Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Would You Like To Play A Game? Cost Comparison 30k vs 40k

In the nasty voice of that little puppet from Saw: "Would you like to play a game?"

Yes. Yes I would. Hi, it's Macca here, and today I am going to revisit the cost-cost ratio of getting involved in the 30k hobby. Why? Because a lot of people still think it costs too much. They could in fact be correct, but I thought I would lay it all out and see what we get. The force I have chosen is Iron Hands as they are in both 30k and 40k, rougly around 1500points. These two lists were written by two skilled wargamers are aren't affiliated with this blog, just they have the misfortune of knowing me. Thanks again for the lists Nath and Kyle.

A few notes on the lists, the Iron Hands 30k list is a straight list, no allies. The 40k list however uses a small allied Dark Angels contingent. This is a Top-General list from the USA, and as it is highly competitive, I am using it in original form in order to compare solid lists from both 30k and 40k. I will tack on the lists for anyone who is curious in the comments section if you don't believe me or I hurt your feelings.

Core Rules

First up, we have our core rules. These prices are going to be in Australian $$, so Americans, don't have a Krispey Kreme induced cardio when you see them.

1x 7th Edition BrB. This bad boy clocks in at $140 ($122.47us).

I am not going to add in psychic cards, because they aren't a huge part of what makes the Iron Hands work in 30k or 40k, for where the cards are needed, we will just read straight out of the Core Rulebook. As for dice, tape measures etc, we all do our own thing there.

Totals: 30k $140             40k $140

Army Specific Rules

The army specific rules refers to all the codexs, campaign books, supplements etc that you would need to play.

Space Marine 6th Ed. Codex: $90 ($78.73us)
Iron Hands Supplement Clan Raukaan $83 ($72.61us)
Dark Angels 6th Ed. Codex: $90 ($78.73us)

Horus Heresy Legion Astartes Starter Collection: £50.00 or $92 Au (80.48us)

That's it, that's army specific rules (not to mention that you have 12 Legions' worth of rules plus some Mechanicum in the Forge World books). (The 6th ed codex also has rules for 6 chapters, so y'know.)

Totals: 30k $232             40k $412


For this, we will use a common build for both. These builds are the ones favored in their respective game systems.

Chapter Master Smashf%&ker (Bike Lord of Doom. IF you don't know it, look up Smashf%&ker) and a mate with power fist and shield. So, we will need a Space Marine Bike x2: $19, Space Marine Force Commander x2: $37, and, if you don't have the bits lying around for the hammer and shield, we better throw in a full terminator box for those bits too. So add another $74 to that.

For the Dark Angels, we will use  6 ravenwing bikes, and a librarian. This will give us the 5 man Ravenwing command squad (2x $70 each, with the spare bike going to the Librarian who also costs $30)

For our Iron Father in 30k, we will just grab the already excellent off-the-shelf model with all the parts, for a tidy £19.50 ($36.19Au).

Totals: 30k $268.19             40k $768


Now we have our token HQ's out of the way, let's move on to troops. Now, troops are subjective, but a mate of mine Nath runs a couple of tac squads in Rhinos, as his Rite of War works nicely with a mech force in 30k.

So, lets just add 30 Tac marines and 3 rhinos. 30 MK III Legion Marines with 3 Rhinos (link here) comes to £246 ($456.57Au). We also need a set of 10 plasma guns for one squad for £11 (20.42)

For the 40k force, the troops require: 10x space marine scouts and 2x Land speeder storms for the Iron Hands, and 5x scout snipers for the Dark Angels. That's $123 for the scouts and $100 for the speeders.

Totals: 30k $745.18             40k $991

Elites & Fortifications

5x company vets in a drop pod with combi-meltas from the Dark Angels, for this, we will use a box of Sternguard at $70 and a stock drop pod for  $55. We will pretend we have enough combi-meltas.

We will also need a Firestorm Redoubt for the 40k force.

Iron Hands Contemptor with 2x Autocannons £33 and £17 for the arms. ($92Au)

To top it off, both forces will require a sheet of Iron Hands decals for £12 (22.27Au).

