Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gaming outside the box: Inspiration

When it comes to narrative wargaming the only thing holding you back is the limits of your imagination. Sometimes even the most creative amongst us fall short on inspiration, and that is what this post is about. I am going to share some of the ways that I get inspired.

A phenomenal source of 40k inspiration is the Black Library books, which just keep getting better and better. They contain some fantastic settings that are just screaming for recreation on the tabletop! If I had to pick my favorite series of books it would have to be the Horus Heresy series. Any of these stories can be re-envisioned to fit your current armies in the modern era of the 40k universe.

Another great source of inspiration can be the History and Mythology of our own real world. In fact I know that GW has used some of the great battles in history as inspiration for 40k. A small force of Space Wolves that is lead by Wolf Guard Ranulf the Strong holds a small mountain pass against an Ork horde to allow the rest of Space wolves to regroup, sure sounds like the Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae.

A personal favorite of many wargamers and GW is Hollywood! Movies can be a great starting point for inspiration, cause who does not love the tension of being trapped in a spaceship surrounded by the foul xenos! I’ve even enjoyed games invol a dozen military criminals sent on a suicide mission where you know all but a few are gonna die!

Other Sci-fi genre books can inspire also, but this can be a bit tougher due to the established Grim Dark of the 40k Lore.

Edit: a great suggestion from Porky. Lexicanum is a great online source for 40k inspiration!

The bottom line is that there is a world full of inspiration waiting to be transformed to life on your tabletop all you have to do is find the correct muse for your tastes!

See you Monday for part three, Objectives and Special Rules.

Until then!


  1. That's one of the great things about war games. Folks will got war over just about anything, so you can really get creative in your story line and adapt ideas from lots of sources.

  2. Yes, indeed. So much is possible, maybe anything even.

    For inspiration direct from 40K I'd also recommend the Lexicanum, and for the real world a run through Wikipedia can light all kinds of bulbs.

  3. Thanks for the comments! That is a great suggesting Porky, I'll add it in!


  4. A good post to read! I think many veteran gamers will agree that adding narrative to games adds an entirely other level to the experience. It has the power to move it beyond just gaming pieces on a board, and at the risk of sounding cliched, bring the game to life.

    I think as well it is one of 40k's biggest potential strengths, that gamers have such a rich narrative to draw upon. I think anyone who has ever played a game of D&D will be comfortable with the concept, and it's surprising how many who haven't even heard of 'roleplaying' beyond a WoW server quickly warm to the concept. Certainly, I have never had a negative response when I've tried to introduce narrative or campaign elements into peoples games.

    It can take 5 minutes to do, but the affect on the game can be massive.

    So, please keep up these articles, they are an interesting read! :)