Deep Thought: How Much Should A Wargame Cost?



It’s holiday time, so kick back with your fellow BoLS gamers, and talk about our favorite pastime.  Come on in!

As we approach Christmas and everyone is running around frantically burning up your hard earned dollars, we want to have a change to have the community weigh in on series of fun open questions and see what we all think.

So put on your robe, grab some hot cider and enjoy a gamer conversation with your friends.

Today’s topic is:

pile of money 1280x720

“How Much should a Wargame Cost?”


Todays questions is both simple and complex.  Think about it from the angles of:

  • How much should the initial buy-in cost?
  • How much should it take to build a solid playable army?
  • How much should you need to spend to keep your army up and current each year?

Cost a game too low and you may not be able to present a deep enough game experience…

Cost a game too high and you will lower your potential audience…

Should you include one or two sides?

Should you include terrain?

Here are some Price Points from 5 of the most popular systems out there to get you started:


60010299007_StormofSigmarENG01Storm of Sigmar: $33


X-Wing the Force Awakens Core Set: $39.95

cygnar-battlegroup copy

Cygnar Battlegroup Box $39.99

DarkVengeanceENGDark Vengeance: $110


Operation Icestorm: $109.99


There are quite a few starter sets in the $50-$100 from lots of companies, with only a few outliers on both sides. However, there have been some astounding hits on both sides of the line like Kingdom Death’s Monster at over $300 and X-Wing at $40.  Nice to see GW hitting both the high end with 40K’s $110 Dark Vengeance set that is stuffed to the gills AND the bargain basement $33 Storm of Sigmar.

What do you think is the secret sauce?

~The floor is yours my friends – your turn.
  • Chaoschrist

    I don’t know if the buy in for rules and models is as much the issue, as is painting and hobby materials for many of the wargaming systems out there.

    Yes, you can play them unpainted (and some come painted) but for me, buying paints, especially when I first got into 40k a decade or so ago, was a bit of a downer, not neccesarily the few boxes of models. And added with this, the hobby aspect that requires time for the army to be build and tableready might provide a bit of a speedbump for those getting into it.

    All that said; how much should a game cost? Well, as cheap as possible, with decent rules and good models… but that’s the impossible venn diagram of “cheap/good rules/good models”. Usually only 2 of 3 happen at the same time…

    It’s hard to answer how much it should cost… especially on a page as this one, where a lot of people (based on their posts here) have a lot of disposable income to spend. For plenty even Forgeworld stuff is reasonable, while in gaming stores in my area, it’s a bit of an exclusive most of the time because of the price.

    For me… I took a backseat from gaming and the hobby a bit so I did probably spend less than €500 this year on it, which is roughly €45 a month and that includes paints, models (new and used). Which seems fine for me. It’s what I can afford to spend on one of my hobbies without abandoning it entirely and keeping a budget open for other hobbies as well.

    • Aezeal

      I spend YEARS playing with unpainted metal models. I LIKE the look of metal models. (If I hadn’t started wood elves because there lore and playstyle seemed nice to me I’d probably started something like dwarves or chaos.. units in armor completely painted as a steel wall looks awesome. If I’d started today I’d probably have a hard choice between sylveneth and stormcasts. Stormcasts painted titanium colored with dark purple accent would be great I think.) Unpainted plastic on the other hand is an abomination and should at least be sprayed in a primer before appearing on a table (black primer is acceptable, especially for evil armies).

      • Chaoschrist

        If you like the look of metal models (or unpainted figures) that’s totally cool. It’s just not something I’d enjoy, something I’ve seen the local GW stores drive out to try and get people to play with painted armies only…

        A friend of mine is a bit slow on the painting thing, so I kinda went on to tell him “get your army painted so we can have a game” which did give him enough motivation to get started. (It’s warmahordes, back in Mark 2, with a lower model count, not 40k with 50+ models in small-ish games).

        Perhaps part of the painting argument for me comes from barely owning any unpainted models myself. Aside from a used lot of Menoth figures, I have nothing unpainted… at best I have 1 or 2 models unpainted. But I did get into the hobby for painting rather than gaming so…

        I’m not that fond of unpainted armies against me either to be honest. But then again, I also like a gaming table to look cool and scenic.

        And I actually had the worst experience with someone with an unpainted army… because it lacked any kind of unit markings and so, it did end up in an argument where said player kept moving around the wounds on figures because they all looked the same and pretty much did the “no, it was this distinct model”… how can I tell, they all look the same. Mono-pose, unpainted. It’s not particularly to hate the unpainted armies and players thereof, but these kind shenanigans just annoy the heck out of me. And are easier to exploit IMO.

