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New Starter Kits for 8th Edition 40K!

Perhaps not of much interest to veteran players, but of great interest to a teacher like myself, there are three new hobby hooks for new players looking to start in 40K.

Starting with what I think is the best is First Strike.

warhammer 40k starter set first strike
Budget starter for 40K
Probably worth it for that 3 man Intercessor squad data sheet alone, this box represents the cheapest way to get games of 40K going. As someone who regularly has to recommend a £100 box set as the best place to start to students, this is very welcome.

A minor criticism I've been holding for Dark Imperium has been the lack of tutorial missions, but according to Warhammer Community this box set will have those crucial starter games. The gaming mat and box set turning into cardboard scenery is of major interest to myself, as my students are getting a bit fed up with fighting on the Varnished Wood wasteland of Lab Count'a.

This is a great segue into Dark Imperium, particularly if you like the Death Guard. Frankly it's also a good pick if you have Dark Imperium.

Also... half price miniatures.

My budget might just make it past the Summer holidays!

starter box set 40K know no fear
For those a little braver...
If you're looking for a meatier start than First Strike, you can get Know No Fear. It's essentially two Start Collecting! kits rammed together with some rules and scenery, for about the same price as other Start Collecting! kits.

Really not a bad box set, if only for the price of the miniatures contained within. The models here are a straight addition to whatever you have in Dark Imperium, making this a really good middle ground starter kit.

What makes this great in my eyes is access to the Bloat Drone. That thing has proved utterly game changing in the few games I've played, and more Plague Marines and Inceptors is always good.

While it might not be immediately obvious, the next product is also great to get people into 40K.

For about the same price as a White Dwarf
Being blunt, there's no point in a veteran getting this. This is for sale to that person who has never even heard of Games Workshop before, but quite likes the idea of Airfix models. These little books are things I hand out myself to new students interested in joining the club, and you'd be surprised how much they like them.

A little book that goes to the bed side table to be re-read a dozen times each night is a great tool for ensuring they come back to paint their Space Marine.

All right, three posts in one day is quite enough.

Until next time!

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  1. Hello, my name is Lucas. I'm very new to warhammer and I want to start playing! I've read your article and it dies help alot but I'm still very confused on where I should start. I have any budget and it dosnt matter how long it takes me to get ready to play.The reason I'm confused is because there are so many ways to start advertise I have no clue where to go with it. I saw the three starter kits here and the book, but now I also saw these new easy to hold boxes coming out. I honestly have no clue how to play or build a proper army, so I should probably pick up the new handbook, but any help om where o shoukd start woukd be appreciated! :)

    1. And where can I buy the rules? Sorry for my bad spelling in the last comment:)

    2. Hi, thanks for commenting, and don't worry about spelling mistakes. I'm embarrassingly aware of how many I make in writing a single post!

      If you're absolutely new to the game, then you should probably start with First Strike. Being practical, you may not even know if you like the game yet, and spending £95 for a full Dark Imperium box set is quite an investment.

      There's a lot of reasons why, and I think it's worth a full post to explain everything. I'll try to have a full Beginners Guide up by this evening.

      In the mean time, First Strike is the one for you!

    3. And it's up :)

    4. Thanks for such a speedy reply! I will check out that new guide as soon as possible! Thanks very much!

    5. Thanks for such a speedy reply! I will check out that new guide as soon as possible! Thanks very much!

  2. Long post sorry:

    Hello from across the pond! Thank you for posting this. I purchased the Dark Emperium Box Set hoping for starter missions and extremely easy to play rules. However it is a great box set for mid-advance players it is not for completely new players. Years ago I wanted my son, who is 8 now, to get into tabletop gaming and we've been playing 40k since he was about 5. I had to narrow down the rules, and then I eventually went to AnonsOnePageRules that are free rules that are easy to play with. With my son, and the many neighborhood kids that come over and oogle at the models I have taught many using those rules. However with 8th edition and newer models I opted back to narrowing down the rules. Hense for stats I use only; WS (close combat), BS (shooting) and just Sv (for saves) and W for wounds. I also use the Movement rules and tough terrain rules. I don't use psykers and modifiers as for it bogs the game down for kids and they lose interest quick (I learned this from D&D).
    I saw your primer "Beginners Guide to Warhammer 40K", and again thank you for that. I read through it and also ordered the "First Strike" box set also to get the additional cool minis and the scenario rules.
    With narrowed down rules I've also taught countless adults that were interested in playing and then they have moved on to the regular rules with another guy who also teaches at our FLGS. What is really cool is chaining missions and playing narratives. We play Narratives like Astra (me) + SM (son/ friend) vs enemy AI (I do have to roll for them) chaos, tyranids, orks, etc.... and it has worked out really well.
    My question is, is narrowing down the rules balanced like this? Many have told me "As long as your having fun it doesn't matter." My son has won many battles and my score is about 50 / 50. In 8th edition using narrowed down rules I was thinking of using wounds as a counter to equate balance. IE: 70 wounds per side total. Or should I use "Power" as the rulebook states? Let me know what you think as for I too enjoy teaching new comers to the hobby and once they are hooked they get all types of cool models and its just fun basically. I really enjoy all aspects of the hobby. Thank you in advance,


