Getting started with 40K! (Particularly for Orks and Tyranids)

A couple of cracking chaps (@CronosTweets and @Kevuit on twitter) who are new to the 40K gaming side of the hobby asked a fascinating question – how do you get started in the hobby?  How do you learn the rules, and more importantly, have fun?

Well, thats actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer, as 40K has made itself increasingly hard to get started with.   Its not something I’d noticed until I thought about it, but where you used to have starter sets with increasingly complex missions introducing you to the ruleset, now you chucked a bit more in the deep end.  After silly numbers of years playing, that’s great for me, and starter and campaign sets give me updated rules and cheap minis …. but they aren’t so good at teaching you to play.

So how do you get started, particularly if you like an army that isn’t found in a starter set, like Orks and Tyranids in this case.

Well (and many may disagree …), I’d suggest planning a narrative set of games designed around the models you have that separately explore the different phases of the game to get used to the way your core units move.  Here’s a few examples.

AMMO PROBLEMS!

Running low on ammunition and biological proteins, the orks and the tyranids desperately need to avoid combat, pick up supplies, then get back to the lads/spawning pools.  

Each of you dice for table edge (winner picks, other deploys facing him) pick a objective token, and place it for the other somewhere on a 4x4 board with whatever scenery you choose.  No combat is possible (no psychic, shooting or assault, though you can run in the shooting phase), but you have to run to your token, and back off your table edge.  First one off is the first to rearm, and will get to deploy first in the next mission!
TAKE OUT THE BIG UNS

Both Orks and Tyranids are led by biguns, though it has more of an effect on tyranids.  Pick a small force with a few MCs or walkers and some simple troops, with a range of longer range anti tank weaponry.

Ensure roughly the same points value and numbers of MCs and Walkers, and score a vp for each big un taken down!  This can illustrate the effects of the synapse rule for the tyrannies, and is a fun way to test out the shooting phase.
RIP EM UP CLOSE

Go for 500pt horde type close combat forces, and simply Warrrgh or chitter into it!  remember to try to concentrate your forces and defeat the enemy in detail where possible.  Its especially fun if no ones really shooty - get stuck in lads!

I think you get the idea – the narrative makes the simpler game more fun, and each one teaches you the basics of the game, so as you combine the elements, you don’t slow down too much or feel overloaded.

Stick with small points and fairly plain units to start with.  You want to understand the basic abilities of your units before you start modifying them.  Making a unit invisible can be great … but not if you don’t understand how they move or can be positioned.   Introduce new abilities and phases slowly, and take into account not just your learning speed, but your friends – if you speed ahead, they can be discouraged, or you can actually miss some basic understanding that throws you off.

Formations, data slates and codex supplements offer another layer of complexity – I’d steer clear of this to start with until you have the basics hammered in enough to allow you to actually enjoy expanding the rules.  No one, and I suspect even the games designers fall into this too, can keep up with the complete range of rules, expansions, campaigns, codexes, codex supplements, data slates, white dwarf extras and bonus formations in start collecting packs.  Don’t even try – just remember you can always ask to see you opponents list and codex if something seems very odd!  Just add the bits that seem fun – its a not a prescriptive system (with the possible exception of high end competitive tourneys!)

One thing we introduced in my gaming group at the time was a take back system!   If we introduced a new edition or game, we’d have a number of take backs a game as we got used to it.  We’d drop the take backs down as we played until we didn’t need them any more.  Its a great learning tool!  If you moved a unit and then realised in the shooting phase you actually wanted them to stay still because of a heavy weapon, use a take back to move them back!  We restricted it to your own turn, and started with 6.  If you got challenged on a rule and were in the wrong, you could use a takeback.  It didn’t generally upset the game, but made those silly mistakes from a lack of understanding a lot less fatal and the games themselves more fun.

Big games can be fun, but they are slow, and the less familiar with the rules you are, the slower they are!  Start small.  500-1000 points is a great range for a reasonably battle without packing in every rule in the whole codex!  500pts is particularly good for learning phases, and the Combined Arms Detachment – a HQ and 2 troops minimum is a fantastic starting point for balanced encounters.

