Our shop is seeing a good amount of new players, which is awesome. I really enjoy playing against new players because they have a real excitement for the game, it’s all new to them, like when you bought your first new car. I also enjoy, as crazy as this sounds, teaching new players. I’m not out to win every game I play and so I’ll point out moves to them that they are overlooking or tell them when something is a bad idea. I also let players learn by mistakes since it really is the best way to learn. Anyway, I wanted to put out there some pitfalls I see a lot of new players make and help them avoid those mistakes.
- Boys before toys. The game is heavily reliant on having scoring units since two of the three games are objective based. Without a solid core of troops in your army you’re going to struggle. It doesn’t matter how deadly Assault Terminators are or how brutal a Seer Council is on jetbikes if you don’t have the troops to take advantage of the holes in the enemy lines these units are making and get some troops on objectives. You can’t get away with a minimal troop choice either, it just is not going to work. Well, there are some exceptions but as a general rule as a new player you should avoid it. The other week I saw a newer player put down two units of five Scouts as his troops, that’s it. He was playing a veteran player and needless to say those Scouts didn’t live long. All he could do was fight for a draw at that point. Now, the amount of troops you take is going to vary based on your army, the point level, etc. You have to think to yourself, how hard is it going to be for my opponent to remove this unit? If your unit is easy to destroy, say Orks in a Trukk, then you’re going to need more than the minimal choice of two. Space Marines on the other hand have very tough troop units and many the ability to combat squad to give you even more scoring units. Toss some Tactical Marines into a Rhino and you have an affordable troop unit that can hold their own, so you don’t need as many as an army like Speed Freek Orks would.
- Lay off buying special characters (SCs). I played someone else the other week, another new player, and he was using Space Wolves. I can’t recall the point level we were playing, 2,000 tops but I want to say it was 1,500, and he had 3-4 SCs in his list. Some were unit upgrades, like Arjac Rockfist, but still we’re talking expensive SCs. As a result of all his SCs his army list suffered since they were quite literally taking up half his points. I don’t care how badass a character is, most of the time they are not going to win you the game on their own. SCs can be fun but they should be taken to compliment your army composition, not define it. If you’re taking SCs and everything else you put down is an afterthought then you’ve already lost. On another note, I find using special characters is better left for when you understand the game and your army more. Once you feel you have a good grasp on your army then toy around with them, not until. Dont take an SC as a crutch to overcome your lack of experience.
- Choose your wargear carefully. Wargear should be taken to help you achieve a goal, increase a units threat, make them more survivable but it should be done with consideration to cost. If you have so much wargear on a unit that it could buy you another unit then more often than not you’re better off buying that second unit. Take only what you need to accomplish your goal.
- Which brings us to army composition. New players are often left fielding everything they own just to make points, there isn’t always a lot you can do. Regardless, when you’re putting together your army make sure you have a reason for taking them, a goal in mind for that unit. If you’re assembling your army based on what you own and not putting any thought into how to use that unit then things will go badly for you. Think about what that unit is good at, not simply that you have to field it. When you’re at a point when you can choose units and aren’t just fielding what you own then this becomes even more important. As stated above, don’t just grab units because they’re badass, have a plan for them. Your army needs to have synergy and not be a conglomeration of cool units that don’t compliment one another.
- One of the most important tips I can think of is never give up. Don’t show up at the table expecting to lose no matter how likely it may be. Like anything in life you need confidence, don’t defeat yourself. If the game is going terrible for you then find yourself a moral victory. It could be making a point to destroy an enemy unit that has made your life hell or taking out his HQ. Take any small victory you can. No matter what keep your chin up.
- Ask for help and advice. When I started playing I sent countless emails to Kamui and made many phone calls to him to get advice. He was the person I was playing the most and in turn had the best advice I could get. Getting advice is easy with so many forums and blogs out there but the advice of those you play with will be worth a lot more than that anonymous people on a forum.Make every game a learning experience, especially when facing veterans. Watch what they do and why they do it. Think about the game after and what mistakes you made, even if you won. Every game offers insight into how you could do better regardless of the outcome. If you have time then discuss the game with your opponent, you’ll gain invaluable insight.
Do you have some advice for new players? If so share it!