Social gaming events: Warhammer 40K

This study aims to understand the work people do in order to play competitive and non-competitive war-games.

Project overview

The study focuses on Warhammer 40K, currently the most popular tabletop war-gaming system. Playing Warhammer 40k involves assembling a model army of 25mm miniature figures and vehicles (units or minis). Each mini needs to be assembled and painted. Importantly, there is a great deal of choice in both what army to play (there are over a dozen different army choices) and what units to include in the army. The rules are extensive, the main rulebook has over a hundred pages, and each army has a ‘codex’ of 50+ pages and the choice of 20–40 different units that can be included in the army. Players then use their army to fight opponents’ armies on a ‘board’ containing scenery and obstacles (terrain). The typical board measures 4' by 8'.

In this research we investigate the work motivations for army preparation. We particularly focus on how players work to build their army lists. We also investigate how players play with their armies and the social and rule negotiations that occur during play sessions. Finally, we seek to understand how players use social media as part of their involvement in this hobby.

More Information

The Warhammer Project

Project team

  • Martin Gibbs
  • Marcus Carter
  • Mitchell Harrop

Project information

Project time frame 2012

Contact details