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Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

Ok first off, you're new to the game. Expecting to win against people who have been playing for years, or even decades, is in many cases pretty unreasonable. However, there are some things you can do to vastly, and quickly, improve your game. Keep in mind the fastest I've ever seen a "noob" really catch up to the better players is about 1 year.

The first thing you need to do is learn the rules. I don't mean read through the rulebook once, then have the local "noobslayer" beat your ass while telling you how to play the game. There are guys out there who like to win so much that they attempt to *only* play against the noobs like you. Don't play against them, because they won't, and even don't want to, help you learn the rules. They also will bend the rules and take advantage of your lack of knowledge of them.

What I mean is, read the rulebook, thoroughly. Then play some games (yes, plural) against a friend with the rulebook open next to you. Every time you move, every time you fire, each time you assault, look up the pertinent rules, read them, and use the charts and protocols given. You'll likely have to be playing against another noob or a friendly opponent, and the games should be small, probably 500-750 points. Enough that all the phases of the game will come into play, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff happening on the table. If you're practicing against another noob, don't worry about getting stuff wrong. After you play these games, read the rulebook thoroughly again, keeping in mind the things that happened in your games. If you made mistakes, now you will hopefully notice those mistakes, and correct them the next time you play. Also, discuss those mistakes with your opponent. Learning from your own mistakes is 100x better than being told how to play, and you won't pick up the bad habits that many "veterans" have developed over the years.

Ok, so now you know the rules, you're not getting completely wiped off the table (except by that one guy, man he's good!) any more, but you're still not really winning all that much. What's the next step? Again, you should be focusing on learning from your own mistakes. Don't make the mistake of assuming that putting your guys down on the table, moving them 6" towards the enemy, and rolling a bunch of dice is the limit of 40k. So is a mistake any time that you do something that goes disastrously wrong? Not necessarily. Remember that we use dice, and with dice comes probability. One of the keys to knowing whether or not a move made during a game is actually the best one to do is knowing some basic dice statistics. Knowing what percent chance you have to roll a certain number on a bell curve, or knowing how many wounds you should cause to a target unit with a round of shooting will not tell you how a game will turn out, but it will increase your ability to avoid mistakes in game play, and will also increase your ability in knowing if the result of a game-play decision you made is actually a mistake or was simply the result of bad dice.

Another important aspect of the game is learning the abilities of armies not your own. Often, this can be learned from playing against those armies, but you can also read the codices as well.

And a final skill that is important for the noob is the ability to estimate ranges. If you know what 6", 12", 18", and 24" looks like, you can avoid mistakes that are based less off of percentages, and more off of maneuvering. Every time a unit misses its shots due to being out of range, or misses its assault similarly, you've wasted a sizable portion of your force. Learn those distances, and if you don't know them that well by sight, play a little conservatively: don't assault unless you think you're 5" away, don't shoot rapid fire weapons unless you think you're 11", etc. These ranges are also important to be able to eyeball to be able to estimate what you opponent is going to be able to accomplish in his next turn, along with the basic probability math mentioned earlier.

So, to sum up: if you want to get better at 40k, learn the following:

The Rules
The Armies
The Dice
The Distance

Don't play people who just want to beat you, but try to find other newer players, and helpful veterans.

So, next time you want to make a thread complaining that you're new and can't get any wins, it's not your army, it's not your opponent's armies, it's these basic things that you just haven't had the time to learn yet. Work on them first, then seek list-building prowess.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in us
Oozing Plague Marine Terminator







Nothing in there I didn't agree with. Granted, you didn't cover army building, but that's a whole other ball game.

   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

I think army building is similar in that learning from your own mistakes is most important, however I think it is something to focus on only after you get down the "basics."

You can't really build a good army if you don't have a reasonable expectation of how it will perform on the table based on experience and simple stats.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in us
The Conquerer






Waiting for my shill money from Spiral Arm Studios

excellent advice, willydstyle

care to write an article, the tactics section on dakka here is sorely lacking

Self-proclaimed evil Cat-person. Dues Ex Felines

Cato Sicarius, after force feeding Captain Ventris a copy of the Codex Astartes for having the audacity to play Deathwatch, chokes to death on his own D-baggery after finding Calgar assembling his new Eldar army.

