40K vs STAR WARS – Choose Both

The Warhammer vs Star Wars fight is going white hot – and you are the winners!

You will recall that a year and a half FFG and GW publicly parted ways, ending a long multi-year licensing deal.


With FFG and GW now being the General Motors and Ford of the tabletop industry, their competing product lines are heating up in a play for the consumer’s hard earned dollars.  Let’s do a quick rundown to bring you up to speed:

Games Workshop:

A new energized GW focussed on the customer is here and hitting things out of the park, release after release after release.

Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition

The grimdark is the crown jewel of GW and is white hot with last summer’s launch of 8th Edition. The fans have embraced the new system, and it is cranking away on all cylinders. GW makes top shelf minis that continue to wow customers. A usual, they maintain an impressive weekly release schedule that keeps the plastic crack flowing.

Warhammer Age of Sigmar

The “new guy on the block” for GW is turning 3 this year and has found it’s sea legs. The General’s Handbooks revitalized this game overnight and it is starting to really emerge as a unique high fantasy universe. Ranges like Kharadron Overlords are showing that GW is willing to break past tired fantasy tropes and make innovative new designs. After a few years the fluff is finally coming along as well.

Specialist Games

From Necromunda, to Adeptus Titanicus to Blood Bowl, to Shadespire GW is bringing back the fan favorites with modern technologies.  The sky is the limit on these products, and they are getting GW back it’s roots in the boardgame / skirmish segments.




FFG has the Star Wars licence, perhaps the most potent on the planet and they are leveraging it into almost every sub-genre in the industry from tabletop to RPGs, boardgames to dice games, to card games. I’m sure more will be along soon.


Now a staple in the industy, combining gorgeous pre-painted models, fast gameplay and one of the lowest barriers to entry for new players. X-wing has been the success story every other company out there wants to emulate.

Star Wars Armada

X-wing’s fleet based counterpart – lets the thinking admirals duke it out among the stars. The miniatures again are amazing and fans await the games’ continual expansion.

Star Wars Legion

Here is what everyone is waiting for. Tabletop miniature wargaming at roughly the same 30mm scale of 40k, set in the Star Wars universe.  The minis look nice, the price point is solid, and the gameplay is fast, easy to learn and combines familiar elements of Star Wars Armada, Runewars and a smidge of X-Wing.


Pushing ahead into the DICE Masters genre, again FFG is pushing the Star Wars license into niche after niche in the industy. Again – the Star Wars License sells itself.

Can’t We Just All Get Along

The grousing and “my game is better than yours” has already begun online, and the arrival of Star Wars LEGION will only raise the stakes as 40K has a potent direct competitor for the first time – maybe ever. But as always I ask myself – “why do we do this to each other”. There is no invisible puppetmaster forcing gamers to choose one system over another, yet it seems that we humans love to self-segregate any chance we get. Tabletop gamers doubly so.

I say – try them all! Play what you think is fun – with no preconceived notions – and with no past legacy baggage. Remember that 40K just went through a complete floor to ceiling rework only 8 months back and is also effectively a brand new game. We’re all supposed to be having fun – right?

~We may truly be in the Golden Age of tabletop gaming now. What do you think of GW and FFG’s offerings as of now?


  • ZeeLobby

    Sigh… I just want to be able to enjoy both in their own vacuums. I mean I know comparisons will always be made, but I don’t need someone telling me the Legion models look bad (I love them) or that GW models are more expensive (we all know this).

    • Xodis

      Both groups are full of elitist so its bound to happen, its why I stick to terrain building groups mostly lol.

      • ZeeLobby

        Haha, amen! My group is pretty pro-game rules. So as long as the rules are solid, they’ll play anything. I already know the wars that will spark at my local FLGS tho…

    • orionburn III

      They should have lumped in Star Trek games as well to really get the nerd rage going. 😛

      • GWELLS

        We can’t have that, its too early in the year for another fan-base war, its only Feb.

