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3 January 2012

How do you recommend an army?

Nick speaking,

One great thing about this hobby, is how easy it is to get other people addicted to it! If your anything like me, 40K is always on my mind and I find that my enthusiasm for the game seems to rub off on people around me, well except for the wife, I didn't even bother showing her my Warlocks when they were finished! lol

Now I remember way back when I first started 40k, and when it was time to choose an army of my own. Up until then, I had just played a couple of small games with my buddies Tyranid and Ork armies. Everything 40k was just a minefield to me then, and the truth is, I only chose Necrons as my first army because I liked the picture on the front of the Codex.

As time went by, more and more friends joined my gaming circle, and as yet, none of us have duplicated armies. I suppose, in reality we tried our best to encourage 'new' players to go for armies we never had, after all we will be playing each other every week and although Necrons Vs Necrons, or Blood Angels Vs Blood Angels, would be a novalty, we wouldn't want to do it every week! I am not saying we forced anyone to choose certain armies, but I think as a new player you would prefer to have an army no-one else had for the unique factor alone, anyway.

The question is though, how do you recommend an army?
Lets look at it from a sales persons point of view! The first basic rule of sales is don't sell something to someone that they don't really want or need, you have to ask the correct questions so that they end up with a satisfactory purchase. So on that basis, let's ask some basic questions to get us going.

First, starting with the army itself...
What do you like the look/sound of? Humans, super humans, evil super humans, robots, drones, bugs, girls with high heels, green skin gladiators, elfs with anti grav technology etc etc

Then there's the painting side...
Make sure they know how much painting will be involved, especially if they go the horde army route, also ask what colours they would like their army to be, maybe that will swing them in a certain direction

Next is how they will play on the table...
Do you want a shooty army, assault army, a fast moving army, a big gribbly army, an all rounder army? Do you want your army to play in a certain way related to the fluff? Like Eldar Saim-Hann or Beil-Tann? Or maybe how they deploy, like random deep striking Daemons?

Then there's the 'what do you want from the game' question...
Are you in it to just win it or do you just want to have fun pushing your toys around and rolling dice with your friends? Is it mainly for the painting, or maybe for the converting side of things? etc. etc.

Don't forget the board a terrain situation as well...
Where will you play, at a club with terrain, at friends houses? Will you want your own board, if so do you have the space and/or time to make it and all the terrain

And last but not least, as a 40k player, it is your responability to let them know the gory deatails...
This hobby is going to be expensive, and take up a lot of your free time. Unless you play Space Marines of some sort, GW may leave you behind a bit (How long did I wait for my Necron Codex!) and of course, what is current and the new top tierd Codex now, won't be there for very long...

All in all it is very difficult to recommend an army, and it does come down to a lot of personal choices for someone to go for one army over another. As a 40k player, I like to give all the good and bad points of this wonderful game of ours and let them decide which direction to go for themselves.


  1. I think, when recommending an army to a player, the two things I tend to rank highest are playstyle and models. (Cost is obviously a factor as well, but if you explain the point values your group plays at and they see how much models cost, they can generally figure that one for themselves.) Most armies these days can manage at least a couple different strong builds (and innumerable ones ranging from "practically as good" to "well no one will point and laugh"), but different codices have different strengths. If someone picks up the Eldar or Space Marine book looking to make a melee combat army, they are probably going to be disappointed. Similarly, it's important to be honest about how good units are- there's nothing wrong with admitting a unit sucks, nor is there anything wrong with wanting to use it anyways; everyone has their weird little pet units, after all. But A new player who sinks a bunch of money into a bad unit thinking it's good may get discouraged and give up, and that's not good for anyone.

    Just as important, of course, is the hobby side of things. Most everyone spends more time assembling, converting, painting, etc, their models than they ever do playing with them, so making sure that the a player picks something whose aesthetic they like and whose paint scheme is manageable for them is just as important as finding an army that plays the way they want it to. Some people hate detail work; some people hate masses of identical models; some people hate tanks; each of these steers a player in a different direction.

    Of course, either of these may be irrelevant to a particular player- some people have no intention of playing and just like to paint, and that's fine. Some people just want little spacemen to do battle with and don't care what color they are or even if they have a color. Neither of these is a worse or better way to play, but instead reflect the preferences of a given individual.

    Beyond those there can be plenty of other concerns (what other people play, what the army's fluff is about, etc), but I think those two are by far the most important.

  2. Got some good points there, thanks for your thoughts

  3. I picked my first army 10 years ago based on how cool the models looked and the knowledge that I wanted to play as one of 40k's bad guys. I chose Iron Warriors. Though the decision ran deeper than that, my brother was playing a good guy faction, Dark Angels, and I wanted to be his nemesis. The main thing I tell people getting into the hobby is to play an army they can get excited about, be it for painting or playing, or both. If they're making the "logical" choice and are overlooking things in the army that they don't like, I try to remind them that they're going to want to be as excited about their army two months from now as they will be in two years. Hobby gaming is long-term, and though it's easy to get caught up in the flavor of the month, playing something less flashy, but personally more exciting is always the way to go.


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