Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cost of starting a new army

We've all seen them.  Price comparisons between Warmachine/Hordes and 40k.  However, since I am currently building a Trollbloods force, I am hyper-aware of how much a full force costs.  Granted, there are lots of sites out there that offer discounts or buyer-rewards programs, but at the end of the day, it's still quite expensive to start a new faction for any game system.  This has also become even more apparent for me as I pondered updating my Tyranid force to playable strength, thinking that Mawlocs might be a wise investment for dealing with tanks.  At any rate, today I wish to compare the cost of the 50 point Trollblood I will be starting, and a 1750 point Tyranid army - both of which I believe are the most expensive armies for their respective game systems.

Doomshaper Runes of War - 50 points
pDoomshaper (+7)
- Mulg the Ancient (12)
- Earthborn Dire Troll (10)
- Troll Bouncer (5)
- Pyre Troll (5)
- Trollkin Runebearer (2)
Krielstone Bearer (full, 4)
- Stone Scribe Elder (1)
Janissa Stonetide (3)
Trollkin Runeshapers (3*)
Trollkin Runeshapers (3*)
Trollkin Runeshapers (3*)
Trollkin Runeshapers (3*)
Trollkin Runeshapers (3*)

So what is the retail cost?  $462.85  Ouch!  With Runeshapers being $41 per box, almost half of the price of the army is just in Runeshapers alone!  Fortunately, I've been able to find the army one some unnamed online discount retailer for only $347.10, which is still a big chunk of change, but it includes free shipping.
$41 for 3 models (however gorgeous they may be)
is a tough pill to swallow

Okay, now let's compare to a 1750 point Tyranid list.  I will only be including models available via retail (aka no Tervigons) to keep things fair.  Tyranids can fortunately be made on the cheaper side when considering conversions, adding upgrades (which don't mean buying anything else), etc.  I think that 1750 is an appropriate scale comparison to a 50 pt. game in Warmachine/Hordes, as it's a solid "competitive" level, although one could also argue that it's more like 2000 points.  For fairness, let's compare to 1750, since you can use upgrades to really bump it up to 2000 points quite easily, and I won't really list the upgrades I'd like to take because they are irrelevant for this exercise:

Sample Tyranid Army - 1750
HQ  Hive Tyrant - 200
Elites  3x Hive Guard - 150
Elites  3x Hive Guard - 150
Elites  Deathleaper - 140
Troops  20 Hormagaunts - 200
Troops  20 Termagaunts - 100
Troops  20 Termagaunts - 100
Troops  10 Genestealers (w/ Broodlord) - 200
Heavy  Mawloc - 170
Heavy  Mawloc - 170
Heavy  Mawloc - 170

So how does the Tyranid list compare?  As you can see, there's lots of room for upgrades, so we could easily stretch this to 2000 points (something that can't happen in WM/H).  What's the retail price, however?  $633.25.  Once again, you can find discounts online, but at ~137% the pricetag, it's still more expensive.
So much promise
So much disappointment

Is it worth it?  I guess that's for each individual to decide for him or herself.  I think that, in the end, Warmachine/Hordes is just as expensive as 40k, but the entry cost is lower.  With the battleboxes or the two-player box, the entry cost can drop even lower, but even with Trolls being the most expensive army out there, it's still cheaper to start from the ground-up than a comparable 40k army.  Ultimately, I plan on selling off my Tyranids on eBay in the future, but with the current state of their codex, I think that I will wait until 6th edition comes out until I officially put them up for sale.

Also I want to share that I am now a contributor on 3++ is the new black!  I will be publishing more articles for WM/H over there, so feel free to go check it out.  Oh and a hearty and gentlemanly "Welcome!" to anyone who's visiting SPG from 3++ and I hope you enjoy what you see!
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