I recently picked up a copy of Warhammer 40,000 First Strike to try out with my eldest boy. I am really impressed with the quality of this product and how good a job it does of introducing someone to the Warhammer 40,000 hobby.
The box comes with everything you need* to play Warhammer 40,000. There are two small forces of Space Marines and Plague Guard, a play mat and the inside of the box doubles as some scenery (clever). (Note you will need a clippers or craft knife to get the models off the plastic sprues for assembly – see the note below).
You also get a small 6” ruler, dice, data sheets for your units and, of course, the core rules for Warhammer 40,000 – but these can be put aside for now.
Within the introductory book there are 4 missions which you play through. Each mission introduces an aspect of the rules – such as the movement phase, the shooting phase, charge and assault etc.
In addition each mission provides rules for some advanced elements, like using grenades etc. The advanced rules are optional at the start. I found that some were fine to drop straight in, but others could be held back to a subsequent play through.
By the time you reach the end of the missions you have learnt the basic rules of the game and are ready to get going. After that you can settle into free play with the models and data cards you have.
*Everything you need
First Strike is a fantastic introduction to Warhammer 40k, but it is an introduction. For those who are not aware if you get into Warhammer 40k fully there is really no limit to how far you can go. But that really is part of the fun of the game, there are almost limitless options.
For those of us who remember the original 40k there are some important differences that should be considered when playing with kids. First of all the old rigid points system – field an army of 1000, 1500, 2000 points each etc., is not the only way to play. That is now called matched play and is for the competitive player more so. Although a lot of fun can be had with those games.
The 8th edition of Warhammer 40k allows for two other game modes that are fantastic for playing with kids – Open War (bring whatever models you want) and Narrative play.
In a subsequent post I’ll discuss both of these options.
I would also point out that while First Strike provides the models and game accessories needed, the other aspect of the hobby – collecting and painting miniatures requires an additional purchase.
I recommend grabbing a Warhammer 40,000 Citadel Essentials set. This gets you some paints to use on the models (suited for the models in the 40k set), a bottle of plastic glue (not necessary for the First Strike models as they are push fit models), a paint brush and a pair of clippers – great for starting off as you will need to cut the models from the sprues.