Sci-Fi or Fantasy?
This is the first question to ask yourself: which setting do you prefer?
Warhammer 40,000 is set in the grim dark, expansive galaxy of the 41st Millenium. Power armoured genetic super soldiers descendant from an all powerful Emperor locked in an eternal battle against their Chaotic worshipping brethren denying that very same Emperor while ancient alien races determined to retake their place as leaders of the galaxy expand upon their territory (or have them for lunch). If you like legions of infantry, powerful heroes, formations of tanks, demonic and alien monsters or titanic lords of war, Warhammer 40K is the place for you.
Age of Sigmar takes place within the Mortal Realms, a plane of existence where Sigmar, the sole survivor of the Old World, launched his forces against the agents of Chaos threatening all life. AoS conisists 4 major factions,each with a large selection of subfactions meaning there are plenty of options for new gamers to choose. If you like commanding fantasy style armies like vampires, lizardmen, and walking trees, Age of Sigmar is the choice for you.
Pick Your Army
You can see all the playable factions right here on our website. Give them a look through and see what you like the most. Each army has a different feel to how they play, and some are a lot tougher than others. Space marines will be the easiest to play, since they have above-average stats, understandable army organisation and straight-forward weapons. Plus there are many variations and flavours, ranging from your standard Ultramarines, to the feral Grey Wolves and rotting and zombified Death Guard. These are great options for beginners.
But maybe you want something a bit different. Why not have hordes of units on the battlefield? Consider the Imperial Guard, or Tyranids and Orks. You’ll have many, many units with little strength individually but their numbers can overwhelm your foes. If you would prefer smaller, more elite armies, consider the Aeldari factions, or the Adeptus Mechanicus. Weaker in body, but heavily armed and specialised units and big robots.
And then you have to think about whether you want to have a strong ‘shooty’ army or an army that specialises in mincing up the enemy in melee. You can strike a balance but some factions will heavily lean towards a certain playstyle. Once you’ve made a decision, pick up the faction’s codex or battletome to learn all about their history, their units, and their strategies.
Start Assembling and Painting
Assembling and painting your models is a huge part of the Warhammer and is what makes your army unique to you. Be prepared to spend time putting everything together and making it exactly as you want it. There are endless possibilities with how you customize your army. Don’t like the cover colour scheme? Make a new one! Starting weapon not powerful enough? Equip a better one! Keep practicing, learn from others, join a painting workshop, and grow your ability. Over time you’ll get better and better, the best feeling is comparing your first and most recent model and beaming with pride at your skills.
Learn the Rules
The rulebooks are quite large. But don’t worry, the important rules are actually pretty short. Don’t expect to learn them all from reading the manual, the best thing to do is set up demo battles and play out the rules. Once you see them in action, they’ll make sense. As long as the main phases of battle are familiar to you, 90% of the game will fall into place. Also, keep in mind your faction will have different stats and abilities to your opponents, and it’s your job to know them. These are all outlined in our army’s codex or battletome, always keep this with you for easy reference.
Grab Some Friends
Sadly, you can’t play Warhammer on your own. Less sadly, you get to play with others! Joining a local gaming group is the best way to dive into the game and gain experience by playing. You can share painting achievements, battle reports, and argue about whether the Emperor is the saviour of mankind or a heretical bag ‘o’ bones. You’ll also have someone to play with, so that’s a nice bonus!
Find Your LGS
Those other players I mentioned above will most likely be frequenting your Friendly Local Gaming Store and that will be the best place to express feelings about your new hobby. Don’t go around with ‘normal’ people talking about the battles of the 41st millennium and your new technique for painting power axes, you need to find those who get it. Also this will be your primary place of play, since they’ll have tables available to play on with lovely scenery which will make you feel a bit more legit. Just remember to learn your own rules, and shake hands with your opponent after you crush them.