Warhammer 40K is very unique. It needs a huge table, tons of miniatures, a lot of dice, a playing field, and an opponent. It’s not always easy finding someone to play with, especially if you are new to the hobby and still learning how to play. Sometimes the best way to learn something is to practice it by yourself.
Can you play Warhammer 40k alone? Yes, you can play Warhammer 40K alone. While you can certainly play as any or all of the armies involved, you might want to make a few tweaks to the rules to make it more viable.
We will discuss how you can play Warhammer 40k alone, what books are essential for this, and what kind of costs you are looking at so that you can move forward with confidence.
What Books Do You Need to Play Warhammer 40k?
At minimum, there are 3 books that you are going to need in order to get started. You will want to obtain the following:
- Warhammer 40,000 8th edition rulebook
- The Codex for your faction, for instance, ‘Codex: Space Marines’
- The Codex for the opposing faction, for instance, ‘Codex: Necrons’
These books will give you all of the rules and background information that you need, but you will still need to obtain the miniatures for your armies. Thankfully, the ‘Getting started’ and ‘Start collecting’ packs offered by Games Workshop can get you some basic troops which you can build on later but you are also going to need some paints for them if you want your troops to look good.
Incidentally, customizing those pieces is another integral part of the fun!
How Much Does It Cost to Start Playing Warhammer 40k?
This is going to depend on a few things, but basically if you search a bit on Amazon, or another favorite retailer, you can find codex books for around 7$ used or as low as $10 for a new, paperback copy. For your Warhammer rules, we’ve seen them as low as $5 for a used, paperback copy or you can get a new hardcover for around $35 – $40.
So, what about the troops? Well, ‘Getting started’ and ‘Start Collecting’ can range anywhere from $16 to as high as $80, but you get a decent amount of starting troops with the latter option. As far as paints, you are looking at $30 – $80 for decent sets and there are some higher-end packages if you want to stock up.
We recommend going with ‘Games Workshop’, ‘The Army Painter’, or Vallejo as you can get some top-notch paints, often with brushes and primer so that you can ready your troops.
If we break it down to a minimal approximation then it might like this:
- Warhammer Rules (Used paperback) – $5
- Codex: Space Marines (used paperback) – $7
- Codex: Necrons (used paperback) – $7
- 2 ‘Start Collecting’ packs from opposing factions – $160
- Paint set for 2 factions – approx.:$80
Total ‘getting started’ estimate on the low end is about $259 but this is going with ‘used’ items whenever possible. Depending on what you select, starting with 2 armies instead of customizing a single one can be a little pricey. We do very much recommend getting hardcover rulebooks when you can find them. They are durable and you’ll be using them often, so it is worth the extra investment.
How Do You Play Warhammer 40k Solo?
Since you already know what both armies are up to, it’s going to be hard to plan the kind of strategic surprises that really make Warhammer 40k shine. That said, there are a few things that you can do to help randomize things:
- D20 or playing cards ‘motivations’ list
- D20 or playing cards troop activations
- Preset army strategies which you can play
- Give your ‘enemy’ extra points
Let’s explore these options in a little more detail!
D20 or Playing Cards ‘Motivations’ List
A 20-sided die is easy to get but if you don’t have one, about 10 cards will do. Create some random motivations like ‘Take X city last’ or ‘Establish large defensive wedge formation’. Creating a list means you can draw a card for the ‘enemy’ and play them according to what you have drawn.
Playing Cards ‘Troop Activations’
Another list can help spice things up by deciding when you start moving certain troop types into play. This forces you to compensate for the new troops and since it’s random then it may throw you off a bit so that you will learn some troop-specific countermeasures.
Preset Army Strategies Which You Can Play
You can use cards or dice for some strategy presets as well, try starting with 5 to 10 strategies like this:
- All units converge on the nearest enemy unit
- Units lose card-based deployment and now deploy from left to right based on miniature groupings.
- All ranged units nearby converge on limited-range enemy units
Give Your ‘Enemy’ Extra Points
Finally, to make things tricky, give the enemy army more points to spend. This should help to keep you on your toes!
Playing Warhammer 40k alone is definitely viable, but it obviously isn’t the best way to experience this tabletop game. It removes a lot of the strategy involved since you will know every move before it is even done.
Tweaking a few rules and randomizing some of the moves is the best way to go about it if you are going to try a solo run of the game. This is done by adding dice rolls or cards to make the moves for your opponent.
At its roots, Warhammer is a game of strategy. It requires overpowering your opponent by outthinking them as well as outplaying them. Although dice rolls add to the randomization, you can’t replace playing with another real life opponent.