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Subject: New to Minatures Gaming rss

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David Pierce
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So I've been researching Minatures gaming a lot the past few weeks and would like to introduce a game to my regular board game group. I know that there are some people that will really enjoy it! My one question is, what should we play? My group is big on the fantasy/sci-fi genre. I have dust tactics to introduce next weekend because my group loves fantasy flight games and it seems like an inexpensive hybrid between the two and will introduce some of the basics nicely. After that though I don't know where to go. I've been looking at Warmachine and WaRhammer Fantasy. I really like the affordability of Warmachine and the availabilityoqf the battle box and battle groups to get started. But I LOVE the variety of WaRhammer. It is also universe my group is familiar with as we have played many board games in the WaRhammer universe. But it's just so expensive! Any help?
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A few thoughts:

1) Welcome to miniatures gaming!

2) It's ALWAYS expensive

3) Most importantly, figure out what people in your area play, then, play that game (if you have interest in it).

Because of #2, finding opponents for your minis game of choice is the most important.

I have some 6mm Seven Years War Russian minis that are never going to hit the table. Mostly, because I am too cheap to buy any Prussians to fight them, and no one else in my area has any desire to play the Seven Years War. Granted, 6mm minis are MUCH less expensive than Warhammer, 40k, or Warmachine, but I still don't want to put the time and effort into painting another army.

I don't have much experience with any of those games (read as none), but I hear much less complaining from Warmachine players than I do from Warhammer 40k players.


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Mike Windsor
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Actually, if you played with toy soldiers as a kid, you are not new to miniatures, you are simply returning to miniatures.

Having made that bad joke, one sci-fi recommendation is Battletech Introductory Box Set. The one I recently bought says something like "25th Anniversary Intro Box Set." I thought it was an excellent value for the money (and that's not something I say lightly). It came with 24 plastic minis, 2 premium quality minis, a starter (and more basic) Quick Start rules booklet, two rules booklets of varying complexity (if I recall correctly), record sheets, an Inner Sphere booklet that gives you the "history" of the mech universe, a painting and tactics guide, reference cards and tables, dice, and 2 maps. All of the booklets are glossy and full color (like Fantasy Flight). All of this was about $50 + shipping.

I'll admit that the whole giant mech thing had only a limited appeal for me, but there is so much in that one box, and there are a ton of add-ons, plus an avid community for help. It's a fun game, which you can make as complicated or as simple as you want. It plays fast, and looks great if you want to paint your minis. (There is a world of support out there for mini painting too. You can just do a single coat of spray paint designed for plastic, or buy paints and small brushes and go to town on it.)

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Bryan Ward
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I'm not going to write a diatribe but do yourself a favor and avoid the uber-expensive GW flagship lines (WHFB and 40K). Dusty, dated rules systems.

Warmachine/Hordes is also expensive but Privateer Press is all about keeping the customer in mind. I think the rules here are a huge step up from WHFB/40K, but don't go expecting some sort of elegant board game design. I think there is more variety in WarmaHordes than in WHFB or 40K (as they are separate systems).

My suggestion is to build on Dust Tactics. You will invest a lot less money and time, and if your regular group turns into miniatures fanatics, then maybe you can all decide on a system to collect and paint.

Have you looked at The Uncharted Seas? I consider that a good gateway miniatures game, might be of interest. Easy to paint up, easy to set up a nice table, not a ton to collect.
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TTorres
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Tabletop miniatures games are a different hobby for certain. Where as with a board game, or even an RPG, it's ok that one person bring the game elements. With minis games, that becomes a really expensive and time-consuming proposition.

IMHO, Dust Tactics is a brilliant first step. The game plays on a grid, sparing you from any issues that arise when you're physically moving scores of models with a ruler across a table. It has simple line-of-sight and elevation rules; again, saving you potential grief and confusion. It's relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to Games Workshop's products.

Also, it can be played with almost NO preparation. You open the box of models, dump them on the table, grab the unit card, and play. They figs are pre-assembled and pre-primed, which is delightful for a 41 year old adult who no longer has copious amounts of free-time to spend clipping, gluing, and priming before I even begin to play. (That's me.) Play a few games, see how you like the rules, and speed of play. After you've learned the basics, adding Command Squads and Heroes, plus the campaign expansions will offer plenty of variety and novelty as you need it.

Warmachine and Hordes are more complex than DT, and will have you fielding a smaller number of units that each have more unique abilities to track and remember. Plus, it's much more a skirmish game where a small number of models move somewhat freely across a table. This is nice because you don't have to by 50-100 models to play a "proper game".

Warhammer Fantasy will require a higher model count to fill out your rank and file. These blocks of units tend to have identical stats/abilities, with the exception of champions/heroes and leaders.

But in my opinion, the most important part of the minis game experience is finding other players. If you expect or hope to play this with your own gaming group, then you're either going to be purchasing (and prepping) an unreasonable number of models for them to use, or you'll need to make sure your friends are 100% interested in taking on what can be a significant time-and-financial commitment.

