Monday, April 30, 2012

Adepticon 2012, Part II: About KILLZONE and Oh, How the Tables Have Turned!

Yeah, I know, I know, I'm slacking, but I'm still relaxing after what was an amazing convention and (just this weekend) my 22nd Birthday! Time for some more coverage..

The Eldar Waygate at the Forest Table
Adepticon 2012, Part II: About KILLZONE and Oh, How the Tables Have Turned!! 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Adepticon 2012: Tales of the Lord Hellion - Tom's Battle Reports from the W40k Championships!

While I'm still recuperating from the glory that was Adepticon let me share with you the triumphs and tribulations of a friend of mine who for a second year in a row decided to rub elbows with some of the greatest wargamers at the Warhammer 40,000 Championships! Tom was kind enough to write up a few quick battle reports from his four games and there are some pretty sweet pictures to boot! Since I couldn't really play the tourist role at the Championships (it interfered with the Killzone events we were running) this is my way of covering the event through the point of view of Tom's Dark Eldar, led by the Lord Hellions himself.. 

Adepticon 2012 Battle Report - Sathonyx’s Raiders 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adepticon 2012, Part I: Deliverance and Swag!

Huzzah! I survived my third Adepticon in a row!
And as always, my oh my, what a long, strange trip it's been, my friends. Yet again I have to say that this has been the best convention I have ever been to and certainly the best Adepticon for me and I meant that on so many levels. I suppose I'll try to capture the awesomeness of this event in the near future simply because I.. just have to!

So let's begin with..
 Part I: Deliverance and Swag! 

This is what they ended up lookin' like!
This year's perspective was different for me. On Thursday, while most players were surely finishing (or starting.. yikes!!) their armies for the smorgasbord of events and tournaments that Adepticon had to offer I was about an hour drive away from the con with Brian from A Gentleman's Ones.
What were we doing? We were finishing the ten 3x3 tables for the Special Operations: KILLZONE event, of course.

My favorite table!
Early in the morning yours truly got on the train to Chicago where Brian was already working hard, delivering the finishing touches on the tables. We were blessed with beautiful, sunny weather with just enough wind to speed the process of drying. Honestly, I don't even remember what we did that day. It's a blur because it really seemed like we were each doing 10 things at the same time: from fixing smaller imperfections to gluing down lichen, undergrowth, touching up the vehicles and the rust effects. Basically a lot of small things that just brought things together, and yet they were all necessary.

The Gentleman
I'm sure Brian is going to write a lot about the intricacies of the table-building, the many, many challenges we had to deal with and the decisions we had to make. It was pretty much like the Odyssey, except without Vanessa Williams as Calypso. But in the end we managed to return to Ithaca and there was much rejoicing.
Look at the picture on the left. See Brian? See how stressed out he looks onnit? See the table? That's the desert trench table which you can see right above. Literally two weeks ago all we had was a wooden board, some pink foam, 6 lines and a couple of circles drawn. We had no idea what was going to be on it. It was the least finished table, we had run out of ideas, materials and even some steam...
... it turned out to be one of the best pairs of tables. Glorious.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

That day felt like packing for a long vacation.
The tables were as finished as possible given the time we had, everything was neatly arranged inside a truck (something that we didn't have last year), the packets with the rules were printed out (at a disgustingly high price....), the cards and tokens were in a box. Basically all we had to do was drive to Lombard.

Brian and I were at Adepticon around 4:00 pm where we met up with "Frozencore" Joe. Now, to kind of show you how big the line for the Registration/Badge pick-up was lemme steal a picture from Adepticon's Flickr pool..

The line was so huge that it wrapped around the entire grand hall and then it got inside it.. and wrapped around it!
Everyone wanted to be one of the lucky 500 - the first 500 attendees to pick up their badges got a limited edition version of Battle Foam's Shield Bag ($36.99) for FREE! 
It even has a nice patch on it to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Adepticon! 
Now, we got there at 4:00 pm and the whole thing was supposed to being at 5:00pm. Actually we were just in time, because the bag ran out a couple minutes after I got mine, which was lucky I guess. I definitely can't wait to use it - probably for my Warmachine army and/or my Ogres! 

