Monday 14 April 2014

Introducing people to GW is....well...hard.

This article is jointly inspired by a recent post on From The Fang, and a comment made last night by the new gamer in our group. It’s about starting 40k.......and how difficult it is for new guys.

As much as GW likes to think it has a handle on introducing new people. I believe there are a number of fundamental flaws in their approach. First off is the rulebook. The first thing these people see is “the rulebook” sitting on the shelf in all it’s glory. The size of it is far too off putting. We know that it’s 75% fluff and pics, but they don’t. So it’s pretty much a “here, you need to buy me - A 300 page book costing half my paycheque just to be able to play the basics.” Obviously there are other options available to them at a later stage, but that’s not the point here. The mini rulebooks need to be made available to them the second they walk in the door.

I’ve often wondered if making an official GW instructional video online might make things easier. We are talking the basics here. Two guys up at HQ can just get together and introduce movement, shooting and the combat phase. No need for combat resolutions or panic checks. Just the basics of hitting, wounding and saves. This will mean that randoms who are just googling around can get a good idea about what is going on. They may then be more interested in going into the store and having a proper introduction to the game.  Furthermore, It would make such intro games much faster for the staff members as those that have watched the video would have, at least, some idea of why they are rolling 3+ to hit with their marines.

The atmosphere of GW can also be a serious problem for new gamers. Let me tell you a story about a new recruit to the hobby. Here is the scene: Thursday gaming night, full of regulars. The boys and I are out in the bunker playing our own games and keeping to ourselves. Mike walked into the store looking to find out what the hell was going on with the hobby. He managed to navigate his way through the screaming hoards of regulars, past the shelves of products and straight into the welcoming arms of the Spaniard and Colour me three. Mike stood watching their game for a bit before Ruby just simply asked if he wanted to play. He said yes, and the rest is history. You know what his comment was last night? “Thank Jesus I found my way to Ruby and 3Colours! If I hadn’t, I certainly wouldn’t be here right now.” I’m sure a lot of people can relate. Sometimes I wonder if people walk into the shop, look around at the stereotypes and then walk straight back out. Maybe it’s a conspiracy by GW to get rid of the Bunkers so there are no regulars around! Lol, joking. Anyway, the point that Mike was making is that he is glad he found regular people. Personally, I have nothing against the GW regulars. I used to be one of them myself, but I can definitely understand the stereotypes on them.

Maybe I’m getting a bit sidetracked.

Introducing new people to this hobby is very difficult. We haven’t even talked about the price of the models and we have a strong case built. I truly believe that you can’t just introduce someone to it. The long term players/collectors are the guys that get into it themselves, and continue with it independent of their other friends.

My last point surrounds events. Obviously with the one man store format, it is extremely difficult for events to be run by GW. However, having monthly events makes there be something for new guys to aim for. We have been asked to do monthly 40k events at our local GW bunker (as our past few tournaments there have been quite successful) and I believe it will help build the community immensely. Warhammer world’s monthly events are so popular because they are consistently standardises, run on time and are regular enough for people to have motivation to paint/collect for. Obviously the new guy won’t be playing in a tournament straight away, but having medium range points allocations (1250 points) means they have the opportunity to within just a few months (or weeks for some people).

Those are just my thoughts.


  1. I totally agree with all the points raised. Official online videos would be great. More stater aets would be great too.

  2. I totally agree with all the points raised. Official online videos would be great. More stater aets would be great too.

  3. So much to agree with here. I find that unless someone is already involved... there is no way they'll get involved. They should totally do a starter set for every army, instead of just 2 armies per edition. that would at least be something.

  4. Great thoughts, and I totally agree. I love your video idea, and if our hobby is to survive long term, especially in this economic environment, something is going to have to be done about the price of figures and models. I'm not sure what the answers are, but kudos to you for talking about the issue.

  5. You're bringing up some good points, as did Alex over at From the Fang.
    The ammount of stuff you have to learn and buy to get started can be overwelming.
    But on the other hand, that's what the starter sets are for. Dark Vengeance has some great set of rules for an introduction. You start with a few models to get the basics. Just as you said: moving and shooting and that's pretty much it.
    The other thing being: who's going to introduce you to the game?
    It helps alot if you have friends who are already into it. Or if you run into people who are willing to give you a hand to get started, just like you mentioned.
    On the other hand, I'm sure there are a bunch of people out there, who just try things out on their own. That's how I got started: I went to my FLGS and got the 2nd edition box (damn, I'm old). With my brother and some friends we started working through the rules.

    So the questions are:
    - what is your motivation?
    - are you willing to get into contact with others?
    - are you alone on your way into the hobby or do you have friends, that want to get into it as well?

    A long time ago, when I thought about getting a blog started myself, excactly this topic was what would be my initial series.
    How can you help others get started? I'm still of the opinion that it is a topic way to few of us really think about.
    Time to change that and expand our ranks of fellow hobbiests with new ones! :-)


    PS: Sorry for the lengthy post. ;-)

  6. I am practically "new" in the hobby, I just started months ago and still painting my army and only one introductory game for me. The point here is that I get in love with the models (Well, I enter the new store 'cause searching D&D models). I like reading so the guy store (who is actually my friend) talk to me and show me some books and the talk to me about the hobby. He plays SW so I get in love with the idea of this warriors and I started the hobbie. If not for him cretainly I 'll not be in. So this point is very, very important, I think. Hope GW dont take all to the shit and this become like Decipher done with LOTR TCG (which I played a lot).


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