Totals: 30k $859.45             40k $1138.27

Heavy Support

The 30k Iron Hands here will need a pair of Sicarians for £144 rrp ($267Au)

Totals: 30k $1126.45             40k $1138.27

The Damage

The two tournament lists come in at $1126.45 for the 30k and $1138.27 for the 40k. This makes the 30k the winner by $11.82. A mighty win. In US Dollars that's $985.42 and $995.76 respectively. The model counts is 37 for the 30k inc. 6 vehicles, and 32 for the 40k inc. 1 fortification and 3 vehicles.

So for those of you saying that Forge World and 30K is out of your price range, if you can afford a competitive 40K army, you can afford to play 30k.

Now, for those out there who are brimming with rage and pointing out this that and the other, this is AUSTRALIAN RRP. Yes, we can't compete with the UK, we know this. For those in the USA, you can see the price gouging we take even though our dollar is near identical (and at times rises above yours, FYI). The point is that the two game systems are near identical in terms of cost now, so where Forge World was once a mighty white elephant, the preserve of neckbeards and kids with too much of daddy's money, now it is within your grasp.

Quit your bitchin' bout costs, go and buy a 30K army and have some fun!


  1. Macca asked me for my Iron hands/DA list and if anyone doubts its abilities at the 1500 event with 38 people I designed it for I tabled 2 players and fought a close game vs the man who won the event. And in a 1850 event with the same list (+ a few toys) and 30+ people in attendance I tabled a flying circus list, a tau necron list with 2 D lords, and nearly tabled another necron AV 13 spam list (1 flier left at 1hp) getting 59 out of the maximum of 60 battle points. Looking at the costs I really have no excuse to play 30k, since I expected it to cost 2x or 3x as much as 40k.

    1. It's surprising how hard that list goes. Further, I am shocked that the Iron Hands armies are so closely tied on cost, I expected the Forge World to come out to $100-200 more, which would only have been 10-15% more and still doable.

  2. I've tried to explain this again and again to people. People are idiots though.

    1. Haha that's the kind of thing I say. Well, look, people can get Warhammer for 20% off retail in some places, they pick up bits via ebay, etc, it's very hard to convince people that they can be roughly the same cost. This is combined with the mentality I have noticed where a lot of 40k players will just use their unmodified 40k forces in 30k because they'd rather use one army for both. For me, that's a bit of a shame.

    2. To be fair, most 40k Marine armies can be represented by a Pride of the Legion army, but it's just not the same. I am starting to get very frustrated with the regular 40k community just lately. As an example, I was in Warhammer World today chatting with some of the people playing 40k. One was a Tau army with a R'Vana, the other was a Daemon summoning army. I mentioned that I beat a triple Riptide army recently with my Mechanicum (who are indeed powered by Cheese and Whine) he replied "But it's 30k, of course you won". I left.

    3. I was in a Games Workshop store asking for some apocalypse templates for a tournament earlier in the year and they asked what army it was for and I said for Mechanicum and the manager said 'oh so tau'.

      UH wut?

      They also tried to tell me that Heresy and 40k are the same game and were written by the same author.

      What the hell?

      I guess because they don't sell Heresy stuff in the stores those dudes are prejudiced against it? It's a shame.

    4. They are the same game. The more people spread the idea that it's some completely different game, they harder it is to get regular 40k players to accept 30k as a viable alternative or to play against our 30k armies. Lets stop treating 30k players as some sort of elite sub faction of wargamers.

    5. Corublo is right, it is a different game. Alan Bligh himself said it's designed as its own system, "Age of Darkness". It's balanced for Imperium only as it's the HORUS HERESY, not the 'Great Crusade'. The idea is that all the lists are balanced against the basic marine list. The minute you start bringing all the junk form 40k in, it starts to choke and clog the system.

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  4. Agreed, 30k is it's own system, I wouldn't want to show up at a 40k tournament with an army 10,000 years out of date, it doesn't make sense. Just like I wouldn't take a late republican Roman army against a feudal era German army. It doesn't make sense! Flames of war is actually historical and even it has early, mid and late wars.. People have no problems understanding that and mid-late wars was only a few months.

    I don't know why 40k players are so mad at 30k players! We're playing different games. Are you also mad at Warhammer Fantasy players?

    1. Yeah but Romans didn't sail boats on rivers of time where currents can run forward or backward. Ships sometimes arrive years after they expected to get there or even before they left.

