Today we'll talk about the topic, really essential for many our readers - how to start playing Warhammer 40 000. What mistakes to avoid and how to start getting pleasure from the game sooner and more effective.
You'll have to buy paper rulebook anyway. It's much more convenient than to refer to the bunch of paper sheets or rushing around the PDF in your tablet. Luckily a lot of starter sets have mini-rulebook. They are also much easier to take anywhere. Since a lot of players buy starters to re-sell them partially, it's really easy to get such book separately.
So,you've got the book, and...it's in English. It can be a problem for many players. And there's no better way than to get used to it. In general, you don't need perfect English to read the rules. If you are reading this text somehow, it will do also for the rules. All terms and special word combinations repeat. Ignore your native language versions. Why? Because the majority of players studied English version of the rules. And you'll have troubles in understanding each other anyway, no matter how good the translation is. You can use translated version to compare with the original one. There are also editions with the glossary of translated terms, Anyway, learning English won't do you harm...
After learning basic rules you'll get the picture of the game. Don't throw the rulebook away - it's useful to re-read it from time to time. Even for the experienced players. Now you can really get to choosing the army. You should have read background books, played games or at least heard about the fractions. So - you've noticed some preferable armies. Now, when you know the rules, you can imagine how the army will behave on the table and choose one according to your style. Also you can imagine week and strong points - so you'll better choose what sets to buy and how much will it cost. So, knowing the rules first is longer, but it will help you to avoid many unnesessary expenses and choose the best army for you. To compare the armies you'll need their codex. And this time PDF is enough - you can't buy books for all the armies you choose between. But for the one, you've taken it's also better to get paper book. The better you know the rules, the less mistakes will your roster have.
How to make a roster? Sure, you can take a calculator and some paper... Then you risk to make a lot of mistakes. And it's long and hard work. So, it's better to use one of the programmes. The most popular ones (in Russia) are Army builder and Battlescribe. Both are available in the internet for free (almost). Personally I prefer BS, because of more user-friendly interface and more frequent updates. But it's a matter of taste. However, don't trust any program completely - they all can make mistakes. Usually - in wargear selection and price. So, compare it with the codex if you are not sure.
Now, when you have roster and know the rules, it's high time to get some miniatures. And now it depends on your finance. You can buy all at once in the Games Workshop store, or take 1-2 sets at time - anyway you'll need some time to paint them. Or, if you have financial difficulties - you can buy miniatures at the second-hand market. Anyway, be ready to spend a decent amount of money. You've chosen an expensive hobby - deal with it. Nobody will give you miniatures for free and the price for good plastic will never be much below the official one. So, beware of fraud and be careful on whom you pay.
Also prepare to but paints and tools. At least a knife, cutters and sanding set. Primer. Glue. Yeah...the hobby becomes more and more costly. Are you still sure that you don't want to collect stamps?
Painting is on you. If you are not sure, better don't spoil expensive miniatures, and train on the cheap ones. The internet is full of different guides (some of them can be found on our site). Learn and try. You can ease this by choosing a simple colour scheme. It's better to choose something neutral if you are not the fan of a particular order\craftworld\warband - more versatile. Sure, painting is not WYSIWYG but who knows what supplement you might want to play...
WYSIWYG. Take it seriously. It's better to play unpainted models than the models with random wargear. It's the respect to other player and Game culture. Get used to it from the start. Powerclaws must look like claws, not like the axes. (Which you say, the model swings fast). Sure, not all required bitz can be found in the box, but you can always exchange them with other players os visit bitz-market which is often held in many clubs.
That seems to be all the basics. If you start playing with this algorithm, you'll spend more time on preparation (you'll spend a lot anyway) but all the opponents will respect you for the meticulous and complex approach. Nobody likes nubies with the clay army and no rules in mind. Admit that this hobby requires much money and time. There's no other way. So spend both of them wisely and your game will be comfortable and bright. Good luck to you!
If you already have an army, you can buy some terrain for it here