Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Imperial Armour 11, Part 1: Overall

When I first heard that Forgeworld was working on an Imperial Armour campaign book for the Eldar, I was ecstatic. Like many other 40K fan-boys, I had lusted after Forgeworld's resin crack, their many awesome terrain accessories and supplemental modeling goods for a long time. I listened with rapt attention as the Independent Characters dissected the Badab War and the Anphelion Project, utterly unaware that I was drooling on myself the entire time.

This excitement was tempered with a certain cynicism, however. While the artistic quality of their models is routinely excellent, I am not always enthralled with the rules generated by Forgeworld. They often reflect (in my uninformed opinion) a "provincial" attitude towards the game, where in-house playtesting often creates imbalanced units or vehicles.

My excitement was further diminished by the test rules released for all the new Eldar eye candy being released on their website. Would the final product meet my high expectations? Would the feedback on the new unit rules produce viable units for the tabletop?

In a word, yes.

IA 11 delivers a solid package for Eldar players. Each of the new units comes with a refined set of rules that solve most of the problems I had with the experimental rules. Along with these rules comes background for a new Craftworld, including a special Farseer character that modifies the force organization chart, and an entire, complex set of rules for playing Eldar Corsairs. The back of the book even contains new Apocalypse formations and campaign scenarios based on key events in the narrative!

The book does contain rules for new Imperial Guard vehicles and a new Space Wolves special character, but the Eldar are front and center (as they should be), and boy do they shine!

Above and beyond the crunch, there is the background story of the Betalis System Conflict; a worthy read in and of itself. Here, a minor industrial colony becomes the focal point of a struggle between the mysterious Eldar interlopers, and the inept, byzantine Empire attempting to exploit the planet's natural resources. The quasi-historical accounts of the conflict from its earliest roots to the final revelation of the Eldar plan are highly entertaining, and the source material includes lots of big glossy visual aids and panoramic fac-simile 'photos' of some of the events and characters involved.

My only complaint about this book lies with the editing. For ~$70 US, I am less than inclined to ignore the frequently poor punctuation and several passages contain grammar so bad that I can only assume they did not run a final grammar- or spell-check.

Finally, if you are an Eldar fan who has grown tired of playing the same codex for the last five years, this is the book for you. The price tag is steep, the overall quality is excellent (if you can forgive some egregious crimes against English grammar) and - for the upcoming 12 months at least - it offers you a new way to play your favorite xeno race.

I highly recommend you get yourself a copy. Now!

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