      • ZeeLobby

        Lol. please god no!

    • GWELLS

      But. But. But…..they do, and they are.

      • ZeeLobby

        Hahaha. Yeah. Everyone should just know these things by now. Don’t know why people assume they’re teaching people about these things for the first time.

    • marxlives

      My big draw to FFG with the release of Legions is that you get the complete package wargame. Dog fights, Space fleets, and on the ground fighting. You could run some crazy tournaments all at the same time where the tournament is one big shared campaign with all three games.

      • ZeeLobby

        :O. I didn’t even think about that, but that would be pretty awesome. Good lord I hope they add in some more races/factions fast. My group has 4 gamers at it’s core, so 4 factions is almost a must if we’re ever going to dive deeply into anything.

      • MKG35

        Ah G.W in the old days when you could have a Battlefleet Gothic game then go into Space Marine to represent the landing then ending on normal 40k. You could even through in a side game of Inquisitor.

        • Jeff Daniels

          Yeah, the second or third Siege of Vraks book had optional Battlefleet Gothic scenarios which would influence the main campaign. That was really cool.

      • SacTownBrian

        If that’s what you want then play Battletech, there are actually seven different layers available starting at stellar strategic focusing down in steps all the way to their Mechwarrior RPG game. The oldest of the bunch and by far the crunchiest.

        • marxlives

          I do…play…Battletech. The only issue I have with BattleTech is the game needs more FOCs than just Mercenary or Draconis because most games end up being lance versus lance without tanks or infantry. Honestly O.G.R.E. does a better job of mixing up conventional forces than standard Battletech does. And while I love Battletech and particularly Alpha Strike, if I walk into a room and say Battletech or Star Wars what will people recognize. Which is why I will play Legions because it is a solid system AND a solid gateway system for non wargamers. You get them into the hobby through Legions, X-wing, and Armada and have them explore it through BT.

          Seriously though BT has the best system for depicting fixed wing aircraft on the modern battlefield. I hear the AAS and wished more systems would use it.

    • SacTownBrian

      The games are so completely different I don’t think they are actually competing for the same crowd. GW is more hobby oriented. FFG has made their SW games for board gamers. Plenty of room for both. I actually think that PP and Wyrd are more likely to be impacted by the Legion than GWs games will be.

      • ZeeLobby

        I dunno. I think these are pretty close honestly. Runewars was FFG’s first foray into the hobby side of tabletop gaming, and the Legion models come unpainted and in un-assembled bits. To say that this game isn’t hobby oriented is probably a mistake (I know plenty of people buying these just for the models). The reason I don’t think PP or Wyrd will be impacted all that much is because of their fantasy setting. I mean this is a sci-fi hobby-promoting tabletop wargame with an extremely well-known IP and following. If this isn’t a direct competitor to 40K, I don’t know what is… That said, I’ll still play both.

  • SonoftheMountain

    For me the biggest problem for the Star Wars games is the lack of choices. You have Rebels and Imperials, and Scum for X-Wing. If FFG would be willing to introduce the Republic and Separatists it would really open the games up. Especially in Legion

    • GrogDaTyrant

      But unlike 40k, FFG’s Star Wars games give you a lot more choice within the force selection. The illusion of 40k is that there is choice after you have picked your army, but the reality is the only real choice is the army itself. Many armies have few, if any choice, for a lot of their force selection categories. And many of those choices are no-brainers, or why would you bother? At the end of the day, all space marine armies are still just space marine, guard aren’t going to have any actual “elite” units or hyper survivable units, eldar are going to be quick and lethal, and orks won’t be anything more than a high model-count army of bullet-sponges.

      Meanwhile in X-Wing, I can opt to build a Scum list based around the cannon bounty hunters, Black Sun, IG-88 droids, pirate groups, Hutt cartels, MandalMotors, or even none of the above. And even a basic and simple ship like a T-70 X-Wing can have a variety of different pilot builds and setups that are ideal for it.

