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Playing With Myself: A 40K Solo Play & Solo Learn Experience

Playing With Myself: A 40K Solo Play & Solo Learn Experience

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Project Blog by lawnor

Recommendations: 42

About the Project

I'll be teaching myself 40K by working through a small escalation league against myself only. I'll be looking for help, asking questions, and giving my thoughts and opinions on the game itself, and as a solo experience. I'll be pitching my Space Wolves against my Tyranids and recording the battles here.

This Project is Active

Post Second Battle Thoughts and Questions

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0

My thoughts:

  • After everyone engaged the game mostly played itself without any input from me.  Roll dice, remove casualties, move the turn tracker along.  No real opportunities for problem solving, tactics or strategy.  It’s almost like the game is decided by deployment and how lucky your dice are.  I am aware that this is a low points level game, and having more units on the table, especially infantry screens for heavy hitters, should change this.  As will experience.  I’ve not added in stratagems yet either.  They could really help here.  I am also aware that I’ve been listening to people bad mouth 40K for a very long time and that could be affecting my opinions.  I am trying to keep an open mind.  I want to like this, even if only so I have an excuse to buy more cool minis.
  • I realised after the game that I was casting 3 psychic powers per turn with the Hive Tyrant instead of the two he is allowed.  This probably affected the outcome.  Not sure by how much.  I’ll make sure I don’t do this again.  Every game I get a little better at following the rules.
  • I’ve just been looking in to CPs and Stratagems working out how to maximise them all.  Having 3HQs to qualify for the =(CP detachments seems like a good idea, so I’ve gone to try and look up what the cheapest HQ option is for each faction.  I’ve gone to the book and remembered that the stats are on one page and the costs are on another and some stats are in the codex and some are in the core book and weapon costs are elsewhere too.  So to work out that simple question I need 2 books open on a total of 6 pages and that’s ignoring the errata.  I had a quick look on their roster app which doesn’t use points and it only gives me names of models with no idea what they are.  Comparing it to their web shop I’m given different numbers oh HQ options, and searching the shop for things listed in the app sometimes yields no results.  This is a really poor way to run a game and makes me incredibly frustrated.  It makes me want to close the books and walk away.  It’s creating barriers between them and my wallet.  What are they thinking?
  • Might be more to come



  • Do you have to charge in a straight line?  I’ve not seen any rule stating this and I’ve seen chatter implying otherwise.
  • Do you fire all your guns on overwatch, the same as in the regular shooting phase?  I’ve been assuming so.
  • Can you see through your own unit to shoot etc?  – Yes.  I checked the rules
  • What is the definition of a unit?  Is that anything from the rule book?  Any individual model, or anything that makes up a stat entry, or just whole squads of grunts?
  • If I have a rule that lets me reroll 1s, can I reroll the reroll if it comes up 1s?  If it was reroll misses I’d say no, but this would require “luck” to get the second reroll, like exploding 6s in Mantic games.
  • If after AP you need to roll a 7 or over to save, is a 6 (the max roll)  still a pass, or is no save possible?  I’ve assumed no save is possible so far.
  • How does Line of Sight interact with the height of other models?  I’ve been working under Warmachine rules without thinking.  Is this a case of true LoS, or can anyone see a tall model over small models?
  • In Justin’s recent playthrough it appears they are rolling morale tests after the shooting phase and after the melee phase.  It is only after both are over, isn’t it? I’ll admit I was only paying half attention as I was painting.
  • Likewise, they seemed to be using a lot of Stratagems and CPs.  They do not refresh between turns, do they?  You have your pool and you can only spend it once?  I don’t know how much they spent, but it seemed like more than I can see how to earn, at least with my limited collection and experience.
  • I’ve just looked up stratagems and instead of being the dozens I thought I’d seen it appears there are only 3 unless the scenario says otherwise.  Are there more in other books I should be aware of?  – I’m seeing some faction specific ones in the codecs.  Dunno if there are more anywhere else?
  • May be more to come


Thought and opinions are welcome on my terrain set up and my tactics (and my writing style and content).  I’m doing this to learn, after all.

