Games Workshop kindly reminds players that the Imperium of Man is bad, actually

Originally published at: Games Workshop kindly reminds players that the Imperium of Man is bad, actually | Boing Boing


And before someone says “But what about the Tau?”, they’re still militant imperial colonizers.


The real world is fucking grimdark sometimes. Fuck those people and especially the dude they make god-emperor memes out of.


There is troubling IRL context for this actually. There was an event in Spain, IIRC, where a player showed up wearing Nazi shit. Nobody wanted to play this person, and they strangely did not eject him, so per the current rules of forfeit he won, and won big. Although he had many people arguing for his right to wear hideous symbols of atrocious ideologies, he was later confirmed to be associated with a real world violent fascist group. Ergo, the need to make statements about game world lore vs real-life evil.


It’s a shame that Games Workshop feels that it has to make this statement. It’s simultaneously also a very good thing that the company has made this statement.

This is just life in a world where one of the most toxic ideologies in history is resurgent and escaping its long and well-earned pariah status.

Not so strange. As the article notes, they weren’t addressing the “Nazi bar problem”, probably combined with falling victim to the Geek Social Fallacies.


So was commissioning the line of children’s books a bad idea then?


I think quite a bit of racist/fascist folks knows this. And enjoy the irony and loves being represented in over-the-top way (a la movie adaptation of Fight Club and Starship Troopers). And I’m afraid that’s the terrible nature of human being, red in tooth and claw.


I read something recently – maybe on Imgur? – that the human race in WH40K is essentially the skaven race from the WH fantasy game. The overwhelming majority live in trash dumps (Imperial hives), they are ruled by a fascist council of sorcerors ( Imperial cult and the Inquisition), everyone is scheming against everyone else (dot dot dot), advancement is through betrayal (the Inquisition, again), and the Emperor is basically the Horned Rat (a dead god who eats souls).
Edit: Oh, I found somethign similar on Reddit. It’s not the one I originally read, but it lays out the argument pretty well:

  • A huge, xenophobic empire bent on conquering and destroying all other sentient lifeforms in the galaxy? Check.
  • Hypocritical, power hungry, backstabbing and treacherous leaders who do not care in the slightest about their subject? Check.
  • A totalitarian, dystopian society with incredible overpopulation, hygiene problems and that is only half a step away from anarchy, that is only held together by fear and social inertia? Check.
  • A dogmatic, politically overbearing clergy that adores an uncaring divinity that most likely EAT the souls of his subjects after they die? check.
  • A scientific class made of crazy technophiles who 99% of the time have absolutely NO idea about what they’re doing? Check.

Bobby Moynihan No GIF by Saturday Night Live


People can be violent and shitty, true, but they can also be kind and work together. We would not have survived to our present condition without the ability to cooperate. That is more central to human nature - our ability to work together.


Oooooor - wild idea, but hear me out - we could acknowledge that humans can construct and live in shitty totalitarian societies and them thriving of sorts at the cost of their neighbors is absolutely possible, with no need to invent excuses about fictional species which basically are just another parody or cautionary tale about humanity.

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Not disagreeing at all. It was just something surprising I saw, which in retrospect was a completely obvious idea. There’s a post and forum here exploring the idea, so I thought it was worth sharing.

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My impression has always been that Warhammer 4K, precisely because of its ubergrimdarkness, tends to attract more from the right wing of the nerd spectrum. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that some percentage of fans see the Imperium of Man as aspirational.




I have learned over the past couple of years that, apart from actual Nazi or white supremacist imagery, the best indicator of someone being a fascist, racist shitbag is 40K stuff in their username or their profile.


Is it possible to play as the space bugs or the zombie robots instead?


But what about the Farsight Enclaves?


IIRC, yes. All of the various factions are playable.

I have never played warhammer, but as I understand it it goes something like this.

  1. Pick a faction

  2. Buy some expensive miniatures and paints.

  3. Spend hours painstakingly painting your miniatures.

  4. Use your minis in battles against other players while getting stomped over and over for being a noob.

  5. Buy more minis and paint them to round out your squad and tweak the meta.

  6. Start winning some games!

  7. Games Workshop comes out with a new set of rules/minis set which makes your stuff obsolete, so you trash it all and start over.


My reaction to Skaven was “cool toys”, but you have to buy a lot of infantry just get your build up to the minimum point level.

Elves don’t have the artillery, but less expensive overall.

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I never had any inclination to play Warhammer, and this just gives me validation.