      FFG has done a masterful job of putting the choices within the factions, instead of making the choice about which faction you’ll play.

      • Xodis

        I completely agree, but still hope they come up with some Clone Troopers vs Separatist Droid armies eventually.
        Rebel vs Empire was always small elite battles where the Rebels attack quickly and then were gone, they knew they couldn’t handle all out war with the Empirical machine.
        The Clone Wars was all out war, Military Generals and Force Users on both sides with traditional war concepts. I think it would fit the theme much better than the Empire/Rebel concept does.

        • marxlives

          Vertical vs horizontal game design.

      • orionburn III

        You do realize the keyword system in 40k pretty much describes all the flexibility options you have in FFG, right?

        For the majority of people the hobby aspect is a major reason of why they get involved in GW games. You don’t exactly hear the masses getting into 40k because of it’s balanced gameplay…lol

        • marxlives

          Are kidding I love 40k for its balanced gameplay! Now where is that Eldar army.

          • zeno666


        • Tshiva keln

          But I heard they had a rule that specifically addressed balance issues?

          Oh wait, that’s just”wobbly model syndrome” 😁

      • Patriarch

        Thing is, SW Legion is far too new for anyone to have figured those combos out.
        After all, there are killer combos in X-Wing – over time we have had double Falcons, TIE Swarms, “Palpatine Aces”, Triple Jumpmasters, Biggs, whatever-now-has-Twin-Laser-Turrets, TIE Phantoms and probably dozens of others. Each one lasts until it is nerfed/FAQed or outdone by a new product. In the meantime there are lots of other “legit” combos that didn’t/don’t get taken competitively (Y-Wings with Torpedoes, TIE Advanced without the upgrade, regular X-Wings)
        Does any of that sound familiar to competitive 40k? It should…

        Given 6 months, Legion tournaments will have the same: Snowspeeders are OP, only noobs take Darth Vader etc etc.

        • Drpx

          So much this.

        • Logandarksky

          yeah im looking to see legion flare up and kinda go out like xwing did around here. we are resusitating warmahordes but xwing just didnt have the devotion of its players. meanwhile 40k is bonkers and sigmar is solid. I hope legion does ok but destiny flopped, at least here.

          • marxlives

            Ya, it really just matters where you are, X-Wing is way bigger in my area than anything else especially with its…legions of casuals.

        • zeno666

          Regular FAQ and Erratas that just aren’t patches for a rulebook full of holes in it.
          Tournament support.
          Well thought out rules.
          You get all the markers and stuff with the model.

          Doesn’t sound like 40k at all actually.

          • Patriarch

            FFG are a boardgames company, so their rules are normally set in a fixed structure. There are only so many ways my meeples can interact with your meeples. Table top wargames are much more messy affairs. Even X-Wing with its 3 factions and simple basic rules (Imperial Shuttles’ shooting is identical to X-Wings’) still struggles to concisely explain collisions and positioning. Last time I looked the FAQ was as big as the rulebook, and that included errata for typos and full rules changes.

            This is speaking as a big fan of both companies’ products. I love X-Wing and Forbidden Stars for example; but the latter game (4 factions, no positioning, everything on a limited number of cards) needs a fan-made FAQ of 8 pages long.

            Complicated games cannot conceive of every interaction, and can always be worded more clearly.

            Tournament support fair enough but it doesn’t affect me at all. 40k doesn’t use markers these days (maybe wound markers, but most people use dice) so doesn’t need them.

          • zeno666

            And GW is a miniature making company.
            Thus their rules are very loose and have a lot of holes in them.
            The “games” they have are more like playing with GI Joes (and look a lot like it as well) with a bit more structure than “Pew pew, I shot first”. But only a bit.
            Buckets of dice, looking for 4+.
            Its great for kids who are learning simple math. Because you don’t get that much further using tactics against someone who is just pew pew’ing away.
            So kids can play this against their parents.
            But if you’re past that phase of your life, its very hard to swallow this failure of a game system that they have produced.

