Have You Played… Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I put off playing Slitherine’s hexual take on Games Workshop’s reliably ridiculous sci-fi tabletop game for the longest time. On paper, Warhammer 40,000: Armageddon [official site] sounded like exactly the Epic-scale adaptation I’ve long wanted from an Only War simulator, but I feared that it couldn’t possibly live up to it in practice.

It doesn’t, to be honest. I am vapid and shallow, so wanted big metal things exploding. The extremely dialled-down Armageddon is short on animation and spectacle but neither does it attempt to replicate the look of a minis game, which I would have thought was one way of getting around a (presumably) small budget. The presentation means I don’t get excited when another of 40K’s endless death machines is introduced, which is disappointing, but at the same I’m very glad Armageddon exists. 40K is usually interpreted only in terms of pixel-shaded macho posturing and boots-on-the-ground action, but this is approaching it as a true war game, the wider conflict of the Space Marines, Orks and chums, and the idea that they’re constantly waging a war of attrition for whole planets and systems rather than simply fighting one-off skirmishes.

Armageddon’s also a potential way in to grand strategy if you panic at talk of history and meticulously-recreated tank rivets, and I think it’s valuable for that. It’s doing much of what a World War II or old Europe game does, but with this sci-fi skin and an air of (muted) apocalypse, and manchild that I am, that’s enough to get me playing something I otherwise might not. I suspect Armageddon with ten times the budget would be my 40K dream game.


  1. Zankman says:

    I totally missed this game; only with the recent mention in a comment section of the 3 old Warhammer games added to GoG did I find out about its existence.

    It looks very nice, at least in stills. I kinda do already get Grand Strategy/Wargames, so, with a good theme to boot, this might be a very good pick-up for me.

    • Thurgret says:

      It’s pretty much Panzer Corps (or I suppose, going even further back, Panzer General) in a Warhammer 40,000 setting, in case you’ve played that or are familiar with it.

      • Tuhalu says:

        So is it a lot like Rites of War (from 1999!), which was a 40K game based on Panzer General 2? Because I really enjoyed that one. Pretty much the only thing scaring me away from trying this one is the price and the chance that it won’t be as good as I hope.

        • Volcanu says:

          If you have an IPad then its half the price (£15 rather than £30).

          I’m currently doing some of the DLC and am finding it pretty addictive.

        • XhomeB says:

          Rites of War was really cool.
          Crossing fingers Slitherine/Matrix come to their senses and release Armageddon on GOG.

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Why does it need to be on GoG when you can buy it from their own website by clicking the link Alec helpfully embedded in the article above?
            Their site even gives you the choice of DRM free digital download, boxed purchase or a redirect to Steam.

          • XhomeB says:

            @Malibu Stacey
            I’ll tell you why, dear Stacey.
            – much needed exposure (GOG is where their audience is)
            – there’s no mention of “DRM free” on their site, but I’ll take your word for it
            – there are plenty of people who already have rather big Steam/GOG libraries and would prefer to keep their purchases… consolidated, so to speak – it’d be a good idea to cater to them, as well.
            – you need to expand as a business to remain successful, and GOG is the second most popular digital distribution channel right now.

          • Twigzy12 says:

            Take Slitherine’s word for it. I was wary at first about Distant Worlds: Universe, so I sent them an email and received a quick reply. The only thing these games have is a serial key, which can be used online or offline. Don’t confuse it with an online activation key.

      • vahnn says:

        minus all the stuff that gives the game longevity and variation, like supply logistics and air support.

        you basically just move units and capture tiles. That’s it. Not that it’s bad or I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just very basic.

  2. fuggles says:

    So, is this better or worse than final liberation which is £4 on gog?

    • Bull0 says:

      I’ve got both, and I like them both, but Final Lib is better.

    • Chiron says:

      Even without the wonders of Commissar Holt Final Liberation wins

  3. Fnord73 says:

    If it ever comes in around 5 pounds, its mine. But not before. One thing that annoys me with all the Panzer General knockoffs is that they dont leave you free to design campaigns, its always a setpiece. Unity of Command was extreme in that sense, it was almost a puzzlegame.

    • Fnord73 says:

      This looks a lot like Fntasy General done in the TW machine, I have to say. High hopes. I hope they make the rewards for waiting in the wings bigger, so the timed thrust is better valued.

  4. mariandavid says:

    Mechanics are nothing new BUT unlike the other games you have no idea what is going to happen first time you play. Playing a Pacific game scenario called Coral Sea and you nod ‘ah 2 carriers for us, 2 for the Japs and a baby one’ – but in this game not a —– clue. And since some 50? scenarios that even works second time round. Never though I would say it but am now glad Total War has switched to Warhammer (unknown to me) fantasy.

  5. Phasma Felis says:

    It is just weird that they appear to only have 6 angles for shooting animations. I can understand not wanting to spend a limited budget on unnecessary animation, but those sprites appear to be pre-rendered. Telling the renderer to pump out some extra camera angles, and supporting them in the code, couldn’t have reasonably taken more than a few hours of work. What gives?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      …And then I noticed that they’re charging $40 for this halfassery, and my bemused tolerance goes away. Wonder if it’s on Pirate Bay…

  6. squeakeasy says:

    I’m just not getting it. Played a few scenarios and lost interest. I’m a big fan of the Warhammer world, but fantasy and 40k, and also a long time player of Panzer General (1+) and more lately Panzer Corps. This should be my dream ticket but it left me cold. It did prompt me to replay a Panzer Corp campaign though, which is nice.

  7. jayP says:

    I picked the game up when it was released, but only recently started spending time with it. I actually like the stripped down, minimalism of the game, it somehow seems fitting given WH40k’s history as a table-top game. Sophisticate unit animations would be nice, buy not a deal breaker for me. I think what appeals to me is all the different units and the simple mechanic of managing encounters and making good unit choices on deployment.

  8. aperson4321 says:

    The only game that is a bit in this genre that I have played before was Advance Wars 2 that I completed when I was 15 on the nintendo DS and I totally love this game.

    I am playing on hard on my first play through and the AI is great, It really is damn brutal. 10 hours in I am ca 50% done.

    One of the best things about the game is how much you feel like a squisy humie with just how utterly brutally the orks murders your units if you give them the smallest opening to you expensive earth shaker artillery or counter artillery.

    I have gotten a strange love for the Hydra unit, its pretty shit in theory but the orks are really reluctant to melle it due to the 4 autocannons it got so its great as a cheap road block.