Choosing your own army is a daunting task, especially when it’s your first army and you’re just starting out. And it’s also a financially weighty task. Make the wrong choice and you can end up plunking a few hundred dollars on something that you’re not going to end up wanting to play. I’m going to try and break down some of the factors that could affect your decision over the course of a couple of mini articles. There are a lot of variables that could sway you one way or the other.
For me, I’m starting to think I made the wrong choice initially. I went with Tyranids, as you might notice if you read my blog at all. I loved the models and I honestly think their models represent some of the best in the game. They’re dynamic, gruesome and fairly easy to paint.
But for a first time army, there are a few problems. A Tyranid army means a lot of models, especially if you’re going to use the Tervigon at all. That’s a lot of termagants to paint and, after a while, no matter how easy it is to paint something, it gets really tedious, really fast. There’s also the issue of character. I love crafting a story behind my army. I want to be able to use the models and the individuals in the army to help tell a story; whether it’s one of righteous victory or utter defeat.
With the ‘nids, it’s hard to create that story. The Tyranids are a force driven by a single hive mind that has one goal: to devour everything in its path. There are not heroes, no great ‘nids who rise up. All the characters in the Tyranid codex are organic templates that can be churned out on a factory line. The Swarm Lord can be destroyed, subsumed back into the pool and then remade again to fight again.
There is a story there: you’re playing the dragons in the phrase “here be dragons”. You’re the monster that lurks in the shadows, waiting, lurking. You’re the mythical creature that ruins whole worlds and the great beast the knights must bring down. For me, that’s not what I want. It’s not enough to keep me pushing through another fifty bug swarm of gants.
When you’re making your army choice, it should be something you consider. Is the fluff behind the army enough to keep you invested? Are you going to be able to tell the story you want to tell with you army? Can you get excited about that one space marine captain or that one ratling sniper?
While this might seem silly to those of you who are just looking to play a wargame and blow some stuff up, in the end, having an army where you identify with the characters and really get into the background can help increase the longevity of the game and keep you invested in a hobby that you’re already heavily invested in.
Go through the back grounds of the different armies and quickly ignore the ones that you have little interest in the background. Necrons might look cool at first, but maybe the whole undead robot thing will wear thin after a while. Focus on the fluff, not the background or the rules. What draws you in?
After that, it’s time to go deeper…