1000 Point List Build Suggestions Wanted

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 0
No Comments

So I’m going to upgrade to 1000 points before my next game.  I am starting to see what I need to add to make each side better, but advice is always welcome.  Given I’m not buying anything new for this just yet, out of the models I own, what lists would you build using the stuff I own, listed below:


Hive Tyrant x1 (Weapons glued on: Heavy Venom Cannon, Lash Whip and Bonesword)
Gargoyle x30
Warrior x3 (Weapons glued on: Devourer, Lash whip & Bonesword, Rending claws.  Deathspitter, las Whip & bonesword.  Devourer & Scything Talons)
Hormagaunts x52
Termagant with Fleshborers x20
Termagant with Devourers x20
Ripper Swarm x6
Purestrain Genestealer x1
Carnifex x1 (All options magnetised)

Space Wolves
Tactical Marines x12 (1 Plasma gun, 2 meltaguns)
Terminators x10 (Random weapons glued on, Details over here)
Marine Scout with Rocket Launcher x1
Tech Marine x1
Land Raider x1 with Lascannons
Predator x1
Rhino x1
Vindicator x1
Dreadnought x1
Venerable Dreadnought x1
Intercessors x3

Magnetised Dreadnought weapon options:

Left: Hand with Storm Bolter, hand with Flamer, Missile Launcher

Right side: Lascannon, 2x Assault Cannon

I’m not completely against proxying or pretending something has different weapon options attached, so long as I can keep track.

Left to my own devices I’ll be removing the Rhino from my list and looking to include a Dreadnought and try out the Vindicator.  The Nids only have more infantry available so lets bring some melee to tie up the enemy, and increase the number of guns in the termagant unit?  With an infantry screen available, the Carnifex will likely want a gun too so it can contribute early game.

I’ve built some lists and attached them below for anyone who is interested.  Feel free to offer advice or pass judgement.  I don’t own any more HQ units or I might have added some to increase my CP’s.  I’ll be playing with Stratagems this time around too.

Battle 2: 500 points

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 1

I’m going for 500 points and sticking with the same listss again while I learn the basics.  It seems wise to keep it simple for now.  I’ve opted to deploy terrain as I do when playing Warmachine.  I’ve put a Line of Sight blocker in the middle of the table, then placed another around 9″ away from that.  I then place the next within 9″ of the centre piece and of the last piece placed.  This is repeated until I’ve gone round the board and then I fill in any gaps with what’s left.  Terrain is chosen at random from the selection available.

I’ve opted to go for the scenarios for the Battleforged lists, working under the assumption that they are the most balance friendly.  I’ll be sticking with those with fixed objectives for now.  I’ve rolled up Scenario 1: Retrieval Mission, and randomly selected Deployment 3: Search and Destroy.

The Hive Tyrant chose Psychic Scream and The Horror as his 2 extra psychic abilities and all other options remain the same.  Deployment sides were randomly allocated, and the Space Wolves won the roll to deploy first, and then each side deployed a model/unit in turn.  The first side fully deployed gets to decide who goes first.  This was the Space Wolves.  Very much wary of that Carnifex they decided to go first so they could pump some shots in to it from the Predator, but the Tyranids rolled a 6 and stole the advantage!

Round 1: Tyranids

Everyone advanced up the table and the Hive Tyrant successfully put out all his Psychic powers on to the Grey Hunters, doing 3 damage, and debuffing them with The Horror.

The Termagants shot the Grey hunters with 60 shots, 34 hit, 10 landed, but 9 were saved.  Once again I forgot they can reroll 1’s.  If I reroll a 1 and it comes up 1 again, can I keep rerolling?  The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant also shot their load in to the Grey Hunters for no effect.

The Carnifex and moved up around the building and assuming you don’t have to charge in a straight line (?) could charge the Predator.  Overwatch landed doing 5 points of damage and scaring me, until I remembered the Synaptic Adaptation.  For each point of damage any Tyranids take I can roll a dice.  If it comes up 6 the damage is removed, and 2 6’s came up.  The Carnifex charge did an epic zero damage, and the Predator struck back for the same.  Ineffective, but the Predator now cannot shoot anyone.