      A Heresy Era force could end up in the 40k universe, this has happened to single marines in novels and in one i read recently HUGE SPOILER FOLLOWS:

      A ship from humanities technological peak, yes the functioning STC era, because of warp troubles skipped the dark night and the age of strife and the great crusade and the horus heresy to arrive, crew alive and all, well into the late imperium, which is far greater than a 30k army arriving a mere 10k years late. Only after this journey did it become part of a space hulk.

  5. I guess you're mad the only armies I play are 30k armies these days, but I only ever play against regular 40k armies as I do not know anybody else with full 30k armies. It is not a different system, the rules are perfectly compatable, being as they are the same rules. 30k is a supplement at best, which is supported by the official FAQ.

    "Q: Are the armies and units in the Horus Heresy books by Forge World meant to be used in
    games against regular Codex armies, such as say Grey Knights or Orks?
    A: While Forge World’s on-going range of Horus Heresy books and their game content are all
    designed to use and be compatible with the Warhammer 40,000 rules, they have been fine-tuned and
    focused on playing battles in the milieu of the Horus Heresy rather than in conjunction with the
    Codexes representing warfare in the 41st Millennium, and this will remain the case.
    Designer’s Note: This means that while you are, of course, free to have fun and play games against
    your friends using any forces you like, and Horus Heresy forces will be broadly ‘a fair fight’ with
    Codex forces of the same scale, certain rules anomalies and inconsistencies may be thrown up that
    you have to deal with, although these should not seriously affect the game in most cases. (For
    example, certain units, such as those with the Stubborn special rule are at a premium costing in
    Horus Heresy armies over their regular Codex counterparts, owing to the results of play testing
    within their own sphere.)"

  6. Oh yeah I know that, and I've played against Orks before with my Mechanicum (and got flogged), I don't understand why people get upset that some players with 30K armies only want to play against other 30K armies?

    As far as being the same system, well it isn't really. Anyone who's got experience in 40K will look at the Heresy lists and tell you that they're not entirely compatible.

    I mean not so long ago 40K players wouldn't even allow Forgeworld at tournaments, and now there's a specific Forgeworld game system, they want to force their plastic men into it?

    Just seems weird.

  7. Nobody has yet explained how they are incompatible. The only stipulation I would make is no Primarchs, but even that is not needed as regular 40k armies are far more open to abuse, such as Transcendant C'Tan or Warhound Titans in 1000 pt games.

    Also I am fairly sure there is a barbed comment in there about me not being experienced in 40k of I could possibly believe they are compatible... I've been playing 40k since 2nd Ed, both casually and tournament play. I've been playing 30k since book 1 arrived off of my pre-order. I've got 8000pts or so of Thousand Sons, 8000pts or so of Mechanicum, and around 3500pts of Death Guard.

  8. Oh no barbed comment dude, sorry if you took it that way.

    They're not incompatible, they're clearly compatible, however the 30K armies are meant for a different meta. If everyone was building their 30K armies for the 40K meta, then they'd be totally different armies. However 30k players are building their armies for the 30K meta, which is, bigger squads, marines, no Tau-Dar or that army where it's all flying stingrays.. So yes, the games are compatible. But no the meta is not compatible. On top of that, I've played in three 30K armies this year and two of them have been 1000 point 'hobby events' where it's slanted more towards painting, converting, fluff lists, and getting into the background (with everyone running 100% painted armies, modelled appropriately for the 31st millenium). Forgive me if I'm wrong, but that's not something I've seen in 40k for a long time.

    Yess I finally nailed what I wanted to say four comments ago! :)

    1. Good discussion lads.It's not that it can't be done, it's that it shouldn't be done, at least in a tournament setting. As for Primarchs, well, with Lords of War in 40k being at any points level, and Lords of War only being at 2000+ and only 1/4 of your force cost, you risk bring a Primarch to a Revenent Titan fight.

      I suppose I should do up a blog article on why 30k and 40k don't match so well...

  9. Yeah you could talk about the differences between a hobby event and a tournament maybe? I think maybe there's a distinction there which people are missing?

    Oh jesus imagine running a Primarch in like... 1000-1500 points!

    I'll take Vulkan!

    1. You couldn't legally. 30K forbids it. Minimum of 2000 points to field a Lord of War. Unless you take a Lord of War force-org, which gives massive bonuses to the other guy if he kills your warlord.

      Also, I mentioned the competitive nature in the new post inspired by this back-forth.