Finding the best Warhammer 40K games that truly encapsulate the essence, ethos, and expansive lore of the universe can be a quest in itself. You’re probably wondering: Which game can serve as your portal into comprehending and immersing into the universe’s expansive lore, offering not just thrilling gameplay but also a “true Warhammer experience” in its vast, darkly compelling cosmos?
Some entries on this top Warhammer 40K Games list are based on series. I believe it is essential for a layered franchise like Warhammer 40K for players to play the full series to see all the unfolding stories, changing gameplay, and growing lore across different titles and game modes. It offers a full view of the in-game worlds and alliances, giving a deep and connected journey where every part of the Warhammer 40K universe can be fully enjoyed and understood.
I have handpicked and ranked the Best Warhammer 40K Games of all time below:
1. Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War Series
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War (2004)
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II (2009)
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War III (2017)
The Dawn of War series combines real-time strategy with Warhammer 40K’s lore, earning its place at the top of my Warhammer 40K games list. Set in the grimdark universe of Warhammer 40K, Dawn of War perfectly captured the essence of a universe perpetually at war. The thrill of leading the Emperor’s Space Marines into battle against the treacherous forces of Chaos, or commanding the relentless Ork WAAAGH! was a gaming experience unlike any other.
Playing through the Dawn of War series, I appreciated its strategic depth and the capability to command Warhammer armies. Decisions carried weight, victories felt hard-earned, and losses were deeply felt. The balance between managing resources and expanding territories provided an engaging and challenging gameplay, in line with the 40K universe’s war scenarios. It also had numerous expansions where Dawn of War: Soulstorm was a pivotal experience for me with the introduction of air units adding an extra layer of tactical depth, as I found myself navigating new challenges and considering aerial capabilities in my battle strategies. The tension, the drama, and the sheer exhilaration of warfare in the 41st millennium are why Dawn of War holds a cherished spot in my heart as one of the finest Warhammer experiences available.
2. Total War: Warhammer Series
Total War: Warhammer (2016)
Total War: Warhammer II (2017)
Total War: Warhammer III (2022)
When I first delved into the Total War: Warhammer series, I was taken aback by the sheer scale and detail of its world. Not only did it provide the tactical depth that Total War games are renowned for, but it also flawlessly integrated the rich lore of the Warhammer universe. The landscapes, whether they were the snow-covered peaks of Norsca or the sprawling forests of Athel Loren, were mesmerizing. Every battlefield felt like a page ripped straight out of a Warhammer artbook.
But it wasn’t just the aesthetics, the gameplay was a masterclass in strategy. Managing vast empires, forging uneasy alliances, and partaking in grand battles with iconic Warhammer units was a gamer’s dream come true. The series’ DLCs, like the Ogre Kingdoms and Shadows of Change, further enriched the experience by introducing new races, mechanics, and story arcs, ensuring the game remained fresh and exciting. But perhaps what made the Total War: Warhammer series stand out most for me was its ability to bring stories to life, which makes it my second-best in the series. Every campaign, every battle, had its own narrative. Whether it was a desperate defense against rampaging Beastmen or the political intrigue of the Vampire Counts, I felt a personal connection and investment in the fates of my virtual armies.
3. Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus (2018)
Diving into Warhammer 40K: Mechanicus was a delightful surprise. Here was a game that provided a unique perspective into the Warhammer 40K universe, placing us at the helm of the Adeptus Mechanicus – the tech-priests of Mars, guardians of the Imperium’s knowledge and technology. Immediately, it felt like uncharted territory; we weren’t just Space Marines or the Imperium’s standard forces. We were the lorekeepers, the scientists, the ones who chant in binary and venerate the Machine God.
Mechanicus has a deep strategic layer that beckoned me to dive deeper with every mission. The turn-based combat required thoughtful planning, with every decision echoing the weight of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ sacred duty. Each upgrade, every piece of recovered archaeotech, felt like uncovering ancient relics, pivotal to the survival and supremacy of the Imperium. The atmospheric soundscapes and haunting Gregorian chants truly amplified the experience, immersing me in the cold, calculated world of the Mechanicus. The narrative choices were more than just routes to different endings; they were moral and philosophical dilemmas, challenging my understanding of humanity, machines, and the fine line between the two.
4. Battlefleet Gothic Armada series
Battlefleet Gothic Armada (2016)
Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2 (2019)
The Battlefleet Gothic: Armada series swept me into the vast void of Warhammer 40K’s cosmos, where colossal ships clashing amid stars became my battlefield. The hauntingly detailed visuals and ship-to-ship combat captured the true essence of 40K’s space warfare, with every skirmish an intense tactical puzzle. Every faction felt authentically represented, capturing their unique playstyles and abilities, while also intertwining them with Warhammer’s rich lore.
