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Guest Article: Leaving 40k

By Adam Smith

Leaving Warhammer 40K Behind

It's the combination of model kits and the game that are causing problems with Warhammer 40K.

£30 for a Tau Broadside or £70 for an Eldar Wraithknight is just the big ugly tip of the iceberg. And when a plastic character model costs £15, there's something wrong with this picture. These beautiful model kits are definitely worth the money. But when you need 3 Tau Broadsides to make a unit, it starts getting expensive to build an army.

I sold my Eldar army last month, because it was going to cost £200 to update it with new units that I needed to keep it competitive. I could have bought a new 1500pts army for that. So there isn't a great incentive to buy all the options for an army, which brings me to my next point.

Tactical Options for the Rich

I'm a big lover of strategy and themed lists. So I've been thinking of all kinds of crazy lists from an Iron Warriors siege themed list with 3 Vindicators and an allied 3-Demolisher attachment to shell everything into oblivion, to Kroot and Eldar Pathfinder all-Infiltrating armies.

But there are 2 big problems with all of these great ideas.

1. You have to buy, build and paint the army.
2. Paper-rock-scissors games.

If you rocked up with an army of 3 Armour 13 to Armour 14 tanks you're either going to annihilate everything or get nailed by melta guns. These lists are awesome, but aren't safe against all comers and not necessarily future proof either.

The other problem is that they play exactly the same every damn time. Just like the Ork 4 Battlewagon list that was doing the rounds a few years back.

So if you want an army with all the tactical options, you need to be rich enough to pull it off. And that really bothers me when there are £40 real time strategy games that allow you to custom create armies and units so you can field whatever you want, whenever you want.

Choosing a Futureproof List

I must have played every single race in 40K by now. Except for Daemons... But every army has always had the same problem. A new codex or rulebook has been released and the army needs updating - often completely starting from scratch. Or sometimes the army is just dead in the water until they get an update in 5+ years time. And this is the most frustrating part of our hobby for anyone.

So how do you choose a futureproof list?

Well, I for one am choosing something very restricting and themed while not caring if I actually win any of my games or not. So I decided on a Space Hulk themed 2000pts Deathwing army, because I can just throw down 37 models for a fun, fast game. And because I'm magnetising all of my heavy weapons dudes I'll never have to buy anymore or update anything.

My Belial model (based on the old Space Hulk Captain "Black Knife" from the Deathwing supplement) has his token sword and storm bolter while my Librarian (from the new Space Hulk game) has his token force axe, just like in the original Space Hulk Genestealer expansion.

As you can tell, I frickin' love Space Hulk! I can't wait for the new PC game to come out this year.

"But What About Dark Angels?"

That's the first thing my long time gaming buddy James said to me. Collect a whole Dark Angels army, he said. It'll be fun, he said. No thanks. I'm good with just 37 models I can throw down. And for 1500pts games I only need 27 of them. It makes for fast, fun games, which is important when playing 40K takes up leisure time when you're not meant to be exhausted.

2.5 Hour Games are Tiring

Is it just me? But 6th edition games of 40K seem to take FOREVER to play and with the pre-game set up, Warlord Traits and what not often taking half an hour to go through, it's really tiring. Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I'm usually too mentally drained to play games of 40K with any intent to win these days.

Buying, building and painting on a massive scale isn't fun anymore either.

Money Can't Buy Happiness

Who is happier? The guy who paid £160 for his army and plays for fun or the guy who paid £1,600 for his army and considers 40K serious business?

The answer is up to you.

Once upon a time I would have been the £1,600 guy. Now I'm the £160 guy - burned out, tired of competiting and just happy to paint some cool plastic dudes and roll some dice while swigging beer with my friends.

I've also started playing INFINITY. I got myself a team of 10 models based around a list that neatly scales up from 150 to 300 points quite comfortably.

Will it win all my games for me? Who knows? Who cares! It's a nice collection of pretty models and its easy to play. Oh, and the whole lot only cost me £75.

So to sum up, I'm cutting back on 40K in a big way. Thankfully there are armies like the Deathwing and Space Wolves footslogger hordes which make this game affordable still.

But as for winning big tournaments or having a huge army with all the options, I'd rather spend my time playing for fun and honing my painting skills on a few great miniatures.


Sometimes this hobby feels more like hard work than good fun. So I'm taking out the hard parts that I don't like and pursuing the stuff that makes me happy. The thing is, it's taken me years to actually do this. I couldn't swallow my pride and lose the desire to win games. Having a beautiful, characterful army is something to be proud of, but if you can't win games it can make you feel like it's all a bit of a waste.

And that's why this hobby sucks actually. Because the beautiful models don't have a beautiful game to go with them. Meanwhile the costs of the models and the weaknesses of the game are two problems that grind against one another, causing even more problems.

But I've learned that the greatest thing I ever got from the game was the chance to meet amazing people. Most of my best friends I met at 40K tournaments and this is why I will never stop playing this game.

Meanwhile, I'll always be painting beautiful models, because they're too amazing not to.

A Fold Farewell

This is my last ever article about tabletop wargames, so I just wanted to bid you guys a very fond farewell. Thanks for reading my stuff over the years from FIREBASE Magazine on Warseer to my blogs Warhammer Tau and the Space Wolves Blog - now both in the hands of other hobbyists.

It's been fun. It's been horrible. It's been hard work. It's been a breathe of fresh air. But most of all, it's been about you guys.

So make sure this hobby doesn't get you down by continuing to do what makes you genuinely happy and always...

"Be Excellent To Each Other"