Warhammer 40k 101 - 5 Steps to Becoming a Better Player


You finally took the plunge and invested into Warhammer 40k.  Maybe you bought an army off of eBay or purchased Dark Vengeance. Maybe you've been collecting and playing for just under a year, but you can't quite seem to get over that hump. You lose more often than you win and when you do win it seems due to just outright luck rather than anything special you might have done as a player.  Does this sound like you?  It's okay to admit this.  We've all been in your shoes.  The greatest 40k players didn't just jump in, buy an army, and start winning major national Grand Tournaments.  Fortunately, there is hope for you, because believe it or not, you can become better.  In this article I'm going to cover some of the very basic things that can improve your game.  Just remember, you're only going to get what you're willing to put in.  So, let's get to it.

1. Know the Basic Rules


It seems simple enough right? But how many games have you played where you could have tank shocked a unit off of an objective in the end to win, but you didn't know how that worked? Or even what a tank shock is? Or you didn't realize that your opponent's units couldn't assault the next turn after their Rhino was destroyed?  Knowing the rules of the game will make you a better player.  That sounds simple and cliche, but it is absolutely true.  If you want to be a great player you will not only read the rules, you will study them. Spend hours of your time pouring over the basic rulebook.  Knowing the rules, and how they work is one of the best ways to step up and improve your game with almost immediate results on the table top.  I cannot stress the importance of this fact enough.  If you want to become more than just a mediocre player, you will read that rulebook front to back again and again.  You'll be amazed at how often you'll find something new when you crack the book open.  No one is telling you to become a rules lawyer at the table, but knowing the mechanics of the game inside out will instantly improve your results on the battlefield.

2. Know your Codex


There's a lot of info to soak in from that gorgeous hardback book.  Like the main rulebook, you should know your codex inside and out.  The best players never have to even open their codex at a game session unless they need to show their opponent a particular rule when it is in question.  Your codex is the backbone of your force.  Know it.  Explore it.  Read it and when you've read it, read it again.  Man, I'm expected to know the basic rules and my codex practically by heart?! That's a lot of reading! Yes, it is. And good players do it. If you're tired of losing, read your books and know the material inside out. You should be able to recite page numbers for reference, quote special rules, etc.  Sounds like a lot I know. I never said this was going to be easy.

3. Know your opponent's Codex


Wait, I'm expected to know my opponent's rules too? While you might not need the same devotion to your opponent's books as your own codex and the basic rules, a good basic understanding of your opponent's army will give you an edge in how to prepare to deal with them.  My recommendation would be to evaluate what you intend on doing with the game.  Are you just going to play your buddies all the time in your garage? Maybe you only need to gain familiarity with one or two other codices then. Planning on going to major tournaments and playing? That brush stroke becomes much more broad.  Knowing what your opponent is capable allows you to counter them in list building and on the battlefield.  Don't bring a knife to a gunfight.  Know your enemy and it will allow you to prepare accordingly.

4. Play...a lot


Books are all well and good, but just like learning any skill, if you don't practically apply the knowledge you learn in them regularly, it isn't going to do you much good.  If you want to become a good player, you will play often.  At least once per week if not more.  Obviously that can be challenging when balancing family, work, and all the things that mundane life can throw at you.  Try and set time aside once a week.  Visit your local FLGS and inquire about a regular wargaming night.  Nothing you will ever do will make you a better player than playing the games.  Try and diversify the lists and opponents you play against.  Not all lists are created equal.  A list and army might totally dominate one opponent and get destroyed by another.  Play different armies to get an idea of what units in your army are going to give you the most in every situation.

5. Watch others play


There are plenty of great YouTube channels out there where you can watch full games, or even condensed matches to get a feel for how the game is played.  Battle reports are a great way to learn the game and can be done while you sit and paint or hobby, in the office on a lunch break, etc. I recommend Frontline Gaming, Miniwargaming, The Basement Collective, StrikingScorpion82, and IDIC Beer for starters.

Those are just the very basics.  Fortunately while Warhammer 40k does take some strategic skill to learn and play well, it is a skill that can be developed.  With the right amount of time and dedication, you'll be winning games on the table in no time.
Warhammer 40k 101 - 5 Steps to Becoming a Better Player Warhammer 40k 101 - 5 Steps to Becoming a Better Player Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 8:00:00 AM Rating: 5

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