    1. Hi Satu! Thanks for reading, and for leaving such a long comment. It makes the daily post schedule worth it!

      Getting your son to play 40K at age 5 is certainly a feat in itself. Could you let me know where the OnePageRules are? I'd like to make a post about it if possible. I will most likely be making a post about what we discuss here too! I'm really curious about the "AI" behaviour your enemies have.

      The cut down rules that you've used for your son sounds a lot like the Age of Sigmar style rules. They still have To Wound rolls in that, but they're tied to the weapon the unit is using, rather than a comparison table with toughness.

      In terms of balance, if you're getting 50/50 with the units you've got, then I think you're doing OK! but if you're looking for a metric to use, the wound counting method unfairly advantages the side with a better average armour save if you're ignoring Toughness. 10 wounds of Guardsmen is rarely as good as 10 wounds of Space Marines!

      Power Levels look like they would be an excellent start, even with taking out the Toughness comparison. However, I also recommend having some Sudden Death rules taken from Age of Sigmar:

      These give you away for any army to succeed regardless of size. If you want to run standard 40K missions, you simply make the Sudden Death rules +5 Victory Points objectives... which should usually get you a close victory along side other objectives.

      Let me know if any of that helps. It's great to find another tabletop educator!

    2. Teacher,
      This is the link for the OnePageRules: . Anon has done a fairly well job of balancing armies, but he also includes rules for many other games. Even fantasy skirmishes like Mordheim and Frostgrave. He also has rules for Killteams. For this new edition the only problem I see (only in my case) of trying to narrow down the rules is when it comes to Sv (Saves) that are greater than 6+. Some of these guys are at 7+ so I need to figure out without modifiers how to cut it down. You are correct on the wounds comparison.
      I have been giving it much though of just teaching with the real rules with modifiers again, but I remember when I did that I would forget overwatch 50% of the time, among many other things and the game would go on for longer than needed. Especially when teaching and playing 2 or more mini armies.

      I appreciate your advise. I though I was a lone wolf as far as teaching new comers, but I see there are many of us spread out around the globe. Thank you,

      Satyan Patel

    3. Hi Satyan,

      I would just leave the 7+ saves as no save at all. The Pox Walkers in First Strike are the only ones with such a save, and they have the 5+ Disgustingly resilient rule anyway. I'm not sure if you're using that rule or not, but it's a really easy way to have different "toughness" values in that box set.

      Pox Walkers are weakest, with just the 5+ Disgustingly Resilient rule. Space Marines are tougher with their 3+ armour saves. The Plague Marines are toughest with the 3+ armour save followed by the 5+ Disgustingly Resilient rule!

      For other armies, just leave them without a save. Those units were meant to be blobs that fall apart under fire ;) Let me know how it goes.

      Yes, it can feel lonely out there with this hobby. But hopefully you can keep coming back here to remind yourself you're not the only tabletop teacher out there! Thanks for commenting... it's good to know someone is reading my blog!

      - Teacher

  3. Teacher,
    Hot Damn! That is exactly what I was thinking! At 7+ save why bother with a save at all. Anyone with a 7+ save is just considered cannon fodder. I remember one individual who I was teaching requested that we play against zombies and hordes of them (zombie craze with this new generation, I know). So we played two small squads against chaos marine zombie plague marines. We were knocking them out so fast that I had to keep recycling the models asap. He loved it and then moved on to buy a chaos nurgle army.

    I forgot to answer the question on AI last time. I use a book I got off of Amazon called "Solo Wargaming" that book shows random weather types, table setups and many forms of enemy AI. However for Bolt Action it basically is random with the dice you pullout. Also in Bolt Action if it is the Japanese army then they just charge and even blow themselves up. If germans they play tactically hiding and moving slowely. I created simple charts I roll on for Bolt Action. For 40k I use the Hellbrute AI rules from the 7th edition starter box set that came with a mission to be able to play solo against the hellbrute. We just replace the Hellbrute with a huge model. If it is an army that we play against like say orks then we know they take pot shots and keep moving forward like the Japanese. If other armies I use the bolt action rules I created to roll on to see if they recover, go into hiding, stay in hiding or attack and keep attacking. :)


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