Monday, November 8, 2010

40k Thought: Getting Back Into the Game

So as my posts might suggest I haven't been playing a lot of 40k recently. Pretty much my only game in the last three or four months was at a tourney where I unsurprisingly performed miserably. Work, plus the Ogres, have been taking up a lot of my time.

It's just difficult getting back into the game after a break, especially if you move to a new place like I did. I was no longer sure about what was expected on the table top, tried to make lists that wouldn't fold but weren't crazy competitive, and tried to make sure that I was up on the rules so that I wouldn't make mistakes. Plus there's the modeling, as I'd hate to show up to a new club with non-table top ready models. I hope I'm not the only one who dreads actually starting that next project, especially when you already have several others in the works. And even then actually finding a place to game can be a challenge- the first place I tried had NO 40k players on their scheduled Warhammer nights two weeks in a row, after which I stopped trying.

Fortunately I got wind of a game store called The Last Square that's near to my work and decided to head down there last Wednesday for a game. By the time I got there there were already six games going on and a demo game was being set up. Since there wasn't anyone else open to play with I volunteered for the demo game and quickly drew up a 500 pt list. My opponent, who goes on the Madison 40k forums as DarkAngel, was an older gentleman who hadn't played in some time. To give you a frame of reference, he referenced his newly bought copy of the Dark Angels codex as "the new DA codex."

Still, he had done his homework and had a very nicely painted 500-ish pt force of all metal Dark Angels (including the commander pictured above!). We decided to let a few things slide, such as allowing his scouts to be troops, and then we rolled up 4 objectives Dawn of War and got to it.

Turns out it was one of the most fun games of 40k that I've ever played. I've always loved teaching people things- in fact for the last two years that's about all that I did for work. And if I get to teach something fun like 40k? Awesome. We joked around, I explained the new parts of 5th edition to him when they came up, either as suggestions to him or reference for why I was doing a particular action, and all around had a blast.

The game wasn't about winning or losing though no punches were pulled, and plenty of cinematic moments occurred (such as the lone sergeant angrily cutting down outflanking Scouts turn after turn as his squad died around him or the DA captain bravely charging alone up the field to slaughter my infantry) that we had lots of fun describing. And really, that's what made the game so fun for me- not playing worried about winning but just kicking back and throwing some dice on a table with a similarly minded gent.

So what did I learn from this? That getting back in is only as hard as you make it. I was worried about making mistakes and stepping on people's toes in a new club, but it turns out that there are plenty of great people out there who enjoy our strange little hobby, and a whole lot of them are nice to boot. Also that I'm no longer the n00b- I have fairly well painted minis and a pretty firm grasp of the rules and tactics, and people seem to respect that. And of course that no matter how long you've been out there's always someone else who is either just starting the game or coming back after a much longer break. But even if you are ridiculously out of shape, not to worry- there's plenty of helpful people out there to give you a hand.

This next week I hope to get a larger game in and continue to refine my army, but I'm glad I had that demo game last week as it was exactly what I needed. So thanks DarkAngel, and I hope to play you again some time.

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