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Ok, I posted this question in the general disscussion board, and then thought it be smarter to put something in the sci fi section.  Alright, here's my question.  I've always been into fantasy games, and I've been searching all over for one to play, when I suddenly thought, that perhaps a scifi game would be even better.  I like fantasy, but if I really want to play a fantasy miniature game, I'll just play d and d.  So, to tell you what I want.  I want a sci fi miniature skirmish game.  I don't like the idea of large units that have to move together like in Warhammer Fantasy.  I've been told that units in 40k are considered to be individuals, which perked my attention.  So now onto the actual post.


Warhammer 40k for those who play it.  One, is it story based, meaning, do you play through campaigns, or just fight a big battle and it's over. Two, is it fun, and why.  And three, if I do decide to get into it, how much is it going to run me?


If it's a good game, what do I need to try it out.  What units should I buy.  I basically want to know the pros and cons of this game.  If any of you have any other suggestions for better games, please, please post them.

Thanks a lot,



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Ok I understand that there is a huge group who hate GW.  I have to admit I was/am one of them. But really when I ask myself why I disliked them, I could not come up with a good reason.  So enlighten me, what is it that makes them far less superior to other game companys?
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These are my reasons only, but I think that they are possibly shared by others who also don't play or no longer play 40k.



1) Cool minis

2) Lots of players all over the world

3) Interesting setting



1) Napoleonic rules disguised as science fiction. Napoleonic rules.. one good volley of ranged fire... lots of hand to hand or close quarters battle. It's not real sci-fi... it's low-fi.

2) Violations of logic when cross referenced with fluff. Example... Terminator armor is supposed to be the nastiest armor the universe has ever seen... but it's destroyed 50% of the time when attacked by a sentient space fungus (Ork) with a shovel (choppa, whatever). A guy can crawl down the barrel of a planetary defense gun armed only with a little holy icon (rosarious) and survive the shot 50% of the time. A tank can be destroyed by a pistol (bolter to the rear armor of a leman russ).

3) Price. $12 for a character miniature. Plastic miniatures that cost as much as a pewter from Reaper. $40 for a vehicle. Games Workshop even admits to charging based on relative power level of the mini. So a powerful mini is going to cost me more than a peon... why? Because it has better game stats.

4) Rules changes - they change the rules all the time. new editions void old army lists. new rules come out with each White Dwarf with such speed that it's clear they are not carefully playtested. If it breaks the game, no worries. They'll just come out with a bigger, better special rule later. Woe unto you if your army list was the first supplement. It won't get any fixes until the next version of the rules.

5) Horrible relations with small time sellers, internet sellers, and the customer in general. So long as we are giving them our money, they couldn't care less about who we are and what we think. Trying to sell GW product for a discount online? Well we'll just "creatively interpret" the law and prevent you from doing so. We've got the lawyers to put your small time business out of commission in the courts so we'll never worry about monopoly legislation or lawsuits regarding price fixing.

6) Lots of miniatures required. Combined with 3 above this is really irritating.

7) Shoddy points balance. Games that use "points" are supposed to use those points to balance out the armies against each other. If a model costs 15 points it should do about 15 points worth of damage. A 30 point model should win 50/50 percent of the time versus two 15 point models. That's theory. Anyone that has played 40k knows that GW's points system is guesstimated at best and blatantly broken at worst.


Well... there you are. Those are my thoughts on the matter.


Take care,

The Lurkbeast

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Oh, as for your other question. If you wish to get into the horrid quagmire that is 40K. Buy the starter box set which comes with the rules and enough miniatures to start your space marine army. Buy a Space marine codex. Pick up a cool commander type Model or Model that you feel like painting up as a commander.


You're looking at about $100 investment to get space marines and a rulebook. Take it home, use the marines, sell everything else in the box online at ebay and recoup some of your losses or use the other army as cannon fodder on the bases of your space marines.


Play the marines until you too eventually burn out as some of us have.


Try the other armies that are not space marines at your own risk and peril to your bank account.


What other games to suggest? Well I would suggest CAV for Sci-Fi or wait until Reaper completes their promised science fiction skirmish game. Or play CAV until the science fiction skirmish game is released.

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Hmm, I see not too objective-ness is rife still. Oh well....


Talio, I actually play Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. I enjoy both of them, but I also enjoy CAV, BattleTech and quite a lot of other games. If I find it fun, I'll play it. Simple huh? :o)


With 40k, you to have to understand that Games Workshop is run by humans and that they have the same flaws as anyone else. Take the Eldar Wraithlord for example, it's impossible to hurt it with 90% of the basic weapons in any army because it's so tough. This was because one of the game developers who wrote the codex was a big time Eldar player and wanted the Wraithlord to be unstopable.


