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Subject: Warhammer - What it Takes to Play rss

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Bill Richardson
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Glen Allen
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Let me start by saying that this is a review aimed at the new player looking to jump into the hobby. I'm not going to focus on the game itself or how it plays, but instead on the commitment it takes to play the game at an average competitive level. Going into a GW store and getting one of their famous sales pitches will NOT get you the information I will present here. They don't want to get into these details or you'll most likely walk out.

Commitment #1 - Time to Play

Most people agree that an average game using the standard 2000-ish point armies will run you 3 hours. That's average. You may have some that go shorter because of a complete blowout but you can count on 3 hours. If you get into a game with a rules lawyer, you may be looking at 4 hours of torture. It really depends on who you play with and how familiar you are with your army rules, your opponent's army rules, and the game rules.

Note that set up and take down time can add to the above time. Depending on the type of army you field, you could be looking at a hundred or so models that you will be dealing with. Once you get the model out of its storage case, you need to rank it up within the unit it belongs with, which can sometimes be a challenge in bigger units. Once all the units are out there it is just a matter of placing the terrain and making sure you have all of your dice and rule books ready.

So in reality, a game of WH will take you an afternoon or an evening. In GTs, they will schedule 3 games a day which is quite a challenge to complete and mentally is brutal. The game is definitely more suited for a large block of squishy time instead of a tightly controlled time limit.


Commitment #2 - Time to Build and Paint

Honestly you'll be doing more of this than anything else. Sure there are those guys who play with black primer armies with parts missing, but most people want to field a good looking army. Doing this is a SERIOUS commitment. I can't stress this enough. Assembling the models takes a lot of time. I actually think that part is fun, but some hate it - especially with metal and larger metal models (like some monsters and special models).

Painting requires much more time. Bottom line is if you want to assemble and paint an standard 2000 point army, and have it look good, you are looking at dozens and dozens of hours. Yes there are methods that can speed it up somewhat like dipping but to have an army that stands out shortcuts become less of an option.

I once got an army painted in a 2-day marathon session before a GT but it was an army that consisted almost entirely of wood elf dryads, treekin, and treeman models. I used the dipping method for them since it works great for wood/bark. That basically involves giving them a light base coat and then dipping them in wood stain for a bit and letting them dry. That's the fastest I've ever done it but you will have no such luck doing a traditional army that does not consist almost entirely of walking trees in that amount of time Note that this almost cost me a wife and will never be done again!


Commitment #3 - The Money

And I mean a LOT of it. Even if you find the places where you don't pay full GW retail (thewarstore.com, ebay, etc.) you are looking at a SERIOUS investment, and one that never seems to end. Even more frustrating is the GW habit of price hikes, which can be a thread all by itself. Lets break down the stuff you need to play using GW products at their retail prices. It is important to note that GW prices, especially for paints, tools, and accessories, are outlandish. You can get that stuff much cheaper at your local hobby store or online by choosing a non-GW brand -

- Core Rulebook $57.75.

- Army Rulebook $25. You'll need one to start for your army, but will want to buy others as you progress to learn the other armies.

- Starter Hobby Set - $50. Includes plastic cutters, 8 basic paints, tub of static grass, tub of sand, a tube of plastic and PVC glue and a basic paint brush. You'll use everything in this, except possibly some of the paint colors, so it's not a bad purchase.

- Individual pot of paint - $3.70. To paint an army and make it look decent you'll have literally dozens of colors that are used. You'll be amazed at how fast you accumulate pots of paint. FYI, Vallejo makes some incredible paints that match GW colors, are easier to work with, and are cheaper.

- Additional sized paint brushes - $5 One brush won't cut it. You'll probably be looking at 4 or so to get the job done.

- Super Glue - $8.00
- Modelling Puddy aka Green Stuff - $10
- Hobby Knife $15
- Can of primer $15
- Can of varnish or matte seal - $15

- Army carry case - $100. Unless you only plan to play at home one of these are a must. Different brands can be had at a cheaper price. The GW brand case is actually quite nice.

And of course the really big expense is the models. A starter army box, enough to field a standard sized army is about two hundred. But in reality you won't use all the stuff in that box because they love to stuff them with units that are sub par. In the end you are looking upwards of three to four hundred for models. Once again this can vary widely based on the type of army you build. If you start to get into conversions, that cost will go up even more.


So I hope I have given folks a bit of an idea on what it takes to get into this hobby. Once again the time and money can vary greatly based on how and what you play, and whether you can find alternate brands, etc. The bottom line is that with the time and money involved you won't be playing much else other than warhammer once you get into it.

