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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tyranid Codex In Depth Review: Part I (The Fluffy Bits)

As I'm thinking about easing back into 40K with the upcoming Blood Angels, I thought it would be a good exercise over the next few days to work through my thoughts on the new Tyranids Codex.  As usual, there's a lot of angst out there on the internet, with some whining that the new book is too tough and broken, and others arguing that it's too weak and unplayable.  I happen to think at first impression that neither of these is true, and that the book is really very interesting in that it has a lot of new options, but only time will really tell. 

Today, I thought we'd start with the easy stuff; that is, the background and painting parts of the book.

Initial Impressions:  Two things immediately grabbed me about the new book, one of which was positive and one of which is a little negative.  First, the new book is nice and thick.  Since the old book could sometimes be mistaken for a tiny magazine, this is an improvement.  For those keeping score at home, we get ninety six pages now as compared to the previous sixty four.  On the other hand, I don't like the new cover art as much.  The new cover art is "Tyranids walking about".  The old art, which was more "A Tyranid showing a tank what's what" was much more of an action shot, as compared to now. 

I swear this will come back to bite me, but I think the binding might actually be pretty solid on this book.  After having most of my GW books fall apart pretty rapidly, this would be a shock.  We shall see.

So for initial impressions, I give the book a B+.

The Background:    The first thirty two pages of the book are Tyranid background, and it's pretty darn fantastic.  You've got the general background about the fall of Tyran and the Battle for Macragge, but it's greatly expanded to offer more detail on what happened.  The book then expands into stories about the various Hive Fleets, looking at Behemoth, Naga, Gorgon, Leviathan, Kraken, and Jormungandr.  Each gets at least a couple pages of story.  The battle between Gorgon and the Tau is particularly good, as each race rapidly adapts to the other as they battle it out.

Also included in the section are timelines for each Fleet that help flesh out the details of their nastiness, and great maps that help show the progress of each Fleet as they eat their way through space.  Little jewels are dropped in these auxillary pages, like the fact that the Astronomicon is drawing the Fleets towards Terra.  Yikes! 

I'm going to give the Fluff an A.  It's a strong showing, and left me wanting more as I read about each war.

The Painting Section:  For some, the painting section of the book can really sell (or fail to sell) an army.  While the Tyranid's painting section is pretty good, it's nothing spectacular.  The new models (especially the Trygon) are fantastic looking.  Everything is well painted, as should be expected.  So all the basic stuff that should be in this section is there. 

There are three paint schemes represented:  Behemoth,  Leviathan, and Kraken.  These are the same that were in the last Codex, and that's fine.  What I would have really liked to see are some of the new Fleets represented, at least to get some fresh paint schemes in there.  I flipped through the painting section, and aside from the new models, it wasn't anything I hadn't seen before. 

I can't say the painting section really got me interested, but it was technically good, so I'll give it a B. 

Tomorrow, we'll start looking at the meat of the Codex, and all the smashy monsters (new and old) which make the Tyranids tick. 


  1. I was actually rather disappointed with the painting section- it was rather small, didn't have even as much of the interesting stuff that the previous codex did, and didn't show any ideas for the new monsters like the Tervigon, Doom of Malan'tai, etc.

    The background stuff was fantastic, though. It was nice to see more details on some of the other hive fleets and especially ones that fought people other than the Imperials. The section on Gorgon was neat, although a lot of people bitch about the Tau's "plot armor" and all, but I don't see it as any different from any of the other races perpetually hovering on the brink of destruction.

    I do miss the talk about some of the proto-Tyranids and "lost" hive fleets that were in the previous codex as well as the bits of research they included (species chart, talking about Exterminatus, etc).

    All in all, though, the fluff chapters of the book were pretty excellent and certainly showed as much love as any of the Imperial factions. Now if they can just stop portraying the Hive Fleets as being terrified of Necrons...

  2. It would be pretty cool to have the Zoats and such back again, even in the fluff for the Codex.

    I agree with you about the painting section. It had the bare stuff done well, and nothing else.

  3. Is there anything about the nids and orks fighting it out? I remember reading in the previous codex about how someone sent a hive fleet into ork space hoping that they'd kill each other.

  4. There are two pages devoted to "The Ghorola Swarm", which details Inquisitor Kryptman's gambit, the battles between Orks and Tyranids, and most chilling of all, how the Tyranids are winning the war against the Orks and are stronger for having fought them.

  5. That's a cop out - I was hoping they'd advance that story line a bit more.

  6. They actually do detail it quite extensively- there's something like a page or two talking about how the battle progresses, with the gist of it being that the 'Nids are slowly-but-surely winning (but haven't beaten the Orks yet).