Part 2: Why 40k could be for you
We talked about the bad in Part 1 of this Getting Started series. Now we talk about why so many people love 40k and why it could be the game, the hobby, and the community you are looking for.
In my last article, I was pretty blunt about why you should not start 40k. My intent was not to scare you off, but to let you know exactly what you are getting into before you start. Now that I have talked about the negatives, lets talk about the positives. Here are some of the reasons why myself and many other players continue to be passionate about this game.
40k has some of the best models
Of all the tabletop miniature companies out there, I believe that Games Workshop produces the best models. Now there are some older kits still in the 40k range that are not up to the standards of today’s models, but many of them hold up amazingly well when you consider that some of them are 20 years old! GW’s Finecast models had some issues with casting flaws, but these are slowly being phased out in favor of new plastic kits. Speaking of which, GW’s newest plastic kits are simply amazing. They are highly detailed and beautifully engineered and a dream to build, with limited mold lines and pieces that fit together like a jigsaw. You will be spending a lot of time with your models, so this matters a great deal. Other miniature companies put out nice models, some put out really great models, but GW has the best in my opinion and has been leading the way for a long time.
40k models are customizable
In other miniature games, the model is like a chess piece. It is built with very few options and it has one set of rules it always follows. In 40K, you can customize from multiple weapon and unit options so that your models play differently depending on how you build them. You are also encouraged to convert your models to be uniquely yours. You can play the same army or even the same units as another player and it will look completely different because it is your vision and your idea.
40k is a great hobby
Building and painting models is a big part of playing 40k and it really does offer a uniquely fun and creative outlet. There are few things as satisfying as finishing an army. It not a deck of cards you have collected or a new item you earned in a video game; it’s a real life token of the time and work you put into making it yours. I get as much satisfaction from someone telling me that my army looks good as I do when I win a game. Not everyone who plays 40k is into building and painting, but you only need to know a few basic techniques to get your army up to “table-top” standard. For those of us who want to keep getting better at building and painting, the sky is really the limit. One of the best things about going to big events is seeing other players’ armies and the incredible amount of talent on display.
40k has a large and passionate community
40k is one of the oldest and most popular miniatures games with a very large community of players. In most areas it’s easy to find other 40k players or groups of players. As you can imagine, finding other players to play the game with is kind of critical when starting out! Although there is negativity in the 40k, there is also passion for the game, for the models, and for the rich background surrounding 40k. Podcasts, forums, blogs, and videos about 40k can all be easily found online and in social media. You will never want for people talking about and playing 40k.
40k has a rich universe
No other non-historical game has as much background as 40k. If a story is important to you, then 40k is your game. The actual storyline of 40k has not moved forward in decades; everything is at one minute to midnight until Armageddon. But the history and back story of the massive 40k universe is always being told through novels and audio dramas. Every codex for every army is crammed with detail and “fluff” and really great art that help to bring this game alive. There are always new stories to uncover in 40k.
40k can be any game you want it to be
As a game, 40k has the most flexible rule set of all miniature games. The creators encourage you to play any kind of game you want. Its not balanced for competitive tournaments in the same way that Warmachine is, for example. But there are dedicated people who write FAQs and restrictions that do a pretty good job of making a viable tournament 40k experience. If competitive play is not what you are looking for, then you can play casual or friendly games or even start a narrative campaign. This kind of freedom requires that players of 40k be very upfront about what kind of game they want to play with their opponent. It is often said that to play 40k you have to enter into a social contract with another player. This can be hard to navigate when you are first starting the game, but you will quickly find what kind of game appeals to you the most.
40k offers a unique experience
I play other miniature games. I own a Warmachine army, a Dropzone Commander army, and a Malifaux crew. I appreciate the balance and tightness of the rules and its nice to play with a smaller set of models and focus on the small details and tactical interactions. The makers of these games are also very active within the community and will improve the game based on input from their customers. However, when it comes time to play a game or to build or paint a model, I always find myself wanting to spend time with 40k. Nothing else captures the massive scale of a future battlefield quite like 40k does. The game just FEELS like an epic story when you play, and that is something that is unique to 40k.
If you have decided that 40k might be the game for you, check out my next article where I discuss what you should do first.