The Grey Hunters lost a man and have their leadership reduced by 1 so could fail their morale on a 6, but they do not.

The Tyranids just got the first kill.  The objective, “First Blood” is scored by the first side to kill a unit.  How is a unit defined?  Does one model count, or does the whole squad have to die?  Does a vehicle or a solo count?

Round 1: Space Wolves

The Rhino advanced down the table ready to camp the Objective, while maintaining Line of Sight on the enemy.  The Iron Priest stepped out from inside the ruins by the Predator,and the Grey Hunters moved up ready to engage the Termagants.  Both shot at the Termagants, killing 5.  The Grey hunters then charged the Termagants.  They lost a man to overwatch, but killed a grunt in return.  Everyone else flailed ineffectually doing no further damage.  The Hunters passed their morale checks again

Round 2: Tyranids

The warriors advanced up the table, looking to get in position to be more useful next turn.  The Hive Tyrant dumped his psychic abilities in to the Grey Hunters again, doing 1 kill and putting The Horror on them again.  The warriors shot at the rhino for no effect, but the Hive Tyrant did 9 damage to it.  Everybody in melee slapped away, killing one more Termagant and doing 3 damage to the Predator.  Everyone passed Morale checks.


Round2: Space Wolves

Seeing how things are going and if he stays still the Predator will die and he’ll take a Carnifex to the face, the Iron Priest advances ready to hopefully roll well and tilt things back in his favour.  He heals the tank for 3 and I have no record of if he shot anyone so he might not have had a valid target.  I suspect he shot at a Warrior but had no effect.

The Rhino shot and missed the Warriors and the Grey Hunters pistols killed off two more Termagants.  The Iron Priest charged the Carnifex for 2 damage.  The Grey Hunters stabbed 1 Termagant but took a casualty in return, and the Carnifex landed 6 damage on the Priest, killing him.  This is the first time a whole unit has been killed so scores the First Blood Objective (1VP), if the first models death doesn’t count.  It also scores the Slay The Warlord objective (1VP).

That’s 2-0 to the Tyranids at the end of round 2.

Round 3: Tyranids

The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant advanced in to position.  Psionics killed 2 more Hunters and put The Horror back on to them.  The Hive Tyrant shot and killed the Rhino.  The Warriors then charged the Predator, doing a masive 1 point of damage (oooh!).  The Carnifex hit it for a further 3, and another Termagant dies to the Grey Hunters.  Everyone passed Morale checks and the game just seems to be static and everyone punching each other from now on.  Not exactly exciting.


Round 3: Space Wolves

The pistols fire into the Termagants, missing everyone but wounding a nearby pigeon (It’s a Xeno Pigeon so its ok). Melee plays out across the table killing 2 more Termagants, 1 more Grey Hunter and damaging the Predator for 4.  All morale checks passed.

Round 4: Tyranids

Seeing the end in sight, the Hive Tyrant moved to within 3″ of the objective and Psychered the Hunters again, killing the last grunt, wounding the Pack leader.  That left a total of 3 wounds over 2 models in the unit.  I ummed and aahed over it and decided the Termagants probably wouldn’t do that much and the Nids would win whether or not that objective was scored and so he charged in to finish them off.  Unfortunately he then rolled badly and failed to contribute to the combat.  Rubbish!

The Termagants did 1 point of damage, the hunters did nothing, and the warriors hit the Predator for 3 damage, killing it without it exploding.


Round 4: Space Wolves

One final slapfest resulted in the Wolves doing no damage, but the Hive Tyrant landing 3 hits at 3 damage each, killing the last of the Wolves, ending the game.


Final Scores

First Blood: 1 to Tyranids for killing the first unit

Slay the Warlord: 1 to Tyranids for killing the Iron priest

Linebreaker: 1 to the Tyranids for having models in enemy deployment zone at the end of the game

Take and Hold: 3 to the Tyranids for holding objectives at the end of the game


That’s 6 : 0 to the Tyranids at game over

Two hours later while watching TV I realised I had been casting 3 psychic powers every turn instead of the two the Hive Tyrant can.  Those damn dirty Nids had been cheating all game!  Might have made quite a difference if an extra couple of Termagants had died every combat.


