I have started playing Warhammer with 40K, and after a couple of games I joined a Mordheim campaign. Since then Warhammer Fantasy came always first than Warhammer 40K. I have been playing Warhammer Fantasy since the end of 2005 and I see myself as a newbie in Warhammer.
Enterprise. I just want to give some information to the beginners.
1. Rank and File
An average Empire Soldier is just WS3 / 4 and T3 which means most races will hit us easier and kill us easier. After a close combat it is more probably the opponents will cause more wounds on our unit than we do. As you should know each rank of 5 models you have at the start of combat phase will give you a rank bonus. (Maximum 3) Which means if you have 20 soldiers in a rank and file unit you will have 3 victory points with ease. And then you will add 1 victory point for the standard bearer so do not forget to take standard bearer. But if the enemy is also a rank and file unit? Here is the answer;
2. Detachment System
A states troop unit can have 2 detachments, I always take 1 unit of 9 (3×3) halberdiers and 10 handgunners. If the enemy charges you your shooty detachment can support fire (and does not take the -1 to hit as he is not the one being charged at.) And may panic the enemy unit. If the enemy does not panic and reaches you, your close combat detachment -here my halberdiers- can counter charge and may take the rank bonus from the enemy. Which means in a 20 men unit you may have +3 for rank bonus +1 for charging in flank (if your halberdiers are 5 men strong at the end of combat phase) the wounds you may have given to the opponent. If you charge the enemy the shooty unit will not support you, but your close combat detachment will support charge.
3. Black Powder
The Empire has most of the best warmachines in Warhammer Fantasy. We have great cannon for tough targets, mortar against close packed infantry groups of low toughness targets (like goblins, skaven, elves …), hellblaster (I usually take 2 in 2000 points) which makes the enemy think once more before advancing, hellstrom rocket battery for close packet high toughness targets (like orcs ..), handgunner with 24 "range and armour piercing rounds, pistoliers for moving and shooting (shooting hard) and outriders for mobile handgunner unit. You can outshoot most of the opponents, and eliminate them before coming to you.
4. Knightly Orders
Empire Knightly Orders are the only cavalry unit in the whole Warhammer Fantasy world with the full plate armor which give 1+ save with barded warhorse. (Chaos Chosen Knights also have 1+ save) Which makes knightly orders a reliable unit. The only thing you should aware of if you charge an outnumbering rank and file unit if your knights do not cause enough wounds (generally 3-4) they will lose the combat. For this reason;
– Have 10 model knight units (Unit strength 20 and 1 rank bonus)
– Always give musician (If they break you can rally them easier.)
– Try to charge the enemy in flank (+1 flank charge bonus plus the enemy will lose his rank bonus)
As average troops' leadership value is low, support your troops with a high leadership general placing it in the middle of your lines.
For a starting force you should have 2 troop choices and a general. I would recommend a state troop unit with a shooty detachment and a close combat detachment as the first troop choice. For your second troop choice you can field a small knight unit. Take a great cannon or mortar depending on the opponent and take a Captain as general. (He is a cheap high leadership provider .)
After some games you will want to enlarge your army, select your reinforcements depending on the gaming style you liked. If you are unsure ask your opponent for proxy gaming and try your army lists before you buy. Last but not the least; Do not forget: You are playing for the fun!