WAIT, THAT REMINDS ME - Brian, you owe me a case of Guiness!!!!

And now for the bag itself.. 
My FIRST real swag bag. I did my best to register on time this year, so that was nice. 

  • From Privateer Press I got the sweet Trollbloods Battlegroup for Hordes! Trollbloods were actually the first models I saw by PP and for a while I was actually considering to play them rather than Khador. The Motherland's call was louder, though. It's okay, now I have both! 
  • From Mantic Games I got a sprue with enough bits to built x2 Forge Father Steel Warriors! The models look very nice. I'll probably keep them for bits, though, since I already have plenty of gaming systems and projects under my belt.. 
  • Let's not forget the lovely metal AdepticConstruct for Adepticon's 10th Anniversary. It's simply gorgeous and it actually stands pretty tall. I think I might actually use it in my army for Adepticon 2013's Team Tournament.
  • From Secret Weapon Miniatures (a great website!) I got a 20% Off Coupon, a Dark Sepia Wash and resin base! 
  • From GaleForce Nine I got the Mysterious Waters Markers. I really don't have a use for them, though. I wish I had gotten their measuring tool thingy instead. I really need one. ; / 
  • From Wyrd Miniatures I got the rulebook for Malifaux game! "Frozencore" Joe plays it, but I honestly can't see myself picking it up any time soon. 
  • Wreck Age gave me a metal Drifter Chieftain. I don't know a whole lot about the game, but the mini is alright. 
  • Got a yellow paint sample from Badger.
  • An Adepticon pocker chip for $25!  
  • Tons of promotional brochures, leaflets and coupons that I am never going to use! 
  • I bought the Adepticon anniversay glass and the T-shirt as well.
There are a few more things on the picture but I got them on Friday and Saturday, so I'll cover them in the next few posts. Overall a very satisfying Swag Bag! Around ~$100 worth of stuff with tons of interesting bits and pieces.

After the swag we set up the 10 tables. We needed a length of 30 ft. and we got exactly that. The tables fit perfectly on the tables and there was no extra space! We were actually worried that one of the tables wasn't going to fit, but in the end all was well.
We didn't get a pot in the Grand Hall this year. Instead we were in the big hallway with all the other skirmish games, which was not a bad spot to be honest, but we were expecting to be in the spotlights again just like last year - between the Team Tournament and the Crystal Brush area. It makes sense, though - this year there were more spots in the Team Tournament and the Combat Patrol event and the Crystal Brush had to be in one of the hallways as well.

I learned that I should make some business cards - having to write down my name, blog address and e-mail on random scraps of paper is so annoying and unprofessional. Not that I'm a professional, mind you. Any takers that are willing to help me out with a cool design for gratis? :O .. No? Didn't think so.

Next I'll cover the two Friday events for Killzone and some other miscellaneous thingamajiggers. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It Came From 4chan: When Life Gives You Pauldrons..

Ah, I've been meaning to post this bad boy for quite a while now. Actually, it has been 3 months! About time I shared with you this little gem from the /tg/ board from 4chan.

This time an Anonymous poster shared a pretty cheeky way of making a mini version of your favorite Adeptus Astartes using your left-over pauldrons! That's right! 10 Space Marine pauldrons, some Green Stuff, round sprues, a bolt pistol and a shortened close combat weapon are all you need to start your very own chapter of midgets in power armor. They could count as Squa   
I had a bunch of leftover pauldrons and other random bits, so I tried to see if there was any possible way to squeeze out a few more marines from the leftover bits. No extra legs or torso backs, so I had to get creative. The solution uses 10 pauldrons. There should be no purity seals or raised iconography, and the piece used for the front visor shouldn't even have the little square at the bottom like most newer ones do. Four of them fuse together to make the torso. The pauldrons that are actually used as pauldrons glue directly to the torso. Chop off the top part of some space marine arms. Save it, we'll come back to that later. Use only bolt pistols as an actual bolter looks a bit strange on these guys. Shorten any power weapons or chainswords. You might have to shave the elbow guards a bit to get it to fit up into the gap underneath the pauldrons and torso. For the legs, use a hand drill (pin vise) and make holes just a little larger than a bit of round sprue. Form four pauldrons together in two groups of two to make the shin guards. Drill a hole in the top just slightly off center for your round sprue to fit into. Take the top (shoulder) part of the arms you cut off and cut a half circle into the front of the shin guards big enough to insert them for feet. When applying the backpack, use some sprue clippers or an exacto knife to carefully carve away the bottom two exhaust pegs. I also used a set of three space marine pouches across the chest to break up the egg shape of the torso a bit. And there you have it. A space marine of the Imperial Knuckles chapter.
Pretty cool, huh? Games Workshop gives us a bunch of extra pauldrons in most Space Marine kits so we might as well use them, right? Getting the extra backpacks, now that's tricky. What do you guys think? Good idea or Greatest idea ever?

