Warhammer 40,000
Rogue Trader

Wargame Rules Review

Warhammer 40,000 by Games Workshop.

In the nightmare future of the fortieth millennia, only the superior psychic mind of the Emperor shields humanity from certain extinction. Dedicated to his service are the warriors, agents and myriad servants of the Imperium. Foremost amongst them stand the Space Marines, men strengthened by advanced bio-processing techniques to create the ultimate human warrior.

The galaxy is a hostile place. There are alien forces, even unwitting humans, that would enslave or destroy mankind if they could. The struggle continues unabated. Wars rage over airless planets, in the city-bottoms of hive-worlds and within the Imperium itself. From the dark regions of warpspace, chaotic entities spin webs to ensnare the weak and beguile the innocent. Everywhere, soulless spectres and slavering monsters are poised to extinguis the life of humanity.

Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader is a miniatures based tabletop game designed for two or more players. You represent the forces of the Imperium or any one of the many enemies ranged against its borders. Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader is suitable for games varying in size from shoot-outs and simple skirmishes to full scale battles! Inside you will find rules and descriptions covering – combat rules for warfare in the distant future; the technology of conflict described; full details of history, background and warriors; a further selection of rules and information for advanced play; and an introductory game including all the details you need to play plus cut-out counters.


  • Title: Warhammer 40,000 – Rogue Trader
  • Period: Science Fiction
  • Type: Skirmish Wargame
  • Time Scale: none given
  • Ground Scale: 1:79 (1 inch = 2 meters)
  • Troop Scale: 1 figure = 1 man
  • Author: Rick Priestley
  • Format: 272-page rule book, with 32 full-colour pages
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Games Workshop Ltd., Nottingham, UK
  • Published: 1987
  • Age: 16 to Adult


Book 1 – Combat

  • The Field of Battle, 2 pages
  • Troop Characteristics, 1 page
  • Models for the Game, 2 pages
  • The Turn Sequence, ½ page
  • Movement, 2 pages
  • Shooting, 8 pages
  • Hand-to-hand Combat, 9 pages
  • Rout and Pursuit, 2 pages
  • Reserves, 1 page
  • Psychology, 1 page
  • Buildings, 2 pages
  • Vehicles, 3 pages
  • Dreadnought Suits, 1.5 pages
  • Robots, 1.5 pages
  • Aerial Movement and Combat, 3 pages
  • Personalities, 1.5 pages
  • Psionics, 5 pages
  • Mutants, 5 pages
  • Points Values, 3 pages
  • The Battle at the Farm, Introductory Scenario, 5 pages

Book 2 – Equipment

  • Weapon Profiles, 32 pages
    • Basic Weapons
    • Close Combat Weapons
    • Heavy Weapons
    • Grenades and Missiles
    • Mines
    • Support Weapons
    • Summary of Weapons
  • Vehicle Profiles, 14 pages
  • Armour Profiles, 2.5 pages
  • Robot Profiles, 3 pages
  • Dreadnought Profiles, ½ page
  • Bionics, ½ page
  • Miscellaneous, 6.5 pages

Book 3 – The Age of the Imperium

  1. The Galaxy, 2.5 pages
  2. Humanity and the Imperium, 7.5 pages
  3. The Inquisition, 4 pages
  4. Psykers, 2 pages
  5. The Adeptus Astra Telepathicus, 2 pages
  6. Navigators, 2 pages
  7. The Legiones Astartes, 10 pages
  8. Warriors of the Army, 4.5 pages
  9. The Rogue Trader, 2 pages
  10. The Assasins, 2 pages
  11. Abhumans, 2 pages
  12. The Eldar Race and the Craft-worlds, 8 pages
  13. Ork Space and Ork Domains, 7 pages
  14. The Ancient Slann and their Inheritance, 4.5 pages
  15. Tyranids and the Hive-fleets, 2.5 pages
  16. Zoats, ½ page
  17. Warp Creatures, 4.5 pages
    Astralhound, Astralspectre, Enslaver, Psychneuein, Vampire, Warp Entity, Zombie
  18. Alien Creatures, 9.5 pages
    Ambull, Bouncer, Carnivorous Sand Clam, Catachan Devil, Catachan Face-eater, Crawler, Crotalid, Cthellean Cudbear, Dinosaur, Ferrobeast, Genestealer, Giant Insectoids, Giant Spider, Grox, Gyrinx, Horse, Lashworm, Mimics, Pterasquirrel, Razorwing, Rippyfish, Swarm, Sunworm
  19. Alien Plants, 3 pages
    Catachan Brain Plant, Creepers, Floaters, Gasfungus, Rainspore, Rubbermoss, Spiker, Spinethorn, Sponge Weed, Tangle Fungus, Thermotropic Vine, Venus Man Trap
  20. Death Worlds, 9.5 pages
    Degenerative Terra-Forming, Death World Fauna, Death World Flora, Mixed Death Worlds, Sentient Death Worlds, Environmental Changes, Creature Charts, Plant Charts

