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40K Deep Thought – 30K Gaming Comes Into It’s Own

3 Minute Read
Sep 24 2014
Warhammer 40K

It’s hard to belive that in only a couple of years, 30K gaming is just as diverse as the 40K universe…

Forgeworld is due to release Volume IV of their Horus Heresy hardbacks very soon and with it, will come the Imperial Army, the predecessor to the 40K Astra Militarum.  As I started to think about all the cool armies that you can play in 30K, it hit me that we have reach equal standing with the standard 40K universe!

So now each of us has a real choice of two solid and thriving systems to play – each with their own unique army lists to draw in their fanatic players:

Lets take a quick look at the army choices for both systems:

Play 40K – It’s got crazy stuff like me!


Space Marines
Space Wolves
Dark Angels
Blood Angels
Chaos Marines
Chaos Daemons
Dark Eldar
Imperial Knights
Astra Militarum
Grey Knights

So, 17 armies!

Play 30K – because Primarchs – DUH!!!


For these, I am only counting the Legions who have full legion rules with unique characters and units, who are at least as different as say 40K Space Marines are from Dark Angels:

Emperor’s Children
Death Guard
World Eaters
Sons of Horus
Iron Warriors
Iron Hands
Raven Guard
Night Lords
Alpha Legion
Word Bearers
Imperial Fists
Adeptus Mechanicus
Imperial Army (imminent)

14 armies, but…

Pretty much every 30K player I know considers these codices “part of 30K” as the factions are unchanged across the 10,000 year span:

Dark Eldar
Chaos Daemons
Imperial Knights

And that gets the 30K players to a set of 19 armies, with some really unique gems in there like the Adeptus Mechanicus the 40K players only dream about.
To be honest it’s hard to say if either of these two universes is better or worse than the other.  30K is certainly more dominated by the Astartes, but then again, the 40K universe has six marine factions as well.  40K has more of an emphasis on “glam” and “whiz-bang”wargear and Lords of War, and much more potent psykers, while 30K is more about traditional boots on the ground, shooting, charging and “meat and  potatoes” play styles.  40K gets you more varied xenos, 30K gives you primarchs. The pros and cons go on and on…
The Choice
I think we have reached a tipping points of sorts here.  By 2015 I firmly believe that Forgeworld will have produced a 30K universe that every bit as deep and characterful as 40K and will offer just as much army variety and amazing models as you can get in the traditional 40K game.  To be honest the price differences aren’t that much any more between 40K and 30K and players/playgroups will have a true viable choice to make about what universe to play in – based totally on the “vibe” of gaming they want to enjoy.
In a very real way, 30K and not The Hobbit has become the “Third Core System” GW offers.
And I am always in favor of giving the consumer more choice.
If you could do it all over again, which universe would you and your friends play in?

Author: Larry Vela
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