These people need not find others who share their interest to justify the expense.
And this is where I think GW comes in. People play GW games.. Lots pf people, at least among the non-historical miniature war gamers. It isn't because they have the best story. It isn't because they have the best rules (they don't, in any of their games). It isn't because they have the best looking minis on the market – though many do look good. It is because other people play GW games. With other people playing, it means that a prospective miniature war gamer knows there is a rather good chance of finding playmates.
So what if GW products are overpriced? The value of a game comes from the enjoyment of actually playing it – well, this is some of the enjoyment – and it doesn't matter if one can play War Machine or BattleTech more cheaply if there is no one with whom to play. Besides, GW always offers up box sets to lure new players in whenever there is a new edition released.
But a big part of putting together a miniature army is, well, putting it together. There are pieces to be glued, and for the ambitious, vehicles to be constructed. Then there is the painting. For the supremely gifted, you may end up with something like these.
|(GW) Warhammer 40K Baneblade Heavy Tank|
|(GW) Warhammer 40K Shadowsword Heavy Tank|
So what do I do for a cheap 40K fix? Well, for starters I don't play Warhmmer 40K. I use the units from the game that others have converted for an old PC game called Civilization III. Civ III remains a favorite of mine, and not just because it has provided over 5,000 hours of fun game play. There have been a myriad – and there remain a few – of designers who create custom units for players to add to their games as they see fit. Or the player could wait for scenarios to get finished, but the never happens. And there, in an example of what has been available for free since 2004, I can get these.
CIV III Baneblade created by Muffins
CIV III Shadowsword created by Muffins
CIV III Vulture Gunship (created by aaglo) still shot
CIV III Vulture Gunship (created by aaglo) as it looks in-game.
CIV III Valkyrie Dropship (created by aaglo) still shot
CIV III Valkyrie Dropship (created by aaglo) as it looks in-game.
But foot units are not neglected. Heck, I can get nearly everything a Space Marine could want (and most of the units are wholly color specific to their assigned Civilization). All the armor, too. I can get super specific units like the Witch Hunters of Adeptus Soroitas Heavy Bolter Retributor.
Here she is, created by LizardmenRule! in 2010.
Sister Repentia, also created by LizardmenRule! in 2010.
The attack and death sequences of Muffins BFG Imperial Battleship, from 2005.
It just isn't actual 40K. Which is the conundrum.