Early last year I had my first foray into the realm of 40k. In normal style (after 2 practice/learn the rules games) I jumped in feet first and entered the club competition. I can’t say I enjoyed it hugely but this was mainly down to not knowing what I was doing and partially in creating a sub-optimal list (something I don’t mind in whfb as I have a better idea of what i’m doing so it’s a good challenge- see my Beastmen bat reps for an example). What can I say, I had to use what I owned and 3 dreads and 2 drop pods didn’t quite work. The rule of 3 (pods) became quickly apparent (for those not in the know, you can deploy half your pods in one go rounding up. With only 2 pods I was dropping in one dread at a time, which allowed it to be easily picked off. 2 dreads landing at once is a different proposition).
The problem with competitions is, once you submit a list you are locked in, so if you are a total novice and your list is based on models you like/own vs others full on competitive list, you can be a bit screwed. This is mitigated by having fun opponents (something, thankfully SELWG has in abundance) but nevertheless the perma-shafting (and frustration of, after a few games, gaining that understanding of where changes need to be made but unable to make them) can be a bit grating.
What can be done about it. Well the obvious thing is learn from the above and don’t jump straight in again. Hold off the comps until you’ve got a decent amount of practice games under your belt and understand what your preferred play style and army is.
So what did I do? Yep you guessed it, signed up to the inaugural club Kings of War competition starting in March (list submission by end of Feb). But a-ha, that gives you over a month to learn to play/get some practice games I hear you say. Very true but my next club night will be 3 Feb and is booked in for 40k (more on that in a second), I then fly to India for a good chunk of the month, so if I’m lucky, I may get in one game before the end of the month. One day I’ll learn…
The other way to do things is one day events where you play multiple games. This is a good way to get an initial feel for a game system, meet new players and if your list isn’t designed for your style of play (I say that rather than poorly designed) it only impacts one day rather than potentially several months of games. I did this with Age of Sigmar when SELWG held its AOS Smash event. Although I haven’t played another game since, I thoroughly enjoyed the event and would play AOS again in a similar situation (even if I probably wouldn’t on a club night).
I’ll probably take this route with my KOW practice game. Having 2 smaller point games in a night rather than 1 large one and in addition, swopping armies for the 2nd game so we both get a different experience of it.
And so I finally get round to the original point of this post (before I started rambling and had to go back and change the title). On the 3rd of Feb I’ll be giving 40k a second go. That evening, the club is holding a 40k Kill Team night. It will mean 3-4 games each using just 200pts of single codex models. It should be good fun. I’ll get to play members I normally don’t face and with the small model count, quite a lot of choices are viable. If I pick garbage then no loss as it’s only for one evening! Now where did I put the 40k rule book…