I know I've been slacking as of lately, but believe me.. it's actually quite the opposite.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Come and say "Hi" to the SO: Killzone crew at Adepticon!

I'm sure that a lot of you already know that there's going to be a Special Operations: KILLZONE event at Adepticon 2012 and that it will be ran by Brain from A Gentleman's Ones and the duo from Wolves for the Wolf God: Skarvald the Troll-faced (yours truly) and the ever-elusive "Frozencore" Joe.
We are going to be showcasing the third and final (until 6th edition, that is) version of Killzone and of course we'll be presenting the ten 3'x3' tables that we have been working on.

There was a lot of this.

Personally, I can't wait to show our efforts to you. And I can't wait to play on them, to actually play some Killzone, it has been so long since we released the final version of the rules! I an't wait to be finally done with the tables and the organization. I just want to relax for a bit. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the last few months have been hectic at best and this whole ordeal has been feeling more like a second job than a hobby, but only because all three of us had to juggle that with life and school. You know, the usual interferences.
If I was asked to do it again, I'd say "Yes!" in a heartbeat.
But this is not the time nor the place for me to discuss what has been happening behind the curtains with the Chicago Operatives.

I want YOU to stop by and say "Hi!" to us if you are at Adepticon. If you are a reader of Wolves for the Wolf God and/or if you frequent Brian's blog please feel free to visit the SO: Killzone tables. I'm not 100% where they are going to be this year, but last year we were sandwiched between the tables for the Team Tournament and the Crystal Brush. Bah, you'll find us.

The AdeptiConstruct
Adepticon's 10th Anniversary Model
We WANT to talk to you. Yes, YOU. We want to hear what you think of our blogs, of KILLZONE, of the tables. We want to hear your suggestions. This is more or less a community project done for the wonderful miniatures war-gaming community. And heck, if you like what you see record a video or take a bunch of pictures. Help us spread the word about Special Operations: Killzone. We are very proud of what we have to offer and want to see this wonderful skirmish version of Warhammer 40,000 in every little store, in people's basements and even in your local Games Workshop stores. Blog about it, share it on Facebook, tweet about it.. I dunno, lol.

Oh, we also accept drinks as gratitude. Hahaha. No, seriously. This is my first Adepticon in which I can legally imbibe alcoholic beverages. I'm a Space Wolves player (actually, all three of us are). Don't let me leave the convention sober.

We'll be at Adepticon on Thursday, setting up the tables, so if you are good at stalking you might be able to find us and catch the first glimpse of the Killzone tables.
On Friday we are going to be running 2 Special Operations: Killzone events from 10am to 10pm with a break from 3pm to 5pm. You'll find us where the tables are at.
On Saturday the crew will be all over the place. I'm not sure about Joe or Brian, but I will be playing in the Warhammer 40k Team Tournament from 7am until 10pm, so all you have to do is find what table "The Justice League" is playing on. I'll be running the same list I ran last year with some buddies. This time we are just doing it for teh lulz with almost no preparation whatsoever. We're just going to be putting models on the tables and hope for the best... of times. I'll be drinking. Heavily.
Actually, Brian will be playing in the Warhammer 40k: Combat Patrol with his Necrons, but I'm not sure if it's going to be the 9am-2pm or the 5pm-10pm event.
On Sunday, before the three of us run the last SO: Killzone event from Noon to 4:30pm, we are all going to participate in the Freeblades event from 9am to 11am. I have no idea what it is, but it was cheap and at a time that was available for all of us. I have no doubt that it's going to be a blast, though.