        Bur hey, play with whatever you like 🙂

    • Martin Lucaj

      This. Literally THIS(the opening about time constraints). This is what has been keeping me from getting into AoS or 40k. The entry cost is not what keeps me from playing. I have been reading BoLS for a while and I enjoy the universes for 40k and AoS but the hobby demand side is what makes it so difficult for me to jump in. I read articles and sometimes watch friends play but I barely have time to participate in other hobbies like MTG or Xwing these days let alone the time it would take assemble and paint an army. It seems so daunting to start. Not to mention how long a single game of 40k can be! I know I may be an outlier case but I WISH I could play 40k time permitting. It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy the hobby, I’m just no longer a teenager with all the time in the world for video games and hobby games. The days use to be all the time, never the money, but now its all the money, never the time. /endrant

      • Muninwing

        all the money, never the time… yep.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Glad too see I am not alone.

      • Aezeal

        I’d say buy a well painted army on ebay. I really loved the models I got from somewhere in norway. Matched my colorscheme (well it matched what I’d wanted my colors to be if I’d painted my own models in more than 5 colors at least) and was better than my own work :D. I only like painting big monsters really :D.
        If you don’t have enough time for other hobbies you just shoudnlt get a new one. I abandoned MTG ages ago so now this is my only real hobby.. I mainly want to play games and even that is hard sometimes 😀

  • ZeeLobby

    I wouldn’t really lump all of those into wargames. Infinity is definitely a skirmish based game. Same with X-Wing. I’d say Maulifaux and Dark Age fall into that same category. IMO Infinity starters give you crazy bang for the buck. The terrain reminds me of the GW cardboard terrain of old (sweet sweet Necromunda). They also have one of the best intro systems to the game, ramping up complexity with each mission.

    WMH, 40K and AoS are definitely wargames. BtGoA and BA probably fall in somewhere around here. WMH may have started as a skirmish game, but it’s not really there anymore, and you pay for it. Same with the other two. BtGoA and BA (as well as Mantic’s offerings) are definitely in the affordable range, but the minis really start to suffer to get it to that point.

    Personally, as I’ve gotten older, lugging entire armies around in boxes has started to take it’s toll. It’s nice to be able to fit 2/3 skirmish forces in a box, and play an entire day with multiple game systems. Or just one in a box, and easily load up and head to our local store. That said I can see the appeal of bigger games, but the newer smaller ones have some great diversity at only a fraction of the cost, transportation and effort.

    • More than moving things around, my biggest issue is time. Skirmish games rarely last more than 3 hours including set up and socialization. They also have the advantage of letting me buy multiple factions and have access to multiple playstyles, aesthetics, and storylines.

      • ZeeLobby

        I’m right there with yah. There didn’t use to be skirmish options. Or if there were, they were board games, or poorly developed. But there’s a lot of options out there now, and they’re all pretty stellar. There’s something for everyone. My friend who was still in college used to organize a gaming club, and it was pretty awesome, like 30+ people. But 40K and other big games were rarely played, just because of all the armies, terrain, etc. that you had to bring with and set up, and tear down, etc.

      • Aezeal

        I play 1500 points of AoS in 4 hours (max) incl talk… so a 3 hour game is hardly something I’d consider a skirmish game time saver.

    • Agent OfBolas

      X-Wing is a board game. The rest of those mentioned are real wargames.

      • ZeeLobby

        So what makes it a board game and not the others?

        • Chaoschrist

          Perhaps leaving out a big part of the hobby aspect (painting).

          That’s all I could think of… but then again, would that also mean that playing with unpainted figures reduces a wargame to boardgame as well? As you’re leaving out a big hobby aspect…

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. I don’t think that could be it. For me, a board game has a pre-defined and static layout. For example, I wouldn’t consider Silver Tower a board game. I’d consider it a dungeon crawler, since tiles and outcomes are randomized. X-Wing’s battlefield can be changed and re-arranged, definitely a wargame. I’m trying to think of a board game where you set up terrain and a board with points and list building that I’d actually consider a board game and i can’t.

          • Blood bowl for points/lists, and id call both silver tower and space hulk board games but you use a slightly different definition than I do

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, Blood Bowl would fall under board game for me. It’s a static field that players set pieces on. Outside of dice rolls, there’s no real randomization.

            Space Hulk I’d probably consider a board game. Most scenarios are predetermined with board configurations, and player units.

