I don't play 40k all though I know a fair bit about it, concerning Warmachine I only have the most rudimentary knowledge - basically, I'm 100% Warhammer Fantasy. hehe
I say this, because it's needed as a sort of disclaimer for what I am about to say next:
As of your dilemma with having few people to play against - because I agree and I'm just like you: I never play pick up games, tournaments, or any games what-so-ever outside of the closely shut group of (4) guys that is our gamning group. ... Well, I don't want to discourage you but basically if you can't get at least one of your friends to tag along for some Fantasy Battles then I would personally probably not get into a new system (all by my lonesome).
That being said, I also think you should be looking for something a little different in Fantasy (as well as 40k) compared to what you get when playing Warmachine. I believe these "tactics" that you mention as a requirement for fun is something that you probably need to reassess.
Warhammer is more the kind of game where you set things up and then "lose yourself" in the crazy stuff that happens down on the game-board. You cannot win a game of Warhammer by "calculating every risk" and "making every right move" - if the dice are against you, if you're deployment gets funny, if there is a scenario you haven't planned for, wierd arcane structure popping up while generating terrain.. well.. just about anything can happen..
The balance - which I believe you are used to from Warmachine to a greater extent - is still There in Fantasy - in the shape of Chaos rather than point-for-point fairness.
I mean, all the above is why I love Warhammer, in fact, I should say Fantasy because Fantasy alone is so much fun I never play 40k unless we're talking Dawn of War (or the coming Space Marine game of course).Here
are two battle reports that displays exactly what I am talking about. Two epic Warhammer battles that were oh-so-much fun to play, that had little or nothing to do with what I think you would describe as "tactics".
Of course there are tactics, that's not the point, the point is that you are much less in "control" - and my assertion is that this is actually one of the best things about Warhammer (aside of the vast model range, the depth of the fluff, the tradition that comes with being the Biggest Original (&Best?) )
Just some thoughts...
Welcome to the forum!