After getting my feet wet with one army, it came to the time where I was ready to expand. There are lots of people that never end up building up another army and instead just focus solely on a single army for the entire life of their 40K career. I'd imagine though that folks like that are pretty rare. For people that really, really get into 40K hardcore, you can't help but want to try out all those armies that lay the smackdown on you in your various match-ups.
So, where did I go from my days playing Space Marines... well, I went all over the bloody place.
I expanded into a lot of different Space Marine armies to start, but that wasn't enough of a change for me. I needed more. The first non-Space Marine army I went with to start was ironically not all that different.
Iron Warriors - Chaos Space Marines
I ran into these fellas at a number of tournaments and I was always brutally destroyed by the sheer quantity of heavy firepower that these guys could lay down. The army was not so fundamentally different from real Space Marines just in terms of stats. As far as Chaos goes, they were also pretty Vanilla. The army I ran didn't run any Demons, and didn't really go into all the wildly "chaos" units that the army employs. I ran tons of heavy support, a Vindicator, and at one point I had myself one of those wonderful Chaos Death Engines, which I happened to scratch build from some other minis that I had laying around.
For those players interested in getting a touch of Chaos in their 40K armies, these guys were great. I loved them and they loved me back. My army never got up to tournament standards (which happened to be a problem with most of my other armies) but it was a ton of fun to play casually and it was a blast to finally lay the deserved beat down on my sworn Necron enemy.
I think one of the problems I had with this army is that 40K to me means a lot of awesome Tanks and Vehicles and they simply didn't have it. Though the army had lots of cool Big Evil Creatures, they didn't have any land raiders, they didn't have any predators, and they didn't have any bikers for that matter. Sure, they had stuff that was similar, in game mechanics terms, but visually, the army to me, just wasn't right. I ended up taking all those pieces that I had painted and assembled and traded them off for a different army, one that I thought might give me a bit of the Vehicle feel back.
Dark Eldar still had that whole "Space Elves" feel, but their twisted side was more akin to Chaos and my experience with Iron Warriors was enough for me to be on board. I liked the look of the models and the fact that they had bikers, and fast vehicles, made me really, really happy.
I managed to take my Dark Eldar army pretty far, even though I was playing with the army in one of their weakest incarnations. They weren't very strong, and I got laughed at a bit at tournaments, but I managed to bring down some hate with my hard-hitting wyches and bikers and I always ended up having a good 'ol time.
Although building up those armies was a lot of fun, and playing them was a blast, all good things come to an end. My love of the hobby didn't last forever (though it's come back now) and I ended up quitting 40K for quite a long time. Next time, I'll talk about why all those armies went away and how I broke my 40K addiction.