The key is to play with enthusiasm, lose with grace, win with humility, and generally just enjoy the whole affair.  Don’t get too hung up on getting the rules perfect game one – learn them over time.  In my case, thats generally just as they update to another edition … 😀

With Orks, you probably want to get used to vehicle and walker rules quite early on.  With Tyranids, monstrous creature rules and synapse rules will be quite important, so narrative games focused around those will help you learn quickly.

Both armies play well hurtling forward, but there can be a surprising amount of positional importance for such brutal forces.  Charge genestealers into flamers and they will be toast. Get them into close combat though, and pretty much any force will get torn up!

Try to avoid very cheap forces, as they’ll bulk out the time of learning games early on.  Hundreds of grots can fit in a 1000pt army.  It won’t be fun moving them all, especially when flicking frantically through rules books.  Keep it small and punchy, and mix it up with different units to get to grips with all of them – that’s when your list building and understanding of how to use units together starts to really get more effective, and formations then start making sense.

My 2014 from a gaming perspective!

Well, 2014 is almost at an end, and it hasn’t been terribly successful in terms of actually getting in many games, or actually getting much hobby done!  There were many grand plans for the year … and few of them have come together.  Next year needs to be a touch more realistic, I feel!

I still have plastic mountains of models that need to be assembled and painted!  If anything, the plastic mountain has grown significantly, with Orky enthusiasm.  None of my armies have actually reached the state I wanted to class as finished (with the possible exception of the Ultramarines!)  Though I’ve loved reading about Malifaux and Infinity, I haven’t painted my starting forces or played even a single game.  I do have a complete starter force for Retribution of Scyrah in Warmachine, but not managed to get that going either (though I am loving Warmachine Tactics on the laptop).  My major passion in 40K has been Orks for the last couple of months, and I’ve been gathering and planning an Ork Waargh (though that’s being somewhat derailed by the brilliant Blood Angels models being released right now, and enthusiasm for Silver Skulls!)

What has gone well?  #WAAC 2014 was amazing fun, with events around the country, and I’ve ended up with an brilliant range of gaming gear, from T-shirts, to dice, through to templates.  I painted some models that I think came out really, really well, and won a great book and a pro painting of my Bonesinger by Peter (@minimodelpaint), which is coming on amazingly well!  I’ve tried playing X-Wing, and absolutely loved it.

I’ve loved interacting with (and meeting some of) the #warmongers.  Twitter has been a brilliant hobby outlet for me, and that’s definitely going to continue!

I’ve got some brilliant hobby resources, with brilliant brushes from Gears & Games and Army Painter really making a difference, a full Army Painter set of paints in decent paint racks letting me dip in and out of painting to do little bits here and there around the demands of being a Dad – demands that are going to increase in 2015 with the arrival of another one in May! 🙂

I haven’t played much Xbox 360 for various logistical reasons over the year, but did manage to sneak in some Transformers and Halo, and completed Injustice!  I’m hoping I’ll get more video games in next year, with an Xbox One arriving for Xmas … Halo!  Destiny!  Titanfall!  There’s some amazing games coming out for the PC just now too – Satellite Reign as a long awaited “Syndicate” style game this week.  Elite Dangerous looks amazing, and comes out this week!  As mentioned, Warmachine Tactics is great.

I’d like to have reported much more hobby fun … but its been a cracking year.  I’ll try to follow this with my plans for 2015, and maybe write a summary of what I think the biggest changes have been in the hobby world in general.

Orks! Working out a Waargh!

Well, my Ork enthusiasm has left me with what looks like a plethora of Green goodness … so I’ll need to work out some sort of list to put together with it all!

I have had several sets of Orks from Assault on Black Reach lurking in my garage for the day when the Waargh took me (3 sets, I believe!) – that’s 60 Orks, 9 Deffkoptas, 15 Nobs and 3 Warbosses.

I also have a chunk of Rogue Trader Orks from my first foray in the hobby back in the 80’s and early 90’s.  I’m going to deal with the Rogue Trader stuff separately though – I think I’ll do them and the RTB01 marines I have lurking as a joint project to match the Rogue Trader cover 🙂

Recently, the campaign box for Sanctus Reach may have fallen into my grubby little paws, leaving me with some brand new orky goodness too!  That’s a Warboss (Grukk Face-Rippa), a unit of 10 grots and caretaker, 5 nobz, and 3 kills kanz.

