Getting The Most Out Of Your Warhammer 40K Game

If you are playing 40K outside of a tournament or convention experience what do you want to get out of the game? If you are setting aside a few hours to push some minis around and roll some dice are there certain expectations?
Well for me…
First things first- 40K is a game where we are trying to suspend belief and create a universe in action on the table. There is a reason why the models look like they do despite the rules, and for me playing with a  full painted army is priority #1. NOW, with that statement it is easy to come off as a snob at best or a jerk at worst, but I don’t mean it like that at all honestly.
Maybe it is the ancients in me, but if I’m playing with an unpainted army then I might as well be playing with bits of cardboard or other junk to represent the units on the table since we are suspending the belief that we are even playing the game in the 40K universe!
While I won’t ever say NO to playing a game vs. an unpainted army as I understand guys have different opinions on it, I want to hold that standard of playing the game with two painted armies on a table full of terrain.  
Can’t create that narrative if guys are missing heads and arms, and not holding any guns…
Often that means when I’m starting an army I will play it at smaller or odd point games since that is all I have painted at the moment. Just the way it is. I want to create that narrative and suspension of belief and would hope my opponent feels the same way.
The stage is set, so next I want to create some drama!
I want to be kept guessing thorough the game, wondering what is going to happen next, entertained along the way.
What do I mean?
If you bring your WAAC tooled up army (whatever codex it is at the moment) to play outside of a tournament then well, it really isn’t fun from what I want to get out of a game. I don’t mind taking a beating or getting crushed in a game, but don’t make it predictable. Certain armies you just set up, and we know what is going to happen.
Where is the entertainment value?
Again, disclaimer, talking about pickup or non-tournament games- if we are going to be practicing for a tourney then that is a different story.
For the entertainment value, that is why I bring certain wacky models to the table- stuff that guys don’t see outside of a competitive circle, stuff that may or may not work buy is always fun to see what happens. Odd random psychic powers, powers you roll for at the start of the game, unique abilities and the like all so we can just see what happens.
And in seeing what happens vs. being entertained, I often like to make moves just to see what would happen- the more risk, the more chance of the dice the better! Charge those terminators with a group of necron warriors. SURE, 99% of the time I’m going to get hammered down, but it has happened more than one where the bots have beaten down the termies, which means we will be laughing about it and talking about it for days to come.
Rules.
I want to interpret the rules to keep the fun going. If my opponent forgets a psychic power, or does something out of turn, that is OK- for the love of the Emperor it’s a fun game, and I hold this true for when I play in tournaments also- at least for my opponent. It’s OK you forgot X, make that roll now, or even let’s just say it happened anyway, or those reserves auto come in next turn.
Heroes!
I love heroes, both good and bad in 40K.
Waste of points to jack up that HQ? Perhaps, but when he cuts down dudes on the table what FUN. I’ll walk that HQ choice across the table, verbally calling out my opponent’s HQ in a challenge, and stick to it! Most of the time it gets matched and we have a showdown of HQ battles in the center of the table, sometimes my opponent just laughs and blasts my HQ, but that is cool also.
Point Levels.
No secret I prefer smaller games for a variety of reasons over 2K+ battles outside of Apocalypse, but more and more I find myself just showing up with some models that I want to play, and telling my opponent, here is what I have, bring what you want, I don’t care about the force org or balance that much anymore. You want to run all tanks and dreads? Cool, set em up and let’s see what happens!
Missions.
I do LOVE the BRB missions for both fun and tournament play, but I’m finding I REALLY like lopsided missions that aren’t really FAIR or BALANCED. I like missions where my small army has to hold out in a fortification in the center of the table, maybe my 1K points of models vs. my opponents 2-3K worth of models.
Who doesn’t want to play the 40K version of 300?
Why won’t you allow yourself to experience it?
Playing unfair scenarios is closer to the real experience from a historical perspective- just understand what you are playing…