Friday, 3 September 2010

The Beginner's Army

I think most people you talk to will tell you that Space Marines are a solid bet for the new 40k player to learn the game with. I’m really not sure what drives this thinking, sure the 3+ armour save is nice as are the 4’s across the board on the stat line, however is an elite-style army really the best choice for someone new to the game? Space Marine armies can be as powerful as any in the game but, due to their elite nature, playing them leaves little room for error. So what would I recommend instead? Well, for a number of reasons I’ve gotta say it’s hand’s down to da Orks!

Why Orks then? First and most importantly of all they are a simple army to play. As an Ork General you really only need to know two things to give your opponent a hard time: you need to be in close combat as soon as possible, and you need weight of numbers. This knowledge will help you to build an effective list and execute on the table, for a beginner I would recommend a mechanised horde-style list; Battlewagons and Boyz! Keeping things simple is very important when you’re learning a game.

Something else which comes as a bonus of having weight of numbers on your side is that you will be rolling a lot of dice. This is important because 40k boils down to being a game of chance and if you think you can beat the odds, you’re kidding yourself. However, knowing those odds is a powerful tool in being effective on the table and throwing a lot of dice means that you are more likely to hit the statistical average over the course of a game. You may ask, "what's so good about being average?", well I think it means that you are less likely to lose games due to "bad dice". Sure the chance of making a bad roll at a key point in the game can never be written off no matter how many dice you're rolling but playing with you eyes open both literally and metaphorically (and throwing a lot of dice) makes executing a strategy a lot safer and easier.

That pretty much covers gameplay reasons for starting out with Orks: you can win with a simple strategy and you're less likely to be let down by "bad dice", however these are not the only reasons why Orks are great for the beginner. There is the extensive range of cool looking models including those which are part of the bargain that is "Assault on Black Reach", the fact that Ork Boyz are the real core of the army and that they can be purchased very reasonably on eBay makes this an affordable army to collect and almost certainly the cheapest horde army to get into.

Typically it's very easy to convert Ork models which further brings the cost of the army down. Practicing basic conversion techniques on Orks is a great way to learn as it's difficult to make an Ork model look bad because Orks are supposed to look a bit shabby and slip-shod. To help you in this endeavor GW have kindly put tons of bits and gubbins on their sprues which you can use to personalise your mob!

I don't want this to go on too long so just one last reason why you should pick Orks as a beginner, it's an army that will grow with you as your skill level improves. While the army is simple to play it has a depth of strategy and a range of different lists you can build which give the army a great deal of variety and will keep it interesting way down the line. Forgeworld also produce a vast array of crazy Ork and Grot contraptions so if you decide to go down the Apocalypse route you're well catered for there as well. Frankly Orks are just a lot of fun to play, so I say to you, unburden yourself of the shackles of Power Armour and join the Waaagghh!

8 comments:

  1. Hi there! Interesting article but I am afraid I'll have to disagree on most of the parts. Orks are a single minded army (although there are a lot of ways to play them) but you have to be much more careful with them than say Space Marines.
    Their vehicles are extremely flimsy at best and you have to be very careful where and how to position them. Even a mighty battlewagon can go down fast if it exposes is side armour to the enemy. I think that most new player have a hard time moving tactically with their vehicles, they just rush forward to get stuck into action as soon as possible. A Land Raider on the other hand is much more reliable and almost "idiot-proof".
    You also need to be careful having Boyz running around. Their miniscule armour save means that again you have to use cover as much to your advantage or they are going to get shot down in a couple of turns. Whereas a SM is happy staying in the open for most of the time (unless he is facing a lot of ordnance).
    And in the end a Space Marine is a much more reliable beast than an ork in all aspects. They might be small in numbers but in the hands of an inexperienced player they will be much more useful.
    Having said all this I have to add that I don't advocate playing with Space Marines at all. I think playing with orks is much more fun and I would definitely recommend anyone picking the later for a game. I am just not sure how easy would be for a new player to win with them that's all. Just my tuppence worth anyway.

