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Like table-top wargaming? Not sure? Let’s start here

Warhammer 40k. Battletech. Heavy Gear. These are all miniature games that have greatly interested me over the years. But, gosh, where do I start? Do I buy a small pack of miniatures, then find some internet tutorials to help me try and paint the things? Do I even have time to paint all of them? Well, crap, who am I going to play with? Is there anyone around here that plays…well, no one I know… Do I just get enough miniatures that I could teach and play with anyone without their own? Wow, that’ll be a big time and money commitment just to get started…

But that’s when I found this papercraft miniatures game.

Papercraft is just as it sounds, crafting things out of paper. The nice thing is that all the materials can be printed out at home, or even at a Kinko’s for a lot cheaper than buying figs and paint and glue. In some ways it’s a lot easier to put together; but don’t let that statement fool you, papercraft can get pretty complicated and impressive, but the simple stuff is at least a lot easier to get started with.

Cheap start-up costs, streamlined rules to learn. Win

Let’s see, we have a miniatures game that’s comparatively extremely cheap to get started. Awesome. $6 for the rules, or maybe just go ahead and drop $11 on the entire bundle so you can have the extra army colors, some simple-but-awesome terrain, and better accessories. So far you’ve got everything you could need to create as many units as you like, and you’ve spent less than you would on a squad of metal figs, unpainted, and most likely not even with the rules.

Now you pay Kinko’s about $15 to print off high-quality color prints on laser cardstock, and you have two standard armies that are enough for you and a friend to play, or even three friends since each army is big enough that you could split them for 2v2.

It’s a great start – but only a start

Frankly, Armor Grid: Mech Attack is a great game for learning to play table-top wargames, without a grid, where facing matters, concealment and cover matters, and where there’s still real strategy to be had. Especially if you like mech warfare. There are cheaper options out there (after all, you could easily play a lot of games with flat paper tokens), but I believe Armor Grid offers a nice balance, having both cheap starting costs and streamlined rules that are easy to learn, but without being visually boring or lacking tactical play.

But once you get the hook for wargaming, and have the resources to do so, you may very well be searching for more. I played a game of Heavy Gear at a convention and it quickly become my preferred miniatures game. I found that there was actually a striving community playing weekly games right in my area, and that it wasn’t as hard as I thought to throw a couple colors of paint on a fig and make it workable. The rules are little crunchier, but not excessively so; the figs are awesome, within my price range, and they offer the books as eBooks, nicely priced or even sometimes free.

The point is, I believe Armor Grid is an incredible starting place. If you get a chance to play it, with me or anyone else, you may find jumping into miniature gaming to be not so scary a leap anymore. When that happens, I implore you to search out games that interest you, see if there’s a community near you, and start connecting with them. Find a game that makes you excited to play, whether that’s a mech game or WWII infantry or fantasy, find the people with whom you can play regularly, and start that first step into a very rewarding hobby.

In the meantime, I’ve chosen to create enough Armor Grid materials so that anyone can play with me.

I may even run some sessions at local conventions to introduce it to new players. Players that are be interested in a miniatures game, but are unsure about making that first financial step. They may benefit from learning a game they could cheaply play with their friends.

This Obsidian Portal campaign will be an ongoing record of who has joined me in play, and a place for organizing larger campaigns with factions and special abilities.

Players will start with simple tutorial battles, and then will progressively learn the rules as the scenarios become more complex. At the apex, I plan on allowing players to build their armies with the point system, as well as choose from factions with special abilities that will enhance the tactical play, all on custom maps with complicated 3-D terrain.

I hope that at the end of it all, there will be be a lot of fun had by new people enjoying a new game. Maybe they’ll even spread Armor Grid to others, or finally start some other miniatures game they’ve been looking at.

Maybe not, who cares, let’s just play!

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