We love tabletop games. (Clearly.)
But getting into any new game usually requires some kind of financial investment.
Sure, you can probably jump into an RPG for a few sessions or borrow someone’s rulebooks for awhile, but at some point you’re going to have to shell out to play your favorite tabletop game. Then you get hooked, and then you start buying every expansion you can get your dirty hands on.
And if it’s a miniatures game… Look out.
We’re not advocating for free games. We want our friends making games to be able to earn a living, and the excellent products they produce are definitely worth our money.
That said, there are a few games we’d love to try, but the cost of diving into them is a bit intimidating.
Have you seen these miniatures? Holy crap. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything more gorgeous. The sci-fi miniature wargame is impressive, and its quick start rules are available for free online. But those miniatures? Prepare to invest $50 or so in a starter pack of six miniatures for your chosen army. Add in money for paint and brushes, terrain and rulebooks and you just dropped a whole ton of cash.
The Upside: Spanish manufacturer Corvus Belli put out a two-player starter set for $120 that includes 14 miniatures, scenery, rulebooks, dice and more. That’s a decent price for entry into a big game. The miniatures are amazing, and they’ll look even better with terrain from companies such as Warsenal.
Attack Wing: Dungeons & Dragons
Assemble several dragons, factions of hobgoblins and a ballista, and you just spent about $100 buying miniatures. Sure, you could just buy the starter set for $50 and go from there, but there’s no way you will stop there. That the cost of the minis seems to be greater than if you bought the exact same sculpts for D&D’s collectible line isn’t helping.
The Upside: First off, these games are fun as hell. We love the similar X-Wing from Fantasy Flight, and we know lots of people who also play the Star Trek version. And even though D&D’s Attack Wing minis seem pricey, they’re perfectly usable during your RPG campaigns, too.
Magic: The Gathering
My local comic shop also deals in Magic. They have Friday night games and host big tournaments. A section of the store is now dedicated to the massively popular card game, and boxes upon boxes of cards are stacked all over the store whenever a new set is released. It blows me away to see guys come in and drop a couple hundred bucks on Magic cards. And then there’s hunting down the best (and often priciest) cards that really make your deck sing.
The Upside: With other games, you may worry about spending a lot of money to jump into the game and then having no one to play with. Not so with Magic. Tournaments pop up everywhere, and most game stores and comic stores host free Friday Night Magic events. You’ll never run out of people to play the game with. And if you want to try the game without spending anything, you can always try Magic’s tablet app, Magic 2015.
40K can get crazy. A Warhammer 40K rulebook is just the start. You have to then go after a particular army and its codex (the detailed rulebook for that army) and any number of templates and such. Then set aside a lot of time to do some painting. And if you decided you want to go with a different army, prepare to do it all over again. Plus, you can only buy products directly from Games Workshop or from Games Workshop-affiliated stores.
The Upside: Like Magic, 40K has a huge player base, so it will never be difficult to find other players. Plus there’s the satisfaction of setting up your beautifully painted army and letting it shine. Games Workshop also now offers boxed bundles that lets you buy entire strikeforces and squads for much cheaper than you could buy the individual pieces.
OK, so one copy of Zombicide will only run you $100. But they release a new season of Zombicide every year. We know, we know. We could buy one season of the game and just stick with that. But do you think that’s really gonna happen? Once we’re leading around the survivors of the zombie apocalypse and having a blast with our friends, we’re going to need the new scenarios, miniatures and characters presented in the expansions and additional seasons.
The Upside: Each game offers a ton of stuff: Game tiles, dice, counters and up to 92(!) miniatures. That’s a pretty dang good value. All versions of the game are also compatible with one another, so you can keep using your favorite characters in new scenarios and maps. Every time they release another expansion, there’s just more fun to be had.