But once you figure these little annoyances out, then you'll be okay for the most part.


The rules themselves do seem a little clunky at times, but lurkbeast (badly) explained some of them. See, 40k is a D6 system and as such you've little room to manouver when things get sticky. However, Orks and their Choppas are a element which balances things nicely as they can't have any power weapons (no save at all). Also, energy shields are in existence, and they usually probive a 50/50 chance of saving from a weapon which should, by rights, kill you outright.


The rules relate to squads of troops and provided these troops are within 2" of each other in the same squad then you can put them where you want. Fire is done as a squad and close combat is done squad versus squad as well. 40k is a good skirmish game, if you are prepared to tolerate GW's annoying little idiosyncrasies.


While White Dwarf will have clarifications and explainations of rules, it's rare for them to change the rules completely or in any way which comprimises the game or an army list. But there has been a 'arms race' in the codices so the earlier ones are a little under powered compared to others. But they won't change when 4th Edition comes out sometime in the nextyear or two, so it's not like it'll be a huge cost like the swap between 2nd and 3rd editions was.


For an army, I'd suggest you start off like most have and that's with Space Marines. Their armour is durable and makes them a very forgiving army to play with, and their high skill and good leadership make them solid troops. There's also 'variant' lists such as Blood Angels and Space Wolves. These take the basic Space Marine army and gives it a little twist (or in the case of the Space Wolves, a fairly major one).


The other lists do have something to offer as well. For example, Orks are slavering hoardes who swarm across the board, but you'll need lots of them because they don't get an armour save against most weapons. Then there's the Eldar, who're fast but have short ranged weapons and aren't especially tough or strong. Tau are similar but they have long ranged firepower and are agile, not fast. Then there's Chaos and the others as well.


If you want to get into 40k, you're best bet by far is to go to a GW store and speak to the staff. If US policy is the same as that in the UK, then they'll give you a demo game, explain all of the rules as best they can and help you decide what army to buy.


In all, I'd expect a Space Marine army, of the 750 to 1000 point size to number around 25 models plus a couple of vehicles and cost in total something akin to $150 to $200. This'll do you for most games, as 1000 is the standard size game in stores and takes about 3 to 4 hours to play, depending on how well ppl know the rules.


Of course, I wouldn't be doing my job as an AO if I didn't mention CAV and all the gooey goodness that comes with it :o)


CAV is fast paced and can be played with 4+ figures. Granted, you probably won't get a great game until you have 12+ on the field, but that's because the game is a mecha combat game with a heavy combiend arms element to it.


3 to 4 thousand points is a good 4 hour game, and it'lll cost you arouond $100 to $150 depending on how you mix your forces (CAV's, infantry and the like). It's a very fast game to play, and it works well on any table 6x4 or larger, and can cope with smallers ones with a simple halving of ranges and movement rates. Another big bonus, the core CAV rules are free! :o)


CAV and Warhammer 40k are both great games, but it depends on what you're after. 40k gives great scope for an army of men with some armour support, while CAV is big robots with huge guns, with some infantry, armour and aviation in support :o)


As a general roll call of good sci-fi games, I should mention Stargrunt. It takes squad based infantry games to the extremes of detail, but it's very playable and it has no points system so there's no 'minimum army' to worry about. And it can be played with any figures. You might want to look into that one.

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As I introduced Frank to StarGrunt this is a game made by a small UK manufactorer, who also do a wide figure range for the game. However you can use any figures you want (Ground Zero Games even expect this). There are no points the game is totaly mission based with ideally a "GM" coming up with the scenario and coming up with the forces. The game uses a lot of counters to track things in game (morale, leadership, troop quality, heavy weapon ammo, ECM, casualties both wounded and dead and many more) these are all supplied with the rules. The game is detailed but very good aimed at platoon sized actions. The turn sequence is alternating squads, (ie I do a squad the you do one) unlike 40K where it is I do my whole force then you do yours. A couple of my friends who are ex-army really like the game cos they think it covers the realities of war. An example of this is troops must fire at the enemy who presents the greatest threat, thus troops who have fired at you already this turn are seen as more of a threat than those who haven't etc.


I like this game a lot, however I still play 40K. The biggest pro of 40K is you can take your army to almost any part of the western world and you will be able to get a game.

