Note: this post was inspired by a YouTube video which I’ve linked at the bottom of this page. It’s worth checking out since we’re going to cover some of the same ground here.
I’ve written before about how one of the things I really love about Warhammer 40k is the level of customization you can get with a game you’re essentially building yourself, but alongside that, I’ve found there’s another aspect of customization that we can think about further. That’s the fact that since this is so customizable, there are pretty much no dumb ideas.
That phrase gets tossed around a whole lot, so I’ll nuance it a little bit here: if you’re a purely competitive player and the thing you like about Warhammer 40k is the rules interactions and list building, then yeah, there are some army lists and things that aren’t going to help you win. So if your goal is purely to win, then there are some dumb things you can do. That being said, Warhammer 40k is a game, and above all, it should be enjoyable for you regardless of if you’re winning or not. If you manage to get past that sort of win-at-all-costs perspective, there is actually quite a lot of freedom to just do what you want on the other end.
For example, the video that inspired this post was talking about bringing a full army of dreadnoughts. That’s probably a terrible idea in terms of strategy, but that would probably look awesome on the tabletop. My own silly idea is that I’m currently writing a Kill Team mission that uses Poxwalkers in a zombie destruction kind of scenario. It doesn’t really fit into any kind of lore or anything like that, but as a homebrew mission, it’ll be fun to do. Also, as a fan of things like The Walking Dead, I find zombie stuff is pretty fun. And again, your enjoyment is the point of Warhammer 40k.
So why does any of this matter? At the risk of oversimplifying everything, the hobby is full arts and crafts types who, for whatever their reasons, don’t play as much as they paint and build. I fall into this camp most of the time too, so I always have stuff in my army that I really like the look of but isn’t always that effective. For example, something about the plasma guns just appeals to me, so I nearly always have a guy carrying one. But somehow it seems like every game I play, I manage to destroy one of my own guys by rolling a one. So I’ve added something to my army just because I like it; not because it has ever helped me out.
All that is to say if you don’t make winning your ultimate goal, being more interested in the hobby through the painting and modeling can actually make the game more personalized and thus more interesting. So if you have an idea for a silly army, or a fun and weird mission, or female space marines (no controversy to court there), or whatever your thing happens to be, what’s stopping you from doing it?
This has been your weekly reminder that as seriously as we take it, Warhammer 40k is still a game, and it should be fun. I’m not normally one for sports metaphors, but back when I did a lot of sports as a younger man, the mantra was always “it’s not about if you win or lose. It’s how you play the game.” The same applies here I think, but the best part is that the “how” is almost entirely your call.
Here’s the video that inspired this post.