Wednesday, December 14, 2016


I have recently taken to getting a little practice on VASSAL, which is a software engine that allows you to play Warhammer 40,000 with other people online.

One of my favorite things about VASSAL is its ability to take and place terrain and then your units, so that you can play out a turn one scenario.  So much hinges on the first turn and the skill with which you plan it in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.  It is so akin to a chess game, only when you make a mistake it’s a bit easier to correct and of course the inclusion of the dice makes for drama that a chess game can never emulate. 

The trouble is that you will often come to a blog like mine or a forum and hear some really sound concepts, but you have no real way of kind of playing that out a little bit to see how to apply it with your own army.  Many people are primarily visual learners (I am more of an audial learner but I appreciate the way this visual aid helps me).

What I am recommending to people who read this is to perhaps download the Vassal engine (the 6th edition of it is actually easier to deal with, from what I have seen) and then the 40K modules for it, so that when you are reading my advice or someone else tell you how great this or that tactic could be, you can pop it open, place some terrain and “see” what is being said on a board that most closely resembles the ones you normally play on.

One thing I detest about most of the forums I am a regular contributor on is the propensity for snarky dismissive people to react to an opinion with pretty much no honest effort put to evaluating that opinion.  Yet when you have VASSAL, it is easy to illustrate to them the basic idea.  Now they can of course still argue and refute you and they may even be right some of the time; but the ability to illustrate the concept and allow for a common vision of what is being assumed is really worthwhile.  Onlookers and others can see clearly what you mean and what the terrain assumptions are which is missing in most online forums.  Even if a random personality here or there refuses to acknowledge your point, others may see it or try it.

VASSAL  has a little learning curve, as it is meant to allow you to do pretty much anything the game allows and frankly anything it doesn’t.  It’s not as if a big company developed it.  Just downloading and installing the 40K modules might prove to be annoying (initially) and require far more Internet searching than it should.  But I encourage you to go through the pain of installing it and then practicing with it.  I think you will find that you can save pictures of your work onto Photobucket or whatever site you use for such things and then be able to post those pictures at will on social media or on forums, whichever you happen to frequent so that you can engage in a good faith discussion.  There aren’t enough of them happening online and VASSAL could be of help in that regard.

The engine can be downloaded here, last time I checked:

Here is the one place i was able to find the 40K modules you will need.  I'm posting both here for completeness sake, but would recommend using Version 6 of the Vassal40K modules unless someone can figure out what I am doing wrong on this 7th Edition one,.  Lol.  You get strange pop ups when you go to the site so just close them out and ignore them.

Version 6:
Version 7:

Here's to hoping for better and more civil online discourse!


  1. Play with us on tabletop simulator! The 40k community is growing strong there.

    Willing to pay for you to try it out.

    Sincerely, the snarky guy

    1. Is is that a yes ? It's not a prank, tabletop SIM for 40k is real!


    2. I play everything else, why stop now!


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