Jay (@SoulJacker1974) has provided with a veritable horde of 2nd hand Orks in various states of assembly.  A fair chunk are pretty old school and will go in with  my Rogue Trader era stuff (like the original Ghazghkull Thraka and Banner Bearer!), but there’s a lot of current ones too!  A Bommer, Ghazghkull Thraka, Weirdboy, big mek with shokk attack gun, 15 Nobz, 20 Boyz, 6 Ork Kommandos, 3 deffkoptas, 5 lootaz, a battlewagon, a trukk, 3 warbikes, 8 stormboyz,2 deff dreadz, and 3 killa kanz – plus innumerable grotz and other individual Orks to be sorted.

And now my mate Leonidas in Crete is sending me further reinforcements! That’s a battle force (20 Ork Boyz, a trukk and 3 warbikes), another trukk, a unit of grots and caretaker, 2 boxes of burnaz/lootaz, an Ork Mek with Shokk Attack gun, 3 killa kanz, a deff dread, a flash git with targeting squig, and another AoBR set (another 20 boyz, 3 deffkoptas, 5 nobz and a warboss).

Sooo … I need to whittle that horde down to a more practical first pass at a 2000pt army!  Any ideas for a fun Orky vibe?  Although I can put together the numbers, I don’t think a horde of infantry is a feasible first target – just too much to paint!  I’m thinking of going pretty HQ and vehicle heavy.  My first thought was something like:

Lords of War (225pts)

Grazghkull Thraka – 225pts

HQ (159pts)

Wierdboy (level 2 psyker) – 70pts

Big Mek with Heavy Armour and Shokk Attack Gun – 89pts

Elites (683pts)

Kommandos – Boss Nob with boss pole and klaw, 4 Kommandos, 1 Kommando with Big Shoota – 105pts

Nobz – Boss Nob, 2 Nobs, Warbikes.

Nobz – Boss Nob with boss pole, twin linked shoota, power klaw, 9  Nobz, Heavy Armour, Battlewagon ( 2 big shootaz, 2 Rokkit Launchaz, Kannon, Deff Rolla, Extra Armour, Red Paint Job, Grot Riggers, Boarding Plank) – 443pts

Troops (305pts)

Boyz – 8 Boyz, Boy with Big Shoota, Boss Nob with Power Klaw and Boss Pole,  Trukk – 135pts

Boyz – 17 Boyz, 2 Boyz with Big Shoota, Boss Nob with Power Klaw and Boss Pole,  170pts

Fast Attack (445pts)

5 DeffKoptas with Rokkit Launchas 150pts

5 DeffKoptas with Rokkit Launchas 150pts

Dakkajet – flyboss, extra twin linked super shoota – 145pts

Heavy Support (183pts)

Deff Dread with Power Klaw and Skorcha – 85pts

7 Lootaz – 98 pts

 

 

 

Attack of #HobbyADD – Infinity, Malifaux and 40k in between…

Well, as always, I am suffering from #HobbyADD, but at the moment I think its a particularly advanced case! I’ve almost completed my #WAACPainting entry – the models are done – I just need some decent photos for an entry.  I’m looking a knocking up a quick display board to take the photos on. So, current projects (in no particular order)!

1)  Infinity Nomads!  I’m very excited about Infinity!  It looks like an amazing system, and the skirmish nature means I don’t need to assemble and paint huge numbers.  Plus nuns with guns – my battle sisters can stride onto a new battlefield.  I think I can hold off until Ice Storm though!

2)  Malifaux I have a Lady Justice crew half assembled (I still need to put the Death Marshalls together.  Interesting system with the card deck, and fascinating fluff and gorgeous models.  Only problem is that I keep eying up Viktoria’s crew and Gremlins….. Hopefully I can stick to my guns (of justice!)

3) 40K – Sisters of Battle I need to paint about 2 models to “finish” my Order of the Argent Shroud, and about 6 models to “finish” my Order of the Verdant Garden.  So close….

