Total Newbie Getting Started

I'm totally new to the Arduino world and have only been researching it for a few weeks. I'm currently working on a new project that I think an Arduino controller would be great for. However I have no idea what I need to buy or what the code should look like. Any help at getting me started in this new world would be greatly appreciated.
A little about the project: I'm working on an automated target system. I have designed several different targets that all use 12V electromagnets to actuate them. I want to utilize a controller to turn on or off the magnets utilizing an 8 channel relay board. As for the code, I'd like it to be programmed to do the following. At the start I want all relays set to on for 30 seconds, then each relay to randomly turn off with varying delay times (with a min & max option) one at a time until all relays have been turned off. I'd like the sequence of relays being turned off to be random as well.

Please help me decided which Ardunio controller I need, which relay board and how the code should look.

Thanks an in advance for any help provided.

Welcome TT-

I can't advise on the relay boards: I'm sure there are good brands and poor ones, so someone with experience in them can answer that.

But I'm sure you can do that all with an Uno, so my advice is to get one and work through some of the examples, especially to do with turning pins on and off, working with sequencing things, and randomising times..

You probably don't need a whole starter kit, but you could easily mimic the relays with a bunch of LEDs with resistors in series, and a switch as a start button.

Easy enough to do with any Arduino. I would recommend the Uno R3 with the DIP processor for a beginner. If you fry a pin on the processor, the processor is easily replaced for around $5.00. There are more libraries and shields available for the Uno (and Uno based) boards. As for the relay boards, they are also plentiful and inexpensive. Many boards have the transistor driver and flyback diodes included, so they are easier to interface. Some also include opto couplers to isolate the relay from your processor. The Arduino IDE has lots of code examples showing how to do the type of timing you want and how to control relays.

Thanks for the replies... Sounds like I need to get an Uno and start playing around. I have NO electrial background, so I've got a lot to learn. I'm sure I'll be asking a lot more questions in the coming weeks. Thanks again for your help.