MURICA!!! IN SPESS!!! 
   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

I guess I could just copy-paste, but I have a feeling that the articles don't get read that much.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in us
The Conquerer






Waiting for my shill money from Spiral Arm Studios

they don't get read because there is nothing there to read.

Self-proclaimed evil Cat-person. Dues Ex Felines

Cato Sicarius, after force feeding Captain Ventris a copy of the Codex Astartes for having the audacity to play Deathwatch, chokes to death on his own D-baggery after finding Calgar assembling his new Eldar army.

MURICA!!! IN SPESS!!! 
   
Made in gb
Lurking Gaunt




London, UK

Sweet article.

Just one comment which I would like to add in case any new players read this, and think to themselves they do all of this but still cant win...

While you should re-read the original post first again, someone should tell you, if they havent already, that not all armies were created equally, and that it is much harder to win with some armies than with others.

Necrons and Tau spring to mind. While obviously you can win with these armies, I think its harder to win with them than with say a SW army.

sexiest_hero wrote:My prime did lashwhip Mephiston to death, (Death leaper had his leadership down by 2). I made a joke about the venomthrope Hentai tentacling Meph up while the Prime "Bone sworded him". The BA player was not pleased.
 
   
Made in us
Lone Wolf Sentinel Pilot





San Diego, California

Nice article. This should probably be stickied.

Now, for an article about building an army...

2000 pts 
   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

Building an army is trickier than gaining the skills necessary to playing the game competently. Advice from the internet is o varied, and so bad 90% of the time that it is difficult to separate the grain from the chaff, so to speak. This means that the best way to build a list is through trial-and-error. However, the only data that is valid from the trial-and-error unit selection process is when the army you are fielding is being played against a player of similar skill with a good list. This is actually a harder condition to achieve than you might think.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in us
Painlord Titan Princeps of Slaanesh






Dallas, TX

Building an army is easy:

Troops, troops, troops TROOPS

My first three games of 40k I crushed my teacher. 500 points, tabled him quickly every time....but....then I didn't win for a year. I took my initial 10 marines in 2 5-man squads, my terminators and my landspeeder and captain, then I added a dread, more terminators, assault marines, bikes, a predator.......

And I still couldn't win. Never happened. Always lost. What did I find?

Not enough models, not enough troops. After like a year I finally, FINALLY bought a *gasp* second tactical squad, followed by another. I finally won games again, and my record started to even out, since I finally had an ARMY on the board, not a tiny hodgepodge of elite units.

So troops, troops, troops. They win you the game, and I don't just mean objective-grabbing in 5th edition.

40k Armies I play:



Just clocked my Emperor's Children at 42,615 points. Who wants to play Warhammer literal 40k?

Glory for Slaanesh!

 
   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

Spellbound wrote:Building an army is easy:

Troops, troops, troops TROOPS

My first three games of 40k I crushed my teacher. 500 points, tabled him quickly every time....but....then I didn't win for a year. I took my initial 10 marines in 2 5-man squads, my terminators and my landspeeder and captain, then I added a dread, more terminators, assault marines, bikes, a predator.......

And I still couldn't win. Never happened. Always lost. What did I find?

Not enough models, not enough troops. After like a year I finally, FINALLY bought a *gasp* second tactical squad, followed by another. I finally won games again, and my record started to even out, since I finally had an ARMY on the board, not a tiny hodgepodge of elite units.

So troops, troops, troops. They win you the game, and I don't just mean objective-grabbing in 5th edition.


And if you're playing Tau or Eldar? What then?

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in us
Painlord Titan Princeps of Slaanesh






Dallas, TX

Fire warriors are fine. Not that expensive, not that bad. Do you want 72 firewarriors in every army? No. Do you want them? Of course, why not?

All eldar I've seen do fine with either guardians in an avatar's fearless bubble or dire avengers in wave serpents. What's wrong with them?

40k Armies I play:



Just clocked my Emperor's Children at 42,615 points. Who wants to play Warhammer literal 40k?

Glory for Slaanesh!

 
   
Made in gb
Lurking Gaunt




London, UK

I think "troops troops troops", while it may be good advice sometimes, is too general a statement to make.

sexiest_hero wrote:My prime did lashwhip Mephiston to death, (Death leaper had his leadership down by 2). I made a joke about the venomthrope Hentai tentacling Meph up while the Prime "Bone sworded him". The BA player was not pleased.
 
