Soldier Helps Pave the Way in Army’s First Tabletop Wargame Team

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — When 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Command Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander, Capt. Ivan Cho, first started playing tabletop wargames in eighth grade, he never would have thought he’d be playing his favorite games while wearing the Army logo.

Cho, and three other Army active duty and reserve Soldiers, did just this as the U.S. Army eSports’ Warhammer 40,000 Team at the Las Vegas Open on January 24, 2020, which hosts the largest Warhammer 40,000 Tournament in the world.

“It really opens up avenues for civilians and other parties to see that the United States Army has opportunities within it if you are willing to branch out and try new things,” said Cho.

The U.S. Army eSports Team is a competition team of the U.S. Army and pulls its members from the Regular Army and Army Reserves. The Team has various sub-teams that fall under the Army eSports Team, including the Army eSports Warhammer 40,000 Team. Members play competitive Warhammer 40,000, a tabletop wargame where players enact battle by using miniature models of warriors and combat equipment on top of the layout of a battlefield.

“For a lot of veterans, Warhammer 40,000 is considered great for morale and therapeutic because of the vast hobby aspects that come with it including building the miniatures, painting them, then being able to compete against other players and hobbyists,” said Cho.

Cho and his teammates competed against over 750 players and played more than six rounds of games. Each round was roughly two and a half hours long, totaling about 15 hours of gaming over the course of two days. All four team members made the top 25 percent of players, competing with some of the best players in the world.

“I think it will have a lot of benefits for future Army players to know they have the backing of the United States Army to play and compete in a hobby they love to do,” said Cho.

The Army eSports Warhammer 40,000 Team consists of six active members from across the Nation: Capt. Red Powell of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Capt. Ivan Cho, Capt. Matthew Talley of U.S. Army Forces Command, Master Sgt. Justin Pizzoferrato of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, Staff Sgt. Shane Watts of Defense Information Systems Agency, and Staff Sgt. Jason Rider of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

“At this time, we are in the works for opening up more slots on the active team and create a second team to encourage more growth in the Warhammer 40,000 community as well as show the rest of the world that you can be a Soldier and still do your normal hobbies,” said Cho.

By Rebecca Nappi, 20th CBRNE

13 Responses to “Soldier Helps Pave the Way in Army’s First Tabletop Wargame Team”

  1. Jason Smith says:

    Need a Twilight 2000 team.

    • Clayton Shackelford says:

      Man, that just took me back 30 years to college dorms days staying up on a Friday night campaigning across Europe with my buddies. Twilight 2000 is a awesome game.

  2. some_guy says:

    I get that the team is essentially a recruitment element. But WH40K isn’t exactly a skill based game. There’s a lot of luck involved. Not something that demonstrates a fair amount of skill. I used to play years ago, maybe it changed who knows. Still a good read.

    • SOmmerbiwak says:

      No, still basically the same game.

      Actual wargame players, you know with tin soldiers or even just pieces of carton as unit markers replaying the battle of Verdun or the Thermopyles or the cold war gone hot or whatever. Now that would be actual wargaming. But Wh40k has more broad appeal and is much wider known and just like the computer gaming team this is targeted at future recruits.

    • Brett Perkins says:

      If it isnt skill based then all of these players that win the biggest events consistently.. may have figured out how to max their luck. lol

    • Broxus says:

      Luck is only part of it like real military operations. Tactics are what win tournaments. That is why the same people always seem to win. It isn’t luck. This is a great idea for the Army.

  3. Brett Perkins says:

    I suppose i still have time for some broadening… lol

  4. Mike Nomad says:

    They need to go All The Way… Bring back an updated Challenger 2000 book set.

  5. Pvt. Micah Wald says:

    I am a new recruit that loves Warhammer 40k, playing Black Templar Space Marines. Glad to see my branch doing this and that I am not alone. Would love to play a match against any of these fine brothers

  6. Stefan S. says:

    Kids…..I remember when it was called Space Marine back in 1988.

  7. SGT Elisha Hill says:

    I am currently stationed at JBLM and have been playing 40k for 13 years. I was hoping that the army would get into tabletop gaming. I would like to know about how to join. I believe with my experience and knowledge of 40k, I could be a great asset to the team. Please send me any information on what I would need to join.

  8. Scott Landis says:

    If you wish more information, you will want to contact the US Army Recruiting Command, Marketing & Engagement Brigade out of Ft. Knox. As an alternate contact method, you may subscribe to the eSports Team Facebook page.

  9. CPT (CH) Jared Pomeroy says:

    I’d love to get involved as well. Just put me on your radar! 🙂