Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The 4 Mantras of 40k: You Gotta Pay to Play

Keeping it Positive: The 4 Mantras for 40k

You gotta pay to play

Patron God: Khorne. "Cash for the Cash God, debt for the debt throne"

A co-worker once used this phrase to explain why our agency was interested in purchasing a property for public hunting access. (Warning Economics Content) I had sent him an article about how prices for agricultural land could be artifically high because of the Federal Reserve's quantiative easing. His response was that the land was for sale now, and not in the future when prices would potentially be lower (or higher). He then stated "You gotta PAY to PLAY." This mantra holds as true for land acquisition as it does for the 40k hobby.

Being in the hobby since 2001 has taught me the following: GW will always, always, always increase prices, and do it by more than the cost of inflation. Part of this is the dramatic increase in the quality of the plastics. Part of it is the price of inputs. Part of it is a desire for profits. The only thing that matters to me, as the consumer, is that the longer I put off buying something I want, the MORE it will inevitibly cost new (and potentially used on Ebay). This is a universal truth of our hobby, and an immmutable law like gravity or thermodynamics. GW will always and inevitibly raise prices, and not amount of complaining, negativity, nor internet rants will ever change their business model. And as people leave GW for other rules and model alternatives, GW will continue to raise prices, because that's what they do, despite the fact that lower prices might bring their estranged customers back to the fold.

A 40k player in this for the long haul must come to terms with the Law of Price Increases. There are postitive ways to deal with price increases and the overall expense of the hobby. Complaining on the internet, to friends, or your family is not a one of them.

Plan your purchases ahead of time: When you are making an army, make sure you plan out what you are going to buy. 1500 or 2000 points is a good amount of models to shoot for. After this core forces is assembled and PAINTED, then branch out, one unit or option at a time, to experiment with. This saves you the expense of having models on the shelf that are unplayable (leman russ executioner) in the short run.

Buy for the Fluff, not for the Crunch: In the long run, GW will inevitibly make some units better Cruch wise and other units worse. You can't control that, see Mantra #2. But if you love the models you buy because of their look or background, you'll play with them even if they aren't the best (rough riders). At worse, you can always use a cool model as a proxy or counts-as.

Buy only what you need from GW direct: This includes metal and finecast bits. Some things you just HAVE to buy from GW, like webstore exclusives, new metal conversion bits, and the like. But

Online discount retailers are your friends: Personally, I buy as much new stuff as I can from Neal at the War Store. I know there are others, but I really like the company and their selection. Shipping is cheap and they have Maxmini conversion bits.

Ebay is your friend: From used models to bits stores (windowbox is my favorite source), Ebay is a 40k gamer's best friend. There is a ton of "churn" in the 40k community, with players growing dissatisfied with one FOTM (flavor of the month) army and selling it to finance a new one, or players who simply want out.

Never sell an army, especially on Ebay: This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I've sold 2 fully painted armies on ebay, my Steel Legion and my Cadian Infantry army with 3 resin vultures. At the time I sold them I needed the money. But I do miss them and will eventually recollect and repaint replacement forces. I've always come back to 40k after breaks, sometimes lasting 1 or 2 years, and stuff is always more expensive when I return. If you sell your army, you are throwing cash and value away! If you must sell it, sell it to a friend who will use it and care for it, and potentially sell it back to you if you ever want it again.

That's it for now. Next time we tackle Tzneech's favorite mantra, Change is the only constant.


  1. An excellent post, I buy what I can from local stores too to support them where I can. Particularly agree with buying for the fluff, and ultimately the last point - I couldn't part with any of my minis, even the ones that are hidden away most of the time. I know I'd just miss them when they went. Similarly I couldn't buy an army from eBay, models yes, but a whole painted army as lovely as it might be has no real meaning to me personally

  2. I have to agree with you Kieran. I once got a painted sisters army off craigslist for a fantastic deal. It was painted to a tabletop quality. I rarely play with them, as I don't have the same attachment to the models as the ones I built and painted myself.

    I do think you can sell old armies though. If you enjoy building and painting your models, selling one of your older sets will just inspire you to build and paint anew...and the new models you build and paint, will be of vastly higher quality then your old ones. (due to the skill you will have accrued over time).

    1. That's a good point about the improvement and that is the downside of keeping old armies. What I tend to do though is go back and improve them where possible, and generally most of what I've put together over the years has been conversion heavy and had just as much work (if not more) put into the fluff (which is what it's all about for me). So there's extra attachment as the army is unique(ish) and the prospect of getting rid of it or having to do it all over again would be daunting...