            Silver Tower is kind of odd for me in general. It’s got board game elements, and lacks the progression found in most dungeon crawlers. I guess dungeon crawlers are just another type of board game.

          • Certainly they are a hybrid, Meant to simplify RPG gameplay into a more digestible format

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, makes sense. Fun to think about though, where lines are drawn.

          • V10_Rob

            “X-Wing is not a wargame because you don’t assemble or paint the models.”

            Half the players in my area throw down with hastily glued minis (mould lines, flash and sprue bits uncleaned), which maybe get primed black if they can be bothered.

            So Warhammer, WMH, Infinity, etc. barely qualify as wargames, either.

  • RuneGrey

    Well, Infinity now has a $113 buy in point for a full 300 point army for a couple factions, which allows you to complete in full up tourney level play. With all the rules available for free and the entire box being one faction, this is probably among the cheapest minimum buy ins for war gaming at this point.

    This is probably the reasonable price point for actually drawing in lots of new players – if you can keep the price point under $150 that will draw in people who are looking to try something new on a lark instead of more hardcore gamers. I’ve not priced it out, but X-Wing and Armada are in theory possible for this price point as well.

    Anything north of $200 is going to be a lot less appealing. Anything north of $300 is getting into the ‘I can make substantial investments in other gaming hobbies instead’ and generally means you’re going to lose most interested players. This is where GW sits most of the time and is probably their biggest problem.

    The sub-$50 starter packs are useful for getting people to try the game out, and this is probably where Privateer Press is able to make a lot of converts. The Getting Started boxes for GW are nice, but ultimately are probably on the high side. For really drawing people in, you probably need to try and cost your system at under the price of a AAA game and then show that there is a notable social component that helps make the money spent a better value.

  • Donald Lindsey

    I love the under $50 price point of Storm of Sigmar and Xwing (and I wish the kill team box was at or under $50)…I hope that upon the release of 8th ed. 40k, GW offers a Storm of Sigmar-like product…even the tiny scenarios in the set are fun.

    Don’t get me wrong…the ~$100 starters for AoS, 40k, and Warmachine are awesome for their value, but it is so much easier to interest new players in an initial investment under $50.

    • euansmith

      I’d ignored Storm of Sigmar as being too tiny to be fun, but you say they’ve got to the effort of including some small scale scenarios to fit the tiny forces? That sounds a lot more interesting.

  • Sam Nolton

    Depends on the scale (skirmish vs. total war scale, etc), but I’d say starter set should never cost more than $100. And to get a FULL army I’d say another $200 is a maximum. That’d be full rules for the army, enough units to play at any tournament’s normal point values, etc.

    • Muninwing

      good luck on that one…

      • Sam Nolton

        Well 40k certainly doesn’t fall into that bracket, but X-Wing does, more or less (plus since it releases in incremental waves, spending is much easier on the wallet). Bolt Action is similarly affordable – a full army box ranges $100-200ish, and you can incrementally add to your force for much cheaper than warhammer.

        • Muninwing

          again, definitions.

          what do you mean by a “full army”

          and do you really have one if you are expanding like that?

        • Hawt Dawg

          Sticks and stones may cost you a strained back, but that’s about it.

          Cheap as hell and comes with the free scenario “Run from the Bear”.

  • SilentPony

    ~Games Workshop

    • Hawt Dawg

      The rectum still sore I see…

  • Xodis

    Have to agree with others here, these games should be separated into Skirmish games and War games, with a possible 3rd option for something in between. Game rules notwithstanding, each box listed is definitely a good to great deal, and even veterans can usually afford to take in a couple extra models of a certain type that is found in beginner boxes. Really it should be broken down to the price point for a “standard” sized army, and analyzed from there. Quite a few of these dont have a “standard” size, only recommended sizes, so its hard to accurately judge IMO, and the water gets even murkier when rules for the models are taken into account.

  • Hendrik Booraem VI

    If you could buy a whole, playable army for $300, then there wouldn’t really be much else to do with the system, would there? You could buy other armies. You could switch to other game systems. But you’d have pretty much run the gamut of your chosen army for that one game system.

    In my opinion, GW has done well to put out the starter sets they’ve done. AOBR and DV were good kits – provided two reasonably good-sized armies, plus rules and everything you needed to play the two armies.

    The addition of Kill-Team is great, and I strongly hope that the “new edition” everyone keeps talking about reorganizes the rule book to provide clear guidance on Kill Team-level skirmishes, Combat-Patrol-level skirmishes, and full-on WH40K battles (with Escalation/Apocalypse available too, although most of Apocalypse has been added straight into the rulebook).