   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

Proto11 wrote:I think "troops troops troops", while it may be good advice sometimes, is too general a statement to make.


Exactly.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in us
Hungry Little Ripper






Broadalbin, NY

Thanks so much for this article, Willydstyle! As a newbie myself I'm glad to find direction from vets.

If memory serves, I believe there was a flowchart created that shows the general flow of a 40K game. If someone can find that, I'd be willing to bet that practicing with such a chart would be an excellent way to commit the rules to memory.
   
Made in us
Battleship Captain




Oregon

Great article. So often we focus on vet/elite players and how "important" that 0.5% difference in weapon effectiveness really is that we forget there are those who are still trying to get a feel for the basic game.

One thing I would add and this is a very good skill.

Play to the objective.

I remember winning a few of my first games purely because I was playing the objective, not just focusing on killing. Last edition I had a match where I lost everything but 1 Dreadnought but managed to get it close enough to the counter to pull a win.

   
Made in us
Lone Wolf Sentinel Pilot





San Diego, California

willydstyle wrote:Building an army is trickier than gaining the skills necessary to playing the game competently. Advice from the internet is o varied, and so bad 90% of the time that it is difficult to separate the grain from the chaff, so to speak. This means that the best way to build a list is through trial-and-error. However, the only data that is valid from the trial-and-error unit selection process is when the army you are fielding is being played against a player of similar skill with a good list. This is actually a harder condition to achieve than you might think.


Agreed, I just meant like some general army-building tips for the newer players, for example, have anti-tank measures, have enough troops to confidently hold objectives, etc.

2000 pts 
   
Made in ca
Flailing Flagellant




I hate people who pick on helpless noobs! I remember 2 years ago when I still had my 1000pts Chaos this jackass brought a deathwing army and tabled me within 4 turns. I felt terrible! Great guide btw!

1000pts

2500pts Inquisition  
   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

There are lots of tactics that can help a new player, far more than I've written down in fact. Yes, taking sufficient anti-tank is important, as well as playing for the objective.

However, these are just a bit outside the scope of this guide, which is to show people how to get the very basics of the game down, the basics upon which these tactics are based, before worrying too much about the more detailed stuff.

I think it's something a lot of people don't spend enough time on, and is one of the reasons why you get "vets" who still don't know the rules worth crap.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in gb
Lone Wolf Sentinel Pilot




England, UK

Good article - I agree with it entirely!

L. Wrex

INITIATIVE 10 - painting, modelling and gaming in the the 40k universe.
http://initiative10.blogspot.com/

INITIATIVE 10 STORE - painting and modelling commission and bitz webstore
http://initiative10.weebly.com/index.html

<Lycaeus Wrex> rolls 7 dice, 4+ to hit, Strength 6 against Armour 12...
* 0 out of 7 dice hit (4+) = (1,1,1,1,1,1,1) 
   
Made in us
Slippery Ultramarine Scout Biker




Camp Pendleton CA

While not "exactly" a noob, I gotta say thanks, especially to minigun, I lose alot because I forget about the objective!
   
Made in nl
Boosting Space Marine Biker



Netherlands

Great article. Just the right length to read.

As for the articles not being read: I find it hard to find my way around the article section. Not sure how to fix that. I use(d) Wuestenfux's article on Space Marines a lot though
   
Made in dk
Regular Dakkanaut





great article.. thx

Painting a bunch of stuff.. sometimes commisions sometimes for my own collection, check it out at
https://www.facebook.com/333painting/
 
   
Made in ca
Stabbin' Skarboy




123 fake street

minigun762 wrote:

One thing I would add and this is a very good skill.

Play to the objective.

I remember winning a few of my first games purely because I was playing the objective, not just focusing on killing. Last edition I had a match where I lost everything but 1 Dreadnought but managed to get it close enough to the counter to pull a win.


Holy crap are you ever right. My first couple objective games I went on a merry slaughter of my opponents army, then last turn he sprung around me and grabbed enogn objectives to win. I had killed way more, but he played to the objectives.

"I can envision a world with no war, pain, or strife, were peace is constant, then I envision attacking that world because they'd never see it coming."
- Orks, 4175 points
- The face of an opponent when you lose five dozen models and say "that's it?", priceless. 
   
