Gaming on a Budget: Let’s Get L33T

Want to start a new army, but don’t have a lot of money to spend?  Well you don’t have to go running for one of those fringe skirmish games that only the weird kid who smells like cheese at your FLGS plays.  It’s time to put your bloated, mainstream army on a diet.

Today’s mantra is a simple one:  Less is More.

Keep reading for some practical tips for saving money by shrinking your model count.

 Now don’t get me wrong, I’m probably the first person to go running towards the newest army around that plays like a horde, but lately I’ve been doing some thinking about expanding into a new army, but with my recent career change, am not left too flush in the cash department.  The answer for me was a simple one- find the most badass, elite army out there and rock them like a hurricane.

Why elite?  Well, be it better training, better equipment, or both; elite armies in any gaming system that makes even a modicum of sense will probably cost more points.  More points equals less models which, in general, means spending less money.  As an added personal bonus, since I’ve never played a huge beatstick elite army in all of my 17 or so years of gaming, this is going to be a challenge for me.  The armies I typically gravitate towards have high model counts like Skaven, Menoth, Imperial Guard, Tyranids, etc.  It’ll be like Neal Peart re-learning different drumming technique mid-career, though I’m probably not as good a gamer as Peart is a drummer.  Screw it, the judges are going to let the simile stand anyway.

I know math is hard, but you can figure it out

It’s no secret that I’ve been working diligently on an Ogre Kingdoms army.  They’re a pretty classic example of a good solid army with a low model count.  The size of the models makes them a little bit of an aberration, but I still submit that they $/point ratio for them will, on the whole, be among the best in WFB.  Random snippets of that endeavor can be found here and here.  Click those links for details, but the Cliff’s Notes version of that army is that it’s constructed not only with a low model count, but also basically from 3 battalion box sets (scored for $60 a pop when the market was low on OK) and like 4 more kits.  That’s cheap by WFB standards.

If WFB is on your radar, there are plenty of good army choices to be had.  High Elves are always  classic standby as are Warriors of Chaos.  With both of those armies you’re getting some of the best stat lines in the game and for that you will pay a price- in points, not monies.  This translates to a low final model count and will likely save you money.  In past editions, I’d also say that adding a big monster centerpiece to your force is a good way to add high points, low cost eliteness, but those bastards are basically just canon bait nowadays.

40k more your style?  Well, play any marine army and you’re pretty much good to go on the elite tip.  Certainly that’s an oversimplification, but if you’re looking for a relatively low model count and an army with a good learning curve, you can’t go wrong with the boys in power armor.  There are many flavors to choose from and some of those will yield better playability.  Many have had great success with mostly Terminator Space Wolves armies.  Just about anything Grey Knights will be ridiculous and have super low model counts.  Value wise, though buying a bunch of Ravenwing boxes to make a biker army may be one of the cheapest ways to go elite.

Beyond Marines in all of their flavors, things get a little dicier for 40k players.  Eldar are probably a more classic example of an elite army, but let’s face it- it’s hard to pull off and not necessarily cheap.  Unless you are a staunch believer in the power of footdar, you’re going to spend a ton on transports for your fragile units.  Yeah, some of the aspect warriors are pretty great on their own, but only get better when they have a magic bus to ride around in.  Unless you feel like walking those fire dragons across the table hunting tanks that can easily outmaneuver them.

Shifting gears, you may be stepping outside the GW playground a bit like I am right now.  I’ve got a pretty decent German army going and cold represent many different forces in the late war from Panzerkompanien to Panzergrenadiere.  Now, they’re fairly elite, certainly more so than any Russian human wave, but he models counts aren’t as low as they can be.

Honestly, Germans may provide for one of the lowest model count forces in the history of gaming- like less models in a 1500-2000 point army than in a skirmish game.  Und zwar- Die Schwere Panzerkompanie… errr, sorry, the German heavy tank company.  Backed by the Tiger or the even more expensive Porsche Tiger, you can seriously run working lists that feature just over 5 models. 

This is where the new army itch catches me.  I’d like a new FoW army.  In the past, I’ve focused on tanks a lot, though, and decided to eschew the ridiculousness of the Tiger tank.  Instead of the boss equipment route, I’m going for the extreme training route.  I’ll starting a a late war 2. Fallschirmjaeger (paratroopers for those of you not in the know).  I’ve been impressed with Infantry’s survivability in FoW, so I figured why not take an army that will be hard to move out of defended position and is also damn near impossible to make run away.

Here’s a tentative list for what my 2. FJ Kompanie might look like:

 

So in all, we have about 30 infantry models with a few mortars and a pair of PaK 40 antitank guns added on.  Not too shabby model wise.  Just need to test it to make sure it works on the table…

I’ve only really mentioned 3 gaming systems, but there are plenty of other popular ones out there where you can apply the less is more strategy for saving money.  I’ve long since been over the game, but if you’re into Warmahordes, you can’t go wrong by picking one of the red armies (not commies, that’s in FoW).  I’m sure there are even places to apply the method in Infinity or Malifaux or whatever other game you’re playing.

I’m out for now.  Happy gaming and go save some money1

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