I am a sucker; I admit it. I always claim that I will not buy any more Imperial Armour books on the grounds that I just can't afford it. But I always do.
This is the latest, The Badab War Part One, by Alan Bligh.
First, a general comment that I have made before so I will not labour the point. This is an expensive book with high quality, professional graphics but the writing is amateur, underedited, fanzine stuff. Badab War is one of the better examples from Forge World, incidentally, but there are all sorts of amateur style problems in the prose.
The price is, as always, eye watering at £45. However, it is 200 pages of full colour large format.
The graphics are excellent, as always and the Badab Sector is well described and illustrated. I could have done without the brown writing on a brown background - my eyes have the dgradation caused by thirty years of computer screens and high-power binocular microscopes.
The book starts with four chapters describing the background and opening pahse of the Badab Revolt, ending with the destruction of the Lamenters Chapter and the containment of the revolt. As Churchill might have put it - "Not the beginning of the end but, perhaps, the end of the beginning" - or possibly not.
The next seventy pages or so describe some of the loyalist and renegade space marine chapters that fought in the war. The problem is that this section is all fluff and graphics. OK, it's a useful modelling guide, but how deeply do you want to read fictional details about fictional space marine chapters when none of it has any bearing on gameplay. I am just not that autistic. At the risk of inviting vitriol - seen one space marine chapter, seen 'em all.
I found the Campaign section more interesting. It is a story-based construct with scenarios based on key events in the war. Most of the scenarios are uninspiring with the very honourable exception of one - see below.
Blood in the Void is a set of rules for fighting space boarding acrions for 40K. It is the gem that rescues the campaign with new gear and strategems.
This is followed by a small section of special characters, including a pre-renegade Lugft Huron, to match forge world models.
Last, but not at all least, we have a new Codex army - The Tyrant's Legion. This is not just a reworked Imperial Guard. The Legion are the auxilliary troops for the Astral Claws and incorporate Astral Claws units, including the Legion Centurion who is a sort of space marine Commissar figure. The main troop types are Legion SM Cohorts, i.e. Astral Claw squad, Legion Auxilia and Auxilia Armsmen.
The Legion Auxilia are badly equipped militia that fight in groups of twenty, classic cannon fodder. Armsmen are professional soldiers seconded from the private forces of the Sector nobility. They are basically guardsmen.
Two additional things about this codex delight me. First are an Elite choice, renegade marauder squads. These can have all sorts of weapon goodies and can include up to two "brutes". Brutes are large anything-you-want. They can be feral Ogryns, Muties, Xenos, Foul Heretic Abominations, Dark Adeptus constructs........anything your perverted imagination and modelling skills can devise.
And, oh thank you Ruinous Powers, Marauders can be given Fleet Lighters as dedicated transports. And, may joy be unconfined, you can arm the lighter so my weapon armed Arvus is finally not only legal but can be used in a Codex army.
While on this subject, Navy Fighters and Vultures can be taken as Codex Heavy Support choices. I have a couple of Old Crow Vultures and I an finally moved to add a acratch-built Lightning as top cover.
This codex really excites me, which doesn't happen often at my age.
Final thoughts: Did I get value for my £45?
Well almost. The Tyrant's Legion and Boarding Rules are great and inspire me to make some new stuff. The background to the Badab War is so-so and the yet another space marine pic with different coloured armour is weak.
So three out of five.