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The book that destroyed the Warhammer world is eight years old

Warhammer The End Times: Archaon was the final expansion for Warhammer Fantasy battle, bringing an end to thirty years of wargaming history

Warhammer The End Times illustration by Games Workshop - Archaon the Everchosen

The Warhammer world came to a fiery end eight years ago, on March 14 2015, with the release of Warhammer The End Times: Archaon. This was the final, apocalyptic expansion for the 30 year old wargame, and its world-shattering narrative cleared the ground for Games Workshop to launch Age of Sigmar in July the same year.

Over five expansions (each consisting of a narrative book and a rules book in a slipcase), the End Times series introduced new units and an evolving metaplot that charted the downfall of the Warhammer world to the forces of Chaos.

If you’re keeping up with the Arks of Omen series for Warhammer 40k you’ll have a sense for what those books were like – grand narratives full of startling revelations, accompanied by rules to refight the battles on your tabletop. We should point out that Arks of Omen is presumably preparing us for Warhammer 40k 10th edition, not a new game entirely.

Warhammer The End Times illustration by Games Workshop - Nagash, lord of undeath

Despite the apocalyptic title, at the time the End Times books were released people weren’t sure how the saga would play out. A coalition of forces aligned with the eight winds of magic opposed Archaon, drawing in allies as unlikely as the necromancer Nagash and the Ork warlord Grimgor Ironhide.

The series set up many characters who had been powerful but not truly divine in the Warhammer world to become gods for the Warhammer Age of Sigmar armies: the high elves Tyrion and Teclis became the gods of the Lumineth aelves; Nagash the lichelord completed his ascension to become supreme lord of undeath; Malekith of the dark elves would ascend as Malerion the shadow king.

Warhammer The End Times illustration by Games Workshop - the Glottkin

Despite marking the end of the world (and the wargame), the End Times series brought with it no shortage of new models for Warhammer armies. Rank and file figures like the Nurgle Blightkings, Khorne Wrathmongers, Skaven Stormfiends, as well as centrepieces like the Glottkin and Nagash, had a brief life in Warhammer fantasy battle armies before jumping universes into Age of Sigmar.

Games Workshop has made all the non-rules content from the End Times books available as part of the Warhammer Vault, a less-known but really rather excellent part of the Warhammer+ subscription service. If you want to refight the epic battles from that era you could do worse than the Immortal Empires campaign for Total War: Warhammer III, which pits every Warhammer faction against one another on a map of the entire Warhammer world.

The upcoming Warhammer: The Old World wargame will return to the Warhammer fantasy world, though it’s set several hundred years before the End Times, in the run-up to an earlier (but only slightly less devastating) Chaos invasion. As soon as we know when that’s going to release, we’ll let you know!