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War Games In A Box: Are They A Must Or A Bust?

 All-in-one war game kits are becoming more and more common. What are we really getting when we buy one of these war chests?

Single army starter kits for games like Warhammer and Hordes are nothing new. You’ve got a niece or nephew that you’re pretty sure are into nerdy endeavours? Starter kits are a great gift! Want to curry favour at the office? Starter kit for the boss! Receding hairline? Rub a starter kit all over your head! They are just a  great way to bundle together a bunch of crap you’d be buying anyway. It’s convenient and efficient. Then you just expand and hone your army from there!

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So now we’re seeing more and more of these 2 player battle box kits being released. Some of these kits already have fairly strong branding. For example, Privateer Press began releasing 2 player kits for both Warmachine and Hordes a while back. Warlord Games has recently released Terminator: Genisys which pits….you guessed it….Terminators against a desperate human resistance. Kickstarter is sprinkled with games like Dropzone Commander from Hawk Wargames which takes combat to the skies.

So what’s the skinny on these 2 player war games? Is it worth it?

In my somewhat limited experience with war games, you gotta either know people who already play or live near a gaming store and hope you run into people who play your particular brand of war. It’s a sad thing to see a beautifully painted army sitting in a box or on some dudes shelf cuz they can’t find someone to duel with.

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So right there, the 2 player kits seem to have a distinct edge. Eliminating the need for everyone owning their own army is a huge plus. Sure, you still have to pay for an extra army, assemble and paint everything…. but that’s all part of the fun anyway!

Is there value in a 2 player kit?

There are two basic ways in which these kits are being released: the first is a game like Hordes which already has a following. My opinion is they are just trying to make their game more accessible. The second is for new brands trying to find some breathing room in an unforgiving genre. In this case, you’ve got to release a fully functioning game because no one is rocking a Terminator army. In either case the benefits are the same: you’ve got two kids and they are showing an interest in miniatures and strategy games? Then why the heck not get this for them?

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Certainly, the biggest draw back is that these are starter kits. Rest assured, there are some savings to be had in buying a 2 player kit, though the Terminator kit costs 112 bucks and I have no idea what an individual mini costs. However, the incentive to buy more is built right into the initial purchase and all you have to do is glance at the prices of miniatures to see how quickly costs can ramp up.

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For 98 bucks, this thing better make my bed, cook my food and do my laundry!

In the end, I’d only recommend buying these kits for a couple reasons: firstly, if you’re looking play casually and have someone in mind to play with as well as paint and assemble the miniatures.  This hold especially true for games that don’t have a proven track record (here’s lookin’ at you, Kickstarter campaigns). The second reason is from a hobbiest standpoint. Maybe you really want to assemble, paint and model your very own Terminator onslaught. In which case, more power to you. If you ever get around to playing Genisys, lemme know how it goes!