Made in gb
Swift Swooping Hawk






Great article, i have 2 friends who are just starting their own armies and they should give this a read.
Its also a nice reminder to the vets out there not to crush every noobie they find.

I find that talking about a game afterwards works wonders for both players, old and new alike.
Asking questions such as...

"So what would you do differently next time?"

...can help tremendously. I know of 3 guys off the top of my head that couldn't win any games at all, after a few harsh beats and some discussions (note: not being told what to do, discussing the game and figuring it out themselves) after the games they have learnt what not to do themselves through trial and error, after several games of learning the basic mechanics and how best to deploy and what units to take they are notching up some pretty convincing wins.

WLD: 221 / 6 / 5

5 Dragons 2011: 2nd Overall

DT:80+S++G++M+B+I+Pw40k96++D++A++/mR+++T(T)DM+
 
   
Made in us
Boosting Space Marine Biker






Sacramento, CA

Shrubs wrote:
As for the articles not being read: I find it hard to find my way around the article section. Not sure how to fix that. I use(d) Wuestenfux's article on Space Marines a lot though


I seem to have trouble navigating the articles as well. Where is this SM article you speak of?

Nice article wildstyle, I started a few months ago and have thankfully followed your tips so far. (Reading and rereading is my modus operandi and I only bothered to play the firendly vets)

Blood Wardens - 1500 Points (41% Painted)
 
   
Made in us
Junior Officer with Laspistol






The eye of terror.

Fiend wrote:
Shrubs wrote:
As for the articles not being read: I find it hard to find my way around the article section. Not sure how to fix that. I use(d) Wuestenfux's article on Space Marines a lot though


I seem to have trouble navigating the articles as well. Where is this SM article you speak of?

Nice article wildstyle, I started a few months ago and have thankfully followed your tips so far. (Reading and rereading is my modus operandi and I only bothered to play the firendly vets)


Glad to hear it! I feel that this is the best approach for a noob to enjoy the 40k hobby instead of getting run off.

Why did the berzerker cross the road?
Gwar! wrote:Willydstyle has it correct
Gwar! wrote:Yup you're absolutely right

New to the game and can't win? Read this.

 
   
Made in gb
Infiltrating Prowler






Yorkshire, UK

Great article and sound advice.

There is one problem, though. As has been mentioned, list building is a vital skill and in many ways more so for noobs than vets.

Many if not most new players have restricted budgets. They may be at school/college/university and rely on gifts from friends/family to build their armies. Others may be in work but with limited amounts of free money.

This means that buying multiple units to test builds is out of the question and proxying only goes so far.

New players need to have a basic understanding of army list construction so as to make their first purchases count. This stops the inevitable disappointment when they realise that not only do they need to spend more cash, but also that the cash they have already spent was wasted.

While you sleep, they'll be waiting...

Have you thought about the Axis of Evil pension scheme? 
   
Made in us
Crazed Spirit of the Defiler





Two Rivers, WI

That is a good point, especially since many new players start 40k by purchasing the coolest looking units, or whatever their LGS has, not the units that will be combat effective.

   
Made in us
[DCM]
Tilter at Windmills






Manchester, NH

willydstyle wrote:I guess I could just copy-paste, but I have a feeling that the articles don't get read that much.


This is an outstanding post, Willy, and well worth making into an article. Lego was just recently discussing article stats and page views with the moderation staff, and you'd be surprised how much they do get read. A lot of them are direct links straight from Google searches, too. Try searching "imperial guard codex review", and you'll find that the top link is Polonius' article right here on Dakka.

So please do make it into an article.

Thanks for posting it, either way!

Adepticon 2015: Team Tourney Best Imperial Team- Team Ironguts, Adepticon 2014: Team Tourney 6th/120, Best Imperial Team- Cold Steel Mercs 2, 40k Championship Qualifier ~25/226
More 2010-2014 GT/Major RTT Record (W/L/D) -- CSM: 78-20-9 // SW: 8-1-2 (Golden Ticket with SW), BA: 29-9-4 6th Ed GT & RTT Record (W/L/D) -- CSM: 36-12-2 // BA: 11-4-1 // SW: 1-1-1
DT:70S++++G(FAQ)M++B++I+Pw40k99#+D+++A+++/sWD105R+++T(T)DM+++++
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