Warhammer 40K is Epic!

Welcome Wargamers and Hobbyists to my Memorium, and to a new home for some of my gaming┬áposts. I am very pleased to be contributing to the first class melting pot that is ‘Creative Twilight’. Let the games begin…

As it seems like an age since I posted anything exceeding 140 characters, I should have plenty to talk about, however the pace at which the world of miniature wargaming is evolving is such that it is quite a challenge to keep my mind on any one element long enough to form a cohesive sentence. However, I am viewing the opportunity I have been granted by this new platform for my musings as a chance to vent on my favourite topics until my fingers fall off. I hope I at least manage to make some kind of sense.

So why is 40K Epic? What in the Age of Sigmar does that even mean?!

Well my friends, I have been playing at toy soldiers for quite some time now, over twenty two years and counting, and the first ‘proper’ tabletop wargame I ever played was…Space Marine by Games Workshop! later known as ‘Epic 40,000’, and even later known as ‘Epic Armageddon’. I loved this game dearly, and though I didn’t actually have that many chances to play, I mustered fair sized armies of both Dark Angels Space Marines with supporting Titan Legion, and a plethora of Orks, backed by Gargants and a veritable tide of small bouncing vehicles loaded with frothing loonies.

The very first issue of White Dwarf magazine I ever bought was number 160, and as well as cool things like Man O’War and 40K, the battle report was Space Marine: The Assault on Barbarius. This was a battle between the filthy Eldar, and the Glorious Imperial Guard, supported by a Reaver Titan of the Legio Metalica, and a Company of Ultramarines Scouts mounted in Thunderhawk Gunships. Needless to say it was very cool, and I re-read that report many times over the years that followed.

Though I have since sold and traded away all my Epic models and terrain (and a very hard decision it was to make I can tell you, but they hadn’t seen action in a decade, and were unlikely to again I am sad to say), I have kept one thing from Epic, and this is the ‘White Dwarf Presents: Space Marine’ supplement book, the heart of which is four excellent battle reports.

SMBSo why on earth am I rambling about Epic? Well, if we consider for a few moments where we stand at the moment with Warhammer 40,000, and the way that Games Workshop are continually expanding the range and scale of the models, and if we consider also when we first saw the revelations in 40K gaming that began with Apocalypse and Forge World, and then evolved with Stronghold Assault and Escalation, we start to notice something that is really quite obvious.

At this present moment, if we do a search on the Games Workshop site for Epic Armageddon, do you know what we get?

Your search for: epic armageddon did not match any products.

And why is this? It’s because I believe that Games Workshop has a vision. It’s a vision that began way back in the mists of time with the very first Titan marching out to war in 6mm scale, and it has become something spectacular…now, 40K is Epic.

Just think about it. The kind of developments we have seen since the arrival of the now venerable Baneblade kit have all been moving in one direction. We have seen Superheavy Tanks – my favourite memory of which being in that first Space Marine Battle Report as the deadly Eldar Fire Prisms popped up over the ruined cityscape to be blasted to oblivion by the uber cool squadron of Shadowswords waiting for them to show themselves – Superheavy Walkers, Gargantuan Creatures, and even Superheavy flyers, they are all now playable in Warhammer 40,000.

And it keeps coming. Where did we first see all these great big armoured vehicles? Space Marine and Epic. Where did we first see Eldar Fire Prisms? Wave Serpents with shields that they could shoot at you? Epic. Doomweavers? Epic again. And what about Knights??? Yep, Epic. Drop Pods, Basilisks, Stompas, Bombards, Bio-titans, Deathstrike Missile Launchers! And do you know what it was that finally nailed it for me, having such fond memories of Epic? No, it wasn’t the Reaver Titan, or even (Emperor forgive me) the Warlord Titan – and I don’t care what anyone says, the Mars Pattern with the rounded carapace is amazing and much better than the square shouldered Warlord GW replaced it with in Epic – it was Khorne Lord of Battles…I mean, Lord of Skulls!

This was a truly iconic Epic miniature, as were all the Daemon Engines, and seeing such things brought to the 40K tabletop leads me to believe that Games Workshop and Forgeworld will continue to plunder old-new vehicles from the Space Marine/Epic ranges until their vision is complete – Warhammer 40,000 fought on an Epic scale! I mean, look at all the massive formations we now have access to?!

Our armies are being organized into the kinds of formations that used to be used to select and organize Epic armies back in the early days back when I first started out in this hobby – Company level formations, Detachments, Special Cards (Lords of War) – and the rules for putting our models on the table are getting looser and looser, so that we have the freedom to play some really big and crazy battles, until what we have looks just like the old Epic Battle Reports I am so fond of.

So here it is, my conclusion. From an old gamer to you all, if you fancy an opportunity to maybe, just maybe, second guess what kind of amazing vehicles or super weapons we may see screaming out of the Games Workshop and Forgeworld manufactora, how about taking a look back at some of those old Space Marine Battle Reports and see what you can find…the only question now is, where will it end?!


Thanks for reading,

Eternal Wargamer.


  • There is absolutely no doubt they are pulling from Epic for 40K. It started with Apocalypse, access to super heavies only previously seen in Epic. From there, as you explained, the lines began to blur.

    I’m all for it. One of my favorite things about 40K is the vastness of the game. So many armies, so many options and so many ways to play. It makes sense to pull from previous work to enhance 40K.

