At an incredibly boring meeting today, my school district discussed poverty and its effects on education.  Bottom line: Poverty BAD.  But it got me to thinking: my idea for making a gaming club will do more than foster relationships between gamers, it will give access to gaming to students who can’t afford such expensive hobbies.  They’ll at least be able to try various games.

This then led to the inevitable question: is this a hobby for everyone, or just bourgeois capitalist fatcats like myself?  How much does it COST to really get into gaming?

Well, let’s see.  These cost estimates are based on retail prices of JUST miniatures only.  No glue, paint, dice, terrain, or anything else.  This is what it costs to get into gaming if you already know of a gaming group that provides boards and terrain, and ignores glue and paint as negligible.  Of course they’re not, but I need to make this assumption to make the cost analysis fair.  After all, scale will determine how much glue you use and overinflate prices for larger games.

Warhammer 40,000

40K is good for beginners at 1,000 pts.  This is a good size game for a beginner, and it’s a good jump off point for a larger army.  I’ll use the Ubiquitous Space Marines, as most new players pick one iteration or another of Marines.

-Commander Box set: $20

-2x Battleforce: $180 (for 10 Assault Marines, 10 Scouts, 2 full Tat Squads, 2 Rhinos, and 10 more Space Marines)

-Terminator or Assault Terminator box: $50

Total: $250  That’s a lot of disposable income for a high schooler, and out of the question for someone below the poverty line.  But an after school job could allow students enough pocket change to buy this piecemeal.  Not too out of control.

Warhammer Fantasy

Decided to go with the High Elves because they’re in the Island of Blood box, allowing easy starting or expansion.  This estimate will not allow that, only allowing blisters and box sets as the Island of Blood box is a STEAL and is unfair to all other armies except Skaven.

-Pewter Character: $15

-Pewter mage: $13.50

-2x Archers box: $70

-2x Spearmen Box: $70

-Silver Helms Box: $35

-Bolt Thrower: $22.50 (not the metal band)

Total: $226 – Similar to 40K.  This also does not include Movement Trays, as cheap players can make their own out of breakfast cereal boxes until they can afford good ones.


Much smaller scale (which is why I omitted glue/paint)  Chose Cygnar 25pts because I can relate to it.

-Cygnar Battleforce: $50

-Long Gunners x6: $25

-Stormblades: $43

-3x Stormsmiths: $36

Total: $154 This estimate has a lot of error as I compiled it from several sources.

So it seems that for about $250 you can have a small playable force of GW minis, or probably close to 35 points of Warmachine/Hordes.  Differing armies can inflate this price, but probably not by too much.  All in all, not too expensive to get in to.  However expanding your armies can cost, big time.  That’s how they get you.

By Bozeman

6 thoughts on “Benjamins: The Cost of Gaming”
  1. I can make all the ships you ever need for any of the fleets in BFG for a little more than $40. Mind you, people look funny at the laminated paper cards i’m fielding. =P

    1. Dude, I would consider using those if a kid wanted to try a specific fleet before they actually went out and bought it with his/her own money. Those card ships don’t look very impressive, and I’d never try to get someone into gaming with them. Though the ordnance counters are very nice.

  2. You can make a viable 1000 point Chaos army for about $100, even paying GW rates.

    2 boxes of Khorne Berzerkers gets you 24 space manz for $66.

      1. Sorry for the stalling.

        5 Berzerkers + 1 plasma pistols + Skull Champion + Power Weapon + melta bombs = 155

        2 boxes gives you 24 guys, so that’s 4 units of 5 for 620 points.

        2 guys can be made into Chaos Lord:

        Lord + Mark of Khorne + Plasma Pistol + Daemon Weapon + Meltabombs = 160.

        2 of those is 320

        Total is 940, and you’ve still got 2 guys left over (at 21 points each) that you can add to the other units.

        982 points for $66.

        1. That relies on conversion skills that starting players won’t have. Also, it’s pretty weak. Two samey characters and four units of 5-6 dudes on foot? I’m not sure that would work.

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