GTM #210 - Warhammer 40,000: Dark Imperium
Reviewed by Thomas Riccardi

In the 41st Millennium, mankind knows only war and conflict. On a distant planet, the pride of the Imperium clashes against the servants of a rotting god. Will you keep these forces of chaos at bay, or surrender to their blight? This is the subject of Games Workshop’s latest iteration of Warhammer 40,000, Dark Imperium.

I’ve covered more than a few boxed games for Games Workshop, however, this one is as good as it gets! Let’s start with the shining star of any boxed set — the miniatures. There’s a whopping 52 miniatures in the core set! You heard right! 52 miniatures from two factions — the Imperial Space Marines and the Death Guard. There are numerous space marines, including a captain, lieutenants, and even a three-man interceptor squad complete with jump packs! The Death Guard rounds out the remainder of the set with miniatures ranging from the lowly pox walkers to a Lord of Contagion. Also included are instructions on painting the different factions, from the Ultramarines to my favorite, the Space Wolves, plus additional crunchy bits, like miniature bases and a clear range ruler.

Dark Imperium comes with several rulebooks, including a hardback tome of the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000, and background material chronicling the Space Marines and the Death Guard, complete with stats for each model. There’s also an instruction manual on how to assemble each of the minis, as well as an 8-page rules sheet detailing everything you’ll need to wage war on distant planets.

The new Warhammer 40,000 rulebook is a 280-page masterpiece packed with all the information anyone needs to leap into far-flung battles in the 41st Millennium. Aside from extensive background information covering the events in the wake of the Gathering Storm, each of the factions of the Imperium are covered extensively, from the intrepid Space Marines and Imperial Guard, to the forces of Chaos and the threat of the Xenos. One of the forces that hasn’t been fully addressed in Warhammer 40,000 in quite a while (and I was thrilled to see in this rulebook) were the Eldar Harlequins. This offshoot of the Eldar worships Cegorach, the Laughing God, as they cleave through their enemies on the battlefield with style and grace. You’ll also find rules for advanced play, such as Planetstrike (assaulting your foes from the depths of space) and battlefield terrain.

One exciting element to the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook is that it introduces three different ways to play — open, narrative, and matched. In Open Play, players simply choose a faction and rumble against other players in your FLGS. Narrative Play allows you to engage in the deep-rooted stories in this rich and vast universe (with seven scenarios), while Matched Play focuses on players devising a point-based army to field on the battlefield to crush your foes.

If you’re picking up this boxed set a suggestion would also to be to acquire a Citadel Essentials box as well, which covers assembling and painting your miniatures so you can showcase ‘em at your local game store. Included in the box is plastic glue, cutters, a starter brush, and twelve paints (one being a textured paint and the other a shading wash). This is a great way to get started in the hobby, as you can also pad this out with smaller paint sets that are tailored to the factions in the game.

With a hardback rulebook, tons of miniatures, and everything you need to play, Dark Imperium is a worthy addition to any gamer's library. For more information on this and other products head over to www.games-workshop.com and get ready to fight for the emperor!

Fast Facts:

  • Number of Players: 2
  • Age: 14 +
  • Duration: 60-180 Minutes
When not writing or playing games, Thomas Riccardi can be found in Sacramento preparing for the day when zombies, vampires, or aliens invade.