Games Workshop have quite the thing going with Warhammer. Not all are adequately acquainted with the tabletop games and their creators, but combined with their video game counterparts, the lavish, but also brutish world has been entertaining many people for decades. With Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3 releasing, the franchise is being shot into the limelight once more.
The beauty of a franchise like this is that there is no shortage of games, whether tabletop or otherwise, for its loyal fans. From Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay to the Dawn of War series, there is an abundance of titles, all with their own quirks.
Some of us may not be jumping onto the Dawn of War 3 bandwagon yet for a number of reasons, but if you're looking to delve back into the universe and haven't snapped up the most recent title, here are six that will whet your appetite.
What better way to jump back into the franchise by starting right here. It may be nearly 13 years old (still young by Warhammer standards) but the first Dawn of War is well worth the return trip.
The Space and Chaos Marines, Eldar and Orks all battle it out in order to capture and defend specific points in this very well received title. Dawn of War kept its fanbase alive for a good few years through its three expansions -- Winter Assault, Dark Crusade and Soulstorm, and the base game itself nailed the type of content that Warhammer fans craved.
Turn-based strategy -- it's something that people either seem to love or hate. I'm strangely in the middle, but one thing is certain, Dawn of War does it right. Combat ability can be influenced by squad morale, and building specific research centers and the like will help to unlock even more advanced buildings. All of this ties together to create a timeless game. Remind yourself what made Dawn of War so brilliant in the first place and boot up this decade-old title.
We may as well continue from where we left off and continue on with the sequel. And while it was seen as less of a smash hit in comparison to the first, that doesn't necessarily make it a bad game by any stretch of the imagination.
The building of bases was completely removed in Dawn of War 2 and the focus on units was heightened. Cover became a primary mechanic so new weapon options were added to compliment this addition. It raised a few eyebrows initially, and it was more simplistic than the heavy RTS influences of the first, but the strategy element was still part and parcel of the Dawn of War name and Warhammer franchise as a whole.
Perhaps a shiny coat of paint is all that this sequel needed to gain a positive reception, which on the whole it did, and if it acted as a passable RTS, which is also did, then it's worthy of a nostalgia trip if you're in need of a quick fix.
Jump forward a few years from Dawn of War and we have Space Marine.
This title radically changes the formula and brings third-person action into the mix. While shooting plays a big part in Space Marine, melee is, in fact, a huge focus.
The game has a wide variety of weapons with which you can rip your opponents to shreds. The Thunder Hammer, for example, uses its energy on impact, making killing blows all the more sweeter. The Power Axe, on the other hand, is able to disrupt solid matter and tear through extremely strong armor. It's a Warhammer game that allows you to get a little close and personal in comparison to the RTS titles.
Space Marine obviously feels slightly different to its counterparts, but it was still well received, which of course means that it's a game that is well worth revisiting. If you fancy scratching that Warhammer itch as a Marine who can obliterate enemy after enemy with some mighty fine weaponry, then this is your game.
Now jumping forward to 2014, Armageddon rekindles the love for RTS in the franchise.
In an age where gamers are relentlessly searching for retro-style games, Armageddon fits unusually well in the current market. Its gameplay is influenced by the somewhat outdated Panzer General series but the turn-based strategy and hex-based gameplay that's on show here has been crafted almost to perfection.
Leading the Imperial forces of the Armageddon Steel Legion, as well as Space Marines, players will need to learn a plethora of tactical mechanics in order to come out on top. Giving you access to thirty different scenarios, Armageddon's variety is something to behold.
It is another title that was well received by loyal fans, due to the very fact that it centralizes the core gameplay of the Games Workshop universe. A huge amount of units at your command means that there's always something worth defending or attacking in this one.
The newest game on the list is probably the most different -- the reason being that Vermintide is a multiplayer only title. Upon hearing that you may be inclined to grumble and groan, and ask how this game is worthy to be on a list of Warhammer games we should revisit, but on the whole, it received a positive reception from critics and fans alike.
Anyone who is familiar with Valve's Left 4 Dead games will have a vague idea of what to expect from Vermintide. You and three other friends will be fighting off hordes of the Skaven, a hideous vermin-like race of monsters in first-person gameplay. An element is also put into play as the rolling of dice is available upon completion of a match, determining what types of weapons players will receive.
Games Workshop allied themselves with Vermintide's developer to ensure it was faithful to the Warhammer universe, and this certainly helped the game to elevate its sales upon release. So for something a little more modernized than your classic RTS, give the latest entry in the series (well, after Dawn of War 3) a go.
The most ludicrous game of them all obviously had to be saved for last. While not your stereotypical Warhammer title, or even sports game for that matter, we have Blood Bowl.
Acting as a fantasy-style parody of American Football, Blood Bowl takes the races of the Warhammer franchise and lets them battle it out in the field. The aim of the game is to either score the most touchdown, therefore recreating the world-renowned sport, or to violently kill every member of the opposing team. The way in which you ensure victory is up to you, but it can be done in either real-time or turn-based strategy gameplay.
Blood Bowl received a better reception on PC than on consoles but a sequel was released which fared a little better on consoles. Maybe they just weren't ready for Warhammer to whip this out of the bag, but it's a title that can provide some hilarious gameplay as well as a wildly different take on the universe.
From tactical strategy to crazy antics on a football field, Warhammer has plenty of games to keep both fans and newcomers alike busy. Dawn of War 3 is ready and waiting for eager hands to purchase and play, but if you still haven't got it yet, then by now you should hopefully have picked another title to get stuck into.
Games Workshop has created something remarkable in Warhammer due to the sheer amount of content on offer. We've gone through a number of video game options, but tabletop games are rife in the market right now. Why not get your buddies together around your dinner table and get to work? Either way, however you like to experience Warhammer, be sure to smack those Orks extra hard.