Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Codex – The Astra Militarum is the largest cohesive fighting force in the galaxy. Fed by a constant tithe of soldiers gathered from hundreds of thousands of worlds, his regiments make up the vast majority of humanity’s fighting power. On countless worlds, the mortal soldiers of the Astra Militarum march in their billions to war, lasguns and bayonets ready to face any enemy.
Batteries of heavy artillery drop countless tons of ordnance at the oncoming enemy, spears of heavily armored tanks plunge unstoppably forward, cannons thunder, cavalry squadrons mount rapid counterattacks on the flanks, while squads of elite operatives descend from gunboats on missions of vital importance. Meanwhile, officers add their shouted orders to the great cacophony of war, urging their troops to fight even harder. Driven with the right will, the Astra Militarum will crush everything that stands between them and victory.
Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard Codex
This book is an essential guide for aspiring Astra Militarum generals. Within these pages you’ll find all the rules you need to play in an Imperial Guard army – including its many subsections and legendary regiments – along with a long list of honors and a history of duty and sacrifice, epic art that conveys the incredible scale of these armies, and loads more.
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– All the rules you need to play an Astra Militarum army, including 51 datasheets for everything from the hard-hitting Cadian Shock Troops to the mighty Rogal Dorn Battle Tank, as well as 18 different commands, customizable regimental doctrines, tank ace upgrades, strategies and more toga
– Rules for crusade campaigns and narrative games that allow you to go on duty and earn official commendations
– ‘Eavy Metal showcase with superbly painted miniatures of the Citadel, depicting many famous regiments of the Imperial Guard
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I’ve gotten all the Imperial Guard codices since 3rd edition, with the exception of the last one from 6th edition, so I already know quite a bit about them. Interestingly, despite owning all these rulebooks, I’ve never actually played an army. There were a few attempts that were never completed, so the intent was there, I just didn’t succeed in the sequel. They are also extremely important in many of the Black Library books and the main stories of the 41st millennium, so I am familiar with them from there as well. The latest codex reuses the cover of the previous one with some fancy new designs to match the 8th edition aesthetic. It would have been great to see new artwork, but I understand that the need to get them out quickly most likely prevented them from doing so. That said, the cover is still pretty cool and it’s not like it’s aged badly or anything, it’s only been a few years.
Once you open the book, you go straight into the background story of the army. It goes through all the basics with how the Astra Militarum was part of the Imperial Army before the Heresy, but was then split into the Militarum and the Navy to prevent one commander from ever having too much power. It also talks about how they fight and recruit, as well as a typical organization. Most of this will be familiar to existing fans, but for anyone new to the military it’s a treasure trove of information. There was a lot of new stuff here for me too, although like I said I missed the 6th edition book so maybe it was in there.
The real meat starts though when they start diving into the more prominent regiments. Cadians and Catacans get two pages, detailing the history and traditions of each regiment. There’s also a bunch of artwork for them, showing different rank insignia, uniform variants, and other cool stuff. After that we get a look at the Armageddon Steel Legion, Tallarne, Vostroyans and Valhallans. They each get their own full page, plus an illustration and a call to a particularly famous regiment in their force. In addition to the history and traditions of each of these powers, we also see some of where some of them are after the events of The Coming Storm. The Cadians are now apparently homeless, but others like the Valhallans are cut off from the light of the Astronomican on the other side of the Great Rift and are effectively flying blind. The forces of Armageddon find their home world suddenly invaded by demons, and in some cases are forced to temporarily ally with orcs to repel the chaotic invaders. I really enjoyed reading each one and had to hold myself back from starting an army of each one.
After the big regiments, some smaller ones get a bit of attention, including the Mordian Guard. Sorry guys, I don’t know why you didn’t make the cut for the larger regiments. Each is only a few paragraphs long, but the illustrations are great and the artwork just as good. It was really cool to see the Armageddon Ork Hunters and Savlar Chem Dogs here, since they were part of the background for a while but never really shown. The first and only Tanith also appears, and while others talk about what the regiments are up to after the Gathering Storm, Tanith remains a mystery. I guess it’s because their story hasn’t been told yet in the Ghosts of Gaunt series. We also get a timeline of a bunch of major conflicts and battles the Militarum has had over the millennia. Some of them are familiar, like the Battle of Armageddon, while others are brand new (at least to me), and others take familiar engagements we’ve only seen from a Space Marine perspective before and put a Guard spin on them. The events of The Coming Storm are covered here, as well as some of the battles since the Great Rift split the galaxy, so there’s plenty of new stuff here for older fans.
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Just like with many Codexes and Battletomes, a lot of background lore is found in the individual unit descriptions. There are a ton of different units in the Astra Militarum, so there’s a lot covered here. A lot of it is pretty basic, like covering an infantry squad, but there are also quite a few cool and unique ones. I especially liked the part about the Sentinels, and special characters are always a good read.
Considering how many variants there are for certain tanks, I like the approach they took for the Leman Russ and Super Heavies. Instead of each variant getting its own entry, there’s a general overarching entry, and then a bunch of smaller ones, with profile shots of each included. The whole of this section is divided with the regular guard being drawn together, followed by the commissaries and descendants, and then the auxiliaries and the navy. It’s an interesting but logical way of grouping everyone that confused me a little at first.
The artwork here is amazing everywhere. There are plenty of older pieces being reused, but there’s also enough new stuff here. As I said, I skipped the sixth edition of the book, so some of the new stuff may actually be older to me.
The thumbnail gallery section has all the model photos you’d expect, although I found it a little light. I think it could use a few more pages to show a little more of the range, because some models are missing at all. This would allow them to fit into multiple regiments like the Steel Legion and the Mordians. But what was really cool were all the conversions they had for some of the more unique regiments. There’s a Savlar Chem Dog made from Cadian parts and a Genestealer Cult that looks great, as well as a Tanith and an all-plastic Mordian.
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As I said before, there are quite a few units in the army, so the rules section is very robust. Before you start sending data, you get generic rules that apply to many models, like the Order system. This isn’t new to 40k, but I still like it a lot. There are a number of orders that the officer can choose from with different benefits, such as rerolling to hit, and they can issue that order to a friendly infantry unit within 6″. If they are within 3″ of the vox, this range is increased to 18″ as much as the other unit
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