Slate Magazine has a terrific article about how the futuristic tabletop war game is incredibly popular among the men and women (okay, mostly men) of the United States armed forces, and especially with many who are serving overseas in places like Afghanistan (including players such as Army Sgt. Steffan McBee, pictured). Warhammer 40K's publisher Games Workshop estimates that perhaps 25 percent of its very large American player base are active-duty personnel: some of whom go to great lengths to have their stockpiles of miniatures shipped safely to their duty posts around the globe.
What's the appeal of a war game played on tabletops with plastic and metal models? Members of the armed forces enjoy the tactical thinking and execution critical to carrying out a 40K battle. But there is also the more hobby-ish aspect of assembling, painting and oftentimes customizing the models. One Marine comments that the strenuous regimented lifestyle of the Corps obligates an attention to detail that carries over well into the grim darkness of the far future that is Warhammer 40K.
It's a most excellent write-up by Alan Siegel, and one that'll have you appreciating anew what our armed service folks do to keep themselves entertained far from home. And hey, as a devout Ork player it makes me proud to be in good company with United States Marines who also enjoy a fine WAAAGH! :-)