For The Greater Good – Codex: Tau Empire review.

Isn’t technology great? As I write this, I am using London’s over-stressed and often late public transport system, and yet here I am blogging away like the happy little nerd I am🙂 (Though who knows where I’ll be by the time I finish this entry!) Speaking of technology, last Saturday saw the release of the long-awaited (and some say sorely-needed) Codex: Tau Empire – easily the most technologically advanced race in the Forty-First Millennium.

I am aware that several blogs, podcasts and webcasts have by now already reviewed the Codex in some detail, and that chances are they’ve done a better job than I can ever hope to, but that doesn’t stop me putting my thoughts and opinions on the web.

First up, the background:

This section is extremely well-written, detailing the Tau Empire’s rapid expansion under the guidance of the mysterious Ethereals, their many run-ins with the Imperium of Man, the Orks and recently the Tyranids. Also included are the famous campaigns of Commander Puretide and his two students – the renegade Commander Farsight and his successor, the brilliant but young Commander Shadowsun. While reading this section it becomes apparent how amazing the Tau really are – going from little more than Neanderthals to an advanced star-faring Empire in only a few millennia. Humanity took longer than that, and I assume the Eldar took a similar amount of time. The question this raises, though, is who are the Ethereals? And what do they want?

Next, the artwork:

I can draw a little, and paint a little. But the quality of the art in this book is simply astounding! The art in previous Codices has been good, but the images in this Codex blow them all out of the water. From annotated diagrams of the ever-expanding Empire to a double-page spread showing a size comparison of the various classes of Battlesuit (which remains my favourite page of the entire book) the art is well-drawn, coloured beautifully and really demonstrates the crisp, clean lines of e Tau arsenal.

Finally, the army section:

Wow. Just…wow… Well done Jeremy Vetock, well done indeed…

Though the army still lacks Troops options, and the ability to make different units Troops as we have seen in most Codices so far, this list is pure win in my opinion. Never before has a gamer been so spoiled for choice in the other sections of a book. Crisis Teams, Broadsides and Hammerheads remain a staple, as indeed do the other units brought across from the previous book, but good lord there are some fun new toys to play with. Ninja Ethereals, Marker Drone Squadrons, Ion Rifles, Assault 2 Pulse Carbines and Riptide Battlesuits! It’s a technophile’s ultimate birthday wish!

I do believe that Mr Vetock did miss two very important characters, though. The first is Anghkor Prok, the Kroot Master Shaper while the second is Kais from the game Fire Warrior. Both of these characters would have added that little extra something to the army (Kroot Mercenary army variant and Rail Rifle-toting Fireblade perhaps?) It’s a shame neither of these characters made it into the book, but their absence doesn’t ruin the army for me, if I were to start Tau, I would just have to deal with it and either convert the characters, or do something else!

Overall, I like this Codex very much. It balances very well against other Sixth Edition books, though it can be a little tough nut for Fifth Edition (or earlier) books to crack. As with any book, there are some pretty nasty combinations, but I would not describe anything in the list as “cheesy” – a list isn’t cheesy by itself, it is the person who writes it makes the smell of Camembert waft across the table. (Insert your own choice of unwashed gamer joke, here!)

That concludes my little review, if anyone wishes to write a more in-depth review of a particular section and send it to me to be posted, then e-mail me at theramblingwargamer@gmail.com

Next post I will be comparing some lists a few friends and I have come up with, from fun and fluffy to competitive and overpowered. I hope you’ll all enjoy reading that!

Until next time!

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