    My thought is that WH40K is a great framework. Starting players with Kill Team means that you could introduce them to the game with $40 of models and another $40 of paint. As they move up and buy more stuff, they could graduate to Combat Patrol, and once they (for example) graduate college and have disposable income, could really start investing in the hobby intensely.

    To that end, I’m trying to get a WH40K club established at the university where I work, with me as a staff advisor. Encouraging students to invest $400 in models and paint is ludicrous, especially when you consider the demands on their time from classes. But a few models, a few games of Kill Team once a month? That should be eminently doable.

    And it should get them hooked. For life.

    On plastic crack.

    • ZeeLobby

      Er… Having played a bunch of games with $300 armies, there’s still tons to do. Change your list, add new units, releases, new campaigns, start new factions, release new factions, release new play rules, minigames, etc.

      Personally I’d just start a gaming club, and see what people are into. At my friends college they had board games, Maulifaux, WMH and 40K going at the same time. No point in alienating the other options. I think a lot of people will enjoy the depth out of the smaller games rather than Kill Teams. You get a lot more bang for your buck. Especially games like guild ball and/or blood bowl, which are super easy to start leagues in, etc. Or X-Wing, where painting isn’t even necessary.

      • TenDM

        Yeah but that’s all sort of optional with Kill Team. It’s not like when you’ve got to buy/paint 1000 points of models and when you finally get it all done everyone still acts like being forced to play less than 1750 with you is the worst thing ever.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean it’s optional with those games as well. I’d honestly say those offer more variety as each trooper is an individual purchase. You’re not buying a unit of 5 terminators and then equipping them. Heck in X-wing you can completely change how your lists play by switching up the cards (which you could just print out). And if your club is only playing KT, you’ll have to do something to keep them coming back. You can only play the same matchups so many times without it feeling stale. Of course this is only my experience with helping the leader of a club.

      • Muninwing

        … which all take money.

        so i suppose this is a definition thing.

        i could (with the help of ebay) spend only $300 and build a great army. it might not be tournament ready, but it would be fun.

        but if i could get a gaming group into a sort of escalation league style game, or if i could regularly play low-points, then that $300 army would teach me how to play well.

        i do not understand why people assume they should be able to just jump up to the level of the long-time players from the starting line, or why people don’t encourage more low-points games. 750 can be a lot of fun, and plays differently than 2500.

        it’s not GW’s responsibility to set the points-values of your games. or what kind of games play at your LGS.

        • ZeeLobby

          Well, so for infinity I spent about $120 on a force, and could easily flesh it out with the extra $180. I agree with what you say though, but most times people just don’t want to play smaller games. At our local FLG everyone wants to play with their big toys, so you rarely see a game that would be considered “intro” size.

          • Muninwing

            i get it. i actually prefer 2000-2500 if i’m not playing less than 1000. but it’s all in the accepted culture of the club. and that can be affected, if not outright changed.

          • ZeeLobby

            True, def easier going down then up though. Going up you lose people along the way. Going down it’s pretty all inclusive.

        • nurglitch

          Armies like Orks, Astra Militarum, and Tyranids come into their own at lower points values.

  • Valeli

    The initial buy in should be cheap, but not /so/ cheap as to create unrealistic expectations of how much a prospective player will be paying in the future (or as to bleed the company’s profits entirely, although it could make sense to have this as a loss-leader).

    How much it takes to build an army is an almost impossible question to answer, as this depends entirely on the game and its scope. I think one might suspect something is seriously amiss if the game starts pricing out a significant percentage of people who were previously playing it though. … not to name any names.

    The last question – maintenance – is a good one. As a customer, I don’t want to (and won’t) continue buying units on a large scale. My house doesn’t have the space to renew my armies every year (or two).

    Releasing new models isn’t a bad way to make profit. You’ll get people to voluntarily buy those if they’re simply better looking or have some value.

    But if you keep fiddling with the army, many people will get upset. My army isn’t a car or an MMO – I shouldn’t have to pay for fuel or pay a subscription to continue playing it. Especially if I’ve paid 100’s to put it together in the first place.

    If a company wants profit sustainability I suggest they look at a) getting new players, b) working with the community – I’d gladly pay some small fees if a company sponsored local tournaments or what not. I’d even be happy to pay (a bit) to let me game in-store, as that’s a legit service that the store is actively providing on an ongoing basis, c) selling products that are inherently reliant on continual purchase (quality but high-priced paints, etc), and d) not neglecting armies for nearly a decade, in an effort to inspire people to purchase multiple lists.

