Help support TMP

"Interesting article on 40k" Topic

32 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Warhammer 40K Message Board

1,698 hits since 14 Nov 2012
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2012 4:25 p.m. PST
nazrat14 Nov 2012 5:46 p.m. PST

He makes a lot of assumptions about the game that are just plain wrong, and uses the word "liberal" an awful lot. That site is full of a lot of bovine excrement, as are many of it's Nazi-ish readers. I should learn not to read comments on the web. Scary racist stuff there.

Dentatus Fezian14 Nov 2012 7:17 p.m. PST

*eyes glaze* That's practically a doctoral thesis.

Coabeous Inactive Member14 Nov 2012 8:07 p.m. PST

nazrat has the truth of it, those comments were scary.


BigNickR14 Nov 2012 8:31 p.m. PST

That is an impressively huge block of text there… I couldn't even read it, it just overpowered me with it's bad layout.

the comments amuse me greatly though. To think how much misery and teeth-gnashing I can spawn just playing with my 28mm and 6mm armies…

I have a word for this… "SchadenROFL"

Space Ghost Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2012 8:33 p.m. PST

Wow…. what was that site? One of the most disturbing websites I've had the misfortune to visit for awhile. :S

Ratbone Inactive Member14 Nov 2012 9:48 p.m. PST

I actually liked the point made early on about the difference between nature in 40k and other sci-fi. I never really thought about how humans are besieged in 40k until that point.

However I didn't get past a couple paragraphs as it was hard to read as Dentatus said. And I definitely didn't look at comments.

28mm Fanatik14 Nov 2012 10:16 p.m. PST

This reads like a well written (yes, you heard right) essay for a pop culture scifi ethics/philosophy course. The observations made by the author are not new to those familiar with the bleak world of Warhammer 40K, of course, but they're right on target regardless.

Fact is, WH40K DOES represent an "inversion" (note that he didn't call it a 'perversion') of the liberal, inclusive morality of other popular scifi worlds like Star Wars and Star Trek. Its totalitarian nature is inherently 'fascist,' a take-no-prisoners, 'us versus them' mentality that brooks no compromise or any possibility of peaceful coexistence with the other races. Robert Heinlein's 'Starship Troopers' is also 'negative' this way. Notions of morality or humanity have no place when you're in a state of 'Total War' for survival or extinction.

However, what I disagree with the author is that one must adopt its ethos to become a fan. I'm a fan of BOTH Star Trek AND 40K (and Star Wars to a lesser extent for other reasons), but I don't need to reconcile my modern liberal values or sensibilities (which mirrors those of ST more according to the author) to enjoy them all.

It's only a game with a backstory. Don't take it too literally.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Nov 2012 10:58 p.m. PST

I agree with 28mm Fanatik, the article is interesting and relatively well written and thought out. I think it over analyzes the appeal of 40K which almost certainly is the cool models to most people, at least initially. But it is an interesting take on the back ground and I can't help but think that there is a part of the back ground that does appeal for the reasons he spells out.

After all there are more people playing Germans in WWII games than any other nation I'd bet.

freecloud15 Nov 2012 12:05 a.m. PST

"After all there are more people playing Germans in WWII games than any other nation I'd bet"

And Napoleonic French and Ancient Roman…people like winners.

As to his major beef that a storyline where humans don't win, where civilization is under pressure etc being somewhat "evil" is nuts Sci Fi should be free to roam, not forced to conform to a modern liberal intelligentsia worldview (or any other). Exploring a humanitynunder pressure scenario is valid.

Interestingly, the (US liberal centric) worldview that underlies Star Trek arguably is shifting to a more 40k reality the limits to US power are clear, the Aliens are going to win and get more of the planetoverse's spoils, there is a turning away from science to religion, an increase in fhe assaults on human rights.

But I think his major error is his (self serving) assumption that to play with your little figures you have to buy into the fluff hook line and sinker…..the clue is in the word "fluff" he's is over thinking this big time :)

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Nov 2012 12:56 a.m. PST

If people like winners shouldn't they be playing the British against the French and the Germans in Napoleonics and WWII respectively?

Space Monkey Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 1:02 a.m. PST

I can see the idea of 'Fascists In Space!' appealing to a certain strain of wackjob… but the appeal of 40K for me always tied to its satirical, fun poking, aspect regarding those sorts of nutters. Though, those elements of satire seem a good bit lessened to me in later editions (which I'm admittedly less familiar with… so maybe it's still there and I'm missing it).

Rapier Miniatures Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 2:44 a.m. PST

Actually 40k is a standard British Sci-Fi dystopia, American authours did the west in space with sniny and new frontiers, British Sci-Fi has a tendency to be dark and gloomy.

