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Purchasing and Playing: a guide
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Old 14 Jul 2005, 22:13   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 237
Default Purchasing and Playing: a guide

Iíve seen a lot of people come to the sight saying they are just starting out and asking for advice for armies they are interested in. I decided to put this up here as an additional piece of assistance for them. It might even prove useful for more experienced players as well.

As far as I am aware there are three main ways to purchase Games Workshop merchandise.

1. Through Games Workshop
2. A local Hobby store
3. E-bay or another online auction house (although e-bay is the best known.

The first 2 locations also allow you a place to play the game, although Iím sure people could figure some way to play online as well. (Excluding Dawn of War)
Each method offers its own advantages and disadvantages. As neutrally as possible Iíd like to address these methods.

# 1
Games Workshop hereafter known as GW
We all know and love/hate GW and their stores. You can purchase their models online and in a local GW retailer depending on where you live.

This is where you go to get it straight from the horseís mouth so to speak. You know exactly what you are getting and the employees are there to assist you. The GW staff members are almost without exception also people who play the game and are capable of answering nearly any question you may ask.

They have display pieces, sample books/codex to look at while youíre in the store and are completely up to date. If GW stocks it chances are they will have it or will order it for you.

The store always has displays/games set up that the employees will run or even let you play.

They have a huge infrastructure and logistical support to back up their stores. Their purpose is nothing, except to get you hooked on plastic and metal crackÖI mean their wonderful selection of games.

A large number of people who hang out in the store also play the game and will be happy to tell you their own opinions and even to provide help if a GW employee is busy. Sample games are set up and since people are always hoping for new opponents usually theyíll try and encourage/advise/overwhelm you to the best of their abilities.


GW doesnít care about you or your business. GW really doesnít listen to their customers and often times you will find complete jerks who think they know everything going on a power trip just because they are GW employees. The people are biased with their own opinion about armies and games. Some Fantasy players hate 40K players and vice-versa.

The employees while helpful have one goal and that is to sell as many small plastic/metal pieces as they can force a person to take. Occasionally this will result in badgering of you while you are in the store.

Younger individuals usually fourteen and below are watched like hawks and sometimes made to feel uncomfortable by both veteran players and GW employees alike. This unfortunately comes from a very real foundation of model destruction/theft caused by younger individuals whom do not treat the models with the respect and adoration others feel necessary.

Newcomers to the game are often scared away by the intensity which some of these individuals take to the game.

Only GW items are available, their paints, their glue, their tools, their brushes. There is no selection, but that which GW creates. One such example would be a single mediocre quality paintbrush which they sell for $8 each. And while GW models are really excellent in my opinion, their glues, brushes, and other tools could use improvement.

Stores are sometimes few and far between. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area the only GW store is in Grapevine Mills mall. This can be anywhere from a 30 minute to 1hr depending on where you live in the area, and the store is quite small with most of the area taken up by two smalls tables and gets extremely cramped with more than 7 individuals in the store at any given time. Conditions may be different depending on location.

GW has set rules, completely assembled army, no proxies, full paint scheme at least 3 colours, flocked base, etcÖ

GW is a reliable outfitter for GW figures and a full range of GW merchandise, but little to nothing else.

If you donít want to conform to all of GWís rigid rules than this might not be the place for you.

The store location is either fortuitous or ill placed differing from individual to individual.
The staff is extremely knowledgeable about GW merchandise and many things that go along with the hobby, but they will usually push GW tools over a possibly superior quality from a different company.

In addition the employee may be an excellent and helpful individual or an uncharismatic, unyielding, powertripping lunatic of which you would like to crush them into the dirt beneath an orcish dance troup and ground their marrow beneath Tyranid fangs before consigning their soul to Slaanesh himself so that he can take his sick and twisted pleasures from the mangled wretch before casting off the individualís desiccated and violated husk to the Nightbringer too consume. (Some of you may already know an individual such as the later.)

If you have a bad experience at GW stores please try and see option 2 before giving up on the game entirely.

