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I figured the newbies section needed more then just one thread so here I am.
So you've decided to play 40k? May god have mercy on your soul, and welcome to the wonderful world of tabletop gaming.
Having once been a new player i can relate to the position your in. Either one of your friends has conned you into playing the game he just got for his birthday, or you saw a really cool looking 40k display in your local hobby store, other then that you don't know squat right? Thats where WE (the members of LO) come in...
Learning the game
First, learning the game. If you have visisted, or can visit, a GW (Games Workshop) store then you can have them run an intro game to get you started playing, but the first step, oddly enough, in learning how and what to play in this game involves READING THE RULE BOOK. The rule book is even designed to be user friendly to new comers so start on page one and the book will do the rest.
The important things to look at in the rule book are the specifics on shooting and close combat. These two things are what let you kill the other guys troops and therefore you should read them first. Once you learn how shooting and HTH combat works then you'll have an idea of the various ways of inflicting death u pon the other guy.
Learning the armies
Even if you already know what army your going to collect, and even if you are dead sure you won't change your mind, read as much about the OTHER armies in the game as possible. There are two reasons, first you might actually change your mind what to collect, second you'll have an idea of how the various armies stack up against each other, and third (wait i said 2 thing didn't I?) thing is that you'll have a better understanding about what you need to put into your army to withstand an assult by the other guys.
Choosing an army
If you DON'T know what army to collect, or have questions here are some things to consider:
Who will you be playing against?
When i first started me and my best friend both collected space marines, when i got another friend he decided to collect space marines to, and the forth guy, well he got marines to. Not only that 2 of us got space wolves and the other 2 got blood angels, talk about variety! There is nothing worse then playing marines against marines ALL THE TIME so consider your probable opponents. What armies do your friends collect, what armies seem most popular at gaming events at the hobby stores? If you want to be different then you better make sure you pick an army that everyone else isn't playing. Now just because someone else plays an army doesn't mean you can't either, but once you have made an investment in an army, it is hard to start over in a new direction so consider all the angles.
How much can you paint?
Do you LOVE painting miniatures? Are you a tank freak? do you want to have hundreds of models in your army? Then DON'T play spacemarines (heheh). But seriously, some armies are inherently larger or smaller then others. Imperail guard use LOTS of infantry and LOTS of tanks, Eldar it seems uses alot of anything, marines only have 3 major troop types, and have fewer numbers. Necron Armies can have dozens of models that are all identical, whereas posable tyranids can have almost every model be unique. Whats your flavor, whats your fancy? If you think painting is boring, then find an army easy to paint. If you love painting, find one with a good variety, if you don't give a damn and will just slop on the paint anyway, anything goes...
What is your gaming budget?
If you haven't found out yet let me break it to you now, this game is EXPENSIVE! Now if your an only-child spoiled brat who lives in a half-million dollar home and since both your parents work high paying jobs and are never home to spend time with you they shower you in money, first Can i come over some time? And second check out forgeworld (i don't got anything against spoiled brats by the way...). My point is think economics for a second. Remember how I said some armies are bigger then others? Larger armies tend to cost more money, smaller armies tend to cost less, consider that when you start investing your cash.
Remember its only a game!
This hobby is supposed to be fun and intelectually stimulating. Its supposed to capture your imagineation and take you to a dark time in the future. No matter how rich you are your gonna be paying enough, so you might as well enjoy it.
Why are you playing the game?
Its a reasonable question to ask. Is it an extension of your model airplane collection? Is it like an eleaborate chess game for you? Does the story and fluff intrigue you? Does it look cool? Do you just want to one-up your friend? Consider why you are playing this game, and then act accordingly. If your in it to play the game, then don't spend all your time and effort painting an army, you'll never get around to playing it. Are you in it for the modeling aspect? In that case you don't even need to collect an organized army at all, although it'd be cool if you could use your army in a legal game after you put all that time and effort into it.
Other LO veterans, feel free to add your two cents to this, maybe make it a general Warhammer 40k Primer of a sorts, maybe even get Blackhat to give it a 'pinned' status if it becomes popular (aren't i ever hopefull?)
New commers to the game, either ask questions directly here, or start a new thread with your question..
Good thread! Though I wish you hadn't brought up the cost of the hobby . Here's a little bit I'd like to add to the 'choosing an army' part:
I know to many noobs the fluff isn't all important. Usually it boils down to 'oh they're evil huh? Cool', but there is a wealth of fluff available for each (well most) army. You'll notice if you've been in the hobby for a while that the fluff part becomes more and more important, and after a while you'll end up like me and many others: you pick an army solely for it's fluff, give your army and characters names and background etc. I recommend checking books like index astartes and codexes for fluff so you have a better idea of what the army stands for. Which brings me to another important thing:
Each (well almost anyway) army has a codex. This contains some important stuff. First the most obvious: the rules. There are army lists in the rulebook, but they're completely wrong and underpowered because they're so old. You'll need the codex to see what units are available, what special rules these units and the army itself have, what kind of wargear and weapons you can stick on your army etc.
Then fluff. This was covered in the first part of my post.
Painting and modelling: the codex also contains tips for quickly and efficiently painting your miniatures. Usually there is also a part where you get tips for converting the army. These tips are good for beginners, though after a while you'll find your own ways of painting and converting. These are just the basics to get you started.
Tactics: you'll also find some basic tactics in the codex you might find worth reading. Again these are only to get you started, you'll develop your own battle tactics soon enough, but they can give you some ideas.
That was about what I wanted to say, maybe something else comes up in my mind later.
Ze titles yez...
When in doubt,
Smite.<SilverMane> I would trust BID with my life
<SilverMane> HEIL BID!
<Adrian-> BiD is Omnipotent; All Knowing, All Powerful!
<Scary_Troopers> I see you as an optimist, GT. : D
But what of the midgets!?
=]Front in favour of Moderation of the Harshest kind.[=
If you don't mind I'd also like to add this tid bit:
The reason I started collecting 40k is it's not ONLY a game, but a hobby too. The sheer thrill of completing a squad and making it look hell yeah just make's it all that much more fun!
You don't have to just play the game, you can create something more than yourself. Remeber this is Fantasy, therefore let your imagination run wild.
You could even go further than just painting pieces and playing with them, then putting them in a box on a shelf between games. Why not build a small battle scene, something detailed that you won't be afraid to wreck while playing, and store your mini's on that or build dedicated diorama's. Then between games (when your not painting other mini's) just sit back and look upon you hard work, feel the accomplishment, and fantasize about future battles. If that doesn't give you inspiration, I don't know what will.
But of course that is why I started collecting 40k, your reasons are your own, but one thing should be universal, it's all about having FUN!!!!!
Also so remember , take no notice of the "chaves" (dont know what there called in your area but there the idiots who use words like "oh nut" and wear traksuits,) when they call you a "geek" , "nerd" , "gay" etc