Thought and opinions are welcome on my terrain set up and my tactics.  I’m doing this to learn, after all.

Post First Battle Thoughts and Questions

Tutoring 3
Skill 1
Idea 3

I made a few mistakes early on by looking at the wrong stat sheets.  I need to make it more obvious what one I’m looking at.  Perhaps add a pic of the unit somewhere?  Gluing them to card might also be nice.  I also often forgot to take the The Horror psychic ability in to account when the Grey Hunters were attacking.  The big mistake I made which I didn’t realise until 2 days later was that I completely forgot to even look at the Warlord Traits, or the Hive Fleet adaptation.  That might have changed things.

I plan on playing a game or two more at this points level to help get everything straight in my head and running smoother.  I need to either keep the Termagants back this time or swap them out for Hormagaunts, assuming they are better in melee.  Once i’m a little more comfortable I can build some 1000 point lists.

Thoughts at this time

  • Tactical Marines are powerful (Or Termagants are poop?).  They have high defences and good attack.  Rolling 5+ 3 times in a row to hurt them doesn’t let much get through at all.  The Nids need something to deal with that
  • The Rhino appears more useless than I thought when not acting as a transport
  • I can’t roll over a 6 on Psychic tests
  • Volume of attacks is a thing.  Heavy hitters that only roll 1 dice might be shiny and expensive, but then they live or die on the mercy of 1 dice
  • When I rolled the scenario and 3 objectives vanished I was convinced the Tyranids had a huge unbalanced advantage.  I was sure the scenario was inherently unbalanced.  The competative player in me hated it.  How can the game be competative when it just hands a victory to one player before the game even begins?  But then I stepped back and thought about it from the viewpoint of this game not being competative and decided that it created an interesting setup and a fun challenge, so long as neither players “fun” mattered on trying to win.  This game could be enjoyed by looking for ways tocrack the tyranid nut, rather than looking for a fair shot at winning.
  • Once the sides clashed and everyone was involved in melee the game really seemed to bog down.  There were no choices left to be made.  The game essentuially played itself without me and I could have been replaced with a very small shell script.  This doesn’t make for a fun experience.  Perhaps with more models on the table more options will become available, or fights will end sooner, or the melee guys will just act as a screen for my guns behind them?
  • more to come perhaps?



  • How big should an objective be? Google-Fu suggests 30-40mm but no hard and fast rules.  Apparently Chapter Approved says 25mm is fine, but opinion is 40mm is best
  • Can models see through and pass through an objective, or does it count as a model or terrain? – I’ve seen reference to people stood on top of objectives?  Unless I see or hear otherwise I think I’m going to play objectives as just a point in space without mass or volume for now.
  • How was my terrain setup?  About right, or any comments or suggestions for more balanced and interesting games?
  • If multiple models charge the same target in the same round can the target shoot the second charger, or just the first? – From Google-fu charges happen one at a time so once engaged you cannot overwatch a second charging unit
  • How many ranged weapons can be used at once?  I know it says all of them, but does that include all the grenade options too?  If Bob is carrying a sniper rifle, a bolt pistol, a bolt gun, a melta bomb, a krak grenade, a frag grenade and a nuke can he really fire them all in one round? – From Google-Fu These rules are clarified elsewhere in the book.  Its All Pistols or all guns, but not both.  Once per turn one model per unit can forfeit its shoot to throw a grenade.
  • The opposite appears to be true for melee.  If I am conjoined twin octopi with 16 limbs and a different blade or club in each and a bite attack, but an attack stat of 2 I can still only make 2 melee attacks and I’ll probably use the same (best) weapon twice to do so and ignore the rest.  Is this correct?
  • Can any pistol also be used in melee, or just the ones that mention it on the stat profiles? – Pistols can be fired during the shoot phase by models whose units are with 1″ of enemy models.  They must be fired at the nearest enemy unit.  Nearest to itself or its unit?
  • Are tanks as manoeuvrable as people, or did I miss the rules covering how much they can turn?  I assume they don’t have arcs of fire given the side guns on the predator fire together meaning they can both hit a target to its right even though the left turret would have to shoot through the body to do so
  • Smite: is the D3 damage to a single model only or can it be spread over a unit? – From core rules Mortal Wounds always carry over to a new model
  • Are there limits on who can control an objective? – It appears anyone can score, but different scenarios have different rules, but its usually down to model count within 3″ so lots of grunts can be good
  • Is there any way to leave melee combat and still have an action, even if you take damage to do so?
  • How about for tanks?  It makes no sense that a mouse could engage a Land Raider in melee and the land Raider can’t move until after its killed the mouse.  It should be able to ignore it and keep going, and just casually crush it beneath its tracks. – From google-fu, Seems tanks are trapped in melee and need infantry screens to stop this happening
  • If I have a unit of 40 Termagants spread out and Captain Bob moves up and gets 4 of them in his melee range can the Termagants 5-10″ away in that unit use their guns while their mates are engaged?  I’m assuming not, but it makes sense that they could.
  • Can you shoot a model in melee? – No, unless you use a pistol and are part of the unit engaged in melee with it
  • And maybe more as I think of them?

