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More later, with pictures…

 

What would it take to get started in gaming with (painted) miniatures? I’d look at the MSRPs of currently available stuff. 
 

Quick estimate: Reaper LTPK $40; Set of rules (I like A Song of Blades and Heroes, $15 from the Big River), enough Bones to fill out 2 10 figure warbands (~50, details later); minimal scenery and discretionary budget, say $15 (bases, dollar store craft gear, etc.); total ~$120…

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I like the idea of the Reaper LTPK as a basis. I would then recommend for Scifi players, the Battletech A Game of Armored Combat starter. It has minis and all the rules, etc you need to get started in a new game.

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If you're willing to put Time and Effort into the equation, rather than Dollars, you can search the giant miniatures site that sells figures and paint at a 26% discount.  The current selection isn't great, but again, if you're willing to wait, they can (usually) order it for you. 

 

Amazon sellers offer bundles of plastic figures in a couple genres, anywhere from 50-100 figures for ~25.  This is the quantity over quality option, and you can get it fast. 

 

DrivethruRPG often has good prices on PDF versions of the rulebooks, you can shave some $$ there.  You can even find free rule sets there. 

 

HumbleBundle is another good source for discount RPG PDFs. 

 

I'd go dollar store or kitbash/home made for scenery. Lots of web sites show you how to do that.  You probably have a lot of things laying around that can be used already. 

 

Edited by Inarah
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I think it also depends on scenario. 

If you're one person, coming into it alone, I think your costs are going to be at least double @Rob Dean's estimate, until you figure out what you're doing. 

If you manage to find a nice site like the forums here, and ask the right questions, Rob's figures look pretty dead on to me. 

If you come over to my house? Man, I'm going to get you playing for $0 on your part.  Then I'm going to point you towards the Reaper Bones and Wizkids rack at the FLGS to buy your own SoBH warband, or 7tv cast, and let you use my paints to paint it - so a buy in of less than $30.  Then I'll point you to the LPTK.  And then I will happily answer your questions about where I got X game or X mini so that you can buy your own.  MWUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Depends a lot on the game you want to play. I'd say Corsair's example is the cheapest and fastest way to go but it doesn't include paint. Other things can be done as cheaply but require more effort for making maps, scenery or playing pieces. After years of playing Warhammer style games with large blocks of minis I've been doing more skirmish games lately. The cost of minis for them is way less because of the number needed but they require a lot more terrain. A lot of that can be make cheaply out of scrap and a little bit of bought material but it takes time. Some people are daunted by the effort but for me making and painting things is a big part of the appeal. As rarely as I play it kind of needs to be. 

 

 

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Scale can be a big factor, too.   A 15mm army and table worth of terrain is going to be a lot cheaper than the same in 28-32mm. 

I think a big factor in perceived cost of entry is the well known, well stocked "brand name" games like 40k and Star Wars Legion are relatively expensive to get started in.  I spent around $250-300 to get myself a full SW Legions force to play with the group at the FLGS.  The stores have a vested interest in selling those over selling something like Song of Blades and Heroes and a half dozen Bones minis to go with it. 

I really want to start a minis club at the local high school, so I can introduce a whole new generation to minis gaming and show them it can be affordable. 

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For systems, going with a smaller force size skirmish game is a good option.

 

Locally, there's a few people playing Ravenfeast where it's about $25-35 to get everything for it...they're going with kids groups in some of the local class "pods" that were set up last year.

 

Utility Knife, Cutting Mat, Nail Clippers (Decent replacement for a cheap option instead of normal clippers), Super Glue, Nail Files, sand, dice, ruler, large hard pencil case, craft foam, brushes, spray primer, filler, and plastic pallets. Each of those is available from the dollar tree.

 

Ebay for a viking or dark age sprue/sprues to build a starting force, varies heavily, but you can get some workable ones for $5 regularly.

 

Bases are about $5 for normal bases, but the craft stores tend to have a 1" round wooden "coin" in their wood craft stuff that would work well for it and are, locally, about $2 for 12 of them.

 

Paints...starting with craft paints most colors are $1.99 for standard colors, $2.49 metallics, and $5 for the bigger bottles. Number of colors there depends upon preference. If everyone is painting at once, the larger white and black are extremely useful for the group. Several you might find cheaper, the local dollar trees do, occasionally, have a few decent paints.

 

You can also cut prices down even more by finding sand and such for free, or using things you might already have. You might also go with plastic glue or better tools, but that varies heavily.

 

It works extremely well for getting groups into it, especially kids since VIKINGS! is something easy to get them into. The rules are also free (Though there is a print version), and can include some mythics...

 

 

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I came in from work exhausted last night and didn’t get back to posting. Yes, you can certainly dig for some free rules, and scavenge hardware and craft stores for some gear.  I haven’t tried recruiting anybody lately, but my expectation would be that the more sources you’d have to send someone around to, the more motivation they are going to need to get through the process.

 

These aren’t my cheapest hills (long story), but you could use card models for buildings:

 

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With some additional work, buildings from scratch aren’t that hard; most of my 54mm medieval village (done as a demo for a 2003 budget game) was built from cereal box cardboard.