    • Muninwing

      MMOs have been successful because of their regular monthly reliability.

      freemium games have been successful because they fool the player into justifying their purchases.

      these are the current models being used by the related industries. one is simple and dependable, but on the way out. the other is sometimes quite dishonest, but makes more cash. so it depends on what you really want.

      personally, i’d rather see GW make their money from a yearly subscription service.
      – pay a base amount (like $10) to get access to one army’s rules and units.
      – pay more (like $20) to unlock multiple factions and access to a quality army-building program that you could access with a smartphone/computer, and could be coupled to an efficient model organizer system.
      – pay the full price (like $35) and you would get all the rules, all the systems, and a fun yearly bonus model.

      this would allow quarterly updates that went in and fixed the whole game, the ability to add new units as time went on without releasing new books, and the uniformity of the resources.

      then, the Warzone books would be more focused-on sellers, as they would be the current campaigns going on and the current themed events that would be occurring. players could buy them to participate in the events that would be unfolding.

  • Nathaniel Wright

    The rules should be free.

    The models should be 10 cents each every time.

    They should come a thousand to a box and be prepainted+ Preassembled.

    This is what the internet wants.

    • Valeli

      Is it? I certainly don’t want prepainted models.

      I probably don’t want preassembled models either, although I’ll let you argue me down from the ledge on that one if you really want to try.

      • Nathaniel Wright

        Well think about it, all the ‘best’ models were single piece affairs, way back in the dawn of tabletop wargaming!

    • ZeeLobby

      Never seen those requests before, lol. Free rules is pretty common though.

      • Damon Sherman

        PP does it well enough. The core rules are free, and easy enough to get a rulebook through the starter boxes.

        • Muninwing

          the core rules should be available in mini-book version like they used to be… but i do like the larger version too.

      I realize that this is the year for grand unsubstantiated statements, but come on.
      Yes, the rules should be free though or at the very least under $30 (including faction rules).

  • AnomanderRake

    Cost from there to a full army is rather different. Also you’re comparing single-player starters to two-player starters, and ignoring the fact that one of those games is going to charge you another $50-100 for more rulebooks to proceed.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      X-Wing and Warmachine both come with their rules in the box.

      • AnomanderRake

        X-Wing has a terrible rules model, the rulebook keeps getting a bunch of patches stacked on top of the basics (though you can start buying models without knowing everything, so I’ve counted them as having all the rules you actually need in the starter box). Infinity doesn’t really get an answer one way or the other on that qualifier because the rules are a free .pdf, so you have to buy an extra book if you like paper rulebooks but you don’t absolutely have to.

        That particular comment was directed at Dark Vengeance, because despite the core rules being in the box you will need a $50 Codex (for the Dark Angels) or a $50 Codex and a $30 supplement (for the Chaos Marines) to take that and expand it out into playing the full game. The other starter boxes don’t require you to pay more money to get enough rules to play, DV still does.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          X-Wing’s business model basically forces you to buy handful of ships twice a year, which is not bad, per se, it just gets depressing when you need to buy ships for factions you do not play.

          All of X-Wings rules are technically free because FFG releases the rules PDF and all of the cards are spoiled on the wiki. You technically only need to own the card when playing in official events.

          40k’s business model is the most out of date, which is why it will probably be changing once 8th comes out.

  • Frank

    Depends on scale of the game, but in general I have trouble justifying buying into a new game if the starter is more than about $120. I also think that every game should have a decent, affordable 2-player starter. X-Wing is the king when it comes to affordable 2-player intro boxes, but I think the Malifaux 2-player box deserves way more credit than it gets. It’s only $65 and includes completely unique miniatures, all of which are mercenaries. That means that you won’t be buying useless figures or extras when you finally settle on your faction.

  • splashmummy

    I’m a bit surprised the ‘kill team’ boxset didn’t show up here as a cheaper entry to 40k than Dark Vengeance. Is it available in the States?

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Yeah, but the E-book’s marginally cheaper and you aren’t stuck with units you won’t use.

      • TenDM

        Yeah but it’s just two units. It’s not like Dark Vengeance where it’s two 500 point armies. Plus you get the Kill Team rules and the mini rulebook (which I always prefer over the big one).

        That said I would like it if they released multiple versions. They’re just repackaging Troop choice kits, so they could probably do Eldar vs Orks, Tau vs Tyranids, etc the same way they did the different versions of that Death From the Skies game.

