Harwood's Guides: Warhammer 40,000

A gentle shove in the right direction.

The Imperium of Man

The Imperium of Man is comprised of several different armies that make up humanity, led by the Emperor. I could go on about this guy for days, but the point here is that this guy was awesome, and really made humanity what it is in the book. The key here, at least in the lore, is that all of the armies work together to get the job done effectively. For the most part, it's worked, because humanity is still fighting against the forces of Chaos and all of them pesky xenos...

First up, Games Workshop's favorite race themselves, the SPACE MARINES!

The Space Marines

The Space Marines, also known as the Adeptus Astartes (because every human group has a wacky latin-ish name), are the biggest, baddest, toughest dudes that humanity has got. Think Master Chief, except in bigger armor, and actually more badass. Then think that there are huge legions of these guys. And that's the Space Marines. These guys literally aren't born, they're made. They go through insane physical augmentation, making them HUGE, and also making their skin wicked tough, their spit acid, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. Oh, and they also entirely erase their memories. To make the baddest dudes around, they can't be afraid of the dark! They program their brains so that they don't feel fear, and are an entirely new person to be defined. Then they go through training...honestly, making a Space Marine is a long involved process, but the point that I'm trying to get across is that these guys were the best.......AROOOOOOOUND! Nobody. Ever. Kept them down.

A little, little bit of history...

The Emperor, in his infinite badassery, actually made the Space Marines. Kind of. This guy went ahead and took his geneseed and made something like 20 Primarchs; other freakin' awesome dudes that he wanted to lead the future Space Marine legions (these guys actually ended up doing the same thing to make their own Space Marine armies) Keep in mind, yes, these guys were not born, they were engineered. To be the best. Anyways, the Chaos Gods scattered the artificial wombs of these guys, and they went all over the galaxy. Fortunately, the guys were SUPER BADASSES and just didn't give a shit. They grew up on the planets they landed on, usually started ruling, and were picked up later when the Emperor found them. When nearly all of these guys got together (18/20), they went and absolutely facerolled their way through the galaxy to conquer and reclaim planets. This was cool, things were good. Unfortunately, the Chaos Gods weren't about to give up, and started poisoning the mind of one of the Primarchs, who in turn went around and turned several other Primarchs, whose armies would later be known as the Traitor Legions (see where this is going?). Anyways, these guys revolted against the Emperor, and were formidable considering their new gifts and strength of Chaos. However, they took care of it up until the final showdown between the Emperor himself with his squad and Horus, the Primarch who started and led the revolt. Long epic battle cut short: the Emperor became a super-psychic vegetable skeleton. Seriously, look it up. The Golden Throne was his life-support chair. And that's where he leads humanity from, including his very own Space Marines.

In reality...

The Space Marines are freakin' awesome. 4s across the board (ballistics, tough, weapons, etc.), standard 3+ armor save, LAND RAIDERS, these guys are awesome. They are a small-er army, but that's because they're quality units. These guys are perfect for someone starting the game, as you can either play as the standard Space Marines or one of the different variants that there are Codices for: Space Wolves, Blood Angels, or Dark Angels.

The Imperial Guard

The Imperial Guard are pretty simple. They're the military. They aren't super-engineered, they don't spit acid, they don't wear power armor. These guys are the average joes that are conscripted into protecting humanity. There are a couple of key things here that make them not an abyss of terrible, however. First, there are FREAKIN' BILLIONS AND BILLIONS of these guys. More than you can imagine, and more every day. Second, they've got without a doubt the most badass tanks of everyone.

A little bit of history...

Well, there's not much to explain. It's humanity's military force. They come from everywhere, have their own personalities, and work with the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Machine Cult of Mars. Honestly, all that means is that though these guys are just fodder, they get great tanks. There are all kinds, from the basic Leman Russ (named after the Space Wolves Primarch himself) to the Medusa artillery cannon. The tanks are awesome.

In reality...

The Imperial Guard are awesome. Yes, their basic troops (Guardsmen) are terrible, but they're supposed to be. The point is that you can have a lot of them. And as I mentioned earlier, their tanks are the best around. There is a tank for every purpose, and in most cases it fulfills its role flawlessly.

The Grey Knights

The Grey Knights are basically Space Marines that are entirely devoted to fighting off the forces of the Warp. These guys are pretty freakin' important, and are equally badass.

A little bit of history...

This one is pretty simple as well: THE WARP IS BAD! So the Imperium needed to devote some kind of chapter to fighting off the Demons and whatnot that would occasionally spew forth from the depths of the Warp. All of these guys are potent psykers, and have been trained with weapons that are meant specifically to combat the demonic energies from the Warp.

In reality...

The Grey Knights can be absolutely hilarious to stomp an enemy with, but it really takes an intimate knowledge of your army. This is because a typical GK army is tiny. A 2000 pt list can be made using 21 models, a Stormraven, and 2 Dreadknights. For those of you who know nothing of this: that's TINY! This doesn't mean that they are lacking in firepower, but the player needs to remember every little thing that their forces can do; forgetting even one thing could change the course of your match.