The easiest description of 40k is '1984' in space with power armour.

freecloud15 Nov 2012 2:56 a.m. PST

"If people like winners shouldn't they be playing the British against the French and the Germans in Napoleonics and WWII respectively?"

Winners until we beat them then :)

"Actually 40k is a standard British Sci-Fi dystopia"

Very Good point – maybe it can only be imagined by peoples that have gone through decline – exepect the US to have these sort of dystopis in a generation or so.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2012 3:22 a.m. PST

40K owes a huge debt to 2000AD comics, from Dredd and ABC Robots to Nemesis the Warlock and Rogue Trooper. It was the spirit of the time, the "no-future Punk" Thatcher cold-war era where the UK and the world was going to the dogs and nuclear Armageddon loomed on the horizon. This was the vibe that ran with the GW creative people at the time. It was a hodgepodge of sci-fi tropes tossed into a one big bin and when GW went corporate they ran with it and while most people have moved on to do other things, GW and Pat Mills still rehash the same old dystopian and pseudo-fascist ideas, like a broken record.

Aksakal Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 3:51 a.m. PST

Don't forget the Faith. Still feels very old school catholic to me.

dsfrank Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 4:20 a.m. PST

Rapier and PatrickR beat me to the punch while I enjoyed the article and agree with some of the observations

I think 2 things escape the author:

- first 40K doesn't share the 'Americanism' of some other science fiction becuase it is BRITISH and it was developed in the 80's when our friends across the pond were feeling the after affects of no longer being THE world super power having lost much of her empire over the preceeding decades.

- second and more important the 40k universe and back story was & is not an end in itself the primary purpose of all the GW product lines are to sell cool miniatures to collectors and gamers to panit and play games with. That the fluff took on a life of it's own is purely happenstance a happy and profitable one for the boys in Nottingham but not until recently (with the popularity of the black Library novels) was it an essential portion of the product line or marketing strategy

freecloud15 Nov 2012 4:35 a.m. PST

Thinking about it, you could probably have a timeline Star Trek is the happy, deocraitic Republican Roman I mean
Human expansion phase, later Star Wars is the shift to an Empire and the revolt of the periphery against the over extended, over centralised centre, and 4oK is the Fall of the Roman I mean Human Empire as the huge hordes of Barbarians are at the gates.

The next series then must be about a galaxy where some of it is in the dark ages, some beacons of civilisation still stand (A New Byzantium) and all the Xenos are now trying to work out how to rule what they have conquered

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP15 Nov 2012 5:16 a.m. PST

Also let's not forget that 40K (and Battletech and to a certain degree Vampire the masquerade) are dynamic/static universes in a constant state of turmoil, yet perpetually in status quo.

No faction can ever overcome the others, peace cannot be achieved because somebody will always start another Crusade, Jihad, Succession War or another 3rd generation vampire will wake up and be nuked before something meaningful happens.

It doesn't matter if you are The Emperor, Katrina Steiner, Kai Allard-Liao or Sam Haight, your actions may lead to temporary ripples, but they are meaningless because the status of the universe doesn't change.

You wouldn't want to be stuck in the 40K universe, but it really sucks if you know it's a gaming universe where nothing ever actually changes.

AndrewGPaul Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 7:53 a.m. PST

Every miniatures game with a fictional setting is like that, though – if the war ends, you've run out of game, and everyone fights everyone else (and themselves) so that everyone can pick the models they like the look of, rather than being forced to play the British because the French, Austrians and Russians are already taken.

nazrat15 Nov 2012 8:01 a.m. PST

Great discussion, guys, and good points across the board!

One thing I noticed (and is mentioned above at least once) that kind of throws a monkey wrench into the author's entire point is that Star Trek/Wars are TV shows and movies intended to tell a story, and 40K is a GAME which pushes tabletop battles. OF COURSE it's dark and everybody hates everybody! You couldn't have a war game where everybody gets along, now could you? Look at any big fantasy/SF game system with lots of fluff and you pretty much see the same thing-- Warmachine, Warzone, Chronopia, Vor, Starship Troopers, and many others all had the same vibe, because it's was and is all about the fighting. All the background, bleak as it may be, is there as a framework for killing one another.

That being said, Vor's storyline was so much of a complete downer I couldn't even play it, even though it had fantastic models and a very nice set of rules.

On top of all that, the game is aimed at younger males who think all the death, destruction, and mayhem is cool. He never makes that point, either, which kind of shows he doesn't have a clue.

Jovian1 Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 8:25 a.m. PST

Interesting take on a fictional universe, but utterly devoid of any real understanding of the true nature of the WH40K universe other than to make it more of a caricature than it is already. Other comments on the article are more suitable for discussion in the Blue Fez.

