Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Ultimate Space Marine Codex Review Part 1

This is the first in a series of articles by Scott Prater, resident Space Marine love machine, on the new Space Marine codex. The editor has bedazzled Scott's article with sweet art from Lynxc on Deviantart.

Alas! How long has it been sweet Emperor? How patiently have mankind’s greatest heroes waited to receive your blessing once more?

My introduction to 40k happened on my 21st birthday, when I happened to stumble into a little known (to me) hobby and game shop known as Gamers Sanctuary. It’s hard to think that when I picked up my copy of the just-minted Black Reach starter box that I’d already be writing about the release of my new Codex. Time flies, however, and a mere four years later here I am hunched over my shiny new hardcover and furiously scribbling down anything and everything that catches my eye.

Brother contributor Michael already posted a first look at the Codex earlier this month, but as the group’s (arguably) most prominent Space Marine player, I only thought it was appropriate that I give it a look myself, touching on some of the new changes with a little more depth. I may not have the most extensive collection of Marines that the group has to offer, nor do I have the most impressive win/loss record, but I've been playing Space Marines almost exclusively since I first started rolling dice. I've seen just about everything there is to see about the boys in blue, so you can trust and have faith that I know what I’m talking about.

It’s hard for me to explain how excited I am to cover the content in the new book, but there’s an enormous amount of information to cover, way more than I've had time to see in the short time that the book’s been out. But I've seen enough to say that Space Marine players everywhere are in for a treat, and I doubt that many of you will be disappointed.

Before I get into a rundown of the army’s new rules, I figured I’d give a few words to the book itself. In short, the new Codex is gorgeous. In re vamping the poster children of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, Games Workshop has eschewed the old soft cover format for a beautifully printed hardcover that seems more appropriate sitting on a collector’s shelf than it does sprawled across a gaming table. 

Those of you who picked up the Dark Angels, Chaos Space Marines, Tau or Eldar codices earlier this year already know what I’m talking about, but to those of us who've grown accustomed to staring at a recycled piece of box art, the 4 color, spot varnished cover of the new book looks absolutely stunning. Games Workshops near legendary art appears frequently throughout the book’s 178 pages of content, many of them re works or re imaginings of old favorites, but also accompanied by several new pieces, all painstakingly done in full color. It’s an A class presentation that is sure to have fan boys drooling for months to come.

The fluff itself has remained mostly unchanged, and rings true to the spirit of the old book. Space Marines still adore the Emperor, hate Xenos, and kick ass pretty much everywhere they go.  In a move that’ll undoubtedly please a large number of Battle Brothers, Games Workshop did care to elaborate a bit on some of the other Founding Chapters, and not just solely on the Ultramarines. 

The White Scars, Imperial Fists, Salamanders and marked number of other chapters each get their full entry in the Codex, complete with a brief history of their founding, famous battles and timeline, and notable details about their Chapter’s organization. As Mike mentioned in his article, Games Workshop catered to the do-it-yourself Chapters as well, re enforcing the mystery of the lost founding and leaving plenty of gaps in the story for players to forge legends of their own.

The $68 price tag does seem a bit steep, especially considering that the book will spend most of its time scrawled across a game board than propped up on a shelf for display. Anyone who’s seen my rulebook lately will be familiar with the serious damage that gaming can wreak on literature, and I already found it a tad difficult to scribble my name on the inside cover. These minor qualms are almost forgivable however, considering the sheer amount of content provided with the purchase, plus it’s the only book I plan on buying for a while.

But enough about that crap. If you’re anything like me, the first 100 pages mean squat if the next 80 don’t hold guff, and trust me when I say that there is guff indeed to pass around.


  1. Replies
    1. The article is about 500 pages so I have to break it up into sections :P

  2. Any word on the fluff behind Tau and Marines being battle brothers? There's nothing about it in the Tau codex at all.

  3. Only 4 years of GW games, like a babe in the woods. Some of us have owned GW minis longer than you have been alive but thanks for the epic length review. The prices on the codex are just outlandish. The 4th ed Hardcover rulebook was only 50 dollars list and I got both that and the 7th ed WFB rulebook new for thirty each now they want more than that for a codex.