very fun in the campaign, skirmish, and even multiplayer.

Factions and units in the video game

The factions are pretty faithful to their lore. No matter who you pick they’ll feel like the proper embodiment of that faction.

  • Orks: this faction has a ton of units that quickly recruit, do well in melee, and shoot abysmally. Their structures all shoot at the enemies so the early game can be made much easier through this extra layer of defense.
  • Imperial Guard: As numerous as Orks but a bit better at range while being worse at melee. They have powerful vehicles to roll over their enemies, along with special hero units to help them.
  • Space Marines: Powerful and well-armored, the Space Marines are tough to get rid of. Add to that all the available upgrades they have and you will have a formidable force.
  • Necrons: Their units have a chance of reviving over time and move painfully slowly. Awakening the more potent ones takes time but is well worth it. Each Necron is exceptionally difficult to kill which makes them great in prolonged fights.
  • Eldar: Fast, numerous, and with psychic powers to boot, Eldar are fantastic at capturing the map. Their units aren’t as sturdy but can inflict a lot of pain at range. 
  • Dark Eldar: Similar to Eldar but even faster with better melee. No psychics but that doesn’t matter when plentiful debuffs are on your side.
  • Chaos: Similar to Space Marines but with a couple of extra infernal machines. There are some chaff units like cultists to use too, so you can pin down the enemies with anvil and hammer tactics.
  • Tau: Ignore the infantry, it’s good but it pales in comparison to battlesuits. These terrifying works of science can blast through any army no matter their armor, numbers, or upgrades.

Recommended strategies for beginner players

The key to getting into Warhammer 40,000 video games is to find a game that suits your playstyle, learn the mechanics through tutorials and practice, and experiment with different factions and strategies to see what works best for you.

  1. Start with a game that suits your playstyle: Warhammer 40,000 video games cover a wide range of genres, from real-time strategy to turn-based strategy to first-person shooters. If you prefer fast-paced action, a game like Space Marine might be a good fit for you. If you enjoy strategic thinking and building an army, a game like Dawn of War might be a better choice.
  1. Play the tutorial: Many Warhammer 40,000 games have tutorials or introductory missions that teach you the basics of the game mechanics. Even if you’re an experienced gamer, it’s worth playing the tutorial to get a sense of how the game works and what strategies might be effective.
  1. Experiment with different factions: Warhammer 40,000 has a rich universe with many different factions, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to try out different factions and playstyles to see what works best for you.
  1. Learn from others: Warhammer 40,000 has a large and passionate fanbase, and there are many online communities and resources available to help you learn the game. Whether you’re looking for gameplay tips, army building advice, or lore discussions, there are likely other players out there who can help you.
  1. Practice, practice, practice: Warhammer 40,000 games can be complex and challenging, but with practice, you can improve your skills and become a better player. Don’t be discouraged if you lose your first few matches or struggle with a particular mission – keep playing and learning, and you’ll get better over time.
  1. Setting AI to easy and giving yourself an AI ally on a map is a good way to get the mechanics of the game. 
  1. Go through the campaign as well, it’s a fun experience with plentiful scenarios that will help you grasp more intricate mechanics.

Information on army building and customization

One of the most enticing parts of Warhammer 40k is customizing your army to use on the tabletop. This enticing trait is also replicated in a couple of video games to great effect. 

Even the simplest choices can feel exciting and help keep the game fresh.

Army building and customization include both loadout of your armies as well as visual appearance. Combining the two gives a tactical edge to the game while offering options to add extra personality to the already great models. 

In terms of bolstering army-building mechanics and customization, we can turn to a couple of games. Mechanicus, Dawn of War 1, and Chapter Master have good army-building and customization.

Tips for beginner players to get started

A few tips can help you get into any Warhammer 40k video game. 

The first one is checking which genre it belongs to. Although mechanics differ, there’s usually enough common ground between games within the same genre to help you get started through similarity alone.

Some Warhammer 40k games also share these genres. Learning which genre or subgenre fits you the most is the quickest way to find more games you’ll enjoy and easily learn. 

Failing that, there are always video reviews. These can help you understand the basic mechanics along with some advanced strategies of the game. 

Not to mention that the videos themselves can tell you a lot about the game’s quality, which helps you decide whether to buy it in the first place.

Be careful not to accidentally buy a regular Warhammer game. While these have their own great games, the setting is quite different. Warhammer, also known as Warhammer Fantasy, is a setting with a wholly unique world compared to 40k. 

A few details such as Chaos stay the same, but otherwise it’s a new setting. The same goes for Warhammer Age of Sigmar which is a similar franchise.

Where can you play the WH40k video games?

Warhammer 40k video games can be found on Steam, Epic Games Store, and GOG Galaxy. 

These online game stores have most of the Warhammer 40k games available, there are only a few old ones that aren’t present on any.

Additionally, user reviews on Steam and GOG Galaxy can be useful when checking out a game not mentioned in this article. Reading the experiences other players had with the game could help you decide on your next purchase.

Is it worth playing Warhammer video games?

Yes, there are quite a few that are worth your time. These games bring over the overall grit of the setting while combining it with engaging gameplay. 

Providing hours of fun and some new pieces of lore to fans of all experiences.

There are plenty of other games than the ones we’ve noted. Gothic Armada, Shootas Blood and Teef, Space Hulk: Deathwing, and plenty of others provide a variety of fun with unique styles. There are constantly new ones coming out too, so it’s a great time to get started.


There are a lot of Warhammer 40k games. This makes sifting through them harder but also allows for more varied tastes to be accommodated. Whether you prefer fast action or meticulous strategy, the franchise’s many video game adaptations will provide.

Starting with some of the best games on offer is a good starting point. Their varied genres will also help you decide what to search for next.


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