  • Mike X (Official)
  • Damon Sherman

    I think the end cost isn’t the issue, but making it possible to feel like a full game from the start.

    like, if I can enjoy it without coughing up $300 right from the start and learn the game until I’m ready to build up a full army is a good thing to aim for.

    Like, imagine, i just got into warmachine and picked up a cygnar box and play a few games of it because I thought I could make a tanky melee force. But after playing a few games and doing some research, that maybe trollbloods or khador offer what I wanted better than the cygnar. I’m not so invested in cygnar because i didn’t have to sink in the $300 right from the start while I learned the game. So changing armies wasn’t that huge of a time and money loss.

    • TenDM

      This is precisely what I needed from Warhammer 40,000 back when I was a kid. I brought a bunch of Imperial Guard then figured out that I’d over invested in Guardsmen, couldn’t afford to buy the metal weapon team models I needed, and even if I had every model I wanted they weren’t going to play in a way I enjoyed.
      If I had of played a single Kill Team game using the Start Collecting set they have now I think I would have realised that and went with a different army.

  • TenDM

    What I like about the Age of Sigmar starter set is that it’s so cheap and small that you can justify buying it, playing a game, throwing the models in the bin and picking a new faction. Same with Kill Team. You’re not pressured to decide between wasting a pile of models and playing a faction you enjoy.
    I think X-Wing does it perfectly. I see the X-Wing core set as a box of tokens, templates, dice and cards that also comes with three bonus practice ships. It gives you the ability to play a small scale game to see if you like it but you still get the freedom to pick your own ships (although X-Wing is relatively cheap so that’s not a huge problem).

    For me that’s more important than the cost of continuing to play. If I get into a game I’ll happily pay a reason price to venture further into it, but there’s a much higher chance of me getting into the game if the entry point is cheap and clean.

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Warzone runs about $48, Core rules coming out in a few weeks another $50.

  • Benjamin E

    How much should buying all the way in to a wargame for a single faction and a full sized army? Like, 50-60% less than GW thinks it should.

  • wasted1138

    It depends on whether you’ve had a chance to try it out first. Without knowing if I’ll enjoy playing it, I’d not want to invest more than £30.00 in a new game.

    • Muninwing

      this is a fair point.

      meaning that suddenly the GW stores — and promoting intro games and other newb-friendly activities — suddenly become relevant.

      or, having registered clubs who run funded promo events for newbs are new relevant.

      you know… things that GW has been paring back on, or eliminating?

  • Frank O’Donnell

    As much as a person want’s it to is the simple answer, eg if your only spending a few pounds/euros/dollars or what ever & having fun then all is good, the same if your spending thousands, but if your not enjoying it then stop no matter how much money you’ve already spent on it.

  • Seienchin

    I dont think that any starter set is priced too high (with exception of KD but they were small when they started) and only a few things need adjustment sometimes but the starter set really needs to focus on starters and should have two different variants: 1 variant with only one army and 1 variant for two armies. Some players already get into a game influenced by their friends and they dont need 2 huge plastic armies. Its overkill and actually make people lose interest.

  • Horus84cmd

    Really not that complicated; as much as a person is willing to pay for the enjoyment they get from it – which is a individual and personal choice.

    Now…..Move along. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    • Hawt Dawg

      True dat!

    • Muninwing

      while it is an individual choice, and a personal one, that’s not a real answer. because behaviors fall into patterns, and some patterns are unsustainable or weak.

      if GW marketed toward only the new players, they would have to constantly find new markets to expand into in order to replace the older players who quit in disgust.

      if they only catered toward the neckbearded grognards who complain online, they would never breathe new life into the game.

      if they didn’t pay attention to what people buy and why, we’d see another rebirth of the “we’re a model company” era of nonsense and reduced quality in everything but the actual models.

      all of that is a choice, and can be analyzed and treated as such.

      • Horus84cmd

        hmmm…uh-huh uh-huh…You don’t say….uh-huh uh-huh…that’s nice…uh-huh uh-huh….oh you’re being serious?

        If any of that where true then there would not be a market for things like these… I especially feel the want for the one from Tiffany’s

        • Muninwing

          i have absolutely no idea what you think that means, or what relevance it has to an actual discussion.

          try again with something remotely on topic and worth saying?

  • Heinz Fiction

    I’d prefer to have a solid playable army for not more 100-200€. This is usually no problem in skirmishers but also possible in mass battle games (e.g. Kings of War: 100 minis for 120€).

