Meta Gaming – 40k Style

With the ever expanding number of games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, an idea popped in to my head recently to run a meta-campaign using some of them. This could be done in a few ways:

  • Single-player with rule guidelines and an active imagination
  • Co-operative multiplayer with rule guidelines and an active imagination
  • Competitive multiplayer with rule guidelines and an active imagination
  • Narrative co-operative multiplayer with rule guidelines and a Games-Master running it

The last is my favourite idea and could result in some very rewarding sessions. The major drawback of all of the above is for people to have all of the relevant games!

The games I own and have been thinking about for this are:

  • Battlefleet Gothic
  • Armageddon
  • Dawn of War II: Retribution
  • Space Hulk: Ascension

You could also incorporate the original Dawn of War in to this if you wanted and/or preferred it to DoW: II. The important part with all of the above is that single battles can be created to build your own story around, instead of the story that comes with the game.

Realistically players have to be Space Marines or Orks to get the most playability out of this – otherwise the choice of games is very limited!

I’ll detail rules and example settings in future articles but below are some thoughts on how the options could work at a very basic level.

Single Player and Co-Operative Multiplayer – Rules and Imagination

The player(s) uses the rules and a setting to create a world to play within. As a single-player it is probably best to play as a Space Marine Chapter and one that they can easily play as in all of the above games (e.g. Blood Angels, Ultramarines, Dark Angels, Imperial Fists). Then give your commander and strike force names and purposes to provide some background and context to the game. If it is two player then the second player could be an allied force depending on the game.

To kick things off it would then be a dice roll to determine what happens first – in likelihood it will probably be a space encounter such as Battlefleet Gothic or Space Hulk. From there the story will evolve and dice rolls will determine each subsequent event. To add a bit more than simply playing different video games, textual encounters could also be added in depending on the dice roll.

Another option is to create what is essentially a ‘game board’, similar in the Talisman game. This would mean each square would have different variability for encounter, whilst also providing a linear element and maybe even an ultimate goal.

Example Game – Single Player

This follows the form of a fairly linear campaign and wouldn’t necessarily even require dice rolls except for flavour events or if you lost a battle. All of the below assumes the players wins every battle!

  • Chapter – Ultramarines
  • Short background – Response to a distress signal from the capital of the Sares Sector. The message is patchy and suggests an invasion by xenos.
  • First Encounter – Battlefleet Gothic – Standard Skirmish – The outer reaches of the capital system, a surprise assault by a small Ork fleet
  • Second Encounter – Text – ruined hulk of an Imperial Navy Battleship suggests reinforcements have already been repulsed
  • Third Encounter – Battlefleet Gothic – Blockade Run – You have decided to launch a counter-invasion but have to get past the Ork Defences first
  • Fourth Encounter – Dawn of War II – have to establish a bridgehead for the counter-invasion – use a small 2-player skirmish map
  • Fifth Encounter – Battlefleet Gothic – Planetary Assault – to support the main invasion from Orbit
  • Sixth Encounter – Armageddon – big map vs orks for a major battle to win or lose the invasion
  • Seventh Encounter – Dawn of War II – another small skirmish map to simulate a mopping up operation
  • Eighth Encounter – Text – Victory parade and gratitude from the governor

Where from here? Have the other planets in the sector suffered invasion? And what’s that suspiciously large space hulk doing on the edge of the system?!

If the game was co-operative multiplayer then player 2 could have played as an additional Ultramarine Fleet/Army, an allied Imperial Navy/Guard force or the players could take it in turns for each battle.

Competitive Multiplayer – Rules and Imagination

If players wanted to do try this competitively multiplayer then the best option would be for one player to be Space Marines and the other to be Orks. This gives 3 games to play across and maximum variability of scenarios. The best options for this would be a linear campaign or another ‘game board’.

Example game – co-operative Multiplayer

  • Player 1 – Blood Angels
  • Player 2 – Orks
  • Scenario – fighting over a planet. Orks control half of the planet after invading and overwhelming most of the local garrison. Blood Angels have landed in time to defend the other half of the planet and take back the rest.
  • Game board – Planet has 10 squares with each player holding 4 and there being 2 that have no control. Space has 9 squares with each player having 3 and there being 3 with no one in control

Planet Squares




Space Squares



  • Victory conditions – Every square is worth 1 victory point except for 3 major objectives on the planet and 2 in space are 3 victory points each. The winning player is the one with the most victory points.
  • Other rules – Attacker on planet gets to choose the game played
  • Turn limit – 5
  • P1 Turn 1 – Advances to uncontested victory point on the planet
  • P2 Turn 1 – Advances to one of the uncontested victory points in space
  • P1 Turn 2 – Attacks P2 in space at their recently taken victory point square – P1 wins and takes control of the square
  • P2 Turn 2 – Takes the other uncontested space victory point
  • P1 Turn 3 – Takes the other uncontested planet point
  • P2 Turn 3 – Attacks planet victory point square in middle of the board. Chooses Armageddon and Wins
  • P1 Turn 4 – Attacks P2 in other victory point square in space and wins
  • P2 Turn 4 – Attacks normal planet square. Chooses DoW II and wins
  • P1 Turn 5 – Counter-attacks middle planet victory point square. Chooses DoW II but loses
  • P2 Turn 5 – Attacks one of P1s on the planet. Chooses Armageddon but loses

Final Standings

Planet Squares




Space Squares



Player 1 (Blood Angels) VPs – 15

Player 2 (Orks) VPs – 14

Next time…

I’ll show how you could use a games-master and detail some experimental rules that me and a few friends have been play-testing.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s