Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Getting into Wargaming

With the site starting a new, it's probably a good idea to start a series of articles about the different aspects of miniature wargaming.  That said, starting at the beginning is probably the best place.  

To start what is a miniature war game?  Technically it's a game ruleset that use miniatures to simulate a battle.  That is it in a nutshell, but the market has a number of options these days. That said what is the right game for you.  Honestly no one can answer that for you.  Personally I like 40k and Fantasy, but there are so many options beyond them. Also remember that miniature wargaming is a hobby.  While some war games don't have the same requirements as others (Xwing has pre-painted, pre-assembled minis for example,) they are still a part of the hobby.  There are a number of questions you have ask yourself if you want to get into wargaming.

1. What game's aesthetic interest you?  Do you like the grim dark look of 40k, or the bright and shiny of Infinity.  The massed armies of Fantasy, or the smaller forces of Warmachine.  Since your interest in the games art style will determine your enthusiasm for the hobby side also, it's a good idea to pick a game that speaks to you in some way.  Also don't get discouraged when looking at the painted figures. If you love the look of the models in infinity, but fear your not a good enough artist to paint them: Don't worry about it.  The artist who paint studio models have been doing it for years, if not decades. Every mini painter starts some where.

2. What games get played at the local shops or clubs? Another major question when it comes to wargaming, unless you only plan on playing with a small group of friends.  The play groups at the local shops and clubs tend to play a small selection of games, or in some cases only a single game.  If they are into the game your interested in, go on their regular night and watch a couple of games. Be sure to introduce yourself and express your interest in the game their playing. This is a great way to get a feel for the game system.  While your there, be sure to ask the person in charge of the shop or club activity if you could get a demo game.  There is usually a player or two who the person in charge will point new players towards for a demo game. These people are usually very patient, have a good grasp of the rules their teaching, and can give you a small game to give you the basics of the game. 

3. Probably the biggest question of list: Are you ready to spend a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, and tears on the hobby.  X-wing is an exception to this list, but most mini war games require buying the minis, putting them together, painting them, and basing them.  As I noted in the first question, you are not required to be a Crystal Brush winning painter, but most players appreciate some effort by their opponent to get some paint on the model, and basing materials on the base.  Some groups even allow some leeway on the paint and basing, but there is a certain satisfaction of playing with fully painted army.

Once you answer these questions, your a step closer to getting into the wargaming hobby. The next step would be to pick up the rules, a starter force (be it half a 2 player starter being shared with someone else, a starter box, or an all in 1 army box,) and some dice/cards/popsicle sticks (who knows, there may be a game that uses them.)  

After you get the basic items, start playing. As you start playing you will begin to see how the game flows, and how your faction plays.  It's at this point that you'll start to decide how to expand your forces, and be introduced to other aspects of the game such as competitive play, narrative play, and leagues.  From here the sky is the limit on how you want to precede.  Do you want to explore other forces of the game, or an entire other system all together.  

The most important thing to remember is to not get in over your head.  Take things slowly when you get into wargaming. You will want to expand your forces as you play, but you can get too much too quickly.  An example is that I bought over 7000 points of space marines over the course of 3 years. There is no way that I will ever finish painting and basing the entire army, and work on the 3 other 40k armies, 1 fantasy army, and the PoM for Warmachine.  I may have a problem....  That aside, just go slowly for the first army you have.  Nothing says you have to get to a certain gaming level as soon as possible.

That is all for this part of this series of articles.  The next article will focus on list building.  No, it wont be a how to build the 1 list to win them all article, but it will give you an idea of what to take, for which situations, and why. Look for part 2 in the coming week.

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