Engaging in those grand space battles, maneuvering immense cruisers and issuing strike orders, felt both overwhelming and exhilarating. Each victory wasn’t just a testament to strategic prowess, but also a deeper plunge into the universe’s underlying political and military complexities. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada wasn’t just about warfare, it was a masterful representation of the challenges and choices leaders face in the vastness of space.
5. Warhammer 40K: Boltgun (2023)
Warhammer 40K: Boltgun is a dynamic first-person shooter that seamlessly blends classic boomer shooter elements with modern gaming mechanics. Players assume the role of Malum Caedo, an Ultramarine, thrust into intense battles against a myriad of foes. With an arsenal that ranges from the Chainsword to the titular Boltgun, the game ensures thrilling combats across diverse landscapes, from gothic structures to desolate deserts. Rahul Kohli’s voiceover brings depth to Malum’s character, adding layers to the already immersive gameplay. Gothic settings, intricate environments, and a rich array of weapons make Boltgun a must-play for both Warhammer enthusiasts and FPS lovers.
6. Warhammer 40K: Space Marine (2011)
Stepping into the ceramite boots of a Space Marine in Warhammer 40K: Space Marine, a third-person shooter hack-n-slash, is a visceral thrill. But this only comes in second to Warhammer 40K: Boltgun. What makes “Space Marine” particularly unique in this game is its masterful blend of melee and ranged combat mechanics, capturing the raw power and discipline of a Space Marine. From wielding the iconic chainsword in close quarters to tactically using the bolter for ranged encounters, every moment in battle feels consequential.
7. Warhammer 40K: Battlesector (2021)
Warhammer 40K: Battlesector dives deep into the aftermath of the Devastation of Baal, the game pits the iconic Blood Angels chapter against the menacing Tyranid threat. The Blood Angels, haunted by the Black Rage, are brought to life through intricate tactical decisions and unit management, emphasizing the importance of each unit type and their unique abilities. Every battle in Battlesector is of careful planning and decisive action. Beyond its meticulous combat mechanics, the game also excels in encapsulating the rich lore of the 40K universe.
8. Warhammer 40K: Darktide
Warhammer 40K: Darktide transports players into the heart of the 41st Millennium. Set in the hive city of Tertium, players and their squad are pitted against hordes of heretical cultists and the lurking darkness of Chaos. Each mission becomes a test of teamwork, skill, and strategic decisions as players navigate the hive’s grim underbelly. Darktide brilliantly fuses the thrill of FPS mechanics with the ominous and intricate narratives Warhammer 40K is renowned for, making it a journey both haunting and memorable.
9. Space Hulk: Tactics (2018)
Space Hulk: Tactics is a great adaptation of the classic Space Hulk board game, tailored for those who have a penchant for tactical challenges. Set in the sprawling corridors of derelict starships, the game pitches the stalwart Blood Angels against the malevolent Genestealers. The dual campaigns, one for the Space Marines and the other for the Genestealers, offer a comprehensive exploration of the Warhammer 40K lore. The card system stands out as a faithful rendition of its board game counterpart, offering a deep, engaging, and challenging Warhammer 40K experience.
10. Space Hulk: Deathwing (2016)
Space Hulk: Deathwing provides a thrilling dive into the claustrophobic and treacherous labyrinths of ancient, derelict starships known as Space Hulks. This first-person shooter puts players in the armored boots of a Librarian from the Dark Angels’ secretive Deathwing company. Encountering hordes of Genestealers lurking in the dimly lit corridors is both exhilarating and terrifying. The experience of pushing forward with your Terminator squad, weapons blazing, while unraveling the mysteries of the Space Hulk, is immensely rewarding. The various weaponry and psychic abilities available further offer depth to combat strategies.
11. Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr (2018)
Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr lets you take on the role of an Inquisitor, the powerful and feared secret agents of the Imperium, players get a palpable feel of the weight of duty, the power, and the moral complexity inherent to this role. Set within the Caligari Sector, this action RPG offers a unique opportunity to explore various worlds, from war-torn battlefields to corrupted hive cities, in pursuit of heresy. The narrative is intricate, delving into the political and religious intricacies of the Warhammer 40K universe, and the gameplay mechanics, with a multitude of skill trees and customization options, cater to a diverse range of playstyles. Additionally, the game’s vast open-world structure, filled with side missions, random encounters, and hidden secrets, lends a sense of genuine exploration to the Caligari Sector.
Jumping into Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters felt like a breath of fresh, albeit grim, air in the turn-based strategy genre. Playing as the fabled Grey Knights gave a palpable sense of pride, given their storied history of facing down the vilest of Warp entities. Each battle was more than just moving pieces on a board; it was about holding the line against chaos and truly feeling the weight of every decision. The skirmishes were intense. The storyline, while deeply rooted in the vast Warhammer 40K lore, had its unique twists and turns that kept me on the edge. Especially for newcomers looking for a rich tactical experience, Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters proves to be a standout title.
