me wrong: I love my Fighting Tigers, but every once in a while I get the
urge to play something different. I would like to have a second army, but
I don't have the time, expendable cash, and patience to create another
huge, lavishly painted legion like the Tigers. To address this dilemma
I've developed the concept of the mini-army.
What's a mini-army?
Many 40K players
have a single large army, usually at least 3000 points, that they use in
every game. Some players, like my buddy Pat (who is a sick, SICK degenerate
chimp), have two or more large armies. The mini-army concept takes the
middle road between these approaches. A mini-army is a small (1000 points
max), easily-painted force you can use when you want to play 40K but also
want a break from your regular army.
Why collect a
provides a nice break from your main army and allows you to do something
totally different without investing a lot of time and money. I've
been playing Fighting Tigers since "Rogue Trader"; Space Marine armies
tend to be small, shooty forces that emphasize quality over quantity and
use precise, surgical strikes against the enemy. I don't know what my second
army would be, but I'd prefer a (relatively) large, close-combat force
that emphasizes quantity over quality and smashes the enemy right in the
if you're just starting out and can't decide what army you like best, you
can collect several mini-armies to get first-hand experience with them.
Mini-armies work well if you're on a limited budget because you can plan
them out ahead of time and have a compact, efficient fighting force.
are also very useful for demo games that introduce Warhammer 40K to interested
friends. You can let your friend use 1000 points of your main army while
you play the mini-army. This usually works out well because most main armies
are fairly easy to use (unless you started out playing 40K with something
difficult like Dark Eldar) and you'll be able to answer any of your friend's
How do you collect
crucial for a mini-army. Get a copy of the appropriate codex first and
pick out a balanced army using the Standard Missions Force Organization
Chart. That means you'll need at least one HQ and two Troop units, but
you should also include at least one unit each of Elites, Fast Attack,
and Heavy Support.
force behind choosing and using each mini-army is the scarcity of points:
1000 maximum, with little room for expendable troops, fancy wargear, or
unnecessary vehicle upgrades. This also means that units you take have
to be as flexible as possible to deal with whatever foe they face. Resist
the urge to go over 1,000 points or you may find that your "mini-army"
has grown much larger than you intended.
How do you paint
If your main
army is kind of bland (like Orks), you can take advantage of your mini-army's
small size to paint up something really snazzy (like Harlequins). If your
main army is snazzy (like Eldar) you can give yourself a break by painting
something simple (like Ultramarines). After years of laboriously painting
literally thousands of tiger stripes, I'm looking forward to spraying my
miniatures black, adding a few details, and painting a squad in an evening
instead of a week.
How do you use
difference between a mini-army and a main army is that (unless you play
500 or 750 point games) you'll be using the same thing every time you play,
so the mini-army will have to be flexible. You can't pick and choose the
most effective units to use against certain enemies and not others. You
can't afford to have over-specialized units that are helpless out of their
element. Even if your mini-army specializes in a particular combat style
(such as shooting or close combat), it must be able to respond to a variety
of opponents. That's why I strongly recommend that your mini-army have
at least one unit of each optional category (Elites, Fast Attack, and Heavy
In some ways,
playing with a mini-army is harder than playing with a main army. With
a main army, you can easily choose extra anti-armor units for fighting
Imperial Guard or extra anti-infantry units when you're fighting Orks.
You don't have that option when you play a mini-army, so instead
of adjusting what you take you'll have to adjust how you use it. Mini-armies,
especially themed mini-armies like the example I give below, can really
test your grasp of strategy and tactics.
As an example,
I've taken one of my Themed Army Ideas (the Shrine
of the Black Scorpion) and sketched out how I would put them together
as a mini-army and (more importantly) how I'd use them in battle. Follow
the link below to see what I've done.
Shrine of the Black Scorpion Mini-Army
Like what you've
the Jungle in the "Top 100 40K Sites"
copyright Kenton Kilgore, February 2000.