Chaos Space Marines Codex by Phil Kelly

A new codex (rules supplement) is always an exciting moment for me. When it is one that will make one of my favourite armies better than I do tend to get a little bit squee. Even before I opened this codex I was conflicted. The geeky reader and lover of pretty pictures part of me loved that it was a hardback filled with lots of shiny pages. The gamer geek part of me wanted a smaller and lighter book to lug around with me and more importantly one that is a little cheaper so that I can afford to buy more figures. I was always going to buy it though.

If you’re not an avid Black Library reader and can’t be bothered to read any of the Horus Heresy books but at the same time are fed up with listening to others talking about them then this book is quite handy. It doesn’t tell you everything but it does give you a brief overview of the most important  events (don’t trust that Horus bloke). This book also contains a page on the path of damnation and a paragraph each on the traitor legions/chapters. This is followed-up with a page on The Black Crusades and a timeline of The Long War.

The rules section starts with a couple of interesting things. The first is a Warlord traits table specially for Chaos. If you are not fully up-to-speed on the new rules it is simply that the leader of each army gets to roll on a table before the start of each game to determine a tactical or special rule benefit that they receive for that battle alone. Then there is the Chaos Boon Table. I love this table. All models with the Champion of Chaos special rule (all characters including squad leaders) have to issue or accept any challenge possible in close combat. To reward success and character that slays an enemy gets to roll on the Boon table. This could result in your Chaos Lord turning in to a Spawn or your Cultist leader becoming a Daemon Prince. There are a lot of other fun things somewhere in between. The rest of the rules section is taken up by the unit descriptions and an armoury section. This is all laid out well and easily readable and is finished with specific Psychic disciplines for Chaos Sorcerers.

The art section follows the rules and is quite stunning. It is hard to look at all those lovely models and not want to buy and model loads. The double page spreads in particular are really well done.

The final part is of course the most important part. The Army List. There are a lot of choices. A LOT of choices. To start with it looks surprising that there are only two choices but then you realise that by taking a Lord with a Chaos Mark you open up some of the Elites choices as Troops. I particularly like the way that it is possible to create an entirely close combat army using up every available slot. There are also plenty of options if you prefer to stay in your deployment and shoot the snot out of people. There really are a lot of choices. My one gripe is the points cost of the Daemon Prince as I think the amount you pay extra for Power Armour is just too much. Probably my favourite thing about this whole Codex though is that when you are using it for a game the Reference page at the back doesn’t just have stat lines and gun tables, it has the psychic powers, condensed Boon table and all the special rules in brief. This is very handy for old players like me that struggle to remember what rules are from what version of the game.

Overall this is a really good Codex and has cost me loads of money in figure purchases. Well done Mr Kelly and his team.

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