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What Should I Get To Start Playing Warhammer?

Craig Argyle

Posted on November 24 2019

What Should I Get To Start Playing Warhammer?

In the shop, we get a ton of great questions from customers and hobby community members. Some that might make your head spin trying to formulate a reasonable answer. Mostly though, the biggest and most frequently asked question is: “What should I get to start playing Warhammer?”

Now there are two trains of thought on this topic: Competitive vs. Rule of Cool. Allow me to expand on these ideas of how a hobby can start and grow.

First off, you can start a competitive army or “chase the meta”. After all, it is a game, and we all want to have a good time and win. Let’s face it, winning feels good no matter what you do. However, this can be a slippery slope that some (not all) take very seriously. Crunching numbers, finding rules combos that are hard to beat. Find that unbeatable army, and play competitively at local clubs, and tournaments. This is called “Chasing the Meta”. This “meta” usually changes once a year, or as soon as the new army/units arrive on the shelves, along with new rules that may or may not address previous balancing issues. Sure having an army of giant robots, stomping and smashing anything that crosses it’s path sounds fun, until you set to the task of building and painting them all. Tournaments are also a great time and should be experienced at least once. How do you know what you are missing until you get out there and see first hand for yourself right? Personally, this has never been my thing, and that’s totally ok. This is a hobby, which is by definition, supposed to give enjoyment to the hobbyist. If being a win at all costs player gives you joy, that is fantastic. It’s your hobby.


The other side of the coin is to obey the “Rule of Cool”. Or in other words, collect the army/faction you find the most appealing. Whether it is a piece of fiction, art work, or just plain cool model that grabs your attention. You then build a force around that thematic element, not initially paying much attention to how balanced it will be in-game on the table. A goal of all hobbyists is to have a nicely painted army, on the table to play with. If you don’t find the models interesting, it may be difficult to get the motivation to paint them all. This method is my personal favourite, and always has been. I have been a painter/modeller before a gamer. Don’t get me wrong, I love throwing dice, but I get more happiness from painting and creating new models in my studio at home. This route, can cater to a more laid back or casual play style. You can still be competitive, but won’t likely trade in your army for the new shiny one. This is also where you’ll find those hobbyists who love to explore the narrative side of the Warhammer. Those themed or story driven battles, where heroes fight against the odds stacked against them. Those cinematic last stands, or daring raids.


Whichever route you set off on, it should be your choice. As I always tell people: It’s YOUR hobby. There is no right way to go about it, no best army, just the way that you feel is best. We are all involved in this amazing community because we love what we get out of it. Be it the thrill of competition, painting that perfect piece, or just enjoying the fellowship of others in our hobby family. I don’t speak for every hobbyist around the globe. I do know that I  just really want more people I can talk with about little plastic space men, while making machine gun noises, and rolling handfuls of dice on a Saturday night. No matter how you do it, do it for you.

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