40K: GW Crafts A Game for Every Budget

With their newly unveiled starter sets, GW is casting a wide Warhammer 40,000 net for gamers of every budget.

Dark Imperium kicked off 8th Edition with a bang. $160, got you two decent armies (53 all new minis), and entirely new unknown faction (Primaris), and a full hardcover rulebook.  Nicely done GW.  All of the hardcore fanatics ran out and bought it. The game stands up proudly to previous big boxed starters from GW for their mainline games.  Still though, $160 might be a bit of a stretch for newcomers, or those who are just “testing the waters” of this whole tabletop wargaming thing.  In the past GW has a hard time snagging these customers who were easily steered into the cheaper starter sets of competing games by eager FLGS staff looking for a sale.  But no more.

The two Starter sets below reflect a 3-tiered approach to potential customers by GW. Now they offer a midrange and budget offering for the more casual players. While we don’t know exact prices, it’s not too difficult to make an educated guess.  Take a good look at the just released Age of Sigmar Thunder and Blood starter set and the Know No Fear set.

Hmmm, that looks mighty similar in contents to Know No Fear. Thunder & Blood is $80.  I would pencil that in for Know No Fear and see how far off we are.

Moving on, we see the teensy First Strike boxed set with it’s tiny handful of minis.  This is the type of product designed for giving as a gift, or almost as an impulse buy.  Again, we have no prices, but it looks really similar to the $33 Storm of Sigmar set.  The First Strike box looks to have all new minis and some more accessories like the mat, but I’d be shocked if it’s too much above $50.


We’ll get more details in the next week, but overall it’s looking like for the first time, may ever – it’s a good time to get into 40K no matter your budget.

~What’s your take on GW’s 3-tiered Starter Set strategy?

  • Severius_Tolluck

    I may do the smaller ones to add to my collection, as I do not really need to do a full army, and if those are the prices sounds fair.

    • ZeeLobby

      yeah, the smaller one fits nicely for DG. 3 more PMs fill out the 7-man squad from the Dark Imperium, and who can’t use more poxwalkers.

      • CloakingDonkey

        yeah the poxwalkers are different sculpts as well so they’ll add some nice variation for the Dark Imperium box as well =)

  • Heinz Fiction

    Well, thats all nice and fine but 2 units and a character aren’t an army. You’ll still have to spend serveral hundres Dollars to be able to play a small scale 1000P game. And significantly more if you chose to play a horde army. I’d like to see some affordable basic troop choices for around 1$ per model. I’d be ok with snap fit in that case.

    • orionburn

      This is what hurts. I’ve been building up a Nids army and while the big box sets they were a good value it’s everything else that kills. Given that most elites and heavies are $60-75 range hurts…bad. Lower troop costs would at least ease the pain a bit.

      • Karru

        Yeah, I’ve been saying it for a long while that GW should release “horde bundles” in a similar way that they did with the Tyranid Swarm box, but slightly better. Like the Swam box would be great, remove the ‘Fex, make it around 100€, boom, now you have something to at least encourage people to play horde armies.

        For Guard, a simple “Infantry Platoon” box would do miracles for Infantry Guard Armies. Around 100€ – 125€, 30 Guardsmen, 12 Heavy Weapons Squads, 1 Command Squad. That way you can make 3 Infantry Squads with Heavy Weapons, 1 Squad of Special Weapons (as you have 6 models over from the Heavy Weapons), 3 Heavy Weapons Squads and 1 Command Squad.

        Basically they need to do boxes with just BASIC Infantry units for horde armies. Guard, Orks and Tyranids would be more common this way.

        • Fergie0044

          Deamons could also benefit from this. Currently my cultists and plague bearers pull double duty as each other depending on which army I’m playing with.
          No doubt when I get some poxwalkers they’ll be just as flexible…

        • TenDM

          I’d love it, but I don’t think that would sit too well with independent retailers who would be expected to hold at least a few sets in stock. Making it cheaper would help but they take a lot of shelf space, cost a lot of money and tend to be very fickle with the demand for the models inside. Even GW stores don’t want to deal with that.

          The Swarm box is a good example. Gargoyles, Horms, Terms and a Carnifex. There’s always one or two things in that box that are useless for a Tyranids player. It changes pretty often so a Swarm box can sit there for years.
          I want to start playing Blood Angels properly and the box set does nothing for me. Very hit and miss.

          Personally I think they need to just double the content in the boxes for things like Guardsmen without slapping more than a 10% price increase on it. I remember my first Guardsmen boxes had 20 models. I’m not sure how the price compared to a box of Space Marines at the time but I don’t think the difference was huge.
          The Tyranid swarm units don’t exactly lead me to believe they invested so much in the sculpt designs that they can’t afford to lower the price per gaunt.

          • Karru

            Before, 20 Guardsmen was 30€, 10 Tactical Marines was 30€ as well.

            Guard is in one of the worst position ever which is why they need to give them a good deal on Infantry units. Currently, to have “fully equipped” Infantry Squad, you have to pay 54€ for that. The 10-man Squad with most options, excluding most special weapons and sergeant gear, for 23€ and then the Heavy Weapons Squad for 31€ so you can get yourself the Heavy Weapons Team for that squad.

            That is not a good way to “encourage” people to play Guard. The other problem with Guard is that they smack Tanks into every single bundle recently which hikes up the price. Cadian Defence Force for example is an amazing deal, but won’t give you much in terms of Infantry, which you still need in ridiculous amounts. Same thing with the Start Collecting! Box, they put the Leman Russ in there, again making it a less of a deal suitable for Guard.

