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Old 06 Dec 2008, 15:38   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: UK
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Default Some advice to beginners of the 40k game

I am posting this up as my guidance to those new to Warhammer 40,000 based in part on some of the things iv seen commented, or commented upon.

We all were once new players, some coming into 40k from other game genres, some completely new to the 40k universe. When you consider the potential complexities of the game as a whole, the incredible depth of the background as the game has progressed over the years and the sheer range of units and races available it can be incredibly daunting for a new player, especially one who has never played a TT wargame before.

You have the okay so what race do I want to play? what kind of styles are possible?, what units? and so on.

Starting Up

If your considering taking up the game and haven't bought the game yet, i would recommend first seeing if there is a local games club, or GW store and arranging to go along and watch some games, observe the different styles, different armies in action and ask questions, why a person plays a particular army, why so many vehicles instead of infantry, whatever you feel will help you to better decided what suits you in the long run. Don't be phased by the overwhelming differences and choices, especially if you still can't decide what you like because it all looks good. Many of the -older- (Have been playing for a long time) players have played many different armies and races as they either tire of there current army or their styles change as they play more.

If you have already purchased the game, you have a good start, most of the new games boxes come with a nice balance of units for 2 different races, and game scenario's for you to try what's in the box. Now here you may not like the races in the box, you may like them, it really doesn't matter too much. You can still use them to get a feel of the game mechanics, and how the game works and plays out... they are starter forces for you to get your teeth into the 40k universe. Even if you don't like the races in the box it is still a good way for you to experience the game before you decide on what race you are going to play.

Unpainted Models

So you have just got the game new, you have this box with all these great models in... do you want to play the game first or paint them first?

Now this is an individuals personal choice, its nice to see painted models, but if your a beginner, and have just got your very first models your probably just wanting to assemble them and play the game. Now in this position I would actually put the models together and play the game. This allows you to get a feel for the game, and decide if you like it... as honestly not everybody will, its human, some of us will enjoy it, some wont. As i said before you may just decided you don't like what comes in the box, and want a different race to play. If your not going to play them in the long run, why bother painting them? really there is no need... you may come back to them later, you may not and you can always use these models for spares, conversions or just to practise painting skills on.

Now if you have a local games club in the area they won't and shouldn't object to you playing with an unpainted army to start off with, or even as you go along and progress with units here and there unpainted, a 40k army is never really done, its going to be almost always a work in progress as you decide to add new units and models.

Deciding Upon Your First Army

There are many ways that players decide upon their first army, or armies. Some people will like the look of the models and ranges, and say that's the army for me. Some will decide based upon the play style of the army, be it a fast attack orientated army, a shooting army or a close combat army. Others will decide based upon the background for that army, the history and stylings rather than the models or its play style.

No method has any more merit than any of the others, but one may synch with you immediately, if not don't despair, many players end up trialing many different races not finding what is right for them initially. The best advice here is too do a combination of the three, look at the miniatures available, look at how that race/army plays out and read the background for the different races.

If you decide on for example that you like the Space Marines, but don't like the chapters you've seen discussed, create your own, build your own background and colour schemes. This can be done with many races and armies, and a lot of players tend to end up doing it at some point. Don't like the Tau colour schemes you have seen, create your own Sept, use your imagination, that's the beauty of this setting. Its a fantasy setting.

First Few Games

Now everybody likes to win, its a good feeling, however things don't always go the way we want, especially the first few games as you get to grips with what your army can do, what the strengths and weaknesses are of specific units. As much as you can learn from advice, you learn more from doing in most cases, this is especially true from losing, you tend to learn more from defeat than you do in victory.

If there is a couple of you just starting out, play amongst each other, you may win, you may lose, but try to do different things the first few games, what if i do this instead of that and see what works and doesn't. Try swapping armies and seeing the differences. (This is something you don't see very often but can be a very good eyeopener and can help you to learn what can be done to counter your own forces and what strengths and weaknesses other races have)

The key here is that trial and error will give you the strongest foundation for good games later on, also playing and observing more experienced players will help you immensely.

Remember above all else it is just a game, it is meant to be fun for everyone, regardless of winning or losing... If it isn't fun you will quickly lose interest in the game

Rules Issues and Grey Areas

Unfortunately no game system is perfect and with the way the game is constantly evolving, occasionally you will come across conflicting rules, or grey areas as you play games. As a beginner you will often not be aware of them until you discover them whilst playing. Now these area's can and often do lead to interesting debates on how the issue is dealt with.

Unfortunately that doesn't help you during a game. As you become more experienced with the game system you will be more aware of common issues, and how to deal with them. If it comes up during a game, try initially discussing it with your opponent on how to settle the issue, if an agreement can not be reached, the most effective way to deal with the issue is to roll for it using a D6 (i.e. 1-3 your opponents decision is correct for the game, 4-6 your decision is correct for the game.) This will keep the game flowing and will enable you to both carry on and enjoy.

