Warhammer 40K Starter Set Guide [2021]

Warhammer 40k Starter Sets
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Warhammer is a classic tabletop war game. It is built around the premise of different factions vying to set things right in their own time. Warhammer 40K is no different. Choose a faction, build your army, and claim your victory. The best way to start your path to glory is with one of three starter sets from Games Workshop.

Warhammer 40K Starter Sets Guide

The Recruit Edition Beginners Set

The Recruit Edition Beginners Set includes all of the items necessary for someone just getting started into Warhammer 40K wargaming. There are units provided for the Space Marines and the Necrons.

Each side comes with a heroic unit to lead them. With the beginner’s set, you also get a paper game mat and Recruit Manual (instructions). It provides everything needed to learn the basics of wargaming in the 40K realm.

The items in the set include:

  • A rule manual. The manual includes some lore and additional expansion options and information.
  • 20 Citadel miniatures. 6 Space Marines, and 14 Necrons.
  • Reference sheets.
  • A paper playmat—An instant tabletop! Features two sides for changing battlefields.
  • A printed box insert that can be turned over to give an instant building.
  • (2) plastic range rulers.
  • (10) standard six-sided dice.
  • Space Marine transfer sheet.

The great thing about the Recruit Edition set is the low price point required to try out the game. Wargaming is not a cheap hobby, and while it is thrilling and rewarding, ultimately, it is not for everyone.

This set provides the opportunity to actually play Warhammer 40K with a friend. It also provides the opportunity to see all of the extras that are involved, like painting, assembly, play space, and time.

The Elite Edition Starter Set

The middle set, the Elite Edition Starter set, is an option for those who are maybe familiar with wargaming already but just thinking of joining the fight in Warhammer 40K. This set also features units from the Space Marines and Necrons.

The Elite Edition also includes a battle map and Elite Manual (instructions) booklet. The number and types of units are larger and more varied, and the rules booklet dives a little deeper into the mechanics of the game.

The Elite Edition set includes:

  • All of the items included in the Recruit set.
  • A bigger manual that covers the actions and mechanics for the additional units.
  • 27 Citadel Miniatures. Including a Space Marine Captain model, 3 motorbikes, Necron Overlord, and 3Destroyers.
  • A larger printed box insert.

The pros for the Elite set are similar to the Recruit set. It is a relatively low price point to get started and delivers everything you need to start playing. You get a peek at some more advanced unit options from both the Space Marines and the Necrons. The Elite set provides everything you need to get started playing.

The Command Edition Starter Set

The Command Edition Starter Set gives you everything provided in the smaller sets plus terrain. You receive a cardboard battle mat and command manual (instructions). It includes the same Space Marines and Necron units from the Elite set.

This set also includes a thinned-out version of the actual full rule book. The version of the rule book here is sufficient to really get a handle on the game as a whole. It doesn’t include lore or the like, but it can get you started into the various versions of the game available.

The Command Edition set includes:

  • The units and additional dice, rulers, and info cards from the Elite set.
  • A reinforced cardboard battle mat. It is the same on both sides but made from a more durable material to last longer.
  • Real modular scenery. The set includes plastic scenery that can be painted and moved.
  • The condensed rule book. Details rules for open, matched, or “Crusade” play.

The Command Edition has some really positive features. It is as good of a jump for a starter set as you can get on getting into the whole world of Warhammer 40K. It gives you everything you need to play, plus a look at the full game rules and the variants thereof.

The scenery is hard to make, so the additional pieces included in this box are value add. Also, this set’s price point isn’t horrible, considering you get everything in the smaller sets, scenery, and the light-rule book.

There are a few downsides to this set, though. The price point could be a deterrent since the only new models included are terrain. It is surprising that the set includes the same units as the Elite set.

Bottom Line
For someone looking to try the game out or learn the basics, this set could be overkill. It still doesn’t really solve the need for an immediate upgrade if you are interested in the hobby.

Final Thoughts

Tabletop wargaming is a great hobby with many facets for people to get interested in. The painting and assembly of units, the building custom terrain, and the game’s actual strategy can all be addicting, and best of all, they are basically age-proof.

The Warhammer 40K starter sets are the best way to dip your toes into the world of wargaming. While not everyone gets the value of the Recruit set or has the money to splash on the Command set, there are options out there for everyone to get started.

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Amar is the Chief Nerd at Nerd Bear and can be mostly found binge-watching Netflix, researching tech, shooting things on PS4, and arguing over who is the strongest Avenger.
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