      • Bakvrad

        Playing both games I totally disagree 😀
        I attended a xwing tournament a week ago, my second overall, and I noticed two things: tops were playing the same things; tops complaining about how some ships were staples.

        Also: my dark angel army list never look the same. They always have different style.

        In total: you are as much right as you are wrong, because you can field different styles in both games with the same faction. You just have to be willing to.

      • briandavion

        funny? I still see net lists for X-wing and lists which are said to be “not as good”

      • SacTownBrian

        What? This makes no sense what so ever. You are mixing up choice with balance and you are forcing comparisons that don’t exist. Never has GW stated explicitly that 40K or Fantasy, AoS, Inquisitor, Necromunda, BFG or any of the classic games are balanced. To compare X-wing to 40K is like oranges to peanuts, both great but completely different with plenty of allergies to go around.

    • marxlives

      With all the keywords and stategems business you could say 40k suffers from choice. Especially for new players.

      • zeno666

        Lots of choices. Still a crappy mess.

    • GWELLS

      Well that has to do with source material itself. They usally focus on two opposing groups punching each other in the face for a whole story. I think Star Wars needs to expand more with new factions beyond just an Imperial equivalent and a rebel equivalent.

      • Matthew Pomeroy

        those factions are massive though,. usually you dont get to see a lot of the variety since most of the stories are told from specific perspectives,. but the rebel alliance could easily have more options/species/subfactions than all of 40k and AoS combined.

    • 9breaker

      One of my gripes with FFG is the need for speciality dice and measuring sticks, and all those fiddly peripherals. Small gripe, but its enough to stop me really getting into their games.

      • marxlives

        I understand that but those components do a couple of things, 1) you get everything you need in box and 2) it really streamlines play. Reading hits and damage in X-Wing lands somewhere between 40k and Warmachine. You don’t end up with the 1 up massive dice offs and simplicity of 40k but you also don’t get the basic level math formulas that you have to do in Warmachine to read outcomes. It allows the games to play fast but stay granular.

        • 9breaker

          The dice, I can see an argument for. My gripe was mainly with all the other the measuring sticks and doodads. You need a separate one for movement AND measuring range. Worse is there is no easy round measurement that they use for distances so I could just swap out to use a regular tape measure (talking about those range measuring sticks).

          I can concede to the point where it makes measurement more precise, but I felt it was quite cumbersome. Mind you, I am in no way saying it is a bad game here. Perhaps it is just a matter of getting over that initial learning curve, but it was enough to put me off the game.

          • marxlives

            I got you on that, I can understand it with X-Wing because they want to mimic dog fights and they do a dang good job of it. The only thing I can think is that it allows the game to be new wargamer friendly where anyone can pick up the box and have everything to play. Most games come with an in the box ruler nowadays.

            I don’t think it is to be precise but then again I use my Warmachine template for the same reason but movement is different in Legion. You measure the distance of the leader and then everything is measure from the leader so you can get some pretty fluid movement on the table without it being precise. But in a way I think is a good way to handle it.

            I can imagine how fast my Warmachine games would go if I moved up the unit leader and officer and just clustered everyone within a command range bubble. Of course command ranges would need reduced and templates would need to go away, but I could imagine how this would speed up 40k games where templates are not a big deal.

          • 9breaker

            Totally agree on that. I saw a demo game played on YouTube, and though that was quite a creative way of handling movement in a tabletop wargame. My previous comments were generally aimed at their other games (X-wing and Armada).

            Again I understand why they did it, and I’m not saying they are bad games. But just to say they were not definitely a negative for me personally.

  • Xodis

    40K was a disappointment for me, so Im downsizing my 40K armies to a single one….maybe less.
    Still a GW fan as I enjoy Shadow War, Necromunda, and AoS, so they still get a chunk of my change.
    Been a fan of FFG since Descent, Imperial Assault, X-wing, the Star Wars RPGs, and now Legion.

