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I wish videogames would let me paint my armies


Despite my shaky hands, lack of artistic ability and short temper, I’ve become a wee bit obsessed with painting tiny warriors and sending them into battle on my dining table. After a nearly 20-year hiatus, I returned to Warhammer 40,000 back in 2019, and the grimdark universe of the future has become my happy place, especially when I’ve got one of my approximately 100 paint brushes in my hand. Naturally, I’m now trying to chase that high on PC, but I’m not having much luck. 

Videogames have borrowed plenty from their tabletop cousins, giving us direct adaptations, digital spin-offs and games more broadly inspired by physical romps. Nothing has been more influential than Warhammer, though, with Games Workshop giving just about anyone the license. It seems like we’re only ever a few days away from a new game or announcement, and I’m not remotely tired of them yet. But one of the most important parts of the whole Warhammer experience has been conspicuously missing. 

More of this, please.  (Image credit: Future)

I love the dense lore and grim sci-fi battles of 40K, but the real appeal is seeing the army that I built and painted by hand kicking the shit out of another army. I adore my Necrons and Space Wolves because they are 100 percent mine—every brush stroke, every imperfection. So when I play Dawn of War or Total War: Warhammer, it’s weird, because it feels like I’m playing with someone else’s toys. “I’d never paint my Space Marines like this,” I shout impotently into the void as I’m forced to field some other nerd’s army. 

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