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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > December 2018 (#25) > How We Made

How We Made

The violent battles and rich lore of the grimdark universe continue to excite and enthrall players more than 30 years after Space Marines first pledged their allegiance to the Emperor. Rick Priestley takes us back to the birth of a miniatures marvel


The battle between Space Marines and the forces of Chaos is a quintessential Warhammer 40,000 rivalry

Few settings in all of gaming are as compelling as the warravaged universe of Warhammer 40,000. Its grim, dark cosmos full of stoic soldiers, enigmatic aliens and twisted monsters has drawn countless players to the table – and in the process generated hundreds of millions of pounds for its publisher, Nottingham-based miniatures behemoth Games Workshop. We spoke with its creator, Rick Priestley, to discover the story behind this bleak and violent vision of the distant future.


Rick Priestley’s interest in science-fiction dates back to his childhood.

“There was quite a bit of sci-fi about in the ‘60s and ‘70s,” he recalls. “But the world wasn’t interconnected in the way it is today, so there was an element of discovering things for yourself. You’d pass books around between groups of friends, and that was how you’d discover new authors.

“I think all the Conan novels were rereleased in the ‘70s, and the John Carter of Mars books, and E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith, things like that. A lot of classic pre-war fantasy and science fiction emerged as part of the ‘60s counterculture.”

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About Tabletop Gaming

Getting into the festive mood for this month’s magazine, the Tabletop Gaming team and you very readers have put together a list of the 12 Plays of Christmas – over a dozen modern classics that you should play with family and friends during the holidays. We’ve even set them all to a song, if you’re in the mood for a gaming carol. As the nights grow long, we gather around a candle with Great Western Trail and Mombasa creator Alexander Pfister to take a look at his new game, Blackout: Hong Kong. Set in a powerless city plunged into chaos, it promises to be something unexpected from the accomplished designer. There might not be a new Star Wars hitting cinema screens, but the Force remains strong with the galaxy far, far away. We travel back to the beginnings of the saga and look at the history of Star Wars in roleplaying games, discovering how the tabletop redefined and saved the sci-fi space opera. In a very different sci-fi universe, Warhammer 40,000 creator Rick Priestley takes us back to the genesis of the grimdark galaxy and considers how it’s shaped the state of sci-fi on the tabletop more than three decades later. Most people know Matt Edmondson as a BBC Radio 1 DJ and TV presenter, but he’s also been behind some of the funniest party games in recent years. As he follows up the ridiculous rhyming of Obama Llama with Santa Banter, he tells us about getting into games and what comes next. Plus, we’ve got the definitive verdict on this winter’s biggest games, including reviews of KeyForge: Call of the Archons, Betrayal Legacy, Discover: Lands Unknown, Arkham Horror: Third Edition, Warhammer Underworlds: Nightvault, Legend of the Five Rings RPG, Reef and more!