Warhammer 40,000 or (Warhammer 40K, or just 40K) is a miniature wargame produced by Games Workshop. It is a science fiction setting that embodies the tagline “In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future There is only War.” It’s five minutes to midnight, and the human race is losing ground against the myriad horrors and threats that face off against them. It is a setting that defines itself by the warriors that fight its battles, and conflict is the most common thing that drives interaction between the various faction choices.
You’ve probably seen the game if you’ve been around a game store or have been exposed to the computer and video games. Black Library has been publishing novels and stories from the Warhammer 40,000 universe for years, and there are a lot of neat, interesting looking things that may have caught your eye. Hold on to that thought about what caught your eye, we’ll circle back to that in a minute.
Congratulations on deciding that you want to try 40K, it’s a complex game that will take time to learn, prepare, and play. The first thing to know before you buy into the game is that you’re going to need some things before you get started.
- · You’re going to need 6 sided dice (like Yahtzee dice) and a lot of them. I recommend you have dice in at least two different colors so that you can roll your dice in a batch. You’ll also need a scatter die for determining random directions.
- · A tape measure is essential because the game uses inches as the measure of distance. This tracks movement and range in most instances, and should be easy to find.
- · Templates are used for weapons that have special rules and it’s a good idea to have a set of the three basic templates on hand.
- · A copy of the rules is supremely handy. I’ve been playing for over 15 years and I still check the rules to make sure that I am doing things correctly
- · A table to play on, with the terrain. Terrain breaks up the playing surface of the game and introduces tactical and situational decisions that will shape the game you are playing. Terrain that’s not attached to the board means you can arrange as you like and no two games are the same.
Once you’ve got access to these things, you have the nuts and bolts of what the game needs to be played but you’re missing two important player specific things.
- · The Codex and formation rules for the army you are going to be playing. This is the master list of data for the faction you’ve decided to play and contains all of their special rules and unique choices. Without this, it’s nearly impossible to play a game.
- · The army list you are using for that game. The codex lists all of your possible choices, but you need to make some decisions about what units you are going to be fielding for that particular game. This is a concise list of what those units are, their points cost, and any upgrades you bought. It’s also a good idea to write down any page numbers for things that have oddball rules to keep track of.
- · Models for the army you are going to be playing. This is where the game becomes more than a game, and there’s a wonderful article about the hobby of the gaming that I am not going to make you read right now. New gamers who are trying things and learning how their army works should probably pick up enough models to field the army they want to play, and be willing to try out different units (proxying, or using a unit on the table as a different unit, is an understandable practice with a new player testing a new army). Make sure you have enough bodies to play the list you are playing and everything should be good.
Your local game store might have all of these components, and if you’re lucky, a staff member who can teach you the game. I would take them up on these offers and play the game nice and slow. If you’ve got these elements, you and your friends should be perfectly capable of putting together your first game of 40K, and you should have at least some fun playing the game. We are here to have fun, it is a game. You’re going to make some mistakes the first couple of games, and that’s okay. Everybody makes mistakes.
You’ve played a few games and now you’re looking at starting your very own army of plastic men to take over the miniature battlefield, where do you start? Well, there are a lot of people who may try and look at what list is the strongest, what units are the best, and I really think looking at Warhammer 40,000 from that perspective is going to be a disservice to you as a gamer. 40K is a hobby as much as it is a game, and looking at from the “where’s the ‘I win’ button” perspective cuts out a lot of the other parts of the hobby side.
I think that the best option for a player is to look at the models and find ones that you think are interesting, or that you like the story of. Finding a faction that interests you and engages you on a personal level is one of the best ways to get involved with the hobby. When I started playing, I was looking through a rule book and saw a squad of Terminators for the first time, and I thought they were the coolest things I’d ever seen. I did some more digging and found out they were a part of the Space marines, so that was the army I started playing. The most recent edition of Warhammer 40,000 has relaxed the rules on what models you can bring together as an army so you can mix and match to a degree if you find two armies that you like the look of.
Once you’ve got the army you like the look of and think that’s the army for you, I would encourage you to purchase the codex. The codex is the easiest investment in the army, but it’s really one you can’t play the game without. Most codices run right at $50 US currency, but you really need to pick one up before you can go anywhere else with putting your army together. The codex also gives you a lot of ideas for color and what you want your army to look like.
Codex in hand, the next step I would suggest is picking up the start collecting box that goes with your codex. Every single one of the start collecting boxes saves you money compared to buying the individual unit boxes and it gives you a formation to use out of the box and models to learn to play the game with. Note, that the start collecting boxes are all $85 US before discounts that may or may not apply, but will save you money in the long run.
Did I mention the models weren’t put together? Oh yeah, you’re going to need to assemble and it I strongly suggest you paint your guys for play. Do you have to? No, but assembling and painting your models is part of the hobby side of the experience, and I think you should embrace that aspect of it. You’re going to need some more stuff to put them together, including:
- · Flush cutters are a set of hand clippers that look like a pair of pliers with a pair of cutting teeth instead of grippers. These you need to get the individual parts of your models off of their plastic sprues so you can assemble them (Pro-tip: Make sure you put the flat end of the clippers facing the part you’re removing from the sprue. This makes sure that it’s a flat, even cut).
- · Files or mouldline scrapers. The process for plastic injection uses two halves of a mould that are pressed together and plastic is forced into the mould. The tiny little spaces where the halves meet leave very fine lines that should be trimmed off before you put them together.
- · Adhesives. You’re going to need to put your models together, and plastic glue is one of the best things to use for all plastic models. It chemically changes the plastic and melts the two pieces together for a super strong bond. Super glue may be needed for non-plastic models.
- · Primer, in either aerosol or brush on variety, is essential for getting a good finish on your paint. It provides a color for the paint to key to, and it gives the paint a surface to bond to. Don’t leave home without it.
- · Paint is going to be necessary unless you’re having a war between the primed legions. Pick the colors you like, paint your guys how you want to paint them, and have fun with it.
- · Varnish to cover the awesome paint job you finished and don’t want to have to fix every time you pick a guy up. A dull finish is usually a better option than a shiny one.
- · Basing material, because you spent all that time and energy painting the model, you don’t want him standing on a flat multicolored base without any details.
Take your time and ease into your painting projects. Watch videos on how other people paint and practice that style until you feel comfortable. Rushing through a painting project is depriving yourself of the hobby, and I’ve said before it’s something you should take your time.
The Dark Vengeance starter set and the newly released Death Masque boxed set both provide starting armies for two players. Dark Vengeance also has some dice, the scatter die, and the templates you’ll need, but the two player starter sets are monetarily good prices compared to individually buying the kits.
I hope this gives you all some ideas on starting out with Warhammer 40,000.
Game on, Game Fans
p.s forgot the link to Games Workshop: https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Home
p.s forgot the link to Games Workshop: https://www.games-workshop.com/en-US/Home