            Even just small 50-60€ boxes comparable to old Battleforces would be amazing. For Guard for example, 30 Guardsmen and 3 Heavy Weapons for 60€ would help quite a bit. For ‘Nids, 60€ for 20 Termagaunts and 20 Hormagaunts. For Orks, 60€ for 40 Boys and a unit of Nobz.

        • orionburn

          I like the tiered approach they’re doing with the Primaris stuff. I think the start collecting boxes are a great value, so even if that was your entry point it’s not bad. Then offer a second tier bundle around the $150 range, and maybe a third tier that’s $200-250 but gets you seriously setup for a new army.

          Even if they didn’t necessarily go for all big sets make the infantry boxes bigger and at a better value. I realize that some are limited due to how the sprues are designed (like Genestealers coming in at an annoying box of 8). After doing Nids I will never do a horde army again. Not that any army is cheap, but it’s way too expensive for hordes.

    • Horus84cmd

      Gosh! Its like they are starter sets, or something, designed to encourage people into the hobby and engage enough to encourage more purchases………..

  • stinkoman

    looks like they are targeting folks starting deathguard and PMarines

    • Horus84cmd

      or targeting, you know, new hobbyist with a range of budgets….

      • stinkoman

        or hobbyists starting deathguard or PMarines (because that’s what comes in the box). you know…

        • ZeeLobby

          shhh. Apparently these are made of plastic and can therefore be melted down into any faction 😀

          • stinkoman

            melted down… into plague bearers 🙂

        • Randy Randalman

          For now, yes, because that’s the upcoming campaign. As the storyline progresses, we will get boxed sets reflective of that.

  • Luca Lacchini

    First Strike looks promising, with minis that complement well the ones in the Dark Imperium set, with brand new sculpts to boot.
    I’ll probably get one.

    Know No Fear OTOH is a bit of a conundrum.
    People not interested in the new minis (Primaris or Death Guard) have bought the stand alone manual.
    People interested in the minis have bought the Dark Imperium set.
    Maybe it’s for those who like the minis but not willing to step into 8th edition?

    • Horus84cmd

      These sets are simple not for existing gamers. Whilst, Dark Imperium maybe also have a focus on existing players, all three are squarely aimed at starters.

      First Strike is a clever one. As someone who buys that gets a nice start at low cost and if they enjoy the hobby then either of the other two set make fantastic follow up purchases. They are all great for hobbyist, whatever level of engagement.

      • Luca Lacchini

        I see, starting gamers will have a variety of choices.
        First Strike is clever indeed, as it has something very interesting for those who have bought the Dark Imperium set too.
        If only the characters in Know No Fear would have been original sculpts, the set would have become a great value just for everyone.

  • Eric Ambrose

    Do we know the size of those mats? They look a bit small

    • Luca Lacchini

      Judjing on the rulers placed on the side, and assuming they are on scale with the mats, First Strike looks 12″*12″ or 18″*18″ (a bit weird), whilst Know No Fear seems a 18″*36″ (again, a bit weird).

      • stinkoman

        i think first strike may be more 18×18. but KNF looks like 18×36

    • Horus84cmd

      I would say:
      First Strike is 1.5’x2′
      Known No Fear is 3’x3′

  • Nosebleed

    Why didn’t GW just release these all on launch day? I know some tricks they do is from a sales perspective, and I totally agree with it. However, this seems awfully opportunistic.

    • Horus84cmd

      I feel you’ve answered your own question there. Although I would not call it opportunistic, just a solidly planned release strategy.

    • Business strategy. GW is a public traded for-profit company. Poor business stragies = go out of business.

      • ZeeLobby

        Yeah. In the end it’s just numbers. If they make more sales doing a bait and switch, than they lose from disgruntled players due to it, it’s a win for them.

  • ZeeLobby

    Def a good way to start the addiction, lol. In reality you’re still going to spend a significant chunk of change to build a full army. Having got some 8th edition under the belt, I also can’t help but feel like the smallest starter is just going to get boring really fast. Was smart for them to use different sculpts though, to guarantee sales.

    • Grasshopper

      They should put the Armageddon rules into the small sets. That would make them more entertaining for a longer time.

      • ZeeLobby

        Ooo. That’d be a good idea. It’d at least make games more interesting.

    • Cergorach

      Well, the cheapest starter is going to be 16GBP (online with a discount) and has different minis from the 40GBP and 76GBP boxes. Someone can start with a 16GBP box, start playing and painting and buy the larger box at a later time…

  • They are doing well. The last year and a half or so… they’ve shown a lot of good things to both the playerbase and to the investment stockholders.

  • Xodis

    First Strike being the First Expansion to your Dark Imperium box is awesome. Terrain and New Sculpts???? Who the hell is this company lol.
    Glad they made a starter to bring in new people though instead of the commitment starter thats mainly for veterans.

  • So is that ‘terrain’ box just the inside of the box turned inside out?

    • Horus84cmd

      Yep. Pretty ingenious, really turning the box into something practical that can be used by brand new hobbyist in a functional way.

      • Mr.Gold


  • Michael Bradbury

    I like these smaller 40K sets – just wish I’d known about them before dropping £95 on Dark Imperium!

  • Honestly if First Strike ends up around the $35 mark, I’ll probably get it just for the Rievers.

  • Eric Ambrose

    I saw the ruler, but didn’t want to assume it was actual scale. Ya never know with tricky marketing! lol