We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Kidhammer is a kid-friendly indie answer to Warhammer 40k

If you know youngsters who are keen to play with Warhammer 40k figures but can’t handle the rules yet, check out this free indie wargame.

If you know someone who wants to play Warhammer 40k, but has a hard time with the stacks and stacks of rules, check out Kidhammer. At just two pages long, this super simple indie game by designer Nick Christie is tailor made for accessibility.

Christie started work on the project because his girlfriend, who loves kitbashing and painting miniatures, wanted to play Warhammer 40k with him. “She is autistic, and for her, focusing on and tracking so many rules through multiple books is extremely overwhelming”, Christie explains. He adds that his partner told him to explain the rules to her like she was a kid.

A small force of the Legion of the Damned Space Marines, on top of the rules for the indie game Kidhammer

That resonated with him, and his own experiences discovering Warhammer 40k books as a youngster. “I loved the art, I loved the miniatures, but the walls of text were just too much”, he says. “I wished there was a page that would just tell me the number I needed to roll, not force me to look up two different pages and compare them”, he adds.

He started to research “games for kids, rules explanations for kids, and kids playing Warhammer”, with the goal of making a truly kid-friendly version of the game. “Most of what I found was dads knowing all the rules, and kids just doing whatever they say”, Christie says. He wanted “to help kids that are into the look of Warhammer feel that they can play the game with their friends”.

So it is that Kidhammer is truly, deeply, simple. You can download the rules directly from his blogspot. The rules for setting up the game take up one side of a sheet of paper, and the rules for playing the game fit on the other. The rules sheet is laid out to help kids easily find information: one edge of the sheet has a movement gauge printed on it, and the steps of the turn have clear number labels for their sequence.

In-game shot of a woman moving miniatures around a Warhammer 40k board in a house, for a game of Kidhammer

“Personally, I love a good complex rules set!” Christie says, so “forcing myself to work on something from the complete opposite end of the spectrum has been a challenge”. He says it’s all too easy, as a designer, to scupper a simple design by adding extra features that seem cool but add to the complexity. To satisfy his own urge for a little added depth, there’s a third, optional page of advanced rules for Kidhammer.

As for the reception from the target audience, Christie says “so far, they seem to really like it!” He adds that “it’s simple enough that keeping track of everything is easy, and challenging enough that they need to think about things before they do them”.

If you’re keen on simpler wargames, we have a lot of strong recommendations. First there’s the NonCombatTabletop movement, which makes simple pacifist miniature games with quirky themes like herding sheep or catching pigs. Then, check out our Snap Ships Tactics review and our Necromolds review, two great wargames that use construction toys to build their figures, and have approachable rules.