Speaking of buying drinks and war-gaming in general, have you guys read what Dark Future Games has to offer? If you're at Adepticon and you see any of the awesome dudes from Dark Future Games you can get your name in a raffle to win a FREE Battleforce or an equivalent of one. All you have to do is buy any of them ANY drink and every drink will get you a raffle ticket. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome, but not as awesome as the guys from Dark Future Games and not even close to being as awesome as their newest banner.
By the way, DARK FUTURE GAMES DUDES, you are reading this please bring me one of those awesome T-shirts. I MUST have one. I'll pay you or get you drunk, whatever.

Seriously, it's orgasmic.

A White Dwarf to Remember: Death Worlds Battle Missions!

Well, folks, I never thought I'd say it but.. I bought a White Dwarf.. and I liked it (and yes, I shamelessly stole that line from Meat for Meta). April's 2012 US WD387 is truly filled with awesomesauce and I think that for once the $9 tag is almost justified. There a bunch of new things to take a look at - the brand-spankin-new Empire range of miniatures with a beautiful illustration of the Empire's territory; (During the reign of Karl Franz, 2522) the final part of Warhammer Fantasy's Civil War Expansion featuring rules for the Empire, the Dwarfs and the Skaven; tons of painting tutorials, tips and tricks using the new 145 brand-new Citadel Paints but most important of all - three brand new missions and new ways to spice up your game by using PHIL KELLY's..

Death Worlds, WD387 April 2012
Death Worlds: Warhammer 40,000 Battle Missions
"Tread carefully, brother, for here even the battlefield is your enemy."
This expansion for the Warhammer 40,000 Battle Missions supplement/expansion provides you with 3 new missions to challenge your list-building skills and your skills on the tabletop.
The expansion focuses on those battles waged on the Death Worlds of the Imperium of Mankind. On the second page you will find Imperial accounts (by the Administratum) on four Death Worlds: Fenris, Sycodax, Luther McIntyre and Catachan. It's nothing too substancial or new, but it's certainly a nice touch. Gotta love the "Population: Survey Failed" tidbit about Fenris, though.

The premise is actually quite simple.
Battle Missions: Death Worlds uses five charts to add some grim realism to your games of Warhammer 40,000. The first chart is called the Hazard Randomiser Table and has 6 results on it. Rolling on it tells you how to proceed after that. Four of the results (2-4) tell you to use one of the following Death World Hazards, a 1 lets your opponent choose which table is used and a 6 lets you choose which table is used. You roll each turn to see which table you use and then you apply the effects, kind of like fielding Njal the Stormcaller. See? Pretty darn simple.

Then there are the four Death World Hazards:
- Environmental Hazards
- Seismic Hazards
- Indigenous Hazards
- Hellscape Hazards

Each table has 6 possible results and they are all very different. Some are just minor nuiscances (like a few D6 worth of S1 AP- hits on all non-vehicle units) others will bog your units down making terrain difficult and/or dangerous and others are pretty random and with high chance of pain. Nothing as asinine, game-breaking and overpowered as some of the Warhammer Fantasy spells, mind you. 
My only issue is that too many effects mess with non-vehicle units, units outside of transports, etc. giving non-mechanized armies the short of the stick more often than not. However, with some luck and clever table-choosing it may not be SO bad.

Speaking of Hazard Randomiser Tables..
old man Njal has a few words to say.
You can play normal games and just add the Death World Hazards, you can also add them to your games of Apocalypse or even to all of the other Battle Missions since they don't mess with mission objectives OR you can play one of the three new Death World Battle Missions: Search and Rescue, Breakthrough and Weather the Storm! Each one is pretty unique and personally I think that the hazards further enhance the gameplay, especially in the last two missions.
It's pretty crazy, actually.

I know I already linked you to Meat for Meta's article, but lemme do it again.
He seems to share my excitement about the newest White Dwarf issue and the new Battle Missions issue in general and then adds some pretty WILD speculations about Warhammer 40,000's 6th Edition.

