Warhammer 30K – Teaching Someone 30K for the First Time

In Beginning Warhammer, VII Imperial Fists, Warhammer 30k, XIV Death Gaurd by ImperialKnight4 Comments

Warhammer 30K Rule Books

Warhammer 30K Rule Books

Recently I had a friend approach me in regards to learning 30k or 40K. His gaming background included Magic the card game as well as several different strategic board games (i.e Catan). He was familiar with tabletop miniature games but had never played. He was open to learning either system and left the decision to me. I instantly said yes and we arranged for a game this past weekend. Due to the accessibility of gaming materials as well as its popularity, I would have normally played 40K. However, 40K is becoming quite convoluted and may be intimidating prospective players. This isn’t a criticism, but merely an observation. Thus, I went with playing a game of 30K.

In preparation for the game, my friend did some research into the 30K narrative and watched several videos on Youtube. We reviewed the basics of unit stats, force organization, general principles, game turn and phases of the game. Much of these rules we would reinforce as we played. I decided that a 1000 point game would allow for just enough unit diversity while not to overwhelm him. I also chose a 4×4 mat in order to maximize our engagement in each of the game phases. The terrain was evenly spread so as to serve some tactical purpose as well as add to the game aesthetics. The mission was kill points and we allowed for secondary objectives. No Rites of War were used for this first game but we did discuss them briefly. We did discuss the Legion specific rules and he appreciated their narrative component. I provided both armies (Imperial Fists vs Death Guard) as well as the printed lists from Battlescribe.

Imperial Fist Legion 1000 points

Imperial Fist Legion 1000 points

Imperial Fists 1000 points (Age of Darkness Force Organization Chart):

  • HQ
    • Praetor – Iron Halo, Paragon Blade
  • Troops
    • Legion Breacher Squad x 10
      • Graviton gun x 2
      • Sergeant with Artificer Armour & Melta Bombs
    • Legion Tactical Squad x 10
      • Sergeant with Artificer Armour & Melta Bombs
  • Elites
    • Contemptor-Mortis Dreadnought
      • Two Kheres Pattern Assault Cannons
    • Legion Terminator Squad
      • Chainfist x 1
      • Power Fist x 2
      • Plasma Blaster
      • Sergeant with dual Lightning Claws
Death guard 1000 points

Death guard 1000 points

Death Guard 1000 points (Age of Darkness Force Organization Chart):

  • HQ
    • Deathshrouds x 3 with Melta Bombs
  • Troops
    • Legion Tactical Squad x 15
      • Sergeant with Artificer Armour and Power Fist
    • Legion Tactical Squad x 15
      • Sergeant with Artificer Armour and Power Fist
  • Elites
    • Contemptor with Kheres Assault Cannon and Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon
  •  Heavy
    • Grave Warden x 5
      • Chainfist
      • Heavy Flamer with Chem-munitions
4 x 4 Mat

4 x 4 Mat

We went through the pre game rolls to include warlord traits, deployment, and who would have first turn. Throughout the game, I made sure to explain my tactics and in response I had him explain his. I think this approach helped us focus on areas of the game that needed clarification. In addition to the communication, both of us fielding similar armies helped to reinforce his understanding of his unit stats, weapons, armor, and restrictions. Because of this, he was able to gain a solid understanding of the Shooting phase by the end of Turn 2 and the Assault phase by the end of Turn 4. The tables in the back of the 40K rule book also helped with understanding the To Hit and Wound aspects of the game. With each Player Turn, he expressed an increased level of confidence and more importantly enjoyment of the game. After playing for three hours, we both felt that he had obtained a reasonable grasp of the game. The result was a tie but that really didn’t matter since we both had a great time rolling dice. More importantly he is wanting to play more and has borrowed an extra red book for some light reading.

So why do I think he enjoyed 30K?

  1. Narrative – 30K has an incredible narrative story
  2. Simplicity – despite having a great deal of rules, playing similar armies on a small playing field helped to keep him engaged as well as reinforce the rules
  3. Communication – probably the most important component to fun. The game is a social experience between people. The more you communicate hopefully the better the experience for the new player
  4. Engaged – He participated in every aspect of the game and did not feel like it was one-sided

I have to admit, after my first 40K game, I felt overwhelmed and quite intimidated. Which leads me to wonder if 30K should be the introductory game for Games Workshop. Prior to the Betrayal at Calth box set, the cost of 30K was the most prohibitive factor. But with GW’s move to make less expensive plastic 30K models and maintaining the rules for the Legions condensed into two books really makes 30K appealing. The real selling point for me is that the game has not become too convoluted. Currently there is just enough difference between the Legions to make them narratively fun while their similarities make the game easier to learn. In the future, I wonder if 30K will became the introductory game of the grim dark future. Let me know your thoughts and experiences with teaching players 30K.

Some pictures from the game.

Death Guard moving forward on Tun 1

Death Guard moving forward on Tun 1

Breachers using their Graviton guns to wreck the Death Guard Contemptor

Imperial Fists Breachers using their Graviton guns to wreck the Death Guard Contemptor

Deathshroud Terminators about to get charged by the Imperial Fists

Deathshroud Terminators about to get charged by the Imperial Fists

Death Guard about to in act some revenge for their fallen

Death Guard about to in act some revenge for their fallen

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  • Jared Wheeler

    The Calth box does make marines much more appealing to start both is 30k and 40k. Suppose to be expansions to it also which would be cool. This looks like a great way to show game basics and will use it when I get the chance. Easier to start with basic infantry type models then add in your bikes, MC, boxes ect as you go.

    Edit: Still so damn tempted to start a DG army. Big decision is to do it myself or have it done. Painting marines would be easier than my Orks I feel but I have so many ORks to do I fear it would end up the same way. The grey legion.

  • Armond Royce Philmon II

    30K is where it’s at. I have a decent sized Night Lords army and would like to throw it on the board some day. Thing is, I don’t know if we have any 30k players. No one ever really brings it up.
    The introduction into 30K was done well I think. The fact that you have basically the same armies, in terms of stats and such makes the game less of a research session. Well done!

    Jared, just start small, don’t buy anything else until what you have is painted. The Calth set is perfect for that, do not expand past that and you have yourself a pretty strong basis to build up from it. I have one of those boxed sets, obviously not there to break it open.

  • Jared Wheeler

    I thought you were leaving soon. How much time do you have left on island? Will be down to play after this coming weekend.

  • Armond Royce Philmon II

    I dont get back until June, not sure if you will be around still! But if you are we can roll something small!