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Yeah, thats my biggest draw to it.  I tried one or two others, like them but thought, "NO NO, Don't get hooked, You'll never find anyone to play it."  Unfortunetly I am whipped.  My girlfriend told me to get Warhammer fantasy instead of 40k, and like a good dog, I did what I was told.  It seems cool.  Let me learn these rules, make an army, play for a while, and then we'll see about 40k.  Really it looks to #### inticing to pass up.  But I'm over the basic GW hatred bull.  They're just trying to make money, and I'm ok with that.  Hey, that's what a business is, and there's gotta be something good about these things since soo many people play.  Ok, thanks alot,



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Talio, a word of warning. 40k is the 'first' game traditionally as GW claim it's for 12 and up, while Fantasy is for 14 and up (or something like that). 40k is definately much simpler, but they both use the same basic mechanics (to-hit and to-wound tables).


Hope you enjoy them.

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Check out Bartertown




It's a great place for gamers to sell and trade their old minis.  Originally it began strictly for WH 40K and WH FB (to beat those high prices), but now you can pretty much trade/sell anything there.  Since you are getting into WH FB, this will let you do it a little cheaper.   Just be careful and check any referances.  Most traders are on the level, but every once and a while somebody has to come by and try to ruin it.


Also, before you get too heavily invested, you might want to check out Warlord from Reaper.  I haven't seen the rules (been busy with my own project), but have checked in on playtesting reports.  It looks much better (faster, easier, cheaper) than WH FB.  I think it is supposed to be coming out this summer, but I'm not sure of any exact dates.

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Warlord's target release date was GenCon at the end of July.  Whether they're still on track or not, only Matt can say.


But I'm over the basic GW hatred bull.  They're just trying to make money, and I'm ok with that.  Hey, that's what a business is,

Hatred has nothing to do with it.  Respect does though.  There's a huge difference between making money off of your customers and taking total advantage of them and using every cutthroat business process that you can think of to squeeze every last cent out of them.

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Warhammer and Warhammer 40K share many mechanics of play.  Elsewhere, I though you mentioned getting the Basic Warhammer set.  These are rules systems which many people are familiar with, and finding someone to play is relatively easy.  Many of the other games mentioned take a bit more searching and luck to find partners.


The rules in WH40K have their flaws but, almost every system does.  Space Marines are popular as is Chaos, they are tough and durable.  I play Dark Eldar, fast and fun but fragile.  They require a bit of thought and special scenarios to do well.  And we are building a Necron Army as well.  So far they have been Tough.


Sometimes it seems GW is out for nothing but cash.  At other times they seem to be very customer friendly.  It is a personal experience, I believe.  And remember, just because they make new rules you may not have to pick them up if the group you battle in is satisfied with what you are doing.  Getting every rule update is mainly for the tournament scene.  We played in the world wide Albion Tournament a couple years ago and it was satisfying.  But we jumped back to house rules right after that, which was also satisfying.


I recently picked up the CAV rules.  But I am searching for a battle.  I like what I see though.  Need to find more minis as well.


There's Mechwarrior as well.  Many people are down on the clix games though I like them.  They are fun and easy.  Warhammer 40 K might be fun but not easy.


As for cost.  It seems a bit steep.  But, look for deals and trades.  I traded off the Space Marines for Dark Eldar and Necron equivalents.  And found that there can be some interesting finds in the bargain bins at the Local Game Shop.  And of course eBay.


Good fortune to you, any of these games can be a blast.  Oh and there is Battlefleet Gothic and a miniatures version of Ogre as well.

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I recently picked up the CAV rules.  But I am searching for a battle.

Houston, huh? (I checked your profile  :;): )  It seems that the Black Lightning site is down right now, so I can't check for you, but finding your local Assault Officer (official demo-type guy) shouldn't be too hard.  I know there's a couple of them down in Texas and I think ones in the Houston area.  Just start a thread mentioning that you're looking for your local AO, he'll probably contact you.

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I'll try an be nice about this since GW and I DON'T get along...


For once in recent times (last summer), I decided to swallow my pride and look into 40k. I came so close to buying into it, but this is what stopped me: YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE EXACT WEAPON FOR THE MINI TO "CARRY" THAT'S ON YOUR STAT SHEET. As least that how it HAD TO BE with the people I knew who played. I was already anticipating to spend more money than I should, and then I had to spend EVEN MORE just to find little pieces of plastic and metal just so that my mini woud be "correct." And even if I could have found most of those parts by trading, I had to do conversions. I hate doing conversions, so I had to convert almost every mini I planned to get in order to play. NO WAY!!! It wasn't worth my time, and I'd rather be using that time painting my minis. So, was that nice enough?

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