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15 Wonderful Warhammer Facts!

Grab your dice and your carefully hand-painted miniatures - we're headed to the game store for some amazing Warhammer facts!

Beano Facts Team
Last Updated:  May 24th 2024

If you're a huge Warhammer fan, a total novice, or even if you've never heard of it - these are the facts for you! You're bound to learn something new and interesting about the long-running tabletop classic - it's one of the most popular franchises in the whole world, and there's so much to discover! So, get ready to roll on these fantastical fun facts, and stick around for more! Learn all about Thor the Norse god, the amazing animals of the Antarctic, or Pablo Picasso!

1. It's been around since the eighties

Warhammer started its long life in 1983! It was created by game designers Bryan Ansell, Richard Halliwell and Rick Priestly. That means it's been around for more than 40 years!

2. Its first version was a tabletop game

There are a lot of Warhammer spin-offs, offshoots and variations in all kinds of formats, including books, computer games and RPGs - but the original was a tabletop miniature wargame. Tabletop games are games played on, well, tabletops - so anything from chess to card games to roleplaying games! Miniature wargames are games where the players use tiny models of characters and vehicles on a model battlefield.

3. It's set in a medieval world

All stories need a good setting, and for Warhammer that setting is an alternate medieval history! Alternate history is when a story is set in a version of history that isn't accurate to what the reality would have been like. Steampunk is a good example of this, imagining an alternate Victorian history where cool steam technology was used for most things. Warhammer is set in a world based on medieval Europe - but a version of medieval Europe with magic, strange beasts and fantastic creatures!

4. It's based on some famous stories

The creators of Warhammer took a lot of inspiration not just from history, but also from a variety of fantasy books. A huge influence was (of course) The Lord of the Rings, which is one of the most influential fantasy works of all time. The books were released in the 1950s and though they had a mixed critical reception, they quickly became beloved by readers. You can see a lot of J.R.R. Tolkien's influences in Warhammer, especially in the various races of the world. Other influences included Dune and the Elric series by Michael Moorcock.

5. Models are very important

Everyone who plays a game needs a character to play, and sometimes you get to build your own character. Warhammer takes this to the next level! If you wanna play, you're gonna need lots of plastic figures to represent your army. Collecting and painting these figurines is as much a part of playing Warhammer as actually playing the game. Before Warhammer other tabletop war games used figurines, but Warhammer was the first to produce specially-made figurines specific to their game!

6. It's British!

That's right, it came from right here in the UK! It's produced by the Games Workshop Group, who are based in Nottingham. It was also the first UK company to import Dungeons & Dragons, and it made several games for the Lord of the Rings film franchise, too.

7. Dwarves are influenced by Vikings

The dwarves in Warhammer sure love to wear horned helmets - but as you may know, that's actually not historically accurate! But there are some other dwarvish characteristics that were lifted from Viking culture. For one thing, they don't use last names in the same way we do. Instead, they use their first name and then their father's name as a surname. So, if your name is Jeff and your father's name is Roger, your cool Warhammer dwarf name would be Jeff Rogerson!

8. Lots of celebs love it

There are a lot of celebrities who love to play Warhammer! The late Robin Williams was a huge fan, and he had his own collection of hand-painted models! He was kind of a huge nerd in general, though - he also loved anime and video games, and even named his daughter after Princess Zelda! Other famous Warhammer fans include Henry Cavill, Vin Diesel, David Tennant, Ed Sheeran, Brian May, and the sheriff of Hawkins himself, David Harbour!

9. There are books!

The Warhammer lore is complicated (more on that later!), and one way to get into it if you don't have time to play the game is to read the books. You've got a lot to read though - there are well over 300 novels set in the Warhammer universe, some specific to certain plotlines and different incarnations of the game, so you'll need to do some homework before you get stuck in!

10. Terry Pratchett almost wrote a book!

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The late, great Terry Pratchett wrote a lot of books, most of them set in his own fantasy universe Discworld. But in the 1990s, he entered negotiations to write a book set in the Warhammer universe! He was a keen gamer and he loved tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons as well as video games like Oblivion, Half-Life 2 and Thief. He even helped to make mods for Oblivion and Skyrim! The Warhammer book never happened, though - all he said about his meeting with The Games Workshop was "I feel a bit like King Herod being invited to write the newsletter for the Bethlehem Playground Association." Yikes!

11. There are a LOT of races

All good games have a broad variety of characters to play, and Warhammer is PACKED with all sorts of creatures. There are lots of races across the Warhammer universe, including (but not limited to) makind, dwarves, orcs, goblins, vampires, beastmen, high elves, wood elves, ogres, halflings and lizardmen. The human nations draw a lot of inspiration from real historical empires and kingdoms - the Empire is the Roman Empire, Grand Cathay is China, Kislev is Eastern Europe, and so on.

12. You can visit a Warhammer shop!

If you want to get started on Warhammer, you can go into a shop to buy your model kit, drool over the prebuilt models, and meet up with fellow fans. Luckily for you, The Games Workshop has over 500 shops worldwide, and 135 in the UK!

13. There are lots of offshoots

Warhammer (originally Warhammer Fantasy Battle) is the name given to the game's original 1983 incarnation - but there are SO MANY others. The most famous version is Warhammer 40K, which is set in the future and has more sci-fi elements than the traditional game. 40K is the most popular miniature war game in the world! There's also a pen-and-paper role-playing game, plus a LOT of video games, including the Total War: Warhammer series, and the first-person shooter series Vermintide. If you want to get into the game, you have a lot of work with!

14. The lore is DEEP

And speaking of Warhammer having a big universe, it's only fitting that it's racked up a LOT of lore over the years. And as it's been around since the early 80s, you'll need to study hard if you want to catch up! A lot of the lore appeared over time in places like the White Dwarf and Inferno! magazines, plus the aforementioned novels. Don't worry, though, you don't have to read everything before you can start playing. Most players pick it up as they go!

15. It has a sequel!

Warhammer is the name of the original game, but it's not the franchise's base line any more. The newest version of the game is called Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. In-universe, there was a huge in-game event called the End Times, and now Warhammer looks totally different. Age of Sigmar has different rules and a lot of new characters. It added a new faction, the Stormcast Eternals, and changed the names of several races - orcs are now called orroks, for example. You can still use older figurines though, you'll just need to adjust your stats to the new rules!