I am about to out do myself. The proof copies of Codex: Galactic Empire and Codex: Rebel Alliance are finally here. Star Wars has come to Warhammer 40,000, and it is good…
Disclaimer: This is a personal project with a tiny, tiny number of copies being printed for me and my gaming buddies. If we even thought of selling them Games Workshop’s and Disney’s legal departments would jump all over our heads and go cock-a-doodle-doo. So we are not selling them. To anybody.
In no way are these books designed to challenge the ownership and copyright of Games Workshop and Disney in any way, and they are not official in any capacity. They are no more than the product of a bunch of gamers and fans who have a passion for both Warhammer 40,000 and Star Wars.
And no. You cannot have one. Start up your own gaming company and you can do cool things like this.
For the past few months, we have been working on a very special project. For years now, I have been waiting for a company to come along and do a ‘proper’ Star Wars miniatures game, with plastic multi-part, multi-pose Stormtroopers, resin AT-ST variants, and Epic/BFG-type spin-offs. In short, I wanted a Star Wars game similar to Warhammer 40,000. Given that this is not likely to appear any time soon, I made the decision to take the 40k rules and do our own Codexes for the Empire and Rebellion.
This involved doing all the army lists, collating the background (Wookieepedia came in very handy here), diverting our playtesters to make sure everything was balanced and then passing it on to our graphics people to make them look pretty.
It was, inevitably, a lot more work than had been initially planned for! However, the arrival of these two proofs (the finals, coming in a couple of weeks or so, will have better binding and spot UV lamination to mimic Games Workshop’s own Codexes) makes it all worth it. We have officially done Good Work here.
Codex: Rebel Alliance
We tried to ape the approach of the official Codexes as much as possible. At all times we asked ‘how would GW do a Star Wars book?’
So, we hunted down the nicest artwork we could find and started to put together the background for the forces, starting with the Rebel Alliance, from the birth of the Rebel Alliance to the destruction of the Death Star and beyond (Codex: Galactic Empire goes on further to the founding of the New Republic, ending with the – final – death of the Emperor).
This then goes on to chart out the major confrontations between the Alliance and Empire, and a showcasing of the most famous leaders (you can guess who they are in Codex: Rebel Alliance).
Then, of course, are the army lists. These cover just about every model and unit in the old Wizards of the Coast range of Star Wars miniatures, which are the models we principally use for the games (let’s just say that when these miniatures came out, I went a bit silly as to the number purchased – mostly because I always planned, some day, to use them for games of this scale).
Codex: Galactic Empire
The Empire book follows the same format but ended up a few pages bigger because, well, there are more cool things to say about the Empire!
As well as similar background material to the rebel Codex, we also went into some detail on how Stormtroopers are equipped, organised, and what tactics they use in battle.
And both books have a ‘hobby’ section, with some cunningly put together photos by our graphic designer and photographer, Amy Perrett. I don’t know about you, but the photos above just get me itching to (re)fight the Battle of Hoth. We have three AT-ATs and plenty of Snowspeeders, and I have already worked out that the old Palitoy Rebel Transport is pretty much the right scale for 28mm!
Not sure this page needs much of a description! Darth Vader may not be an absolute killing machine compared to, say, a Hive Tyrant, but he is very well scaled to kick Rebel units around!
And at the other end of the scale, we have the TIE Crawler as a Heavy Support choice whereas the AT-AT is (naturally) a Lord of War. The other Lords of War in these Codexes are Yoda and, of course, this guy;
Yeah, we figured he should be a Level 5 Psyker, taking a cue from Nagash in Fantasy Battle…
We had to do Force Powers, of course! The Primaris Power for both Light and Dark are the same (Farseeing – seems appropriate for all Force Users), but we worked hard to get Light Side and Dark Side feeling distinct and different. The Dark Side concentrates on, well, kicking ass with the Force, whereas the Light Side depends more upon buffing other units rather than directly attacking the enemy. However, the Sever Force power proved popular for Light Side users, effectively nullifying Dark Side users for a turn!
We even went as far as doing a Formation for each, a specialised detachment (the Rebels have the Heroes of the Alliance detachment) and Tactical Objectives, as well as all the rules needed for weapons, equipment and other wargear (Lightsabres are S User, AP 1, Fleshbane, Gets Hot, Melee, and Smash – but Force users ignore Gets Hot and derive either a 4+ or 3+ Invulnerable Save, depending on their level).
So, What is Next?
We are really proud of what we have accomplished with these books, and look forward to re-enacting all our childhood fantasies when we had loads of Star Wars figures but no rules to play with. Now, as adults, we have both!
Now, we would not be true wargamers if additional and related projects had not already suggested themselves! The obvious next step is to do Codexes for the Separatists and Old Republic. Or maybe PDF-only Codexes for Bounty Hunters (Boba Fett!), Wookiee-only detachments, and there is a lot more we could do for Force Users in general. I have threatened my gaming group with a Gungan-only detachment, if they do not behave.
Will we do any of these things? In a world where we did not have to work for a living, oh yes. Realistically, it is probably going to be another year before we can even begin to justify the time it takes to do something like this. However, it is Star Wars, and I have little doubt we shall at some point return to a galaxy far, far away.
Now, if you will excuse me, it seems that there are some small forest savages that need a lesson in Imperial discipline. Commander, warm up the AT-AT!
Final Note: If you are interested in the design approaches we used for these books, you can have a read through some of the development posts we did here, as well as see some games in progress.