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  2. Yeah, should have sorted that out now. Cheers

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  3. I really failed on this one. My comment was double posted and when I tried to edit the 2nd comment it also changed my original one two. Then tried to deleted from Disquis and it just deleted my name and not the comment...sorry about all that, hope you had the chance to read my comment.

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  4. Hi there! Interesting article but I am afraid I'll have to disagree on most of the parts. Orks are a single minded army (although there are a lot of ways to play them) but you have to be much more careful with them than say Space Marines.
    Their vehicles are extremely flimsy at best and you have to be very careful where and how to position them. Even a mighty battlewagon can go down fast if it exposes is side armour to the enemy. I think that most new player have a hard time moving tactically with their vehicles, they just rush forward to get stuck into action as soon as possible. A Land Raider on the other hand is much more reliable and almost "idiot-proof".
    You also need to be careful having Boyz running around. Their miniscule armour save means that again you have to use cover as much to your advantage or they are going to get shot down in a couple of turns. Whereas a SM is happy staying in the open for most of the time (unless he is facing a lot of ordnance).
    And in the end a Space Marine is a much more reliable beast than an ork in all aspects. They might be small in numbers but in the hands of an inexperienced player they will be much more useful.
    Having said all this I have to add that I don't advocate playing with Space Marines at all. I think playing with orks is much more fun and I would definitely recommend anyone picking the later for a game. I am just not sure how easy would be for a new player to win with them that's all. Just my tuppence worth anyway.

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  5. That was The Anitpope's comment in full by the way.

    It's a fair comment and he's rather stolen my thunder as I was going to write an article about why I thought that Space Marines are a better beginner's army than Orks (and than pretty much anyone to be honest)

    Ah well, maybe I'll write it anyway...

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  6. Ah ha! I thought you were referring to me double posting the article The Antipope, thanks to Gav for posting your original comment! I completely understand where you're coming from and I had considered the points you raise when I was writing the post but I still stick to my guns and back Orks for the beginner.

    In the case of 30 boyz with no save vs 10 marines with a 3+ I would bet that the Marines could not take out enough Boyz in 3 turns to survive the ensuing combat, in fact, given the range and rapid fire nature of a bolter a marine is only likely to get 2 turns of shooting at a mob of Boyz. The problem will be further compounded for the Marines if the Boyz get a cover save in at least one of the turns.

    In the case of the Battlewagon vs a Land Raider, you can get 2 bare bones Battlewagons and a KFF Big Mek for only a little more than a regular Land Raider. Even if your opponent is going for side armour it means he's having to redeploy just to get a shot on AV12 with a 4+ cover save from the Big Mek. Again, I like the odds of those wagons with a guaranteed save being able to do more than a single Land Raider.

    I'm not saying that you're going to win more as a beginner playing Orks, I think all new players should be prepared to struggle early on particularly if you're playing more experienced people. But I do think you'll lose less than a Marine player and we both agree that you'll have more fun doing it.

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  7. Hokay, sorry for all the double posting shenanigans . I am a little bit scared to post here again but I'll give it a go.
    It might sound like an oxymoron but ork armies require a certain finesse to play with, which new player just don't have. You can make a couple of point and click ork armies that are really easy to play and very competitive (nob bikers and Battlewagon spam with Kustom Force Field) but usually new players don't make such extreme lists.
    On the other hand making a "balanced" starting ork list (you know, where you try to have a little bit of everything) it's kinda hard to win with since most stuff are not very reliable. If you are lucky and roll a 3 shots for your Lootas or pass or your KFF cover save it's all fine but the randomness of orks just don't make them very reliable.
    I don't know if you want to continue this conversation but if you do I will be happy to expand my thought upon this :)

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  8. Hi The Antipope, sorry about the Disqus problems. I agree about Orks requiring finesse because I think things like assault distances and getting the right guys into combat (eh the Power Klaw Nob) takes some practice.

    I've scheduled a post for later today showing why I believe that Space Marines are the ideal beginner's army...

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