  • From my own perspective / experience, the cost of a wargame depends on its scale. This is one reason (of several) why people prefer skirmish games. The cost is very low.

    Mass battle games used to be that people would be ok with paying a little more, until cheap companies like mantic set the bar in the basement and now thats what everyone wants regardless of the quality.

    The problem with low quality for me is that it ruins why I play in the first place: the spectacle.

    However based around my own experience it would seem a fully playable game regardless of scale should be around $125-$150, with a $200 ceiling being acceptable.

    That unfortunately for me means mass scale games are largely ignored by a large chunk of our community, which are my preferred avenues of play.

    • Hawt Dawg

      True but for others like me where money is of no problem, skirmish games are better because it needs less painting, less preparing, and usually are quicker games. Currently my favorite game is Warmahordes and while the game amount of models I have is by far higher than any GW game I have ever owned, it takes only a few models or a beast to change a list or how I play.

      I would love to see most of my gaming buddies start with even smaller model count games like Blood Bowl or Frostgrave, but they seem to be stuck with either Warmahordes or 40K.

  • JonnyRocket

    A starter set should be less than $120 and have enough minis for two players along some cardboard terrain pieces like the 2nd Edition 40K box.
    Infinity card terrain sets are pretty cheap and easy to use and they give you fun building to use quickly.

  • Hawt Dawg

    Money be damned!

    How much time do I have, or how much time I am willing to spend that is the key factor.

  • vyrago

    another Larry Vela GW propaganda piece. I swear, he’s like the Russia Today of GW spin.

  • Muninwing

    painting is a hobby
    models are a hobby
    conversions and sculpting are hobbies

    meaning that if you want “a game” you can sell prepainted preposed materials and just play with those. and they should be cheap. because that’s a game, which is a step up from “just toys” but not into the territory of “hobby” yet.

    hobbies are expensive, because they are what you pour luxury-level money into. and, as hobbies go, warhammer stuff and other minis wargames are actually pretty cheap.

    so i have a hard time with the “should” involved here.

    would i love to get stuff cheaper? sure, if quality and variance did not suffer. but i like not needing to go buy metal blisters to get my heavy weapons or sergeants with different weapon kits. i like the quality materials. i like the quality sculpts. i like feeding my bitzbox with every release.

    but to each their own, i suppose…

    • I never understood the push to make 40K the Polo of the tabletop. Want to play? First you need a horse… It doesn’t do much to keep the riff raff out, it just gives you wealthier riff raff.

      I think what Larry is trying to ask here is how high the barrier to entry should be. If the game scales well and community is welcoming, then there is no reason that you can’t enjoy it without luxury level spending. I spend about $75 a year on models, maybe twice that if I get some extra cash (Overtime or tax returns) The rest of what I get comes from gifts. The problem with 40k is that the game does not scale well and the community is toxic. Focusing on the price of 40K DV, for example, ignores these factors.

      • Muninwing

        to be clear, when i say “luxury” i’m talking about the pricing model and function, not the idea of the effete rich keeping the lower classes in their place.

        i will agree that much of the GW community is toxic. i think that it hits the middle of a triple venn, where the crusty grognards, the entitled neckbeards, and the internet troll kids all overlap. but that’s even something that GW could exert control over — do outreach and club setup, encourage the formation of groups and networks, treat their consumers with dignity instead of derision.

        right now, i can’t say i spend nothing per year (though i could and i’d still have stuff to paint for awhile), but i spend less than i used to. and some of my spending is ebay or the like. but i also understand that the game is a hobby, not a game, not a set of toys, no matter what other people view it as or how other people believe it should be priced. and as a hobby, it competes for time and money on a hobby-level of scale.

        if i spent what i do on minis to play golf, i’d have a crappy set of clubs and play rarely. if i spend it on sports i’d go to a couple of (non-championship) games a year and have 1-2 items of themed clothing. if i spent it on restoring classic cars, i’d have a single shiny fender.

        every time i see the phrase “barrier to entry” i wonder where the person who wrote it got it from. because it’s bandied around a *lot* with assumptions but without accurate definition. here alone, people have raised the issue of paints and other supplies as being a part of that barrier. even though you can theoretically play with unpainted models.

        and with some of the starters out there being good for small scale (how many people bought secondhand DV models to field surprisingly large DW/RW forces for surprisingly little?) or with adaptations that can flesh out their armies (like mantic undead used to do for VC?), and the ubiquitous ebay scrounging, there are plenty of options to make a representative force that you can start with at a reasonable level.

        but people want fresh and new, they want the end result, and they want it now. despite the market they are trying to enter.

        so i guess i wonder how much the change is actually possible. lots of potential new customers who may not stick around might howl for change, but that may not affect the overall market the company is attempting to work with.