If you have the life situation that allows for it, WH can be a challenging, satisfying, and exciting hobby. By life situation I mean you don't have family responsibilities (i.e. kids), or a demanding job, or have a tight financial situation. If you have any of these you may want to seriously consider whether you have the time/resources that it takes to take the dive.


A Final Bit of Advice....


Please educate yourself before deciding on an army. Don't, I repeat, don't bite on the GW hype over the newest army and jump in. In their eyes, all armies are balanced so having the newest one is the coolest thing you can do. Balance is an issue with the different armies. There are definite tiers out there which change with time (usually when a new army book comes out). Look at GT and Indy GT results online and you can quickly tell what the top armies are and what the dreck is.

Educating yourself will help ensure that, after all of the time and money spent, you don't end up with a bottom tier army that struggles against the other ones out there. If you want to win once and a while, especially if you are new, you need a forgiving army where you can make a mistake or two and still pull out wins.


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The Galaxy is Just Packed!
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You what to know what it takes to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle?



It takes brass balls to play Warhammer Fantasy Battle.



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daniel espinoza-hernandez
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A good summary of this game...wish I'd read it before I took that dive.
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John Di Ponio
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Great write up.....unfortunately....I got into WAY more than Fantasy....talk about time.....I think I have painted a total of a solid year!
 
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Marc-Andre Blanchet
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Sherbrooke
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JohnnyD wrote:
Great write up.....unfortunately....I got into WAY more than Fantasy....talk about time.....I think I have painted a total of a solid year!


You have painted for a total of 8766 hours?
 
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f s
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however, what is the point in playing a game where there are "dreck" and "top" armies?

i suggest that playing a better game (which means, nearly every other tabletop game) might be a good solution...
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Dave Langdon
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The starter box sets can get you into Wh or Wh40k for not that big an investment, perfectly good for a battle. And plastics are definately giving better value for money/quality. Never been a better time to get into it i believe.
 
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f s
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not quite so. while i have no idea what the situation is with 40k, the starter box for fantasy is not getting you far. the game is just not interesting with only 3 units a side. about 1500 points is where it gets interesting with fantasy.

but getting figures from the starter box off ebay should be comparably cheap. still a 300$ or so investment to get a playable army (one army. you need two to play).
 
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f s
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the aesthetics of tabletop games mostly come from the scenery, not from the miniatures alone. stunning scenery can be built quite inexpensively, if some creativity is employed.

also, the aesthetics would not change with using another set of rules.

the only good reason to play warhammer rules that i can think of, is that people around you might be playing it and might not want to switch to another rules set. that of course is a very convincing reason to play warhammer than.

if starting out all alone and not planning to play in a GW store (they have a strictr GW-only policy), there really are few choices worse than warhammer.
 
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Dave Langdon
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Certainly not everybody needs 1500 points to play an exceptable game....skirmish warfare in Warhammer and Combat Patrol/ kill mission is alive and well for plenty of players, and most tournaments include this level, so its only in at 400 to 500 points.

My latest wargame/boardgame has just appeared priced at £100, i could buy 2 starter GW sets for that and have enough for a paint set. All seems reasonable.
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Josh F
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Divine Wind wrote:

Commitment #2 - Time to Build and Paint

...

Commitment #3 - The Money


How true this is depends on what you want from the game and what you're going to do with it. If you want to go out and play in tournaments, or even just have an army that looks really good while you're playing in your friend's basement, then yes, you will sink a lot of time and a LOT of money into it. On the other hand, if you're a casual gamer and you just want to have fantasy soldiers kill each other for your entertainment, you can use substitutes of some kind (any kind!) that will save you most of that investment and still be fun. When I was in high school my brother and I got the starter set for whatever edition it was at the time, a few army books, and a random assortment of models that we liked. Most of our "units" were paper squares cut into the right size and marked in some way that let us know what they represented. Sure, it didn't look nearly as pretty as using all painted models, but on the other hand it didn't cost us much money if we wanted to run a 3000-point battle, or have five or six different armies.
 
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Bill Richardson
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Glen Allen
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I'd like to add a comment that they have just released a new rules set (8th edition). Since I am not playing currently, I can't comment on it but from talking to friends, it seems that games MAY take less time because combat is much more deadly. It definitely has changed the game. Things are still early though but it may be worth watching.

Also a few have commented that you can scale the game down and play skirmish battles, 500pt battles, etc. This is absolutely true and doing so will obviously cut down on some of the cost (mostly the model cost) and will take less time to set up and play. Not a bad option at all. The only issue with this is that RTTs, GTs, etc. all go with 2000 + point battles, so if you want to get into that part of the hobby you will have to expand your army considerably.



 
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