Advice, comments and constructive criticism gratefully accepted with respect to any aspect of this project, my writing, or the games played within it.  I’ve never written a battle report before and I don’t usually read them either so I’ve no idea if this reads well, or makes sense to others.  The lighting is not the best in my games room.  It is fine to play by but I know it doesn’t lend itself well to great photography with my phone.

My First Battle: Tyranids Vs Space Wolvas At About 500 Points

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 5


I’ve aimed for about 500 points, built out of the stuff I own only.  I’ve tried to get a mixed bag of troops so I can experience a little of everything.  My lists were as follows:

Space Wolves

HQ: Iron Priest

Troops: 1x Unit of Grey Hunters (GH) = 11 men?

7x Basic Grey Hunters

1x Grey Hunter Pack Leader

1x Grey Hunter with Meltagun

1x Grey Hunter with Plasma Gun

1x Wolf Guard Pack leader with Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer (Who I originally assumed replaced the GH Pack Leader, but now I think is in addition to.  Anyone care to comment?)

Heavy Support: 1x Predator Tank with all the Lascannons

Dedicated Transport: Rhino (Purely there to make up points, not to transport anything.  Surely his guns must do something?



HQ: Hive Tyrant with Heavy Venom Cannon, Lash Whip and Bonesword

Troops: 20x Termagaunts

.              3x Warriors (Devourer, Lash whip & Bonesword, Rending claws.  Deathspitter, las Whip & bonesword.  Devourer & Scything Talons)

Heavy Support: Carnifex with all the Scything Talons



The Space Wolves don’t have any psykers but will take the “Saga of the Hunter” Warlord Trait.

The Hive Tyrant gets Smite and 2 other Psychic powers.  I chose, “Catalyst” and, “The Horror”.  The Warlord Trait was, “Heightened Senses”, and the Hive Fleet Adaptation was “Leviathan: Synaptic Imperative”.

Have I forgotten anything?


Setup & Scenario

I am playing the introductory scenario, “Only War”.  I deployed 4 Objectives more than 10″ away from each other.  I rolled to see which side the Tyranids would deploy on, and who would deploy first, and deployed both armies.  I then rolled for the Primary Objective and got, “Ancient Relic”.  I randomly rolled which objective would remain (Objective B,  below) and removed the rest, which I felt instantly gave the Tyranids a game winning advantage as they were right on top of the remaining objective marker.   The Tyranids won the roll off to activate first.

Both sides after deployment, but before the objectives were rolled for and removedBoth sides after deployment, but before the objectives were rolled for and removed

Round 1 of 5: Tyranids

Everyone walked down the table, putting 3 Termagants within range of the Grey Hunters.  The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant moved in to shooting range of the Predator.  The Carnifex advanced (Rolled a 6) and snuck around the back of the building to lay ambush on a tank the following turn.  The Carnifex tried to buff his troops but failed all his Psychic rolls.