        • The barrier to entry as I define it is how much it costs to play the full game. I wouldn’t include paint or terrain. As I said, scaling and community would fix GW’s issues with new players far better than price drops. I do think a codex is a barrier. 40k can be played at lower point totals, but still requires a decent chunk of change be spent on rules. What 40k needs is community building. Even though it has significantly less of it locally than any other games, it actually needs it more because of the points costs the game is generally played at.
          Here’s my basic math at the moment. 40k, Malifaux, Infinity, and Guild Ball are competing for my dollars. Since I don’t have the 7th Ed rule book or the AM codex, I’m looking at $50 or so (eBay), to be able to play with the models I already have. For a new player, that’s $50 in lost models from the start. That’s a barrier. You can also consider that you can field a fully functional force in those games for about a $100. One can argue that 40k is a different beast, but the basic function is the same.

          • Muninwing

            firstoff, i’m also of the belief that GW should offer official club memberships…

            that if you and a handful of friends register, you could get access to some basic benefits.

            that if you had more than that (maybe the 10-20 member range), you could get access to club rules as if you were buying a copy of each codex and sharing them

            and that at higher levels you’d get access to more. and by joining these clubs (maybe with membership feels for the larger size), you’d be encouraged to network and play more (which would increase buying), but you would also have more access to leagues and tournaments and events, and thus feel more like you were included in something.

            there are a ton of dues/subscription models that could work for GW with rules. and more legal than torrenting the rules until you’re sure you like them (which a know a handful of people who do, and why i don’t think that rules are a barrier to entry so much as a later purchase)

            i think you will find that depending on who you play with and where you play, people will have different expectations and requirements, meaning that “barrier to entry” will in fact mean something different to different people.

  • Aezeal

    It also depends on the quality of the models compared to the competition…

    • Hawt Dawg


      As a Warmahordes player I would be quite mad if I bought models from other companies that didn’t need a roll of greenstuff, boiling water, a sack of ice, an Inpector Gadget knife, and a note that learns you how to count to ten…

  • nurglitch

    Cost should be commensurate to value. In other words, the cost should be such that enough people consider that cost less than the value they would receive spending it. The more value you offer, the most people will be willing to pay. I’m willing to pay quite a lot because I get quite a lot of value out of my wargaming hobbies.

    • DJ860

      Exactly this. It’s not all about low price, it’s about the value you’ll get from the money you’ve spent.

  • erion

    GW has really blurred the lines of what a “Playable Army” might be by using Formations and Battle Scrolls. They can throw any combination of models into a box for either 40k or AoS, slap a couple of special rules and a snazzy “Name of Naming” on them, and call it a playable force within the context of the rules.

  • Agent OfBolas

    for me Icestorm wins. Best value and really great 2 armies to play, with bonus battlefield.

    X-Wing will ruin your wallet fast as those 3 ships are not the droids you are looking for as for playing you need all of released ships (yup, this means a lot of $$), same as GW starters where you get not as that playable models in terms of competitive army.

    Not to mention the most balanced and fair rules. For me, personally – Infinity wins here (and I own all of those staters 🙂 )

  • I look at the hobby pretty differently. While I enjoy 40K I get most of my pleasure out of building and painting models. Gaming is a fun way to show off an army I’ve finished, I love the cinematic moments, but the only thing that really influences my buying choices are formations, because I do enjoy GW giving specific examples of unit composition for different factions. I usually build an army and work on side projects over the course of a year, then start thinking about getting it in foam and playing with it

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    A starter should be as cheap as you can make it and have enough models in it to represent a small standard game with it. Preferably, it will include models that you will actually use going forward. Also, a standard rulebook (or free rules online) is preferable.

    X-Wing, Warmachine and AoS all do a fair job at that. AoS’s new starter set is a little light on the models, while Warmachine and X-Wing give you quite a bit of peripheral stuff.

    Also, the two player starter sets for Warmachine are solid as you get 2 starter sets plus two units for just 20 dollars more (so 10 per person).

  • Balazra

    I tend to have the passion for painting, and modelling, I’m not great but I know how to compleat a project to a good standard and in a timely manner.
    Many of my friends don’t have the time to do the modelling or painting. So i paint and model for them and for every two jobs I do I get a somthing for my self 🙂 basically I get to goby for free this way and have friends to play games with.