KTravlos15 Nov 2012 9:54 a.m. PST

Guys, I just do not believe there is any point is saying 40k is Sci Fi. It really is the middle ages in space:

1) Highly decentralized and overlapping authority structures? Check

2) Most localities are left to themselves most of the time? Check

3) The few common themes are a faith, and a vague imperial idea ? Check

4) Knightly orders that are independent of local authority?

If you take into consideration the fact that most of the time the Lords of Terra do not 1) interfere with local governments 2) actually do not really give damn how localities are ruled as long as their is some full they can call planetary governor 3) do not really care about how "pure" your take of the imperial creed is as long as it is not too deviant, 40k in a weird way is very conservative libertarian, ergo medieval in my mind.

Every locality is ruled according to its own traditions, and you could have anything from a "communist" society to a "capitalist society". The central government (Lords of Terra and Administratum) really are far away and you can leave your whole life not knowing the Imperium even exists. As long as the tithes are paid they do not care. The Inquisition is a different story, but frankly one cannot see the activity of the Inquisition as the same as the activity of the Lords of Terra.Nothing we have read of the Imperium comes close to the power and influence a 20th century welfare state has on its citizens, let alone a totalitarian state on its subjects.

I cannot see how 40k is totalitarian. The social structure is really feudal and these two types of social organisation are very different and incompatible (witness Joseph's II troubles when he tried to top-down reform his feudal subjects.)

ordinarybass15 Nov 2012 10:25 a.m. PST

Just finished this one. I found it an interesting read.

However as others here have said I:
-Disagree with his appropriation of 40k as being best-and-mostly for those on the right.
-Think he completely missed the satirical nature of 40k. He takes it far too seriously and doesn't realize it's basis in dark British 80's humor and pop culture.
-Am not comfortable with just how much he seems to like the dog-eat-dog world of 40k.

Suffice to say. Interesting thoughts scattered throughout by an author who mostly missed the point.

The most interesting thing I brought away from this was the thought that it wouldn't be hard for someone who didn't understand the history and satire of 40k, to come to the same conclusions as the author if they took 40k too seriously.

Thankfully most of us are too smart for that.

billthecat15 Nov 2012 11:55 a.m. PST

I could put my two cents in, but most of it has been said.
The appeal of 40K is certainly its setting and epic themes, originally defined by a certain level of nihilism, and more recently by a parody of itself by the current owners who are just moving their mouths to make money ("It's so DAHHHRRRK! See? It has SKULLS, and eeeevil middle-ages themes!") Personally I think any ideology has moved from right of center to left of center, but mostly from 'what would be fun and cool' to 'what will make the most money'…but most importantly 40K is defined by a feel of desperation and COMBAT. In the 40K universe there IS ONLY WAR!
i.e: There is a reason why 'StarTrek the miniatures wargame' never took off…
Of course, I suspect most folks playing 40K just jump on the band wagon 'because it's there'… it does command a certain level of market dominance (psychological monopoly) and many players are heavily invested.

PatrickWR15 Nov 2012 3:38 p.m. PST

Someone asked about what comes next after a grimdark setting like 40k. I think one answer might be the Fading Suns setting -- humans fiefdoms facing permanent twilight, huge areas of space swallowed up by alien empires, etc. In FS, the humans' capital planet is called Byzantium. IRONY! Give it a look … it's good fluff.

Don Manser Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 8:01 p.m. PST

Lavage haversack.


Wolfprophet Inactive Member15 Nov 2012 8:48 p.m. PST


Oh man, you just made my day. I'm gonna steal that one from now on if you don't mind.

And Imma go play a game this weekend. Just to anger those people more. A big one! 2000 points! Lots of little plastic menz dying left and right!

ghostdog Inactive Member16 Nov 2012 9:30 a.m. PST

I always though that both fantasy and 40000 warhammer were heavily based in moorock works, mainly in "runestaff"

Aldroud16 Nov 2012 9:39 a.m. PST

Only thing that stood out for me was he called 'The Mote in God's Eye' a dystopia. Whuuuuuut?

wehrmacht16 Nov 2012 10:44 a.m. PST

And it's "AstronomiCAN" not "AstronomiCON". Sheeesh. Couldn't take any of it seriously after that boner. ;-)


freecloud16 Nov 2012 3:51 p.m. PST

"I think one answer might be the Fading Suns setting -- humans fiefdoms facing permanent twilight, huge areas of space swallowed up by alien empires, etc. In FS, the humans' capital planet is called Byzantium."

I've been thinking about a Byzantium themed outfit for 40K, easier IMO now you can ally stuff up. The central army is probably SM, its a pity Scouts are so expensive for their stats as they would make ideal planetary (ie regional) regulars so these are best done by IG, but of course they frequently used mercenaries too.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.