    Its ok to enjoy both.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah, we’re pretty much in the same boat here, minus the AoS. Still trying to get my group into it, but 40K just left too bad of a taste in their mouth. They’ve yet to even try FFG’s SW games though, so I’m hoping the strong core rules will win them over.

      • marxlives

        I wouldn’t expect some of the 40k hard liners to play, because any other game is an existential threat rather than just another game that you play. What it may do is actually get more non-tabletop gamers to play. If only because the rules are super accessible, the price point is right and the IP is recognizable.

  • Txabi Etxebarrieta

    “There is no invisible puppetmaster forcing gamers to choose one system over another, yet it seems that we humans love to self-segregate any chance we get. Tabletop gamers doubly so.”

    But it’s somewhat merited here, even if it’s often taken to an extreme level. Unlike, say, video games, tabletop miniature games are very much community experiences. We’ve all probably wished we could get into a table top game of some sort but chose not to because there was no local community for it.

    This is an outgrowth of that. If a big, new, competitive director comes into the scene, the perception (on some level) is competition for players’ time and attention, competition for public spaces at gaming stores, competition for shelf-space, so on and so forth. You’re basically losing some of your community to someone else’s.

    It can be managed I think, and some people do take it to irresponsible levels, but there is some legitimacy behind it.

    • silashand

      Yep. People are afraid the new game will take away from their community, either by players moving and not being available to play the existing system or by stores focusing on only one or the other depending on popularity in their area. As noted, this is likely the first time GW has had a competitor with the kind of market presence they do in the miniatures world. Sure, there are others, but Star Wars has such mass appeal that it pretty much sells itself in a lot of cases. I have already heard a couple folks in my group say they will outright quit 40K when Legion drops because they prefer the SW universe. I will play both, but I can see why some folks would be concerned.

    • ZeeLobby

      Amen, I wanted to play Dark Age for so long, but no one picked it up locally. Things just die when there’s no support.

  • Simon Chatterley

    Are they competing game systems though?

    They seem different in both play and activity.

    X-wing is unlike anything GW currently make and doesn’t have the hobby element that GW has.

    Sure I know people that play both but don’t see X-wing fans burning down GW stores…and vice versa. The 2 seem to get along just fine with each other to me.

    • EnTyme

      Legion and Runewars are really the first FFG games to directly compete with GW IMO. X-wing isn’t a wargame as far as I’m concerned. It’s more of a hybrid boardgame. I don’t mean that as an insult to the game, it just didn’t appeal to me. Armada was a little closer, but you still didn’t have the hobby aspect. I was initially excited for Legion, but the minis just don’t appeal to me as much as they seem to appeal to others. I love FFG boardgames, but I find their wargames to be lacking. I really don’t see why both FFG and GW fans can’t live together in harmony, though.


      • Xodis

        X-wing and Armada didnt force the Hobby aspect on its players, but its still there and kicking. Players with custom ships compared to those playing standard always seem to be around 50/50 or 40/60 at worst in favor of standard. At least as far as Tournaments are concerned.

        • EnTyme

          Are you referring to national tournaments or local? I can only speak to my local scene where everyone seems to just grab a box off the shelf and put it on the table.

          • Xodis

            Both for me. I know the Nationals have a lot of custom jobs, they dont get any Golden Deamons like GW gives out but there is a lot brought to show off. Some really cool ones with LEDs as well.
            Local players here are on the low side, but we still get quite a few. Only problem I usually see is when the new waves come out since people grab those ASAP, and dont have time for custom paint.

  • euansmith
  • EmperorOfMankind

    After the last star wars movie I am done with that franchise.

    • zeno666

      And after watching that Space Marine movie?

      • ZeeLobby

        LOL. I melted my eyes out.

        • silashand

          The youtube video where someone merged all the Dawn of War cut scenes into a single entity was better than the Ultramarines movie.

