First things first, we are not comparing apples with apples, so this is all subjective, and Im fully aware of that as I write this. The first thing we should do is define terms. We are looking at the cost to get a list that is playable at tournaments, with what are known good tournament forces(again, according to the collective wisdom of idiots...the player makes the difference not the list). For warmahordes thats Jamie P's Khador, and for 40K thats grey knights. We are also only going to look at the raw, list cost of models, ignoring discounts, and the books/templates you will need to use them. It should be noted that Jamie P used khador with a fairly uncommon caster, and that Cryx and Circle tend to do very well.
Now the lists!
In the Red Corner we have Jamie P's UK Masters winning Khador force:Old Witch & Scrapjack (+3) £16.94
Spriggan = 10 £19.94
Behemoth = 13 £32.95
10 Winter Guard + Unit Attachment & 1x Weapon Attachment = 9 £29.95+£6.95+£5.95
Kovnik Jozef Grigorovich = 2 £6.95
10 Nyss Hunters = 10 £19.94+£6.95+£6.95
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt = 4 £10.50
Gorman De Wolfe = 2 £4.94
Epic Eiryss = 3 £9.95
Total without discount = £178.86 for 32 White Metal Models giving a force worth 50 points.
Disclaimer! This is one list from three that Jamie took according to the Steamroller 2011 ruleset, we will ignore that he had to take two alternate lists that add at least £60 to this total. For Cryx the cost is similar. Now we add books(all Hardback because we aint be Ghetto):
Warmachine Prime Mk2 £29.95
Force Of Warmachine:Khador £25.00
Warmachine:Wrath £29.95 (rules for Battle Engines, could be omitted at a pinch)
This brings our total up to £278.75. Thats without paint, dice, tape measure etc. Just what you need to turn up to a tournament and play.
Thats no small potatoes, now in the Blue Corner, Grey Knights(shamelessly copypasta'd from Warseer, because warseer is perfect in all knowledge of course(fuck off).
I have redacted the wargear to 'stuff', and look at just the models.
Grand Master|incinerator|180 points£14.95(assuming a Finecast counts-as)
10x Purifiers|Shooty Stuff||rhino|some stuff|340 points £20.50 + £20.50+£20.50
5 grey knights (terminators)|Stabby stuff|205 points £28.00
5 grey knights (terminators)|Shooty stuff|215 points £28.00
1 Stormraven|Stuff|235 points £41.00
1 dread[sic]|shooty stuff| 145 points £28.00
1 dreadknight|stabby stuff|195 points £33.00
Total 1500(ish) points
The total cash cost? £234.45 for 25 individual pieces, all of which are plastic, 4 of which are HUGE! Who knew! however, add in books and we get :
Warhammer 40,000 Hardback A4:£35.00
Codex:Grey Knights £20.00
Ultimate Totals: Warmachine £278.75 Warhammer 40,000 £294.55!!!
Honestly, I had expected this to have gone the other way. For example a circle list I faced on Tuesday night easily cost over £350(the Celestial Fulcrum is an expensive model!). But based on this, Warmachine might be marginally cheaper, but it is nowhere near as cheap as the internet would have you believe, and the optimised list I chose is most likely not representative of actual cost.
The take away from all this is that whilst GW might be expensive, so is the rest of the hobby. Its only cheaper when you drop down to Malifaux and Infinity levels of skirmish games, and only then because you need vastly fewer models. When you do a per model price comparison, Malifaux and Infinity et al work out almost as expensive, look:
Malifaux Dreamer Crew £28.00
Malifaux A5 rules £10.00
Malifaux Twisted Fates £25.00
Malifaux Rising Powers £25.00
Fate Deck £5.00
Thats £98.00 for the models and books/accessories I took to the last Malifaux Tournament I went to. Cost per model comparison(averaged across list regardless of size):
40K: £7.56 (£9.37 if we count vehicles)
If we are totally fair , lets compare one unit with one unit
Warmachine Winterguard+UA+Attachment = £42.85
Grey Knights Purifiers = £41
Cost per Model: WM £3.29 GK £4.10
Again, the takeaway from this is that the entire price of the hobby is high. But compared to Xbox/Steam/Ps3...its not that bad! Instead of that Old witch list you could buy 3 new games a second hand one, 4 new games instead of the grey knights and 2 games instead of malifaux. I know people who think nothing of spending £100 at a pub but baulk at £2.30 for a pot of paint. In terms of money invested and the joy you get back from building, painting and playing, wargaming is too damn CHEAP!
See you later.