Codex Space Marines : Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition. Games Workshop

Another edition of Warhammer 40,000 and another round of brand new Codeixs to use with the new (sic) rules and updated game play. This is not the first time that Codex Space Marines has been released, and like its predecessors before it, this is a mixture of both background fluff and rules!

Sure Games Workshop are in the buisness of, well, being in business and I totally understand the need to release new and updated products for the game, especially as there are so many new players to the hobby and those who are just discovering 40K for the first time, but did we really need a brand new codex so soon after the last one? Lets take a look

There is one simple fact that nobody can deny and that is when it comes to presentation of a product, Games Workshop are by far one of the most supieror and in a class and league almost of their own. The cover of the book is outstanding, with a marines face being illumated by the muzzle fire from his bolter, while he and his battle brothers defend what appears to be a hill from unseen forces (though it does look likely to be they are fighting against T’au). This is a throwback to the cover of Warhamer 40,000 Rogue Trader over three decades ago, granted with some slight changes, including the addition of the new Warhammer 40,000 Indomitus logo blazened across the top of the book.

The book is a pretty weighty tome, and comes in at 208 full colour pages, which is mostly broken down into history and lore, rules and data fax for your Space Marine armies. The first ninety pages of the book fill you in on the various histories, lore and organisation of the Adaptus Astartes and their place in the universe and covers everything from the first foundings to sucessor chapters, and the more recent arrival of the Primaris marines, etc.

If you have had any of the previous Codex Space Marines in the past, especially for the last two editions of the game, then nearly everything you will see here is pretty much old hat, with very little new information offered, but to be honest it isn’t really aimed at you or I but more towards those who are brand new to the game and hobby itself.

Warhammer 40,000 is an ever expanding and growing universe and one of the most in-depth in the whole of science fiction history, with hundreds of books based on its lore and existing cannon and as such as a huge wealth of information to draw upon. As the game grows, it attracts new players to its fold and of course has to rehash old information, which the book does in a very entertaining and not convoluted way.

We learn who and what the Space Marines are, why they may go into battle with the bones of a friend or serf who as served them well, and how they feel about other battle brothers in other chapters and much more. A lot of this history is drawn from years of mythos and lore that Games Workshop has produced, and condensed down to give the reader a true flavour of what it must be like to be an augmented eight foot tall killing machine zealot in the far distant future.

Each page is illustrated with amazing artwork from the studios finest, with supurb artwork and expertly painted miniatures and armies from the studio that us mere mortals can only aspire to dream of reaching such dizzying heights of talent.

The remainder of the book is broken down into the rules that covern the Space Marines as a whole, and those traits and distinctions that seperate each chapter from each other. We are treated to another hundred plus pages of rules and strategems, relics and crusade options as well as wargear and weaponry and hundreds of images of the studio models, all laid out in a very simple and easy to follow format and complete with both an contents and index which makes looking for your exact ruling far simpler than many other games.

Add to this a code at the rear of the book that works with the all new Warhammer 40,000 app for smart devices, which allows you to look up any of the rules on the book on the fly, though to be honest if you have bought the book either as a physical or digital copy, I don’t really see this being that much of a great idea unless you are stuck for space! You simply enter the code of the product found at the rear of the book. Of course this app is free to download, but you must have a subscription to it at £3.99 per month in order to get the best from it and allow access to all of the hidden or locked features! Sure you have access to the data sheets for all of the units specific to your book, which is pretty simple to navigate and find what you are looking for, but to get anything hidden you must pay for it!

Every unit and vehicle covered in the Codex is present in the app, though if you want any extras you need to subscribe.
The Data sheets are very well laid out and easy to read at a glance.

That aside the app can be a great idea for those on the move and many people do rely on army builders and you will be able to access the Battle Forge part of the app once it is live, though I assume that you would most likely have to pay for this feature!

There are new units, vehicles and weapons that have appeared since the last iteration of the Space Marines Codex and the rules section gives details on these such as the Hammerfall Bunkers and the Firestryke Turbo Turrets, as well as data sheets for each unit or vehicle to help streamline your armies.

And to be honest that is more or less it! If you compare this verison of the codex for the first one that was released over 20 years ago (Way back in 1998 for the games third editon) which was a very flimsy supplement coming in around sixty or so pages with both information on the units and their lore and rules for use in your games. Now that lore has expanded dramatically and of course not everything that exists in the grim dark universe of the game could make it into the book or it would be hundreds of pages thick.

As it stands Codex Space Marines is a must have for any Warhammer 40,000 player who plays Space Marines. If you don’t have access to this book, well you will be pretty stuck when it comes down to playing with any units that don’t come with their own data sheets or information in boxed sets such as Indomitous.

As a game Warhammer 40,000 has an ever evolving universe that has grown so much since its inception back in the early 1980s, to what it has become now. Sadly though while the universe has grown and changed, the core mechanic of the game remains the same as it has always been and sadly I do find this very stagnated. Sure there are new rules for all sorts of things, but when you get down to its very core, the game is still the same stale combination of rolling to hit, then wound then save, etc that it has been since its first release so long ago.

I guess if it isn’t broken then it doesnt need fixing is the idea by this, but while a lot of games have evolved far beyond their origins (including Age of Sigmar) Warhammer 40,000 is a very tired game these days. That said there are millions of fans around the world who may not agree with this idea, but it is worth noting that a lot of gamers do tend to walk away from 40K for this very reason!

If you are a Space Marine player then this is an invaluable book for you and a must have for your collection, lavishly laid out and filled with tonnes of information, rules and lore in the way that only Games Workshop can presenta title.

If you are new to the game then again this is something you should seriously think about investing in, even if you don’t play as Space Marines or just want to get a head of the competion!

Codex Space Marines is available now from all good game stockists and Games Workshop, and Gamers Web highly recommends  for extra savings on recommended retail prices.

Images copyright Games Workshop/6s2Hit All Rights Reserved

Published by Marc Farrimond

I'm a 55 year guy from Wigan in Lancashire living in Edinburgh, Scotland with two of my four awesome kids and my long suffering wife Laura. I have worked freelance over the years for some of the biggest names in tabletop and roleplaying and I am a very keen cosplayer and photographer.

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