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha, yeah. I watched that. Definitely better. I mean lets be honest, when everyone saw who was making Space Marine, we all knew it’d be meh at best. lol.

          • zeno666

            I actually don’t remember, who did make that thing?

          • ZeeLobby

            Good Story Productions I think. They made like a Lego Bionicle movie or something before it. It was pretty trash supposedly.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            The sad part its selling point was dan abnett wrote the script, and I was like seriously? I get that it was generic and cliché enough for 40k for the layman coming in from bionicles but still? I was upset that abnett couldn’t do better writing. Now the space marine video game had such better story and cut scenes.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. It’s hard with movies honestly. The script may have still been decent. It’s just hard to separate script from delivery. Especially in animated films. Honestly the sound effects, facial expressions, etc. We’re just all so dismal. I dunno. Maybe abnet was simply like “F Ultramarines”, lol.

      • Wasn’t produced by GW, though Abnett was involved in some capacity. It was a licensed product in basically the same way as all those trashy mobile games they’ve been making. Then again, at least 40k/WHFB are getting video games. Star Wars got EA only, one game canceled, another a mobile cashcow of the ugliest kind, the other is Battlefront which may be decent by the third entry. Maybe.

        • zeno666

          But GW only has who ever makes Total War: Warhammer.
          Sure there are other games, but they’re pretty much crap 🙂

      • EmperorOfMankind

        no where near the same level of involvement.

    • ZeeLobby

      Eh, just stick to the one-offs and avoid the trilogy. Rogue One was pretty good, and Solo will probably be alright.

      • Emprah

        You should be afraid, listen to Yoda.

        But there are always the classic SW to get back to.

        Anyway, the only thing forcing you to choose is your time and your paycheck.

        • ZeeLobby

          True that. The classics are always good, and the battles in the prequels without jarjar were always fun. Lots of cool stuff to build off of if you don’t hinge everything on the latest movies.

      • zeno666

        True that. And there is some good expanded universe stuff out there (FFG use some of that stuff in the Star Wars games).
        To me these new movies are more like alternatives 😉

        • ZeeLobby

          Haha, they’re just something for the kiddies. Which is cool, I mean they need their in to SW, but it’s all very white-washed.

      • marxlives

        True, the one offs are pretty awesome. Even with Knights of the Old Republic. I think this is because people love the setting but they want new stories, not a nostalgia fest.

    • Ditto. Canceled all my novel paperback preorders for 2018 (and I had them all going on Amazon halfway through 2017), deleted the ebooks from my kindle, stopped reading the comics entirely when it was a weekly ritual despite inconsistent quality.

  • Sonic tooth

    The star wars universe was annexed to the imperium during the great crusade. Xenos destroyed, both the empire and rebels crushed by a joint force of dark angels, Luna wolves and thousand sons. Jedis and sithcompletely destroyed. The end.

  • Matthew Pomeroy

    definately looking forward to adding legions to my set( I play armada and the rpg) I just find star wars to be able to scratch the sci fi itch for me better than 40k (who other than the great ADB has uninspiring writing) I cant stand the new 40k rules so hoping legion fills the gap, AoS, well its just ok, not great, but not too bad either.

  • Nyyppä

    Well, SW allows a lot more in debth campaigns thanks to 3 games dealing with different styles of conflict but 40k looks better and has awesome rules (right up untill the competition house rules ruin it like with the new system for who goes first). I don’t know, maybe it boils down to aesthetics in the end.

  • Carney3

    It does seem like GW did a good job with the rules for both 8th Ed and Age of Sigmar.

    And I do like how they’ve tried to make both settings a BIT less grim. With Sigmar and the return of Guilliman, now there’s a positive force in the universe instead of nothing but the inherently tainting and evil Warp / Chaos.

    But I really liked the Old World setting, the races, and the “fluff” of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, and I wish they hadn’t trashed all that.