  • eriochrome

    Unfortunately, a lot of the additions do not really enhance 40K. They enhance the profit line since bigger vehicles cost lots of money. Those things belong in epic where their weapons ranges makes sense and are not 5 40K tables long and flyers come and go from epic boards in 1 turn and would go by a 40k board once and essentially never come back the entire battle.

    EA is a significantly better game than 40K but the minis are not as evocative and not expensive enough to support GW as it is now.

    • Frank Ford

      Hey Eriochrome. I suppose the really big models are as much collectors pieces as much as gaming models. I have a Shadowsword I have yet to roll out for a spin, but it will happen. As for weapons ranged etc, you are right, but I think this might work well with multi table battles, more than one table and game, but spaced out so that each is a focus on a separate conflict area.

      • eriochrome

        Many Forgeworld products are more centerpieces than gaming pieces certainly. I do not know how much the Warlord with weapons is but I doubt many people will be dragging those down to the shop on a regular basis. I just think that even the GW releases and trends that are Epicing up 40K are really to the detriment of the game. To much stuff shoved into to small a space.

  • Awesome to see another voice on Creative Twilight! I never got the chance to play epic at the time, though I spent many hours on the old computer game version. There are some awesome things GW is doing by creating the super heavies and making the game more flexible.
    I think the biggest difference though is what Eriochrome brought up: you need a REALLY big board to play epic scale games in 40k – and they take forever. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big models, and playing Apocalypse is fun, but if GW brought back the Epic line, I think it could be a huge success

    • eriochrome

      I doubt it would be a success for GW. Any of the other game makers it probably would be but not for GW. A reaver titan in epic was like 35 dollars(when they stop production) and 1/3rd the standard army in points. A knight model in 40k is like 140 and you can fit 5 or so in an army currently.

      With their current molding abilities they could probably put a whole epic army in a 50 dollar set with the same unit margin as a 40K box but you need 4 of those 50 dollar boxes for a small 40K force.

    • Frank Ford

      Howdy Joe. I think that there are two ways to play a mega battle. One is a really big table and a single huge game, and the other is multiple smaller battles that interact with one another, in some cases even having the really long range guns shooting at other tables!

  • benn grimm

    Company level conflict is fantastic, in 6mm. In 28 mm its a pain in the backside. Unless you happen to have a 25 x 32 ft board and arms like Mr. Tickle you’re better off just playing Epic.

    The new models are brilliant, the new Warlord is a great example, great project/showpeice model, but it is pretty much un-usable in regular play. Even knights are a bit of a pain. I want to take two warlords and an Imperator, 3 warhounds and 6 knights, plus supporting land raiders and power armoured dudes. Can’t fit that on a 40k board and be able to move any of it in any meaningful way. Only one game for that, and it is Epic! ;)

    • Frank Ford

      Hey Benn. Another way might be to have multiple games played on different tables which can have an effect on other tables. A bit like zooming in on the various flash points on a battlefield but without the empty space in between. After all, a Firefight in Epic Armageddon is meant to represent a 40K battle.

  • First off well done on your first post for Creative Twilight and I hope you will do more. It is a great blog so it is always nice to see new writers on it.
    Secondly Epic was and is great fun, no disagreement there from me. But my current want with the Epic models is to use them to make 40K armies just smaller. Use the 40K rules with the smaller models on a smaller board. I think it could be great fun.

    • Frank Ford

      Hey Rory, thanks for the comments. Intriguing idea playing 40K with Epic models…hmmm.

      • I don’t have the models or I might give it a go. So instead I nominate you to to play this out, it can be your next article on CT. ;)

        • Frank Ford

          One of the guys at our club wants to do a Bat Rep…

          • I expect to see your post in next 8 days and counting. Get on it trooper ;)

  • Frank Ford

    Hey guys, thanks very much for the comments – it does my writing mojo the world of good to know that a post can spark a discussion.

    I agree with all your comments. The game is not really built to support immense engagements with the current rules set, and though the thought of a vast multi-table conflict is inspiring, in practice we all know how drawn out they can be, often stagnating and grinding to a halt before you reach the end of turn 3 of 6.

    I think this is simply another example of Games Workshop having a fantastic idea and an awsome vision of what they want the game to be, but not the structure of game to be able to support it in practice.

    The type of battle that GW depict in their huge displays and one off mega battles are just that really. One offs that take huge amounts of prep and dedication, and above all grit to get you through to turn 6.

    I think we’d all love to play in that cinematic mega game, but it’s not an easy thing to turn into a reality. Of course this won’t stop Games Workshop from holding up their shining image of what they would like the game to be.

    Eternal Wargamer

    • The thing is…it’s not just GW doing it. Tournaments have been slowly pushing up the points values, and at the same time, not reducing them as GW cuts point values.

      A lot of the oversized battles could easily be resolved if the majority of events dropped everyone down to 1500 or 1400 points. Then it would be more in line with what it used to be back in the day. But nobody seems to want that. We all want giant freaking battles in glorious combat. Rules be damned :)

      • Not I. I’m all for “smaller” games of 1,500. The problem with larger games is you can get all the toys with little sacrifice. Additionally, you can lose a handful of units and it’s not a huge impact. I like list building to be a balance of toys and essential units; having those choices make a huge impact on the army build. Same with losing a unit, it should be felt and not shrugged off. I just feel a lot of the finesse of a strategy game is lost when it’s just a matter of who has the bigger guns.

        • I’m with you :) After facing three (that’s three) canoptek swarms in a single list on saturday…..

          • Exactly, or 5-6 Knights, etc. No fun.

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