Adam Troke: For the last couple of weeks I've been playing games of Warhammer 40,000 on my lunch breaks in the Studio gaming area - and something happened that I wanted to talk about. Having applied the relevant bribes and made oblations to Servitor 13, whose endless labours enable the website to battle onwards, Dan agreed that I could have the blog as a soap-box, as long as I behaved myself1. The subject I wanted to talk about was teaching your friends how to play.
This topic came to mind because Carl, one of the very nice chaps in my office, has recently been working on a Black Templars collection, and was itching to give someone a game. He's a relative newcomer to Warhammer 40,000 (he's no slouch at Warhammer though), and he wanted to play a game or two to learn the basics of the rules and try his miniatures on the tabletop for the first time. I happily volunteered my services, and boy am I glad that I did. Carl has a stunning Black Templars army and our little game looked great. Carl worked out what he had painted in his collection2 so far and it came to around 800 points, so we agreed that as a nominal points value, wrote up our army lists and met over the field of battle. Since I have a Chaos Space Marine army that I had painted, but never used, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to play.
Over the course of two lunch breaks (including eating time) we played a couple of games - I explained the basics of the rules, we rolled lots of dice and at the end of it all, there was a winner. Carl picked up the game quickly enough, and as we played we discussed the tactics that certain units favour and how to get the best out of each. For example Carl's Dreadnought was deployed on a flank, but it might have been better placed at his centre where it would have been harder for my models to avoid it during the battle.
"Ok, Troke, get to the point," I can almost hear you say. Well here it is. Since that game, Carl and I have both scurried off to our various corners of the Studio to concoct new battle plans and add a couple of new bits to our collections. Collecting alongside a friend is great fun, as your forces grow to compensate for weaknesses and play to their strengths. I know that my Chaos Space Marines need some serious firepower enhancement (currently I have no weapons heavier than a heavy bolter, which left me reeling when he brought a Dreadnought to a game that small). We've agreed to a rematch in a couple of weeks - and by then I'll have painted a new Predator (with twin-linked lascannons) to even the balance. It's like our own little arms race here in the office. All I need now is a spy near where Carl sits to update me on what he's adding to his collection next.
So, my closing statement is this: teach someone to play. Whether it's Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 or The Lord of the Rings. You don't need many models to play a game. In fact, if you own any of our boxed games, you already have two forces ready to rock! If you do a good job, and have some fun with it, you'll find yourself with a new opponent. Which cannot, in my estimation, be a bad thing.
1: His exact words were: "Yes, but no pointless jibber-jabber and no vegetables." Apparently not everyone enjoys wholesome fruit and vegetables displayed alongside their Citadel miniatures.
2: Carl is one of those fortunate hobbyists who has an astonishing talent for painting. His collection looks stunning, and includes Dwarfs and Vampire Counts forces that any hobbyist would be glad to see on the tabletop. His Black Templars are no different, seriously, we should get them up on the blog at some point.