Personally (and I might be a minority here) I seriously hope that missions follow the Battle Missions template in 6th Edition. It's just so much fun, it's fluffy and generic enough to make sense in conflicts between all the armies. I really like the visual of how the table is divided, where the deployment zones and table edges are and even where the objectives are supposed to go. It really helps with setting up the board.
Aditionally, I would rather have a few tables that add some variety to game play rather than having to roll for randomized terrain and then having to remember what each piece does throughout the entire game. 
With table-wide effects you roll at the beginning of the turn, apply the effects.. and you're done! It could even be an actual official phase - Terrain phase.
It's actually kind of doubtful, though, because Games Workshop will surely try to capitalize on new terrain kits and we'll get to field a gazillion towers, because that's all the terrain that Games Workshop seems to be making. The Garden of Morr is pretty awesome and an exception to this rule, though.

I'm actually might go to Staples and ask them to spiral-bind my copy of Battle Missions and then add the Death World expansion inside. How awesome would that be?

I am also kind of curious about the promised tutorials on how to make and paint some of the featured icy terrain which can be seen in the battle report between the Harald Deathwolf's Great Company and Hive Fleet Kraken.

And because I am a dreamer.. 
1) With Harald Deathwolf having his own story and a set of decals for his Great Company, wouldn't it be awesome for Games Workshop to give him some stats and special rules? Yes, I know that we already have a Wolf Lord on a Thunderwolf that's a Special Character, but .. come on!
2) You know what Space Wolves are missing? Their own Battle Missions. SERIOUSLY, Games Workshop. You gave Sisters of Battle, Grey Knights and Blood Angels their own sweet Battle Missions, but Space Wolves don't get their own set? D;

New Space Wolves Achievements:
What's That Lassie? Little Timmy Fell Down the Well? - Win the Search and Rescue mission from the Death Worlds: Battle Missions Scenarios expansion with Codex: Space Wolves.
The Dog Days Are Over! - Win the Breakthrough mission from the Death Worlds: Battle Missions Scenarios expansion with Codex: Space Wolves.

Thunderstruck - Win the Weather the Storm mission from the Death Worlds: Battle Missions Scenarios expansion with Codex: Space Wolves.
Through Hell and Back - Win all three missions from the Death Worlds: Battle Missions Scenarios expansion with Codex: Space Wolves.
Conductor of Lightning, Not a Lightning Conductor - While playing the Weather the Storm mission from the Death Worlds: Battle Missions Scenarios expansion, have Njal Stormcaller survive the Lightning Strikes Twice special rule by saving all the wounds from two consecutive Seeker Lightnings. 
Teaching an Old Dog a New Trick - While playing a game using the Death World Hazards tables, apply the Gravitic Anomaly from the Hellscape Hazards on a unit of Wolf Guards in Terminator Armor and force them to be placed in reserve and re-enter play by Deep Strike on their next turn. Who says that Space Wolves Terminators can't teleport?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Product Review: Special Operations: KILLZONE Cards!

In what is probably going to be the very first, official review of Brian's (you know, the glorious man from A Gentleman's Ones?) ultra-mega-spiffy supplement cards for Special Operations: KILLZONE, I'm going to cover the cards and show you some cool shots of the actual product. I think I'm the first person to actually get his grubby hands on the new cards!

Information about the cards, tokens and the various sets + how to ORDER

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Of Vostroyans and Bulgarians, Part II

Continued from Of Vostroyans and Bulgarians, Part I in which I will be talking about my idea for a foot-slogging Vostroyan army with as many Special Characters from Codex: Imperial Guard, in order to represent the Bulgarian Resistance volunteer combatants (Opalchentsi) and army from the end of the 19th century - 1870-1880 with special attention to the April Uprising of 1876 and the key battles of Shipka Pass, Sheynovo and battles of Pleven under the command of Russian General Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev and during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. It was a war meant to liberate the Bulgarian state from the Ottoman Empire after almost 500 years spent under Turkish yoke.

Last time I mentioned some of the Special Characters that I will be using, including some of the models that will be representing them. As before, every Special Character is going to be based on a famous Bulgarian soldier, general or revolutionary from the aforementioned time period.

So far we have:
Lord Castellan Creed as.... Mikhail "White General" Skobelev
Colour Sargent Kell as... Nikola Korchev, Standard Bearer of the 3rd Opalchentsi Batallion's Samara Flag.
Captain Al'Rahem as...Vasil Levski, the Deacon Ignatius, the Lion, the Apostle of Freedom!