# 2.
Retail stores beside GW

Often local hobby and game stores will carry GW miniatures and have their own gaming areas set up for people.

Local hobby stores cater more to individuals than large companies such as GW. The prices for the GW merchandise is already set in contract with GW itself so the prices will be the same as at a GW store, but many stores have memberships or other ways in which they offer discounts to merchandise they carry. Through this you can possibly get the models cheaper than you would from GW occasionally.

The stores as I said earlier are a lot more willing to cater to good customers such as people who play 40K and make it an easy attitude to be at. A lot of the HARDCORE 40K players who know it all chose to go to the official GW stores and give the local hobby store a miss. This can result in a lot of the more obnoxious know it all players being somewhere else, leaving a lot of more friendly easy going opponents/victims.

The store will often carry a wide range of miniatures such as Reaper and other figures making it easier to find conversion models. In addition you can often find higher quality tools to use than GW produces. Many more professional glues and paint brushes are available for much less than GW prices.

The store will usually be a local store which means that it will often be a lot closer than the nearest GW. Hobby Town USA in Dallas is the place I have begun to go to as it is an extremely centralized location rather than the far flung Grapevine Mall. It is also much larger having enough room for 8 large tables to have games on at a time.

Since it isnít run by GW the people are a lot more laid back about the modeling rules, people sometimes use proxies, if youíre army is only 2 colours thatís fine, base doesnít have to be flocked, or any of the other strict demands. House rules are also accepted. The store also gives the players prizes from its own stock during the tournaments and events.


Seeing as the store is not a dedicated GW store not all the employees will know much about the game often times. Hobby Town USA only has 1 employee working the game section, which includes cards and other games as well. Fortunately he plays fantasy and 40K and even runs a store army which he built and assembled himself for tournaments. Some places may not be like this and might not have store employees as knowledgeable as GW.

The store may carry a very limited range of models. Some may be older editions and some might not even be carried as the store needs to reorder from GW and might not want to reorder until they have a certain order size depending how quickly they sell units.

The employees are the same as GW in some aspects some are good people and some deserve my previous statement in Section 1.

Depending on the play area or the location opponents might be hard to come by. Also depends on how nice the store is towards the players. Some stores like Hobby Town Dallas are very considerate and kind to gamers, other stores might barely tolerate them.

The local stores can very even more than GW stores can. Some can be poor places to collect and play; others can be havens for Warhammer players. It really depends on the location. There might be several stores close to your area where you could play at and it might just take some searching to find one.

The local stores can rely a lot more on lenient rules and house rules than GW stores do and get away with it. The variety of people youíll meet will range from jerks too very decent people, although Iíve found more jerks at GW and usually more decent people at local stores, but that just might be my luck.

A bad or good place to shop and a bad or good place to play it really depends. Some stores are all bad, some are all good, and others vary in one category or another. Itís more of a personal taste at times feeling where you are comfortable and checking out the prices and possible discounts.

E-bay and online shopping

The online community is quite vast and while I could mention such great sites as Tau online I will stick just to purchasing.

The prices you can get on E-bay are much much cheaper nearly always than at either of the above locations.

With E-bay you can get a huge discount on models that you couldnít find anywhere else.

If youíre a person who doesnít like painting, gluing, assembling models, so on and so forth, but like the game you can purchase pre-painted, pre-built models. Not too long ago a person was winning an army and units which won 1st place in the Golden Daemon contest. This sold for well above cost, but the units were amazing to look at and very well done. When I say beautiful I do mean that this was one of the single most amazing armies I have ever seen.

The models can come in various stages. If you donít like assembling, but like painting you can often find pre-built models that havenít yet been primed or painted at all, but are completely finished.

You can even get models which havenít been removed from the boxes or original packaging yet.

You can find some models which have been out of production for years. One individual was selling his 1996 Necron warriors and lord. Other relics and interesting items that are no longer available anywhere can be found on e-bay.

You donít even have to go shopping, you can sit at home at your computer, and if youíre reading this then that means you already have everything necessary to do that.