After the game try looking up the FAQ's and in the various errata to see if there is a resolve for the problem, if there is not before you start the next game, sit down with your opponent and come to an agreement as to how the issue can be resloved before you play. This type of solve is known as House Rules, rules created in house to deal with grey areas or for specific games you are going to play. Often many Games Clubs, tournaments or even groups of players will have a set of house rules to deal with these issues. If your still not sure try talking to some of the more experienced players for advice. At the end of the day you want to have smooth flowing, good fun games, so don't get too bogged down with the grey areas.

Expanding Your Army

Okay so you have chosen your first race, either from whats come in the game box or another race.

If you have chosen another race rather than what is in the games box, start off by looking at the minimum requirements for any game... you must have a HQ and 2 Troop Choices... Now the easiest way to get these is too look at the battalion boxes that are out, they come with troop choices, and some extra units and are a great way to give you that initial starting point.

From this point I would look at what you have, and then at the codex, and see what you want to add to your forces to better enhance your armies capabilities. So you have for example your HQ and 2 Troop choices, now you can add another troop choice, elites, heavy support and fast attack... what suits your style? balances your forces better? what looks good? That is always your decision at the end of the day. The recommend advice is to purchase one unit at a time, i.e. okay i am going to get an elites unit... and build your forces up a bit at a time, this gives you chance to experiment with what works for yourself and a nice steady way to complete your army a bit at a time.

If you are using one of the starting armies provided in the game box, you have a fairly solid starting choice and you can just work on building your forces up a unit at a time, adding in elites, support units as you go.

Note: It is often a lot better to go slow and steady as a beginner, a unit here, a unit there, this gives you a steady way to work up your gaming skills and painting skills as you go. If you jump in at the deep end, you often get yourself more confused and end up spending a lot of time trying to complete everything.

Painting Your Models

Now by the standards I have seen on the forums here I am an average painter, I recently found some of my first ever models the other weekend and cringed at the painting I had done, but then I remembered how long ago that was and how much further I have come since then.

If you take a look around you will find many players with different levels of skill at painting, some are outstanding others not so good, but this isn't a detraction... over time and with guidance and help everyone develops to a reasonable standard of painting, producing good looking armies. Now you will also here the terms Table Top Standard and Showcase standard applied to painting... this simply means that some consider two standards... i.e. a painting level they would only use for gaming or a standard they would happily showcase.

Myself I don't like the term table top standard... because there should be no standard, especially with the age range of players, the abilities of different people, if its painted or unpainted to me its playable. Its a game and a hobby yes, but if someone isn't a great painter i am not going to hold it against them. So as you start into painting your models, if they ain't great the first time... don't worry, ask other people advice on how you can improve, how they get particular effects and then very carefully trial and error until you get it, or are satisfied with your efforts. You will naturally find as you go your painting will improve over time.

[b]Specific Models/Units for Beginners

Now I have seen on this forum lots of comments like I like the idea of a particular unit but don't like the model(s) can i still play a model as this unit.. the answer is yes you can, this can be done in two ways, the first is that you can agree with your opponent that a model counts as the unit you want to play and the second is for you to convert a model(s) to represent the unit you want to use.

Now for a beginner, even someone who has played other table top games before, i don't expect incredible conversions just the attempt. We all start somewhere and develop from there. Even more experienced gamers are not great with the conversions/modelling or painting, I know i am not, some of it can be confidence or experience, or simply getting the hang of certain techniques.

A point here for the counts as, was that when the 2nd Ed box set came out, you had some basic space marines, some basic orks and gretchin and a carboard cut out to represent an Ork Tin Can. (Read as Ork Dreadnought - Can't remember the correct term right now)

Counts As = Any model representing another model for the purpose of the game, many players will consider this acceptable so long as you get there agreement before hand, or its taken into account in house rules.

Converting Models

As you get a bit further into the hobby you will find that occasionally what you want you just can't find or it doesn't look quiet right for what you want. This is where converting models come in. Converting models is more of an advanced skill set, although that really depends on what your trying to achieve. Simply weapons changes, or arm movements can be very simple. Scratch building or heavily converting a model can be very time consuming and hard work, but the satisfaction, sense of achievement and producing your own unique model is also worthwile.

Conversion is really a follow on from the count-as example above, this is where you create your own version of what you want to represent. If you are going to try this, my advice is to research extensively, ask a lot of questions about how people have converted their models and to take your time, even trialing small bits of what you want to achieve overall on other models/spare parts as you go.

Please note this is only advice based upon my experiences, what I have seen or done over time, if something else works for you, or you want to do something different feel free. So long as you keep having fun, that is all that truly matters in the 40k universe and hobby.

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