Review: Codex Eldar / Publisher: Games Workshop / Release Date: Out Now
Codex books are special rulebooks for the Warhammer 40,000 wargame; they explain the backstory for the models and special rules for them. Collectors of specific factions are always after a new book, especially after a new main rulebook has come out. The Eldar range had been neglected for a while, so when a new codex came out, fans held their breath and hoped for the best.
Luckily it exceeds expectations; not only is it a full colour hardcover, it’s also filled to the brim with ideas and stories designed to spark the imagination. The sixth edition of 40K is as much about telling stories as it is about winning a tactical battle game, and Codex Eldar is filled with new and original takes on these popular space elves. The book is lavishly illustrated and there are many snippets of history and background. They’re fun, interesting and clearly biased in favour of this particular faction. Some of the material contradicts tales and concepts from the previous editions of this codex, and this is clearly a deliberate step; these are meant to be seeds for the reader’s imagination, rather solid facts. That said, one of the most powerful creatures in the Eldar book, the god-like Avatar of Khaine isn’t given much of an update, setting wise, which is a pity as it’s been pretty much the whipping boy for every other faction in the game and it would have been nice to see this fixed.
Rules wise, the book gives the Eldar a badly needed update. The biggest change is the Battle Focus rule, which means models can run and shoot, or shoot and run. This means that you have twice as many tactical options as your opponent. The new take on psychic powers presents similar options, making the Eldar the option for confident tactical gamers who are able to think and adapt quickly, and enjoy using rapid and risky tactics. The new models are nice, but older kit has not been marginalised; if you’ve not dusted off your models in over a decade you’re probably still good to go.
The enhancements in the iPad addition are nice. Clicking links to explore various passages and sections of the book is a nifty feature, and useful during play. In the paper and ink version of the book, you just get pictures of the painted models; the iPad enhanced version lets you rotate the models and see them from all angles and in different paint jobs; very handy for the model enthusiast. Also, the digital version can be updated as new rules and models for that edition of the game come out.
Overall, this is a fine update to one of the core factions in the Warhammer 40,000 game, and should delight those who enjoy playing with sci-fi toy soldiers with an elf-themed twist.