Open play is the easiest way to begin playing games, because all you need is to get some models together and start rolling dice. There’s no need to plan your army in advance – instead you and your opponent simply choose whichever models you want to play with, set them up and start gaming. This is a good way of trying out unusual army combinations, and perfect for beginners who may not have yet assembled a large and varied army. You can supplement this freeform fun by sprinkling in a few rules or guidelines from various Warhammer 40,000 supplements, or even create your own scenarios and unique challenges.
The Warhammer 40,000 universe is filled with mighty heroes, diabolical villains and tales of great courage and despicable brutality. Narrative play is all about tying the game you’re playing on the table into that overarching narrative, helping you make those legendary sagas your own. Before you start a narrative game, the players should get together and think about the story they want to tell, and the motivations and objectives of their armies. Each player should choose a force that fits the tale being told, and a few house rules and bespoke terrain pieces really help bring the story to life. Narrative play is an incredibly fun and engaging way to immerse yourself in this uniquely dark and thrilling setting.
For many gaming enthusiasts, it’s the challenge of taking on other players that truly appeals. Matched play is focussed around providing a level playing field, and to that end it involves ensuring that each force at the table features a roughly equivalent strength – this is as simple as adding up the points costs of each model and weapon, and setting an upper limit that both players must adhere to. This allows you to really test your strategic mind against your opponent. If you really get a taste for competitive play, there are lots of like-minded wargamers out there who run tournaments using matched play rules.