4) 40K – Imperial Fists This is my current “Churn em out army”.  I do like the Sons of Dorn, and these will probably be my standard go to 40k army for a while.  Assault terminators and forge world pads on the way to bolster a Lysander charge 🙂

5) 40K – Pirate Orks Pirate orks.   What more can I say?  I have a fair few Orks from Assault on Black Reach, and Stormclaw may be lurking for an upcoming birthday.  I’ve also got RTB02 ready to be repainted and take the field.  Add some Flash Gitz, and Cap’n Kipp’s Freebootaz could be ready to go!  Its a heck of a lot of models though, so I may end up holding off here.

6) 40K – Dark Craftworld Dark Eldar I have a reasonably DE force in need of some TLC.  I’m really tempted to reorganise it as a fallen craft world and paint it in aspect colours – Striking Scorpion green for Incubi, blaster wielding kabalites as fire dragons, kabalites as Dire Avenger blues, Wyches in howling banshee bone and so on.

7) Ax Faction minis for fun I’m looking at using some of these as Inquisition forces too, so not purely just for fun.  Cracking sculpts on these.

8) 40K – Fallen Angels This army has been lurking for ages and been bolstered by the DV set.  Totally unpainted for over 7 years….. I really should at least prime them!!!

9) 40K – RTB01 Crimson Fists Army Ah, my beloved Crimson Fists!  Painstakingly gathered from eBay to replace an army that got lost on a train years ago.  The plan is to recreate the classic Rogue Trader front cover.  Navy primer is ready to go!

10) 40K – Ultramarines More marines!  I actually have a fairly decent collection of ultramarines, some primed, some badly painted.  I’m just missing a HQ force here really!  Ironclad dreadnoughts and bikers recently added to the increasing forces.   I now have a complete enough force not to worry about these!  Counting Ultramarines as done!

11) 40K – Crimson Slaughter I have a reasonably solid force of CSMs in red and gold, perfect for the role of Crimson Slaughter.  With the addition of the Crimson Slaughter specific models from the DV set, this would be a great little force (possibly in need of a bastion or helturkey for anti air).  Just the CSMs from DV to paint here, though a fair few khorne beserkers need some finishing too.

12)  X-Wing Not started here, but a good guy locally loves it, and wants to play.  I love Star Wars, so I suspect mistakes will be made here 😉

13)  Armada If I like Star Wars star fighters, running a fleet as an admiral????  Yeah, this is happening.

14) DnD 5e Absolutely love everything I’ve seen for this so far!  Just wish digital versions of the core books were coming out as space is an issue.

15) 40K – Space Wolves My first 40K force back in the 80s!  The storm claw set has sucked me back in.  I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the recent vehicles, but the current character modelling is amazing.  Definitely to be painted in grey instead of the rubbish modern light blue though.  Will probably just be an allies force rather than a full blown 1850pts army.

16)  40K – Blood Angels Really struggling for enthusiasm here!  I have some really quite nice chapter leaders painted up, and some gorgeous terminators from Space Hulk to paint.  I have primed basic troops, and unbuilt death company and sanguinary guard.  Just not feeling too enthused, particularly without a current codex.

17) 40K – Silver Skulls Loads of unbuilt models for this, and they fit with my long term plans of having a range of silver armies sharing some vehicles with magnetised logos with my Order of the Argent Shroud and Grey Knights.  Need to work out the skulls for the shoulders and a quick effective paint scheme here!

18)  40K – Eldar Loads of unpainted Eldar, and loads of painted ones! Recently bolsters by  Eldrad, a new Avatar and some warlocks.  I need to sort out some effective fighting forces here – I think painting the remaining ones is quite low down the list.  Really tempted to add more wraith warriors at all levels though ….

19)  40K – Tau My Tau are pretty much done with a reasonable force.  There are a couple of options half painted that I’d like to finish off, and perhaps add some broadsides and riptides, but generally these are pretty low on the list as they have a fully painted force!  Ticking these off the list as have a sorted out painted playable army matching all my main criteria.  Not ideal, as could do with slightly different options, but cool.

20)  40K – Grey Knights! New codex due out, decent force already, and only a couple of things needed to be finished or assembled to finish them off!  Also awesome with the new psychic phase.  These guys may well be seeing the table again soon.  Dreadknight is tempting me!