The Termagants shot the Grey hunters for 3 damage, which was all saved.  I’m pretty sure I was looking at the wrong stats for this giving them a save of 2+ by mistake.  The takeaway from this is that I need to make the Battlescribe printouts more easily identifiable.

The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant put all their shots in to the Predator doing an epic 1 damage to it in the end.


Round 1 of 5: Space Wolves

The Grey hunters held their ground.  The tanks advanced forward to open up their lines of fire and close ranges.  The Iron Priest moved up to heal the Predator with his free end-of-movement tank heal, returning it to full health.

The Rhino and the Predator shot at the warriors, only doing 2 points of damage.  The Grey Hunters shot and killed 6 Termagants.


Round 2 of 5: Tyranids

Everyone advanced forward.  The Hive tyrant tried to cast Catalyst on the Termagants and failed his roll, but was able to cast The Horror on the Grey Hunters.  I suspect I often forgot to take this in to account throughout this game though.

The Warriors and the Hive Tyrant put their shots in to the Predator for 1 damage, and the Termagants put 39 shots in to the Grey Hunters for 1 kill.  I’m not sure I wasn’t still running off the wrong save value.

The Carnifex charged the predator and got shot for 2 damage, but did 6 damage, taking none in return. The Warriors also charged the predator but took not overwatch damage.  They hit the tank for 2 and took no damage in return.  The Hive Tyrant joined in, taking no shots.  The Predator was close to death so it directed one of its attacks on the Rhino (1 damage) and the rest on the Predator, killing it without it exploding.

The Termagants charged the Grey Hunters and lost a grunt.  I didn’t write down what happened next, but there’s only 11 Termagants in the next pic and no more dead Marines.


Round 2 of 5: Space Wolves

The Iron Priest shot and then charged the Warriors, killing one and taking no damage.  The Rhino attacked the Tyrant doing and taking no damage.  The Grey Hunters killed 3 more Termagants without any casualties

Round 3: of 5: Tyranids

No one can really move as everyone is trapped in melee.  The Hive tyrant tried to buff the Termagants and debuff the Grey hunters, but both spells failed.  The Carnifelx charged the Rhino, doing 4 damage only.  The warriors attacked the Iron priest, doing no damage, but taking 6 in return, wiping out the unit!  The Termagants fought the Grey hunters, but lost 6 more grunts without hurting anyone.  The Rhino attacked the Hive Tyrant, doing no damage but also not taking any back.

Round 3 of 5: Space Wolves

The game is coming to a close and it looks like the Nids might have this if they can get a heavy over to the Grey hunters, so the Iron Priest decided to abandon combat and make a move towards the objective.  he walked his max and put his shots in to the Carnifex but didn’t hurt him.  he then threw his grenades at the only enemy in range, the Hive Tyrant, again for no damage.  The Rhino attacked the Carnifex, doing nothing.  The Termagants attacked the grey hunters but lost one more grunt.  The Hive Tyrant hit the Rhino for 3 more points of damage, leaving it on 3 health.


Round 4 of 5: Tyranids

The end is in sight, but no one can get to the Iron Priest, or get out of melee to shoot him this turn.  The only hope is to kill everything ASAP and try and get to him next turn.  The Hive Tyrant smites the Rhino as the nearest enemy and hopes for a max roll to kill it, but only does 1 damage.  Horror successfully lands on the Grey Hunters again.  The Termagants and the Grey Hunters fight once more and the last of them die without hurting any more marines.  The Rhino attacks the Carnifex without effect and then the Carnifex kills it.

Round 4 of 5: Space Wolves

The Iron Priest moves closer to the objective and fires his gun at the Hive Tyrant for no effect.  The Grey Hunters walk up and unload all their Bolt Guns and Pistols in to the Carnifex, doing 2 damage.  The Plasma Gun supercharges and blasts it for 4, killing it dead.  The Meltagun and all the grenades are put in to the Hive Tyrant causing 2 wounds.  They then all charge in to the Hive Tyrant, trapping the only remaining Nid in melee.  He overwatches for no effect, but they aren’t able to hurt him in melee.  The Tyrant lashes out and kills 2 more of them, ending the round.


