Episode 38: The History of 40k Part 1

Warhammer 40 Rogue Trader Cover Art

Warhammer 40 Rogue Trader Cover Art

In this episode, we begin our discussion on the History of 40k. This year is the 30th anniversary of Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader, so we will be covering all 7 editions of the game in three podcasts. This episode covers first and second edition of 40k. We also have a guest interview with Adam from TFG Radio!


This year is the 30th anniversary and we are on the cusp of 8th edition, so we want to explore all the past editions of the game and talk about the rules, the gameplay, the art and the story.

Our personal history with Warhammer 40k.

First Edition

Published in 1987, called Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader, by Rick Priestly.

What is a Rogue Trader?


  • Unit profiles
  • Turn Sequence
  • Movement
  • Shooting/wounding
  • Assault
  • Psychology
  • Vehicles and weapons


The Imperium story  almost exactly the same, although chaos was not yet built out.

Abhumans (squats), Eldar, Orks, Gretchin, Slann, Tyranids, and lot of different creatures (Gyrinx, and Genestealers).

The art is all black and white and heavily stylized, with some John Blance artwork. Much like 2000AD comics like Judge Dredd.

Surprising things about 1st edition

Second Edition

Published in 1993, by Rick Priestly and Andy Chambers.

First boxed game that you could buy that had all the things needed to play. Space marines vs Orks, in plastic models. It contained the rule books, starter models, dice, templates, and a cardboard Ork dreadnought.

Necromunda uses second edition rules, so to get a feel for what this edition was like, the Shadow War Armageddon game will show you a lot what 2nd edition was like.


  • Unit profiles
  • Turn Sequence
  • Movement; first part is declaring charges. Terrain ½ move, ¼ move, not dice rolling
  • Shooting/wounding
  • Assault
  • Psychic phase; each psyker gets to cast one power on a fixed result, 4+ for teleport, for example. Total of 6 powers that you can choose.

Still suited for skirmish games

Story and Art

Similar art, but with more color photos of minis.

Army books

No Tau, but the basics, plus Squats and Sisters of Battle

GW was still a small company run by a group of gamers, but you see them evolving into a miniatures game. They did not go public until 1997, right before 3rd edition.  Third Edition will invalidate all the second ed codices.

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