 

743D0A76-5B51-4384-A06B-8BFED80F0963.jpeg.98e4fdf312a397a475ed9ffe4cc17ac2.jpeg

 

We did the 2003 event for a historicals convention, so a historical mandate was implicit, but we used a budget of 100 2003 dollars (equivalent to ~150 2021 dollars) exclusive of painting supplies.  

 

As spun off of the Randomness thread, though, it feels like paint needs to be considered. @Chris Palmer has a blog showing weekly Bones painted using mostly (all?) craft paints, and I certainly used to use them regularly on miniatures.

 

How many tools and such does one need to successfully build multi-part hard plastic models? 

 

More later (again :rolleyes:) …

 

 

 

 

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I’m not sure what’s going on with my phone… I can’t get the cursor below the quote.   But yes, the goals and incentives of stores don’t fully overlap with my goals as a hobbyist. I want more players; they want more sales. Insofar as we all need to buy things, they overlap, but they do have an incentive to encourage more expensive options. 
 

9 hours ago, kristof65 said:

The stores have a vested interest in selling those over selling something like Song of Blades and Heroes and a half dozen Bones minis to go with it. 

Also, I would want to guide into something that is expandable, so your skirmish bands would be the seed of your Rampant-scale 40 figure game. (Saga for the Ravensfeast Vikings, perhaps?)

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Try Kings of War for mass battles.

 

The basic rules are free on Mantic's page.

 

For skirmish, digging around you can find Mordheim, which is a.fun campaign game.

 

And I had Kongs of War for big battles, until I fixed it. <_< To heck with minis, use giant gorillas.

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4 hours ago, Rob Dean said:

  I haven’t tried recruiting anybody lately, but my expectation would be that the more sources you’d have to send someone around to, the more motivation they are going to need to get through the process.

 

...

 

How many tools and such does one need to successfully build multi-part hard plastic models? 

 

More later (again :rolleyes:) …

 

 

I manage with a pair of wire clippers, a hobby knife (and blade refills), and a file.   I suppose I could add a hand drill to that. 

 

As for motivation, I think it's important not to overwhelm someone new.  Just as you don't want to drop a big price tag on them, don't load them up with a lot of work at the start either.   Maybe start the first session putting a few minis on bases, and let them buy a couple bottles of paint off the rack.  Second time, make some simple cereal box "houses" or rock walls, and have them buy a bag of flock.  Meanwhile, you can be talking about what cool finds the dollar store has, and how to save coffee or tea to use as basing material. 

 

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Some of us do quite well on a budget.

 

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For "regular" minis. It's easy to notice that many skirmish/army games have starter boxes which are decently valued, but pretty vanilla flavored, while other more desirable expansions/factions are far more expensive for their perceived value.

 

It's one of the things that kept me away from wargames. Not any miniature will do. It has to be that exact specific miniature, from that specific edition.

 

Oddly, back in the day my group didn't have that problem when playing Battletech as everyone custom designed their mechs on paper, but on the hex board, you played with whatever mech mini was available.

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So, there's a few factors that I've been thinking about as I've been thinking/talking about this recently.

One thing is that "minis agnostic" games tend to be cheaper than games that include minis. A good example of a dirt cheap minis game is Gaslands. The original book was $20 (cheaper if you shop around) and just needed some toy cars, which most of us have (or can easily steal from our children). Terrain didn't have to be much. Another Osprey "Blue Book" example is Zona Alfa, requiring 5-10 minis for the crews but a lot of specific threats/monsters. Reign In Hell is $10 for the PDF and you need maybe 6-10 minis of any size and shape to play. Since it's almost all close combat, terrain doesn't need to be as thick.

For paints, I really do think that Reaper's LTP sets are a good way to get people started but are kind of expensive. Then again, those paints will last you a good long while, if you take care of them. I don't recommend craft paints for minis (but are great for terrain) as craft paints aren't as smooth and can really mess up a mini, if you're just getting started. As I put it to a friend way back: You just spent $50 on those guys. Do you really want to risk using $2 paint on them? This, by the way, is why I also pick up more expensive brushes, as they don't cause as many problems.

For terrain, I am the master of dirt cheap. The Dollar Store and Goodwill are my places to go. Packing is something I use, too. The Dollar Store usually has paper foamcore for a $1 a sheet, which is perfect for slapping down some craft sand (also from the Dollar Store, $1 a pound), some rocks/packing peanuts/random bits of sprue/etc, and hitting with some craft paint. I could probably cover a 6x4 table for $20, plus some hunting around in your trash and recycling. I've even made game boards out of that foamcore, cut into 1x1 sections for easy transport.

For tools, I picked up a starter kit with files, hobby knife, cutters, and others for $15. Because it was marked for Gundam hobbyists. You just have to hunt around and look at related hobbies which have lower buy-ins, I've discovered. You can also order some stuff in larger quantities by going to a manufacturer, like brass rod for pining. If you split up the cost among a group, it becomes way cheaper.

 

I clearly have a lot of thoughts on this topic... :lol:

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