Thursday, April 15, 2010

There is only WAR! – My thoughts on getting started with Warhammer 40,000

With all the new people we’ve been getting at the club that have no idea what 40k is about, I thought I would write up some tips on how to make war in the 41st millennium!

So, you’ve been introduced to the world of Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40k, where to start? At first glace the world of 40k can seem huge and menacing! It looks so complicated that you may be overwhelmed. Well don’t be! The truth is, Warhammer 40k is a very simple game, its very user friendly and easy to wrap your head around. However, I will acknowledge the fact that there is a ton of stuff to learn. This is why it might seem like its complicated on the surface, but when you explore it more you will realize that you already know everything you need to know! It’s just a matter of details.

First, you need to understand how the game works! At this point, don’t worry about the rules or the details of armies or anything too complicated. The first thing you should do is attend a club meeting or watch some battles being fought by somebody you know! Just get an idea of how things work! This will be your first look into the world of 40k and it should be something that sets your mind at ease. While there are lots of rules and details yet to learn the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s a lot like real life. Your soldiers move, run for cover, fire on the enemy and then charge into combat! These things are very basic and pretty much anybody that’s played a video game or played with action figures as a kid knows how this works. In the most basic way, all Warhammer 40k really does is translate fighting into dice rolls!

Now that you’ve watch your friends play a few games, you are ready to take the next step! It’s time to look into what kind of army you might be interested in playing. Now, there are a few ways to go about this. I will refer you to this article on the Games Workshop site (It has some great pictures). Depending on what kind of player you are there are some different things to consider first while deciding on an army.

  • Are you into the lore and history? Do you really like RPG kind of games? 40k has a very deep and rich back story that you will enjoy! When deciding on your army do some research and reading about the history of each race. Find a story you can relate to, so that when you are destroying your enemies on the table top you know why!
  • Are you a hobbyist? Did you like making model airplanes or cars when you were a k id? 40k is more than just a wargame, it is a deep and expansive hobby! There are some really great looking models out there! So check out pictures of the armies! Look online, there are tons of other hobbyists out there that can you give you a really good idea of what is possible! So pick the army that you think looks cool! It’s that simple! Then get to work bringing your gloriously painted army to bear on your enemy! Shame him in victory or defeat, because you look that much cooler!
  • Are you competitive? Do you play to win? There is an army for you in the worl d of 40k. When picking an army you need to do some research on the capabilities of each army. Do you like shooting heavy weapons downrange and blasting your opponent to pieces? Do you like the glory and honor of hand to hand combat and seeing the blood of your enemy stained on your sword? The armies of Warhammer 40k won’t let you down and each army can specialize in a variety of ways. However, some are better suited to one thing or another! Make sure you figure out which one fits you best and that will help you enjoy them more!

Taking this into consideration, choose your army! You should run it past your friends that already play 40k and let them know why you chose what you did. They will help you confirm your choice! Now you need to pick up your CODEX! Each army has a codex that explains all the units and special rules for that army. Once you have this, you are well on your way to playing!

Next you need to build your army list! Your army list is the roster of the soldiers and weapons and upgrades that you will be brining into battle. Your codex contains all the information you will need to build your list. You will need to build an army for a specific point value. Games of 40k are usually 2000 point games. Another common value, usually used for tournaments and official functions is 1750. At Lancashire Wargaming we play 2000 point games most of the time. Occasionally we will have special games with multiple players and these will introduce different point values. But you can deal with that when it arises. For now, get to work designing a 2000 point army!

There are some things to remember when designing your list. This is where the strategy portion of the game comes into play. You need to make sure you cover all the bases, and make sure you can handle everything that’s going to be thrown at you. Don’t just arbitrarily choose units. When you choose things for your list make sure you have a purpose in mind for that unit. Is it an anti-infantry unit? Is it an anti-vehicle unit? Is it a swarm that’s meant to just soak up damage type of unit? You will have to consider this when building your army because you want to make sure that you cross all the Ts and dot all the Is when it comes to your army.

This is the point at which you will be delving into your codex and talking with your 40k friends a lot. Remember, while some lists are better than others, you must remember to play something that is FUN for you. That’s the whole point. Even if its not the super-duper effective army list that you read about from all the tournament players, if you like it, you play it. The thing about Warhammer 40k is that the list is only half the battle, it’s your tactical skill that really makes your list shine.

Basically, you want to make sure you have these angles covered in your army list.

  • HQ or commander unit – Most armies may take up to 2, but that can get pricy!
  • 1 troop choice for every 500 points the game is being played at.
  • Make sure each unit has a defined purpose, jack of all trade units don’t work as well as you’d think. Have a way to deal with vehicles / monsters – This usually takes the form of strength 8 plus weapons. So make sure you have some!
  • Have a way to deal with hordes – Usually this means flamethrowers or ordinance weapons! BOOM!
  • Have a general plan or idea for how you will use your army! For example, are you t he kin d that likes melee combat? Then you will want to load up all your guys in transports and rush them at the enemy! Doesn’t matter what you field, a good plan is the best way to win!
  • Is your army “FUN” to you? If you don’t like what’s in your army or how it plays, keep working till you find something you like!