Round 5 of 5: Tyranids

The game is already lost, but lets see how much damage I can do first.  The Tyrant Smites the Grey Hunters for 3 damage.  I have no idea if that’s 3 damage as one attack or if I can spread that out over 3 models.  Any ideas?  Given the rules say it targets a unit and not a model I’ve assumed for now it can take out 3 models.  They tyrant then lays in to the marines, but only kills one more of them.

Round 5 of 5: Space Wolves

The iron priest moves up to claim the objective (3″ from the centre) and shoots,  doing nothing.  The Grey Hunters lash out, doing nothing.  The Tyrant is able to kill 1 more of them and then the game times out.



Reading the scenario, it appears the only way to score points is from the objectives, so the Wolves Score 6 and the Tyranids score 0.  Game to the Space Wolves.  Does it say elsewhere that points are scored for killing enemy models?

Preparing For My First Game

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 5

Preparing The Models

I had a project log covering over here.  I’ve painted Orks, Tyranids, and now Space Wolves.  I’d have to say that GW seem to have designed their paint schemes and models around the concept of simplicity and repetitiveness.  To allow people to get 3 colours down simply and effectively if that’s all they want to do.  Take the Marines.  Spray blue.  Pick out the guns in iron and the eyes in red.  There’s your 3 colours with no effort.  If you’re happy with that then great.  You’re table ready.  This is great for getting new people to paint their first unit, but I find the uniformity across whole armies leads to tedium far quicker than in other systems.  I painted a Cryx army over a couple of months the other year and I did not get bored doing it.  Painting that may Space Wolves, or Tyranids, regardless of the models would bore me to death.  There doesn’t appear to be as much character or variation amongst GW models, at least from the ones I’ve worked with.  I know they do have some awesome, characterful models, but these seem to be the exception, not the rule.


Reading The Rules


The rules seemed like a quick and simple read, but I am someone who learns by doing so we will see how clear and helpful they are when I come to play and discover how little I remember.  I didn’t like that the actual rules don’t start until you are 170 pages in to the book.  I understand you need to set the scene and lure people in before getting to the work, but that struck me as excessive.  it was in the way.  This will become a problem whenever I need to reference pages while playing as I’m flicking backwards and forwards between different pages.

I read a little of the Space Wolf codex too.  I didn’t appreciate the first few pages of that.  The tone was all about how you can buy, built and paint an army.  There was no mention of playing the game.  It really made the book feel like a sales tool, rather than a games manual.  It didn’t endear me to GW at all.


Preparing Lists

Well, this was a huge frustration.  Stats in one section.  Weapons in another.  Points costs for each in two more sections.  Then throw in the codec’s and the Chapter Approved changes.  I tried using the GW army builder but then it doesn’t work in Points and I wanted to.  I also couldn’t find mention of Space Wolf Space Marines anywhere.  I had to go away and research what they were called, only to find out there’s 3 different types.  While I built my Tyranids, I did not build my Space Wolves.  Working out what I owned and if it was even legal was confusing and hard work.

I did build my Nids though.  I bought the old Start Collecting box with the Hive Tyrant and some Warriors.  I was advised to not worry and just build what I liked the look of.  I picked 3 different build options from the instructions for the Warriors and now I find out one of them is not a legal option.  Cheers GW.  Now I need to pull the arms off a model I painted and add new ones.  How often am I going to have to do things like this?  At least I wasn’t a Squat player back in the day, I suppose.

Battlescribe was a big help in setting up and pointing my lists correctly (I think), although I did have to know what everything was before hand, but I suppose that’s to be expected.  I printed out my lists before play so as not to be running two unfamiliar armies off of one screen.


Setting Up The Table

I’ll be starting at 500 points.  The book suggests a 4×4 table for this, and suggests 2 pieces of terrain on every 2×2 section.  No real talk of how big a piece is, or how much of it should block line of sight, or advice on breaking up lines of fire.  Should I be putting down 7-9 walls randomly, and having a mostly open table, giving guns a huge advantage, or lots of tall building to break up fire and give melee more of a chance?  Any time I’ve seen a 40K table it seems to have lots of gothic ruins on it so I opted for lots of buildings.  I have used my Deadzone Terrain, because it’s what I own.  What do people think of my layout?  Any advice for constructing fair and balanced table layouts?  Is this enough stuff?  Should I mix up the type more?

