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.