I'd consider starting with DT for now. Then pick up a smaller skirmish game that has a low-barrier to entry. If by any chance you enjoy Westerns you should grab Gutshot, which is an awesome and inexpensive game. I bought a bag of plastic cowboys from the dollar store and painted them up. It looks good and is great fun. Also, it's designed to support nearly any number of players, where many minis games are one on one.



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David Boeren
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If you want to keep costs down, look at skirmish scale games or anything by Spartan Games which use resin minis rather than metal. Uncharted Seas is my favorite by them, but you may find more local players for Dystopian Wars.

Warmachine is a far superior game to Warhammer/40k. Much more variety in army composition, tactics, better gameplay & balance, and a company that doesn't spend all their time trying to screw over their players.

For skirmish games, Infinity is a really good one. Malifaux is popular but a bit intentionally complex. Those are probably the most commonly played ones but lots of others exist.
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M King
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Doesn't Dust Tactics have a set of traditional miniatures rules coming out soon? That way you could smoothly transition from a boardgame with minis to a full blown miniatures game.
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dboeren wrote:


Warmachine is a far superior game to Warhammer/40k. Much more variety in army composition, tactics, better gameplay & balance, and a company that doesn't spend all their time trying to screw over their players.


This is the bulk of the complaints I hear from the guys who play these games locally.

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Val Ruza
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I agree with getting into a game that has an installed player base in your area, as it is possible that your gaming group will not follow you onto the beaches of miniature gaming. Or and the second option is very appealing, waiting for the miniature rules for Dust Tactics. Personally I would counsel against Warmachine/Hordes due to the strange way the seem to break certain miniatures down in their sculpting process, but I have seen people put them together and the minis have stayed together for the most part.

Go to the local hobby shops in your area and spend some time there on their league game evenings for the systems they sell, and see which game interests you and which players seem the friendliest. Good luck and have fun!
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David Pierce
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Thank you all very much for the input! I'll head over to my local shop this weekend and see what they have going on!
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If you (and your group) are into the SF area, Ground Zero Games do some good rules that you can download here -- you can use pretty much any miniatures with these and they cover a good range of figure scales and unit sizes.
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Jeff Perrella
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I think the best overall advice is to pick a game you think your gaming friends will be likely to play.

Getting into miniatures can be a big investment. I have far too many armies and rules for games that no one plays around here.

Having said that, Warhammer Fantasy is NOT a good game to start out with. HUGE initial investment before you can even play a proper game. Even then, the rules are extremely "meh." 40k is the same, but the main benefit is the huge player base- you will ALWAYS be able to find a 40k opponent wherever there is miniatures gaming.

If the theme intrigues you and your friends, I would highly recommend Warmachine/Hordes. You can start playing with the 50 dollar battle box (for each player) and the 30 dollar rule book (generally available cheaper if you search around). The new 2 player starter box is a fantastic bargain, provided you and a friend like those two factions. The basic rules are fairly simple, but it is a challenging game to master. I mean that in a good way.

The Privateer Press forum is also very active, I learned a lot by lurking there before I made my initial purchases.

I have not played Dust Tactics, but I agree with what has been said- it's nice to be able to open up the box and start playing. I was an avid AT-43 player (the spiritual ancestor to Dust Tactics) and I enjoyed it a lot- until the game completely died out.

Which reminds me of more advice- go with an established game company. As much as I have a love/hate relationship with Games Workshop (oops, I used their name in print, gotta call my lawyer!) it is nice that they are here to stay. I can't imagine 40k being a dead game in 5 or 10 years. Privateer Press is also well established, they aren't going away any time soon.

I've played and seen a lot of miniatures games, feel free to geekmail me with any specific questions, I'm happy to help.

Good luck!
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Jeff Perrella
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I would also second the recommendation for "Classic" Battletech. (NOT to be confused with the prepainted collectible miniatures game- totally different, totally incompatible, totally inferior)

The starter box is a great deal. You can play right away with the plastic figs (painted or unpainted) on the included hex maps, or you can upgrade to metal figs and true "hexless" miniatures rules.

The rules have been around for a while and have stood the test of time and the game setting/universe is extremely well fleshed out.

It's one of my all time faves and is a good place to start.

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David Pierce
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Wow! I know understand why people love the miniatures community on BGG. You guys are AMAZING!

I've decided to start with Dust Tactics just to see if my group even wants to play. After that I'm really leaning towards Warmachine/Hordes because of the price point, rules and the variety of armies to play with (not too overwhelming like 40k and Fantasy are). I plan on playing Warmachine/Hordes regardless and will probably buy 2 armies (one as my main army and one that I can play against if someone in my group wants to play but can't make the investment). The next logical question is what army to play? I really enjoy agile and finesse style of game play. I don't want to just sit back at shoot nor to I want to lumber in with some meaty guys and tank. I'm also not a huge fan of a defensive magic strategy so I guess that leave Cryx for the Warmachine side and I have no clue about the Hordes side.