13. Necromunda: Underhive Wars (2020)
Diving into the depths of the Underhive in Necromunda: Underhive Wars was an experience akin to unraveling a gritty tapestry of gang warfare and survival. The maze-like sprawl beneath a mega-city setting, set the tone for the tactical skirmishes that ensued. Controlling one of the iconic gangs, each battle became a dance of strategy and wit, set against a backdrop of industrial decay. Every corner held potential danger, every decision had consequences, making the gameplay both exhilarating and nerve-wracking.
14. Necromunda: Hired Gun (2021)
Necromunda: Hired Gun felt like a wild rollercoaster ride through the seedy underbelly of the 40K universe. As a hired gun in the lawless depths of Necromunda, every mission was a high-octane adventure, punctuated by gunfights and a pulsating soundtrack. The feeling of agility, coupled with the frenetic combat pace, kept me constantly on my toes, reminding me that in the Underhive, survival isn’t guaranteed – it’s earned. The companionship of my cyber-mastiff and the ability to upgrade and customize my arsenal added layers to the experience.
15. Warhammer 40K: Dakka Squadron (2020)
Warhammer 40K: Dakka Squadron was akin to experiencing the exhilarating chaos of Ork aerial combat firsthand. Taking control of an Ork Flyboy and soaring through the skies of the 40K universe, every skirmish was a testament to the unpredictable and boisterous nature of the Orks. The game’s arcade-style flight mechanics, paired with the signature Orkish humor, made each sortie a memorable clash. Beyond the dogfights, the joy of customizing and upgrading my aircraft with more “dakka” gave a sense of personal touch to my airborne mayhem.
16. Dawn of War II: Retribution – The Last Stand (2011)
Dawn of War II: Retribution – The Last Stand holds a special place in my heart, serving as a vivid reminder of the thrills that come with holding the line against insurmountable odds. This wave-based survival mode extended the depth of the Dawn of War II experience, bringing heroes from different factions into a cooperative battle arena. Teaming up with other players and selecting my preferred hero exemplifies the camaraderie, making it an unforgettable slice of the Dawn of War II pie.
17. Warhammer 40K: Fire Warrior (2003)
Warhammer 40K: Fire Warrior was one of my earlier forays into the 40K universe Through the eyes of a young Tau Fire Warrior, the game plunges you into a single day that feels like an eternity, filled with battles against the Imperium’s forces. This first-person shooter took me by surprise, as it was an unexpected shift from the typical strategy-oriented Warhammer games I was accustomed to. While it might not be the most polished among the Warhammer games, Fire Warrior holds a nostalgic charm, reminding me of the franchise’s ability to venture into various genres successfully.
18. Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate (2022)
Warhammer 40K: Chaos Gate, centered around the iconic Grey Knights, the game offers players a front-row seat to their intense battles against the sinister forces of Chaos. Although not so unique, but the strategic layers of this game, combined with its rich narrative, create an experience that feels both grand and deeply personal. The sense of camaraderie built with your squad, the weight of every decision, and the palpable tension of every battle made Chaos Gate an indelible mark in my Warhammer journey.
19. Warhammer 40K: Final Liberation (1997)
Final Liberation, released back in 1997, remains one of the hallmark titles for any Warhammer 40K aficionado. As one of the earlier video game adaptations of the vast Warhammer universe, it transported players to the war-torn world of Volistad, setting the stage for epic, hex-based tactical battles against the Ork menace. Nostalgia washes over me as I remember the pixelated sprites and cinematic cutscenes, which, for their time, were groundbreaking. Beyond its visuals, the game’s intricate strategies and its faithful representation of the 40K tabletop mechanics truly made it a standout. Delving into Final Liberation was akin to stepping into a time capsule of 40K history, a significant reminder of how far Warhammer video games have come.
20. Warhammer 40K: Shootas, Blood and Teef (2022)
Shootas, Blood and Teef was like embarking on a riotous rampage with the notorious Orks at the forefront, this game offered a delightful departure from the typical grimdark atmosphere, infusing an infectious sense of mayhem and chaos into every mission. Charging headfirst as an Ork warboss, smashing through foes with reckless abandon, it’s amusing. The game’s comic-style visuals perfectly complemented its tone, capturing the Orks’ raucous nature. Yet, beneath its rollicking surface, there lay a well-crafted action platformer that highlighted the sheer unbridled joy of being one of Warhammer 40K’s most boisterous factions. Shootas, Blood and Teef was not just a game, it was an Orky fiesta, and a splendid addition to the 40K roster, hence deserving of a spot in my top 20 best Warhammer 40K games of all time.