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I have to give a 25 minute speech in my technical writing course at college and have chosen to introduce everyone to the world of fantasy warhammer. I will be discussing many things but would like to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of four armies designed for beginners. I don't know if this is the right forum to be posting on but I would like some suggestions.
I don't live in a community where I get to play, so while I have collected a few armies I don't really know what they are capable of besides reading the codex. From reading other posts I am under the impression that Hordes of Chaos, Dwarves, Empire, and Orcs are the easiest for a new player to learn. Does that seem like a reasonable assessment? Any suggestions and information that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
My own armies are Dark Elves and Lizardmen. Elves are very unforgiving for beginners, but Lizardmen don't seem overly complicated.
I wouldn't really talk about the strength and weaknesses of certain armies. That's far too advanced for a class presentation. Remember, you want to keep them interested in what you have to say and even a quick glance at the rule system would be a bad thing I think.
Instead, focus on the hobby and collecting aspect, the communities available on the web, the vast amount of lore backing up the game and such things. Try to explain why you think it is such an enjoyable hobby without talking about the rules! In fact, if you haven't played too many games at all then talking about the rules would hardly be a good idea in the first place?
Definitely agree, maybe cover the concepts of the World in the background, the metaphors and stereotypes of the various races divided as good or evil or somewhere in between, and play up the importance of maths, tactical thinking and creativity when playing the game, don;t belabour about the rules. And take in your BEST painted miniatures, along with unpainted ones, to show the class what the end-to-end process is.
Also maybe start out that wargaming was and still is, an essential part of military science, and some of the greatest generals of all time were avid wargamers.
Finally, maybe a little economics lesson on GW history, from a boutique gaming company to takling over as the pole-position of fantasy and sci-fi wargaming, perhaps looking at key financial rations (demonstrating the increasein market share, mainstreaming through Lord of the Rings, and the impact the recession has had on them)
That would be FAR more valuable than discoursing the merits of the various armies to a room full of the uninitiated, and which even I would think is a little odd!
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Hey guys, I appreciate your advice, I have already included all the information that you have mentioned. I wanted to talk about a few of the armies that are good for beginners so that people would have an idea of where they should start looking. I plan on discussing the Battle for Skull Pass set, but I really want to talk about where people should start and why they should start there, hence the strengths and weakness part.
What's the objective of the 25 minute talk? As one of my high school teachers once told me, "Sounds like a great topic, but why will anyone care?" Will anyone really care that the 4 armies are different or all they all toy soldiers to the class. Maybe you need to bump it up a notch and start off with the premise that "I'm holding what most people think is a toy soldier, but it's much more than that ... let me tell you how." You can talk about the social, art, math, etc aspects of the game.
Thinking that you might actually make some in your class interested in the game is quite naive and I would not count on it. You're not delivering a sales pitch on what's good for beginners and why they should start there. If anyone approaches you about it later on then you can talk with them about it, because talking about the rules, strengths and weaknesses is not something relevant, or interesting, to have in a presentation.
I have no intention of trying to speak about the rules. They are much too complicated and there wouldn't be any interest at all. What I meant when I said that I wanted to talk about a few of the armies was to point out that each army has a certain playing style. For example Chaos marches forward like an unstoppable wall of death. Dwarves stand their ground and pick off their opponents troops with rifles before absorbing the charge and hitting back. I don't intend to get into anything specific like toughness and strength stats. Its irrelevant to anyone not playing. However with that said I think it would be foolish to talk about the game without at giving a few examples of the armies that are available. I don't believe I can convert anyone thats not the purpose, its simply to do the best job I can explaining what warhammer is and why I enjoy it so much.
Rather than look at "beginner" armies, why not look at the way that GW portrays the 'standard' fantasy races?
For example: GW's elves are very much based upon Tolkien- the idea that they're tall instead of short, they are also immortal, fading, and there is a distinction between the High Elves (Rivendell) and the Wood Elves (Loren- wow, names are even similar). They all fight with finesse over strength, and are all highly organised. Also remember: we have the Dark Elves, which was a pioneering idea in fantasy at the time.
GW's Dwarves are also very similar to Tolkien's, but have also influenced many other genre's interpretations of the Dwarves. As far as I know, GW is the first major company to give dwarves advanced technology at their disposal.
GW's Orcs are less similar to Tolkien's. GW's are thick and stocky, whereas Tolkien's have been represented as "bigger goblins". They are also organized differently, and vary greatly from any later presentations, save for the appearance of the WoW orcs.
GW's 2 Human factions are not particularly fantastical, nor are they based on Tolkien's writings. Instead, the Brets are based on Arthurian Legend, and the Empire is an almost perfect representation of Renaisance Germany- even the Colleges of Magic were real!
Tell the that Vampires are included in the game, as an army, but that there aren't any Werewolves. Tell them that we've got the Chaos and Demons, both highly influenced by traditional religious/christian views on Demonism. Tell them that we've also got unique races like the Beastmen and Skaven, who you rarely find in other fiction if at all.
I'd avoid rules, which you seem to be doing. But I'd also give information that will hold people's attention. You're not going to get someone playing by giving them an overview of th game, then immediately showcasing armies playstyles. I got a kid into the game because he drew connections to WoW and LoTR, as well as comparing it to lots of other fantasy ideologies. You have to hand it to GW- they have the most concise, believable, and risque fluff (insofar as religion, morality, and ethics) in the industry. Share THAT with people, and I bet you'll get atleast a bite or two.
CaptainSarathai got some great ideas there. Talking about how GW created what is considered today to be one of the most detailed traditional, Tolkienesque fantasy worlds, the themes and symbols they used and how they have integrated our worlds legends, myths and history into it could definitely be an interesting topic.
Fact is that few things, like in most sci-fi and fantasy fiction, is really original and unique, but GW have managed to develop what they took inspiration of to create something of their own.
Chaos and its corrupting influence and the theme of "man vs himself", for example, is something most think of as what makes GW' worlds so interesting, since it a quite unusual twist in modern fantasy, but the fact is that it's pretty much a mishmash of Chaos from author Michael Moorcock's works and the Great Old Ones from the Cthulhu Mythos.
For what it's worth, I don't think anything believes that you intend to talk about the rules or is trying to dissuade from that, but keep in mind that an in depth discussion about armies is still pretty far off the "so what" meter for most people. In order to get people's attention, you will probably have to elevate your subject matter to find a good connection point with your audience.