Today I'm going to cover yet another trio of Bulgarian Heroes for my Bulgarian Vostroyan army! So sit back, relax - it's time for some Southeastern European History...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Better Gamer Friday #2: Choosing the Right Army for You

I realize I'm not off to a great start when the second week is a little bit late, but hopefully you guys can forgive me. This entry ended up being VERY long and I have been pretty busy too. Some pretty cool and big things have been happening this past week, as this gentleman and I met up to work on some pretty awesome looking tables for Adepticon. No doubt we will be seeing some articles detailing their progress in the future. I think Brian said it best, "no one really does what we do."

Last time I touched on how important it is for you to have a good gaming group. Having "hobby buddies" can spur you on to greater things and motivate you to stick with every aspect of our rewarding hobby. Well, now that you have assembled your core group with which you will take your journey, it is time to get down to buying your first models.

For those of you who are not exactly new, but are still having trouble finding that army to latch on to and take to completion, this is for you as well.

Better Gamer Friday(ish): Choosing the Right Army for You

I want to start out by saying that when it comes right down to it, you should play whatever army you like. Now I will try my best to help you in your choice, should you suffer from indecision, but if you KNOW that you want to play X, then by all means do so. It might be a good idea to keep reading, though, because maybe another army is just as cool, and even more you. Or maybe the faction you like is quite expensive, and you are on a budget, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.

Who doesn't want psychic space elf ninja pirates?
Aesthetics and cool factor aside (as these are subjective), you should look at 3 main factors when choosing your first army: ease of play, ease of painting, and low cost. If this is your first foray into miniature wargaming I would say that these are the 3 biggest hurdles in your experience. The depth of rules are intimidating (the rulebook is how many pages?), building and painting your army is a daunting task (what's drybrushing?), and the prices to start a new army can definitely hurt your wallet (that box is how much!!?). With that in mind there are a few factions that stand out as better than the others for the initiate in our grand wargaming world. When we take our list I want to you guys to keep in mind exactly what I mean when I say ease of play, ease of painting, and low cost. That way if 40k isn't exactly your thing, or you have found a creative way to take any of the 3 criteria from a - to a + you know what to look for.

First off, easy to play does not necessarily mean easy to win. That is an important distinction that some people (particularly vets) need to remember when helping their friends or picking a new army for themselves. With all the base rules already jumbling around in their brains newer players already have too much to keep track of. Additionally, not having to worry as much about their own factions fancy special abilities can help you get a greater handle of the basics. Being able to use and exploit the base rules of the game can be just as powerful as a fancy unit with a bunch of doodads, and will help you even more later if you happen to get some doodads of your own. Knowing that "all this unit does is run foward and chop stuff" is helpful when you are keeping track of your other units, opponents stuff, and victory conditions. Sometimes its just helpful to have a unit or 2 on autopilot.

Your first models will not look like this.
Something being easy to paint is a huge factor that a lot of people don't even realize. You are much more inclined to stick with playing an army if they are all assembled and painted. It feels great to take pride in your work, and having your entire army painted is quite an accomplishment. Spending that time is very rewarding when it hits the table and you can really say "damn that looks good, I am awesome." I want to stress that most people who participate in the hobby are not award winning artists. All we are looking for is something that looks good when you hold it out at arms length, not under a magnifying glass. When it comes to getting things done fast, easy, and to a decent standard we are looking for armies that reward painting styles that use washes and drybrusing (more on that in a later article). An entire army of models that are "just alright" look much better on the battlefield than one spectacular model and his 40 unpainted friends.

Lastly, we want an army that can get up and running quickly and cheaply. This has two main focuses, model price and unit price. The price of the model is how much money it will cost you, where the unit price is how much of your army it takes up in points. Some armies have very good $/points ratios, and others do not. You can get a lot more points/$ if you have models that can be upgraded to increase their points cost or units that can represent multiple different things, some of which might be the "elite" version who normally come with both an increased value and effectiveness on the table. Additionally we want to stick with boxes of plastic figures where possible, and avoid finecast figures at all costs. Any faction that relys heavily on finecast models should be avoided above all else, unless you have some good eBay skills and can get the older metal versions. Finecast is overpriced, breakable garbage and not worth the money. Otherwise I find it best to support your local shop, because they offer a helpful service and a great place to play and meet new people.