21) 40K – Imperial Guard Valhallans Pretty much sorted out and ready to go!  Not great paint jobs, but OK enough to get by.  some basing of heavy weapons needed here.

22) 40K – Imperial Guard Cadians Ouch.  Loads of men, not much paint, and pretty much every heavy weapons squad needs to be rebased.  Lots and lots of work, not much enthusiasm at present 🙁

23) 40K – Legion of the Damned I have 15 Legion to be painted to use as an allied force to other Imperial types.  Struggling to get enthused though.

24) 40K – Deathwatch I have a 10 man squad with custom pads (both DW and a range of chapters), heads, guns, all ready to be assembled!  Must get around to building and painting these.  Very excited with my Inquistions types.

25) 40K – Inquisition I have a load of models from a range of manufacturers to put together as my Inquistion force.  Female paladins as crusaders, floating psykers, daemonhosts, the lot!  Very cool and good allies for almost all the other Imperial forces.  Quite excited, but as I haven’t started they are quite low down the list.

26)  40K – Tyranids I’d love to get this army finished to at least 1850 points!  They look gorgeous, and are easy to do.  I’m struggling motivation wise here as I basically need to buy a fresh army to make them playable with tervigons, more termagants and flying MCs.  I have genestealers aplenty to paint.  Hmm.

27) 40K – Necrons I have a fully painted army of these bad boys – rubbish in the current game, but fully painted and ready to go.  w00t!!!!  Could do with some newer models, but not loving the new fluff anyway. Counting these as done for now!  I have a complete playable and painted army all sorted out.  Not great, but done!

28) 40K – Militarum Tempestus I have a reasonable number of Karskrin Stormtrooper squads here.  No new stormtroopers, but enough to work well with inquisition or guard voices quite effectively!  None really painted, boo hiss!

29)  Scenary! I have a huge amount of scenery to assemble and/or paint.  From an Imperial City to Altars of Chaos, it’d look amazing on my battle board.  As it doesn’t affect my actual games too much though, difficult to find the time!

Sooo, 29 reasonably sized projects, and possibly a few more kickstarter bits to go too.  Ouch!  #HobbyADD indeed!

Waaargh!

Well, I am making progress assembling my enormous Ork horde, so I thought I’d look at some colour options. My current favorite is:

ork

I like the simple, bold colour mix. Very Orky and effective, and its easy enough to get a sort of unified clan look and feel without being too regimented.

Interactive Army Painters

Bolter & Chainsword has an amazing set of interactive army painters available, letting you plan out a general look and feel for models before you try them. Its no substitute for trying a model or two, but does let you think about your colour choices!

The best painter is for Space Marines, unsurprisingly

There is another one for Terminators.

and for the Sisters of Battle.

You also have Chaos Marines.

The Tau – Fire Warriors.

and Orks.

There is an Eldar one here.

Haven’t been able to find any for Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Necron or Tyranids though. One suggestion is to use the Dawn of War army designer, and take a screenshot of the outcome.

Space Marines and Ork Hordes!

Well, with the Thousand Sons and Eldar having departed to Sheffield to take to the fight under new generals, I’ve been inspired to think about which armies I should field. I went through my rather extensive collection of remaining space marines, in conjunction with the new terminators from Space Hulk, and worked out a 1500pt army list for Blood Angels, and a further 1500 point list for Ultramarines! Although a fair amount of painting will be needed to get them up and running, the smaller size of the Adeptus Astartes forces makes it a lot, lot easier to put a force together! Indeed, I actually have enough marines left over to put together a third 1500pt army for the Imperatoris Aquilae too!

I also took at look at the Ork hordes, and can (barely) scrape together a 1500pt force of Ork Boyz, Nobz, Deffcoptas and Warbosses. Its around 80 models large, so its going to be quite a ways down the painting list, but the models do look “ded fun n shooty!”

I don’t think Necrons are particularly likely to see the field again, though their unstoppable nature and their mindless desire to massacre all life does make them quite good opponents for a solo game here or there, and I doubt I’ll get the Blood Angels done for Christmas gaming, so the Tau may have to make a final appearance!

As soon as I get some models done, I will have some pictures heading up on the site!