Thursday, March 17, 2011
YOUR FIRST ARMY - HOW TO DO IT RIGHT
In this article, I'll review my experiences on building armies. A lot of money and precious time can be saved by avoiding some mistakes I've made and tips I've picked up along the way so here we go.
First things first... You should review the rule book and get a general notion of how the game is really played. I would suggest thoroughly reviewing the 3 steps(move, shoot, assault) and the universal rules.
Secondly, do not just haul off and buy an army just for it's background story or fluff. Go down to the store and ask if it's ok to read through some(or all) of the codex's a little. Tell them you are wanting to buy an army but are undecided. At this point the store owner or employee may want to inject his or her opinion. Be nice and nod... Make sure you make this decision for yourself, you are going to be spending some time with this army.
There is a lot of information to consume in the various codexes that you'll be interested in. Ask yourself a few questions about how you want to play the game of Warhammer 40,000. For instance... Do you want to play a mechanized army or do you like the Foot Sloggers like Nids and Necrons? Are you more interested in firing big guns or do you want to trade blows toe to toe? Are you interested in balance, symmetry or aesthetics? Look at the codex and make sure that the rules for the army and their weaponry play the way you want. If you are seriously into some type of background story or fluff to an army then make sure that actually manifests into the game play.
If you really wanted to be prudent, then Proxy the armies you've narrowed it down to a few times. Proxy meaning to play something(chess/checkers peices, coins or anything really) in place of the models you'll be needing for the army you want. You don't have to conduct 2500 point games with a bunch of chess peices and used toilet rolls, but play a few units out against an enemy(that you can proxy too)in moving, shooting and assault. Use some special rules and see how they play out.
Ok so now you've decided for yourself what army to play and are ready to buy. My advice is don't. Buy the codex and take it home. Read it, absorb it...possibly memorize most of it. Really get to know your Force Organization Chart choices and weapons. Make some lists and look at your troops choices carefully. Troops win two thirds of your game types(unless you are looking to table your opponents everytime). So you will need lots of troops and troop transports.
Now that you've got some lists together, it's time to budget for your big purchase. Ideally you'll want to buy the bulk of your army at once so you can ask for a discount. Depending on how much you spend is how much discount you can expect. If you are spending less than $200 then your best bet is to buy online. There are some of the really reputable ebay sellers or online stores that offer discounts AND have reasonable shipping. If you are spending $200 - $1000+ then you can get as much as 20% off(even from your local store). Most shop owners won't offer you a discount, so you'll have to ask for it. I like to call ahead and make sure they have the stuff I need. Be polite and say something like "Hello, I wanted to come down and clean you out of Blood Angel models. Is there a chance for a bulk purchase discount?" The picture in my first article( + a large GW hardcase) was bought in one shot and I got a 20% discount.
Try not to go too crazy on Elites and Fast or even HQ's choices. Buy the few units that are too much fun to resist, but base your army on troop strength and supporting those troops. Most of the time the generic HQ choices are going to be your best bet. If you want to splurge anywhere but Troops then I would suggest buying some extra Heavy Support options(especially if you are a Space Marine player). Make sure to get the weapon upgrades(like Melta guns and plasma guns)that you may need from the start. You'll want to model your army so "What you see is what you get" or WYSIWYG'd.
Consider a hard case for carrying your army safely. Get a few different colors of dice. If you can find magnets at the same place you are buying your army then buy them there too. Magnets can save you a lot of time and money by allowing a single unit or tank to be equipped with multiple weapon formats. A Land Raider could have it's side sponsons magnetized so as to represent a Redeemer or Crusader Variant. A tactical unit can have magnetized flamer or melta gun. You can magnetize whole arms on HQ choices and make your weapons interchangeable or magnetize jump packs and back packs onto assault marines( my favorite ).
Now that you have your army....DON'T haul off and just throw it together. I'll weigh in tomorrow on some tips for assembling your models(from a tactics and budgetary viewpoint). TILL THEN...PLAY WELL, ROLL BETTER