The Black Reach starter set is a great first purchase for Space Marine and Ork players
 Now that we have our 3 criteria fleshed out and ready to go, lets take a look at some of the armies that are good at all 3.

Space Marines. There is a reason why these guys are the "poster boys" of the 40k universe. Games workshop wants you to play them as your first army, and for a good reason, Space Marines hit all 3 of the criteria out of the park. The starter set, Black reach, and multiple other bundles make Space Marines a fairly cheap army to get started (you get the rulebook too!), and a whole force can be made without touching a single finecast model. It is easy to get some nice results quickly when painting them as well, as they don't have nearly as many fiddly pieces as other factions, and they even look good as a solid color after a few minutes of work. With loads of variety in play-styles depending on their flavor and list Space Marines have a wide variety of useful units that are all pretty straightforward. Their high durability, and the way they ignore morale makes them forgiving to newer generals and ideal choice those looking for a stalwart force of diehards.

Necrons.  If you love The Terminator, then these guys are for you. Easy to paint really is the name of the game, as an entire army can be painted in just a week. Those of you who are looking for a little more personalization in your force, do not despair, just because they can be painted quickly doesn't mean they have to be, as they are quite detailed should you which to take your time. Their vehicles might be a bit tricky to build for newer hobbyists, but the troopers are simple enough to compensate. Reanimation protocol and the highest leadership in the game makes mistakes much less punishing, and their "toughness" can be enhanced even further by other units in the army if you really want to take that theme to the next level. Their moderately priced troopers and expensive vehicles take up points quickly making getting your first army up and running a pretty quick task.

Chaos Daemons. Veterans of the hobby might be yelling at their screen right now, as daemons are sometimes considered a tricky army to play. The army does no set up on the board like normal but instead relies on teleporting onto the battlefield. Once you wrap your head around that, despite their unique playstyle, each unit is rather straightforward in its application. In time this army can give a general the foresight to plan each and every strategic move as the units sometimes arrive mid game when and where you need them most. This can help a new player get a head start on the more advanced mechanics of keeping track of victory conditions and the "flow" of battle. Washes over light colors looks great on deamons and your friends will be jealous of how your army looks on the table (just don't tell them how easy it was). Daemon points per dollar ratio is quite high as boxes are cheaper than other armies for the same number of models, and the units get points-expensive fast. Larger daemons in particular have many upgrades that you can use to eat up points and customize your force. Additionally the variety of upgrades can help you make slight tweaks from game to game later on when you need to.

 Some of the next few armies have may one or two pluses, but probably just as many negatives. While they are perfectly viable factions for you to choose, just be warned that something about them isn't as begginer friendly as the first 3.

Tyranids. Overall quit similar to Chaos Daemons, in their general theme of playstyle. A lot little dudes, and few big stompy monsters running around. Like daemons they can be painted up quickly with washes, but their small models are cheaper points-wise so it will take more time and more money to get the on the table. Upgrades can fill out the points quickly if you need to, and some of them can offer quite a bit of variety as they change your playstyle dramatically (like giving a unit wings). Overall, like daemons, they are considered a more difficult army to play, but this will not matter unless you plan on playing in tournaments with master level players. The biggest failing of the army is that many of their important key models are finecast.

Chaos Space Marines. Everything that the Space Marines are just more evil! Chaos Marines trade some of their versatility in certain places with more variety in their basic troops. Just like their regular cousins forces can vary widely from player to player even though they are using the same faction. Their chaos nature means that they might be host to all sorts of mutations, which can make it quite fun to modify the models and make them unique to you. Unfortunately all those modifications and spikey evil bits on the models come at a price, they are tougher to paint. Don't underestimate how much more time its takes to paint all the trim, rivets, and spikes. You might be the kind of person who relaxes and enjoys it, or it could just end up being tedious.