You can get Battlefleet gothic, Warmaster, epic 40K, blood bowl, Necromunda, Inquistor, and all the other off the shelf hard to find models can be found on E-bay too.

This is an excellent method of buying, especially if you want to keep GW from getting your money for one reason or another as the previous 2 methods both pay GW.

Youíre never quite sure of the quality of the model until it actually arrives at the door. It might be a poor paint job, missing pieces, broken in shipping, poorly assembled. You never know until it gets there. A friend bought a Fantasy Empire army over E-bay and it was sent in Ziploc bags, all the spears and lances were snapped.

Other times its very minor such as a single arm fell of and the rest of the entire army is fine, nothing major.

The units you want are often painted, assembled, flocked, etc.. Some people like doing all of the hobby part themselves and itís occasionally difficult to find models that havenít had work done on them, although
there are still plenty that are still inside the boxes or on sprues.

You donít know if youíre being cheated. You have never met the seller and donít know how truthful about his item he is being. Unfortunately there are some unscrupulous people out there and you never know if the one youíre buying from is one of these. (Never had it personally happen, but you hear stories. Never can be too careful.)


I personally donít use this method too often, but I do watch e-bay. My most recent acquisition was one of the undeniably best deals I think anyone has ever gotten.

For $138 and a $7 shipping fee +$3 for insurance totaling $148. I purchased
43 Necron warriors
9 Scarab Swarms
1 Necron Lord
1 Rare special edition Lord
5 Pariahs
3 Heavy destroyers
4 Flayed ones
4 Immortals
1 Heavy destroyer
1 Necron Codex
Total value of $350 gotten for $148. This is 40% of the regular cost.
The models are also almost all assembled and mostly painted which is fine because Iíll just repaint them anyway with my scheme.
This was a great deal and part of what caused me to write this little essay. Iíll also tell you the condition the army came in.

Make sure the seller has pictures at the very least as well as a description of the item. That way you have at least some idea of what you will be getting from the deal.

Insurance is always a good idea that way youíll get your many back should something happen in shipping.

Check the sellers review and see how reliable the person is.

I also purchased my entire Necron Battlefleet Gothic from Ebay at 70% of the regular cost and am extremely happy with the purchase.

Always be wary of what information you put online, and if you use this method, it is relatively safe, but always be careful.

I keep my eye on e-bay just checking. There is an entire section dedicated to Warhammer fantasy and Warhammer 40K and even separations for each army for purchasing that way.

I hope this short guide helps people with the purchasing and playing of their armies. If I left out any important information that people think should be added please tell me and if you disagree please explain why. There aren't really any true hard and fast answers for this after all. This is just a guide from my point of view.
The Long Night is offline  
Old 15 Jul 2005, 16:36   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Purchasing and Playing: a guide

Excellent post.

I myself have found some amzing deals on eBay- 19 OOP tyranid Warriors (not in a very good condition, I admit) for £2.50.
2 Hive tyrants, 2 Carnifexes, a Tyrant guard and a tyranid warrior for £15, 72 Ork boyz for £15, and many more

I play at home or at my local club- my local GWs are 30 mins drive, and I dont have a car. I could pay for a bus, but that costs £5, and that is quite a bit.

Anyway, thanks for the post, I am sure a lot of newer players will find this helpful
Hive Lord is offline  
Old 15 Jul 2005, 16:57   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2005
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Default Re: Purchasing and Playing: a guide

Someone give this man some Karma
Originally Posted by Robogem
Kids make good firewood.
Raken is offline  
Old 15 Jul 2005, 16:59   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Purchasing and Playing: a guide

Yes - great post!

I'd like to add one thing to the mix: Bartertown.org

You can trade for full painted armies, or anything really. Great way to trade an army for another army, etc, for those who don't want to deal in money

[table][tr][td][/td][td][table][tr][td] [/td][td]Apocalypse is the only way to forty-kay.[/td][/tr][/table][/td][/tr][/table]
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