My FLGS got their large shipment of new Space Marine 40K goodies on Friday in the afternoon. About 5:30 PM they posted that the materials were in. By 7:30 PM I had the new Space Marine Codex, the new 880 Page Space Marine softcover Compendium book, and the kit for the new Stalker/Hunter. I'll have to go back soon (after all the bills from the Ireland trip have cleared) to get a new Sternguard box, Tactical Marines box, and Centurions box.
On to my brief, non-technical review.
First off, did I get anything I'd dreamed about? Nope.
By not getting what I dreamed about, does it matter? Hell No.
The Codex authors came up with all sorts of other way to improve Space Marines in general!
First off...there are point cost decreases all over the map. Librarians and chaplains, for example, are less points. Whirlwinds, less points. Squads, less, it just goes on.
Example - the list I used in my last 1750 point game would now be 55 points less, and functionally 77 points less (having to drop a Sternguard model) in order to use as intended (enough to add in a Stalker).
Thunderfire cannons now shoot as a barrage (indirect capable!!!) and still shoot further than the Whirlwind!!!!
The codex includes chapter-specific traits for 7 separate chapters to make them all unique. Interestingly, that list does NOT include the Crimson Fists....BUT, if you go to the special characters, one of my favorites, Pedro Kantor, is there, and he has his own Crimson Fists chapter rules there, giving you an 8th choice! (in the details, the Crimson Fists ALSO use the Imperial Fists Chapter Tactics stacked w/ what Kantor brings)
The 8 Chapters in the book can ally with each other...
Initial reviews by others are that the White Scars may be the best Chapter in the book....of course I'd have to disagree!
The Stalker rules are slightly confusing. It seems to read that IF you are shooting all barrels at one flyer, you get 4 total twin linked shots at BS4. IF you split fire to two flyers, it seems each gun gets 4 shots at the separate targets, but at BS2? Yep.
The Hunter shoots a single missile, which if it misses, will chase down the original target from the rear arc on subsequent turns. You can fire a Hunter missile each turn. If the flying target chickens out and flies off the table, the missiles are lost and you start over...
Drop pod capacity is decreased to what the model actually is modeled to hold...10 models. (that is the reason I need to drop one Sternguard model).
Tactical squads can take a special or heavy weapon for units with 5-9 models. You get one special and one heavy for model counts of 10.
Librarians....I'm happy with the point decrease, but sad that the codex does NOT include any psychic powers. All of my favorites are GONE! You now have to find their analogues in the list in the BRB. Dang....there goes null zone! However...the devil is in the details...you can basically include a mastery level 2 librarian in terminator armor and a storm shield for LESS that what it costs now for Mastery level 1.
Overall, can I still use Kantor as my count-as Fabian of 3rd Company? YES, but then can't use the Ultramarine chapter tactics. Not a big deal. Best thing for me being...get this...one wish granted....Kantor gives "Crimson Fist" unit hatred-orks! On the sad panda side, his inspirational presences only extends to models w/in 12 inches...on the good side, Sternguard remain scoring! NOTE - being Crimson Fists (because you also use the Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics) - gives your "Fist" units Bolter Drill (re-rolling 1's for normal bolt-shell ammo, entire game), and the "Siege Masters" special rule for devastators (tank hunters special rule PLUS +1 to damage roll vs. buildings...entire game)....WOW!!!!! This is more than what the Ultramarines chapter tactics yield...but again, there are probably some details I have yet to realize in differences between the two.
Nuff said for now...gotta keep reading!
In the mean time, for the developers at Lone Wolf responsible for Army Builder....things are going to get complicated....I look forward to when you can help me build lists using the new Codex!