Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Warhammer 101: The basics for building an army

So you've decided to ruin your life

Oops!  Wrong blog title.


Warhammer (in this case referring to both the fantasy and futuristic versions) is a wonderful hobby.  If you put forth both time and effort you will be rewarded many times over.

But, for many beginners, you can often feel overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of everything that is involved in the Warhammer hobby. 

Sadly many gamers ignore new members of the hobby as bothersome and do not try to help the fresh faces of the game.  Alone and bereft they soon leave the hobby never to enjoy it or accomplish as much as they could if someone would have looked out for them.

I won't do that.  So here is my attempt to help people new to Warhammer with my on going series of Warhammer 101 articles.  Please remember that these articles are geared to both Warhammer and Warhammer 40k players. 

Without further adieu

Where to start?

First you need to pick a game system.  Both Warhammer Fantasy and 40k offer unique experiences.  Both have their good points and a few bad points but what it really comes down to is the following:

Do you prefer swords and sorcery, with massive regiments of foot soldiers fighting against dragons, hordes of zombies or even (gasp!) zombie dragons?


Do you prefer futuristic warfare with soldiers using big fancy guns and huge tanks who fight against alien invaders in the forms of green skin brutes, skeletal robots, or acrobatic lithe pirates?

Once this has been done- 

I would recommend going to all the nearby local stores and see what is played and when to make sure people nearby play the game you enjoy. 

Don't know where your local store is at?  Go to they have a link to a local store finder.  A more old fashioned approach would be to look in your local phone book under the "hobby," section.  Always call ahead if you use this approach.

Typically I recommend independent retailers over Games Workshop stores.  The reason is very simple, independent stores are usually larger and less crowded.  If you live near Chicago, LA, or Memphis, you might try the Games Workshop battle bunkers,  which are larger than the typical GW stores. 

You first purchase:

If the armies interest you I would go with either the Dark Vengeance boxed game for 40k or the Island of Blood game for Fantasy.

Even if the armies aren't of huge interest to you you might still want to invest in the boxed game.  In addition to getting a soft cover rulebook (the stand alone rulebook costs $75.00) you get two armies that you can clip together and play right out of the box. 

Find a bud who is also interested and split the cost! 

If neither army in the box game lights your fire then feel free to buy the stand alone rulebook and miniatures that you like the look of.  Keep in mind that in order to play you need one leader and a selection of basic troops (called core in Fantasy and troops in 40k). 

You will also need a specialized book called a Codex in 40k and Army Books in fantasy.  This option will cost more money up front but gives you a good starting point.

Remember two things:

1.  You will need a rulebook so you have to get one someway.

2.  You will need your armies individual Codex or Army book.  This may seem expensive but if you really want to understand the game these two things are essential, even before the models themselves you must have these resources. 

The good news is that these two essentials aren't like Apple products.  They get replaced about every six to seven years.  40k just changed to 6th edition this year and isn't due an update before 2017 and Fantasy was updated in 2010 so it will not see a new edition before 2015. 

Next time, we will discuss choosing an army and the tools you will need to start off.  

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