The Codex Cycle

Well crap.

This was my first initial thought as I read the Warhammer Community news this morning.

It was just announced recently that armies will be getting a Codex. Space Marines are the first to release in July with 9 more after that launching before Christmas. These are going to override the indexes as they get released. No word as of the time of writing how much each of these are going to cost. If I had to speculate, it would be around 30-40 USD per codex. 


So what is a Codex you may ask?

...a codex is a book dedicated to a specific faction within Warhammer 40,000 – the definitive guide to that army.
— Warhammer Community FAQ

Games Workshop has had a pretty bad issue with what I like to call "The Codex Cycle". Here's how it works. Let's say you picked up the hobby and got into it as a casual player. You pick up the starter box set and decided to invest in Space Marines. After assembling your miniatures, painting them, and getting a good transportation for them, you have to pick up a Codex for your faction. Then over the course of several months, new books would come out for various armies to update rules for the new edition. If you wanted to know what each faction was capable of, you would have to shell out money for each Codex, depending on the armies played in your local game group. Granted, most groups only have a hand full of armies with a few die hard fans having multiple factions over the course of the game's lifespan. At a certain point, however, a new edition will launch, making these books obsolete. And the Codex Cycle begins anew. 

These Codexes were required in order to field your army and had a bit more detail in them than the Indexes do. They allowed for army customization, new rules specific to that army, and information regarding the army's background. And from the looks of it, they follow a similar pattern.

Alongside new expanded and updated background, you’ll find a wealth of rules content: army specific Stratagems, Relics, Warlord Traits, Tactical Objectives, psychic powers and more besides.
— Warhammer Community FAQ

The main criticism I have for these books is that they are mandatory in order to play the game. Several examples of companies that have a more customer friendly approach towards their system like Wyrd Miniature's Malifaux and Privateer Press's Warmachine have it so that these army books are optional, meaning that the rules themselves come with the miniatures upon purchase. Privateer Press offers free updates for those that purchased the Faction Deck in their mobile app for the game. So if you are die hard into Warhammer 40,000, you are looking at getting a codex per army in order to keep up with what everyone else has. You're expenses will be looking a little something like this.

Assuming every Codex is 30 USD, to purchase all 30 Factions in the previous edition, you would be looking at a total expense of 900 USD. 

Oh and that's assuming they keep the same edition in place, which traditionally changes every 4 years but has seen changes as soon as 2 years. Meaning that if you were to pick up all of these books, they make a nice display piece on your bookshelf once the Codex Cycle kicks in.


"But what about the Indexes we have now?" 

Even with the pace we’re planning on releases these new codexes, it’s going to take well over a year to get to all of them. No single codex will cover all the contents of an index book, so you’ll get plenty of use out of all your indexes, don’t worry.
— Warhammer Community FAQ

It would seem that the Indexes are placeholders for the upcoming release of various Codex books. They did make a mention for specific models like the Imperial Marine and Terminus Ultra that they are not going to be featured in a Codex and are only available in the Indexes. Specific factions like Blood Angels, Dark Angels, and Grey Knights will be coming later and the Indexes will be needed until their Codex is released. 

You can still use the Indexes instead of the Codex, but you are going to be using older rules. 

The Codex does have the added benefit of allowing some customization with your army that you cannot get in the Index. For example, there will be Chapter specific rules in Codex: Space Marines that will allow you to field Ultramarines with their own rules set instead of just the standard Space Marines out of the Index.


I'm very cynical and keeping a cautious eye on this. Hopefully, we will not see Power Creep come into play with each release of a new Codex as seen in previous editions. 

If you want to take a look at the announcement, check out the link HERE.

If you want to take a look at the FAQ for said announcement, check out the link HERE.