Book 4 – The Advanced Gamer

  • The Advanced Gamesmaster, 7.5 pages
  • Extended Battles and Campaigns, 2.5 pages
  • Plot Generator, 8.5 pages
  • Collecting and Painting your Force, 8 pages
  • Modelling and Scenic Painting, 5 pages

Book 5 – Summary

  • Summary, 6 pages
  • Playsheet, 2 pages
  • Radius Template, 1 page
  • GM’s Handout, 2 pages
  • Marine Players Brief (Handout), 2 pages
  • Ork Players Brief (Handout), 2 pages
  • Counters, 1 page
  • Unit Record Sheet, 2 pages

The Complete Experience

With 272 pages, Warhammer 40,000 ranks among the biggest and most in-depth wargame rules the editors of Military Miniatures Magazine have reviewed to date. Empire III, Rapid Fire!, and Command Decision have more pages of actual game rules and charts, yet they are much shorter in prose, because it is generally assumed that historical miniatures gamers have already familiarized themselves with the period of warfare they are about to engage in. Warhammer 40k, on the other hand, goes to great length to define a fictitious world of its own, populate it with some familiar and much alien flora and fauna, and prepare the stage for impending conflict. The Warhammer 40k manual accompanies the prospective player from painting his/her first miniatures, recruiting armies and fellow gamers, creating the necessary terrain, to his first military rehearsals, and the "real world" miniatures campaigns most players dream of. The Warhammer 40k Plot Generator provides a convincing historical background and clever sub-plots for every combat mission.

The sections covering the different races encountered in the galaxy are a good starting point for players interested in raising Human, Dwarf, Eldar, Orc, Slann, Tyranid, or Rogue Trader squads for the Warhammer 40k game. Advanced players will want to refer to the Warhammer 40k expansion books for an in-depth coverage of their selected army. These expansions feature the uniforms, camouflage patterns, rank insignia, regimental badges, weapons, specialist equipment, transport and armoured fighting vehicles used by a particular regiment of the army.

Build your World

Many wargamers and modellers enjoy science-fiction games, because they offer endless scope for scratch-building, figure conversion, innovative camouflage patterns, and clever vehicle designs which would be immediately ruled out in historical miniatures games. To be sure, there are chapter approved camouflage patterns, and Imperium approved miniatures in Warhammer 40k, but players may agree to allow virtually any figure or combat vehicle in their games, provided that a certain miniature more or less matches one of the troop types covered in the rules.

Games Workshop offers boxed sets of metal miniatures, plastic multi-pose infantry, separate weapons sprues, fighting vehicles, and accessories for Warhammer 40k, which provide many spare parts for interesting conversion projects. Figures, vehicles, and terrain pieces from other Games Workshop wargames may be drafted and converted for Warhammer 40k very easily. Orc and Rogue Trader players are particularly fortunate in that their existing miniatures only need to be armed with an antique musket, modern assault rifle, or futuristic laser weapon to engage in a Warhammer 40k skirmish.

The many full-colour illustrations of Warhammer 40k miniatures and dioramas provide inspiration for beginning wargamers and diorama builders interested in a long-term committment to their chosen period of miniature wargaming. In fact, many Warhammer 40k enthusiasts invest more time in raising beautifully painted armies, and building fascinating terrain features for their troops to fight over, than they actually spend at the gaming table. New players may expect to spend upwards of 300,- € for the rules and the miniatures to create a basic Warhammer 40k army. There are less expensive wargame rules on the market, but Warhammer 40k has a large player base, and it should be relatively easy to find or recruit potential opponents virtually anywhere in the world.

Wargame Rules