Another 40k player here. I collect Tyranids, Eldar and I have recently decided to have a crack at Blood Angels (nostalgia from back when I was 10 :p ) Only really play against Tau and IG, always ends up very bloody, especially when the 'nids are involved
Nid's vs Guard with the Starship Troopers soundtrack in the background is awesome fun
Yeah, AoBR is still a pretty good deal, even at $90/$110, relative to buying all the units on your own. The Space Marines and Orks each play different, and will give you a good grasp of the basics, and you can spread out from there. If you have a good game store nearby, you might be able to borrow an army from someone to play an intro game with, and learn that way, then get the full-size rulebook (which has extra lore in it, too), plus the models for the army you actually want to play without having extras lying around.
In terms of picking up models, you might be able to find deals on eBay once in a while, which can help accelerate the process of getting fully ready. At a bare minimum, you need one HQ unit (for Space Marines, this would be a Captain, a Chaplain, or a Librarian), and two Troops (two Tactical Squads or two Scouts). Each codex will full explain an army, so you just need the core book and the codex for your army and you're all set in that department. Definitely experiment, and try to get a feel for what army works best for you, both in terms of playstyle and background. When I started, I loved the imagery for Space Marines, though the playstyle took a while for me to learn how to really master. Nowadays, I still rock the Space Marines (well, using the Space Wolves rules or my homegrown 'dex, anyway), but pretty much nothing about the army is the same (except for the basic color scheme) as when I started eight years ago.
That's one of the nice things about the hobby, you have quite a few options for getting started (and a lot more than when I started :p). The AoBR set is everything you need and then some, but that might not be the army you want, so the other main option is the core rulebook plus a battleforce as a starting point (which is slightly trickier, but will probably work out better in the long run). Or the core rulebook and building your army from scratch (i.e. just buying individual squads), which gives you the most flexibility, but requires the most knowledge/research (so you don't accidentally buy something that actually sucks for you, which I've done before :p).
that's the biggest problem with me, the nearest store/gaming club is roughly 95 miles away =/ in the next state over... its a 4 hour drive D: so my whole, gaming exsperience and ability to actually play is rather limited =/ i really don't feel like driving 8 hours every week just to learn how to play D: it kinda defeats the purpose :c
But the panda might get some extra mileage out of it due to the whole "four hour drive to a game store" thing.
i could use it for D&D aswell
but now this opens up alot more possiblitys for troops =/
i was mostly going for the space marines because they looked cool ^_^ (and ease of use aswell but mostly for the looks )
but since the looks don't play as big of a factor (i like my army to be aseticly pleasing, half the fun is building and painting )
you said the rule book has a break down of all the various armys right? like the necron and the tryiad?