Make sure you consult your codex for the ‘Force Organization Chart’ that’s usually found before the listing of all your units and upgrades. This will show you what you are required to take for your army. Most armies in 40k must take a required 1 HQ unit and 2 Troop choices. There is usually a limit of 3 squads from the Elite, Heavy Support, and Fast Attack sections. Remember, this isn’t a limit of 3 units, it’s a limit of 3 squads. Vehicles may sometimes be taken in squads, but usually they come solo filling up an a slot by themselves. Some vehicles can be taken as a ‘dedicated transport’ by troops and elite squads. These don’t take up any room on the force organization chart, so you can get more vehicles than you normally would be able to. Put some thought into it and play around with your calculator! See what kind of combinations you can come up with!

Next you will want to familiarize yourself with the rules as much as possible. I suggest focusing on the basics, the rulebook itself can be frightening. It is filled with lots of information. It will take time to understand it fully and to remember what you need to. But rest assured, just like the rest of 40k, the rules too are simple grasp there are just lots of them! You will find that conversing with your friends and reading forums and blogs (maybe even posting some questions too) will help you master the rules in no time. It’s fun to talk about the rules and argue some of the intricacies while you’re at it!

Here is the basic idea, so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed. In Warhammer 40k your soldiers can basically do what YOU would do if you were in their shoes. It takes some imagination, but really try to get yourself into the battle! If you were a trooper, what would you do in that situation? Would you duck for cover? Would you unload a clip of bolter fire into the enemy? Would you loose your chainsword and charge forth? The choice is yours and that is basically how the rules work. They allow you to do what your models would be doing if they were really at battle! I find that Warhammer 40k stands out from all other games I have played. You really can do whatever you want! (Within reason of course) and the rules will guide you through how to translate doing what you want into a 6 sided dice! So just relax and give it some time, soon you will be a master of

the rules of war!

I honestly think that just playing matches with some more experienced players is the fastest way to learn the rules and how to use your list, be prepared to be destroyed! But, every defeat will makes you that much stronger!

Speaking of playing matches, you’re basically ready to start playing! Now, officially you’ll need to purchase models and get to the hobby side of things. Once you have your list its easy to see what models you will need. However, 40k can be a bit of an expensive hobby if you just go out and buy your entire list at once! In order to ease the transition and allow you to practice with your army before you go buy models we at Lancashire Wargamming suggest that you play with paper cut-out. Yes, it will be a little bit weird pretending your fielding a brutal army when it looks like colored paper circles, however, this is the wisest way to find out if you’re truly going to want to invest into Warhammer 40k.

We use the circles for training purposes and to allow you to test out army lists and units to see what you really like before you go out and purchase models. By now you’ve probably taken a gander at some of the models and packages for sale over at Games Workshop. You’re probably saying to yourself, “Geeze, this looks like an expensive hobby!” I won’t lie to you, there is a commitment involved with 40k, but with some patience and wise tactics such as the circles, the cost can start to look more manageable.

When you’re talking about getting into 40k for the first time, there is going to be some more upfront cost than after you are into it for a bit. Buying paint and tools to work on your models is definitely pricey at first. Once you have a supply built up, its really just maintenance from there. The models themselves can get up there too but don’t worry; The key here is to realize that you don’t need to buy your entire army at once, you can budget it out and only spend as much as you want. Taking the collecting and modeling side of 40k slowly is the key to success in this hobby.

Personally, I only allow myself $30 a month. If I need something more than that, I just wait. I haven’t lost any interest and, in fact, I even find myself more excited when its time to order some models. So my advice is take it slow and don’t be turned off by the money side. I am confident that anybody can afford this hobby with smart planning.

You’re all ready to play! Remember, this is a hobby, not a sport. The point of 40k is having fun with your friends. You can get a tremendous sense of accomplishment from a fully painted army. You will win some and you will lose some! It’s a game that takes practice and tactics to win!

The most important thing to remember when making the decision to get into Warhammer 40k is to make sure you really get into the game. Delve into the lore for your faction. Let your imagination fly! Put time and energy into your models! Do the best you can! It’s like when you were a kid and your imagination was going non-stopped. So do whatever you can to have some fun! You won’t be disappointed!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Moros! I'm sure this will be a great resource for our new players. I have two things to say about the high cost of getting started.
    1. I would be happy to lend tools or paints to anyone in the club who needs them.

    2. check the blog store for models most of the items are 10 - 20% games workshops prices. Remember by buying through us you support the club.