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YouTuber brings Warhammer 40k Dawn of War to the tabletop

Long-time YouTuber Zorpazorp talks to Wargamer about how he's translating the Dawn of War RTS series into an expansion for tabletop Warhammer 40k.

Warhammer 40k Dawn of War tabletop mod by Zorpazorp - a composite image: predator destructor battle tank painted in the red and bone of the Blood Ravens, behind the UI of the videogame Dawn of War

Wargames YouTuber Lachlan of channels Zorpazorp and Zorphammer is developing a tabletop version of the classic Warhammer 40k Dawn of War RTS games. Lachlan spoke to Wargamer about his Warhammer 40k / Dawn of War homebrew project, which he’s documenting via battle reports and crafting videos on his YouTube channels.

The “Dawn of War Warhammer Overlay” rules add the base-building, tech trees, and unit upgrades from the Dawn of War Warhammer 40k games, on top of the core 40k miniature wargame. “The added complexity of resource economies, map based campaigns, and technology trees was such an awesome aspect of the PC game, it felt like such a natural fit to blend to the tabletop”, Lachlan says.

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Lachlan says he first played Dawn of War “when it launched back in 2005, borrowing the CD from one of my first mates in High School”. At the time, the pair were building their first ever Warhammer 40k faction collections. “[Dawn of War] totally elevated my connection to the wargaming hobby and ever since those early days I [made] homebrew campaigns to recreate the game on the table”, Lachlan explains.

Lachlan has developed these homebrew rules by himself. “I’m playtesting the ruleset and filming games at the same time to take the viewers on the journey… of developing the alpha version of the ruleset [with me]”.

Games that fully reproduce the proportions of Dawn of War maps are a lot longer than regular 40k, as “the early turns are much more focussed on exploration and map control, before the heavy combat begins”, Lachlan says. He adds that “a more standard board size and lower resources should see a game completed within 3-4 hours”.

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The game offers some very different challenges from regular 40k. “The most challenging, and certainly the most rewarding, is managing your economy”, Lachlan says.

He adds: “choosing when to build your power generators, how many Strategic Points to try and secure and defend, and of course what units and upgrades to purchase and in what order dramatically changes how every single game will unfold”.

Lachlan says his focus for now “is to keep developing the core rules as we flesh out the first wave of around 10 factions”. Once he’s satisfied with that, he plans to “look at adding more factions, as well as experimenting with using the Dawn of War Warhammer Overlay to blend with other rulesets such as Horus Heresy 2.0 and Epic”.

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The Dawn of War series’ last instalment, Dawn of War 3, was not well-received and was not a commercial success, but its design legacy lives on. Our Company of Heroes 3 review found that the same core design is as compelling representing battles in the WW2 South Europe theatre as in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium.

You should also keep your eyes on the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Realms of Ruin release date: it’s not too much of a simplification to say that Realms of Ruin is fantasy Dawn of War.