Eldar. The Eldar have models that are easy to paint to a decent level, but are simply stunning when painted by someone who really wants to take their time. Unfortunately, the army can require a bit of finesse as each unit in their force excels at only one task, and is very bad at everything else. This means you need to have the right unit for the job in the right place, which can be tough to do for many players. Many of their units are also finecast and quite delicate, so I HIGHLY recommend you find the metal versions online. This may seem like too many downsides to be placed in the "middle," but they have one big thing going for them. Rerolls. The faction operates around their leaders giving their units the ability to pick up failed dice and try again, often getting many more successes than average. In the long run this allows the player to mitigate bad luck and make your play more consistent, as bad rolls will be smoothed out with the second try, and rolling well the first time offers little bonus the second time around. This consistency allows for easier observations of mistakes and the required changes to fix them. Where it might take 6 games for one player to realize exactly what they are doing wrong because of wild swings in luck, an Eldar player will learn in 1 or 2.

Tau. This faction's aesthetics appeal to those Gundam and Mechwarrior fans out there, and the generals who love to shoot, fly around, and shoot some more. In the end their playstyle is quite straightforward these days, try and shoot to the best of your ability and don't get caught in melee. This one dimensional (though you can make it more complex if you wish) play is easy to pick up on, but the Tau rules are quite old and outdated. Unfortunately, because of its age the codex is tricky to understand for many players old and new, and can sometimes be tough to utilize properly. Painting isn't as forgiving as the top 3, because basic techniques won't work on their vehicles or units. Their painting style of choice is the use of highltighting, which is simple but requires a steady hand.

The last 4 armies are ones that should be avoided by newer players. This doesn't necessarily mean that they are bad, just that there are many things that make them tough to get off the ground and have painting or gaming success with.

Orks. Despite being one of the two armies in the starter box Orks should be avoided by new players. Compared to the Marines, Orks get a raw deal in the Black Reach set. The cheap cost of their units and vehicles means that you will have many more purchases ahead of you. The cost to your wallet doesn't stop with just the units either, as each ork has at minimum 4 colors per model. Once you factor in the washes and the lighter drybrush versions of those 4 basecoats you are looking at lots and lots of paints. If all that sounds complicated to put on your model, then you are right. Each Ork is about 1/3rd the cost of a space marine, but takes 4 times as long to paint. I have never met an Ork player who hasn't complained about how long and tedious it is to paint up their army. Additionally, once you hit the gaming table Orks lack the tools to handle all of the jobs that their general might need to be successful in game.

Dark Eldar. An extremely unforgiving army, where the slightest of mistakes will make you loose a unit or even the entire game. When played well they can be a force to be reckoned with, but even moderate generals playing other factions can put you down should they have a good round of rolling, or if you have a bad one. Additionally this is probably the worst finecast range as the models are delicate and have lots of details. Those details are quite time-consuming to paint as they rely on highlights like Tau and spikey details like Chaos Marines, but are smaller in size than both of them. Dark Eldar play either relies on multiple vehicles, or lots of pricey units coming out of a webway portal, either way it is going to take a chunk out of your bank account.

Imperial Guard. On the battlefield the Imperial Guard is one of the best armies in the game, which is definitely a plus. The problem is that they cost lots and lost of money to play. Their units cost few points, so you will need lots of them, their vehicles are the same and cost a lot of money too. Like the Orks the Imperial Guard are time consuming to paint because of their number of models and each has multiple different colors further amplifying the tedium that it is to paint them. If you are a history buff and love both world wars this faction is for you, just know that getting a large force together and painted will probably take you the same amount of time as it took to fight in them.

Sisters of Battle. A unique Gothic look and an even more unique playstyle can't save this dead faction. An entirely metal model range combined with a lack of a real set of rules makes this a faction to avoid. Which is unfortunate, because it was my first 40k army and still is one of my favorite factions, and I just can't recommend it. It is too bad Games Workshop has been trying to kill off this faction for the past decade.

In the end if you like a faction PLAY IT! If you like everything about them that will spur you on and keep you motivated, so that is great. Play what you like, and all I hope is that you take my advice and make an informed descision. Starting an army is quite an investment in both time and money, so don't make the choice too quickly.

Well that certainly went a LOT longer than I expected, I will see you guys next week when I talk about getting geared up for your first few games.