Help!!!!
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Jeff Perrella
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Again, the Privateer Press site has a TON of info, there are people there who know WAY more than me. But I'll do my best

If you like agility and finesse, I think Circle of Orobos would be right up your alley. They are super annoying to play against, they jump all over the place and have a lot of tricks in their bag. I also think the Privateer (aka Pirate) Mercenary faction is a finesse army, requires a lot of synergy management to pull off some nasty tricks and stay alive. I believe Protectorate of Menoth would also be considered a finesse army, but I'm far from expert on that faction. I know they need a lot of synergy, manoeuvrings, and buffing spells to stay alive. Nice thing is that they are in the 2 player box, and the other faction is Khador- ideal if you want to teach others, as Khador is one of the easier factions to play. Again, the 2 player box is a sweet deal if you like either of those factions. It's all plastic models, so it's pretty easy for a beginner to assemble, too.

Hordes vs. Warmachine is a matter of personal preference. It seems that most people start with Warmachine, don't really know why. There are pros and cons to both.

Hordes lets you be a little more "reactive," in that you can decide during your turn which beasts will get fury (aka focus) on them, whereas you need to allocate focus to warjacks at the the beginning of your turn in a warmachine army. Warjacks tend to be a lot tougher than warbeasts, but warbeasts can heal a lot easier. WM casters tend to have more spells, but Hordes warlocks can use special spells (animi) depending on which warbeasts you use. WM casters generate their own focus, so they can still cast spells after jacks are killed, Hordes warlocks need their beasts alive to generate fury in order to cast spells.

Get used to a VERY different style of play than most miniatures games. Get used to things dying. A lot. It's one of the few games where you can have a fair amount of attrition and still win. In most scenarios, all that matters is killing the other caster. I've seen lots of games where a player was down to his last model (the caster) and still won with a caster kill whilst his opponent still greatly outnumbered him.

It will pay to do some studying, find out which army fits your playstyle AND will keep you interested long enough to actually paint everything.
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Ryan Powers
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Maddtrippin wrote:
Thank you all very much for the input! I'll head over to my local shop this weekend and see what they have going on!


That's going to be your best bet. Even if you like game X more than Y, if nobody plays it near you it's not worth much unless you're dedicated enough to try to change that. And even that takes some luck.

Plus, you can probably get people to give you a demo game or two of whatever game(s) are being played locally.
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Val Ruza
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I would watch and learn about Warmachine/Hordes before you jump into it. Go in with an open mind, one that will accept your deciding that you like it or not like it. Warmachine/Hordes gets a lot of love because it is not Warhammer, and you shouldn't make a decision just based on this fact alone.
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Aaron Gelb
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oneoldgamer wrote:
Doesn't Dust Tactics have a set of traditional miniatures rules coming out soon? That way you could smoothly transition from a boardgame with minis to a full blown miniatures game.


Yes, and when it does come out, hopefully 1st quarter 2012, Dust Warfare: Core Rulebook will be suh-weet!

I think it might be my go-to....for the coolness, and the time/money save vs. Games Workshop minis I usually delve into.

It would also be the easiest to get friends into..as you could buy whatever you wanted and let them play one side...where-in with a game where you have to build and paint, this is less likely.

Also, check out some of the games that http://www.spartangames.co.uk/ puts out...my fav being the STeam Punk naval game Dystopian Wars. But they also have a fantasy naval and a space naval game. Very cheap compared to other larger scale minis games.

Also, please take the time to fill out this survey based on the topic you've brought up! http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/769293/a-poll-for-lovers...

Thanks!
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Greg Moore
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Once you decide what you want to play (or like), I recommend you get everything to put on the whole game. This way it does not matter what others in the local area are playing. Many people will play a game with you if they do not have to provide anything. I know many guys that love to play miniatures but do not (or cannot) provide an "army".

Unfortunately a lot of the games played at the local shops are tournament style games at are made to sell you more stuff. The shop encourages the tournament style games for obvious reasons. You will find that many non-game store clubs play the more generic miniatures rules. The result is that the game store patrons often do not realize that there are dozens of other games that they could be playing.

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X Topher
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Hmmm...I'm wondering why Earth Reborn hasn't been mentioned. For about $50-60 online, all you need!

+1 to Necromunda as well (if you can find it at a good price). Start small with skirmish based and work your way up.

In defense of the "expense" of WarHammer/GW, ebay is your friend! I've gotten some pretty good minis deals through auctions.
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Chris Fee
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For cost of investment to start a game, look also at systems that are skirmish level as they require less miniatures. My very favorite one is Song of Blades and Heroes as you can use any miniatures to play (so field your Warmachine minis against my Warhammer minis or Bob's old Chronopia). is incredibly easy to teach, and the basic rules are cheap ($8 PDF) and very adaptable.

The same core rules are also used for Flying Lead (modern/near future), Mutants and Death Ray Guns (post apocalypse), Song of Drums and Shakos (Napoleonic), and Fear and Faith (horror) giving a variety of settings/genres to choose from.
 
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Dan Fielding
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see Hordes of the Things. Free download.
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