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.