Preparing For My First Game

I’m using the suggested starting Scenario to begin with, “Only War” (p187).  it talks about using 4 objective markers “represented by any suitable marker or piece of terrain”.  I cannot find any definition anywhere of what that means.  All I can find is that you must be within 3″ of the centre of an objective to score it.  Is anything less than a 3″ diameter circle considered suitable, or are there rules or accepted conventions covering the size or shape?  I’ve opted to use my objective markers from Warmachine.  Standing Stones mounted on 50mm bases.


Deployment Zones

The game talks about splitting the table in half and allowing deployment anywhere on your half of the board up to 12″ away from the opposing deployment zone.  Fair enough.  Does this mean you could split the table in half in either direction?  I assume diagonally is out of the question unless specifically mentioned in a scenario?  What about on a 6×4 table?  I always assumed you played along the long edge.  If you split the table so people are at the 4 foot ends and deply 12″ from the middle then what’s the point in the extra 2 foot, and surely people will have issues reaching their models if you don’t have 360 degree aces to the table?

Introduction and Goals

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 6
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Despite not playing 40K and only intentionally buying one small starter army mainly to paint, I now own 4-5 starter armies depending on how you count them.  Given I’ve spent the last month or so painting up my Space Wolves I thought it was about time I learnt to play.  Inspired by @Evilstu ‘ s article series I thought why not learn to play against myself?  My meta has shrunk from about 8 of us to just me for now until my friend gets his shifts changed, or some toddlers grow up so now seems like a good time to try solo play.  It’s either that or “leave the house” and “be social” and I can’t be having with that!



My plan is to start small and play a few 500 point games until I can get through them without forgetting rules or powers, looking at the wrong stats or spending all the game looking things up.  I’ll then up the points size and try again and again.  I own around 1600 points worth of Tyranids and Space Wolves so I’ll be using those armies, and trying not to buy anything new, at least until I decide I’m enjoying myself and want to keep playing long term.

I’ll be writing battle reports between games and sharing them here.  As I go I’ll run in to issues and be asking questions here I’d appreciate answers to.  If you see me doing something odd, or killing things I shouldn’t be able to, please speak up and make sure I’m doing things correctly.  I want to learn as much as I ant to have fun.  I was thinking I’d put my questions in colour to make them stand out, but I’m not seeing that as an option, so let’s see about putting them all in bold, shall we?

As I go I’ll be giving my thoughts, not just on the games I’ve played and the models I’ve used, but also on the rules and the experience of both learning the game with minimal GW experience, and playing the game as a solo experience.



Here’s a little background to provide context to my perspective on things.  Skip this bit if you want.

I’ve been wargaming for around 6 years now.  I mainly play Warmachine, but I’ve dabbled a little in other games here and there from time to time. For those that might not know, Warmachine is a competitive play focused game with tight rules with clear definitions.  It has fluff, but it isn’t written with fluffy narrative play in mind.  It encourages tight precise play.  I understand that this is not the 40K way so I expect to have some perspective clashes because of this.  I will try to keep an open mind though.

Growing up in the 80s & 90s I was very much aware of GW.  I had Hero Quest and Space Crusade.  At some point I got my hands on a copy of Rogue Trader, and a Fantasy two player box that had elves and maybe undead in I think?  My only opponent was my younger brother and we did not have the money to actually buy anything (This was all second hand) so we could never deep dive in to anything and I’m sure I did the brotherly thing of misreading the rules in my favour every battle.  Other that those experiences 25ish years ago, I got in a couple of demo games of 8th Ed 40k 1-2 years ago at low points but otherwise haven’t touched it.  GW has always been there in the background of my life in one form or another, but apart from brief focused stints at Dawn of War I’ve never done the deep dive beyond the 80’s board games