Wednesday, July 19, 2017

REVIEW: Getting Started with Warhammer 40,000 Magazine

Just like Age of Sigmar before it, the new Warhammer 40,000 got a Getting Started magazine to act as the perfect entry point for anyone curious about the game. So, what's inside and how does it compare to the Age of Sigmar one from last summer?

Coming in at only $8 this really is the perfect way to introduce someone to 40k. Attached to the front cover is a free Primaris Space Marine Intercessor, cast in blue plastic and completely push fit. It's a brilliant move by GW and really gives you a taste of the quality of their models while still being easily accessible to a beginner. The cover is laid out like a magazine, but with the awesome artwork from the Know No Fear boxset that also just released.

Once you crack it open you're given a crash course in the setting and the current plot lines to 40k. This is all laid out beautifully too, with plenty of cool artwork to really get you hooked. It gives you just enough information so you have a decent understanding of 40k, without overloading you.

It then goes over each major army, breaking them down into a few larger "factions" largely following along the lines of the Indexes that came out alongside Dark Imperium. These are all accompanied by the codex cover artwork from their last codex, and have a paragraph or two of descriptive text. This is something they weren't really able to do with AoS last year, since a good chunk of the factions haven't had their background fleshed out yet. Since 40k's setting didn't reset, they can still draw on all of the old background.

Next we get a few example of army collections. I really like these since they show off some well painted minis, but not 'Eavy Metal standard. We of course get the Ultramarines and Death Guard, expanded out from the contents of the starter set, but we also get some really cool looking Ulthwé Eldar.

These are great pieces of inspiration for new or veteran gamers. There's nothing like seeing a well put together army.

After a brief explanation of the three ways to play, Open, Narrative, and Matched Play, we move onto a rather fun battle report. This is done in the same style as the ones from White Dwarf, but with just a bit more style in the layout and design. The forces are Ultramarines versus Death Guard, using the starter set contents as the core of the armies, but also including other units, including two we haven't seen much of yet; the new Primaris tank and a Death Guard tank called a Plague Burster. I really enjoyed reading this and it does a great job of showcasing a typical game of 40k with some extra elements added in beyond what a new player would get from playing with the starter sets.

The whole book is littered with awesome photography like this, which I find inspiring as a veteran of 19 years, so a new hobbyist must surely love. This really shows how good GW has gotten with their model photography lately.

We then get a two page spread on each of the major war zones in the 41st millennium; Ultramar, Cadia, and Armageddon. This is pretty similar to what's in the main rule book, but the layout here is just perfectly done. There's just enough information to entice you, and the visuals for each war zone are great. By including the war zones, something that a lot of people may have just thought of as "extra," they have given the new player some context to where their battles can take place and let them jump into the narrative right away.

There is of course, an 'Eavy Metal model gallery, showcasing all of the excellently painted models we see on the box art. For some reason there are no Necrons, but I'm sure that was more of just a space issue than anything else.

In a section that pretty much takes up the entire second half of the book, they go over essentially every single thing you would need to know to paint models. Literally everything gets examined in detail, from brushes, to the different type of paints, basecoating, shading, dry brushing, layering, technical paints, glazes, brush care, everything! 

Most of these get an entire page to themselves, but some even get two page spread, with helpful inserts scattered throughout on more random stuff like transfers and basing.

They then show you how to paint the models from the starter sets in the most basic, yet effective ways possible. Once you've gotten though all of that they then take those models a bit further and show you the extra steps you can take to really make them shine. I think this is the most exhaustive reservoir of model painting knowledge I have seen outside of a dedicated painting book. It's all extremely user friendly too, assuming you have zero knowledge of anything and really taking the time to explain it to you along with a bunch of example pictures.

The whole thing wraps up with the core rules from 40k beautifully laid out with a bunch of diagrams and examples using real models right there on the pages, not afterwards like in the real rulebook. This Getting Started magazine for 40k really is the one stop shop for anyone interested in the game. It has all the essential lore, including on the individual armies, beautiful artwork, pictures of amazing models and whole collections, a fun battle report, everything you could want to know to get started with painting, and the full basic set of rules.

So, how does it compare to the Age of Sigmar one from last summer? Well, they both have the same essential content, although I feel like the lore section for the 40k one is more substantial. That's, of course, because AoS is still so new while 40k has 30 years of history to draw upon. The AoS one does do a good job at laying out the narrative so far, as well as looks at the Stormcast and Khorne armies, with a more truncated look at the rest of the armies (remember, Sylvaneth had JUST come out at this point). I also felt like there was a tiny bit more info in the painting section for 40k, but not much more. The biggest difference I noticed was actually the paper quality. The AoS one is printed on standard magazine paper, being a little flimsy and easy to tear. The new 40k magazine is printed on much sturdier paper and feels like a proper soft back Codex in the quality of paper used. The AoS one is a little dated already, not having any call outs to the Blood and Thunder boxset, since it just came out, while the 40k one has adverts in it for the Dark Imperium box, Know No Fear, First Strike, and all the other Getting Started boxes like the Reivers. The AoS one also has pictures of the now out of print and outdated Battletomes for the Stormcast and Bloodbound, so it could probably do with a refresh to keep it relevant. All in all though, they are about the same, with both of them doing an excellent job at being a cheap, and exhaustive guide to new players.

At only $8 this Getting Started magazine is a no brainer for new players, especially since it come with a free Space Marine model. If you know anyone who is on the fence about the game just direct them to this, or even buy them one if you can. I think this would be the perfect entry point for any new player. This coupled with the First Strike box and a Getting Started Painting Set would be the absolute perfect bundle for someone that's interested but unwilling to commit to one of the larger starter sets. Games Workshop has really done their job right on this, I would even recommend picking it up if you already play. It's a fun read, fairly cheap, gets you an extra Space Marine (perfect for testing out color schemes or plugging the gap of another aborted test Marine from your collection) and has a bunch of great painting info in it.

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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