Where Do I Start With Warhammer 40K?
Probably this biggest question people face when getting into Warhammer 40K is, ‘What Faction/Army should I play?’
It is quite a financial commitment when you are getting started. The models for a standard competitive army of 2000 points is around $1000 (give or take $300) not to mention paints, brushes and other hobby related costs.
As such, I understand the desire to get it right the first time, and to plan your entire army before you ever put a model on a table. I have been there a few times, having 2 armies currently and starting a 3rd shortly.
First off, there are some questions to ask yourself.
What do I want to get out of 40K?
For some it is the hobby (building and painting models) and for others it is to crush all opponents and to prove that they are a master tactician!
The truth for most of us lies somewhere in the middle. If you are in it purely for the hobby, the rule of cool is the way to go here. Buy 1 or 2 kits that you like and paint them up. Enjoy!
At the time of writing this, 9th edition is looming and the COVID-19 epidemic has the 40k META in lockdown. It is hard to find a lot of current information regarding what lists are strong. Before this, a quick google search could help you find a meta list. I assume that will be the case again in the future. As such, it is hard to find reference to competitive lists, mainly because nobody knows what that means.
It is my belief that an army played by a pilot who knows the army is more effective than a META Net-list played by a person who is unfamiliar with it.
What is my play style?
This is a big one, but can be easy to figure out. If you look at RPG or 1st person games, what type of character do you play? Are you the ‘in your face knocking them down with a baseball bat’ kind of player? Or are you more the ‘shoot them with big explosive weapons’ type? Or the ‘sit way back and sniper them all down’ player? This will give you an idea into your natural play style.
If you want to play the game to hang out with friends, meet people and join the community, or you want to be the top competitive player in your area, finding an army that matches your play style will make it more enjoyable.
What is my budget?
Sad but true, we all have a finite amount of money. As such, you should determine how much you are willing to spend on the hobby. Is $100 a month your budget? More, or less?
This will determine how quickly you can get into playing the game. Not many people will be able to buy an entire army at one time, and I don’t think I would suggest that anyway.
I think better players are made by slowly growing an army. Build some, paint them, maybe have a little skirmish or Kill Team game. Get to know your units and how they function, then add more in.
Fortunately, Games Workshop is working with their customers on this point, and are introducing rules to make it easier to play smaller games with specific rules and missions for 500, 1000 and 2000 point games. This will make it easier to build slowly, but still be able to play games with your models.
There are a lot of factions, and beyond that there are a number of pre-set sub-factions (such as Space Marine Chapters) and options to customize your sub-faction.
If you have the answers to these questions, you are in a better place to pick a faction and to get started. From this point, I would suggest reaching out to your local community members for further guidance.
That said, try and do some research yourself first. Most Warhammer 40K players I know are friendly and willing to help, but they can’t give you all the answers. You need to have some idea of what you want
and how you want to get there, and the community members are there to help you through the terminology and the finer details of your choices.
The best of luck to you, and happy War Gaming!