Iyanden, A Codex Eldar Supplement is an overpriced love letter to the Yellow suited Ghost Craftworld of the Eldar, a sign of things to come. It is full of content yet replete with missed opportunities, it is inspired and lazy, exciting yet unfulfilling.
The good bits:
There is more fluff here than has ever been seen before for the much besieged craftworld. Much depth and background is added to key players of Iyanden most notably Yriel Pirate Prince and Iyyana Arienal The Angel of Iyanden. The detail is impressive and it is clear that a lot of effort and care has gone into embellishing the fluff for this particular craftworld. It would be a fine thing were all factions featured in the inevitable subsequent supplement books to receive the same level of attention. Quite simply nothing is left out. The various battles are well detailed, the circumstances of Yriels exile and timely return are somewhat fleshed out, fluff fans will be please. But Codex Iyanden doesn’t rest there, going on to provide more information, about what happens after Krakens assault on he craftworld even going as far as to advance the timeline a little in an very intriguing development a somewhat uncharacteristic move by GW. Mat Wards writing is satisfactory and engaging, (although I am not sure that I could read a novel of his) and the fluff in general and presentation of it is a real highlight of the book.
The fluff and emphasis on the characters is very pleasing
The fluff is also backed up by a host of missions. There are the Echoes of War missions; these allow you to refight the conflicts described in the fluff from the Assault on the Chaos Warlord that got Yriel exiled in the first t.lace to the battle with Ork Warboss Rekkfist in a flyer heavy engagemen, Each of these has been infused with a little character and the missions look like a lot of fun even if they restrict the forces that can be used somewhat. Far superior then are the Iyanden Altar of War specific missions. These are great, some excellent uses of the craftworld unique method of warfare highlighted and the kind of thing that we need to see much more of from GW. Some missions such as the Feints and Phantoms scenario with its mind games smokescreens and decoy objectives, are some of the best things I have seen in ages. There are also pages devoted to cities of death and planetstrike so all facets of 40k gaming are covered.
The presentation and general look of the book are outstanding. With a really nice quality dust jacket and fantastic layout and design throughout it does feel like a premium product and keeps up the high standard set by the Codex books. It really is a nice thing for Iyanden players to own…
Which makes it a real shame that much of the artwork is recycled, even going as far as to Photoshop Iyanden colours on old illustrations. Also a letdown are the pages and pages of pictures of Iyanden models; much of which is the same as in Codex Eldar. As this book is largely useless without that one it seems a real dick move to reproduce so much material. and on top of that.
This Art appears in Codex Iyanden, recoloured. Very lazy and disappointing,
2 Pages of actual rules: I kid you not, some wargear and a psychic power, that’s about it. Barely enough for me to even talk about, there is the option to make a wraith lord/knight your warlord with a table to match but overall it’s very superficial and I cannot believe that they didn’t include a special character wraith blade/lord/knight. Not even the seer Iyanna who is so heavily featured in the fluff. Now this may be as a result of their recent Lawsuit with Chapterhouse studios I honestly don’t know, but it does seem like a real missed opportunity and it is a shame if that is the deciding factor in their omission.
Far too much of this as padding.
Overall, Codex Iyanden, is not good value, at barely 80 pages it is 2 thirds the length of a normal codex but it is not 2 thirds the price. GWs decision to start addressing sub factions by means of supplement codices is admirable but at the current price it is blatant profiteering. With the amount of rules content actually included in this book you may as well photocopy a friend’s rules section. Effectively charging a player double to use their chosen army is the kind of move that draws so much vitriol from the gaming community. The book oozes Iyanden, it is the most comprehensive account yet of the Ghost Warrior Army and a welcome addition to the line. It is however far too expensive for what it is and impossible to recommend to all but the most ardent acolyte of Iyanden. There is much to like here and elements of it may be very desirable but it is by no means essential. Possibly the most galling thing is that without any real amount of rules units or special characters all this material is EXACTLY the kind of thing you used to get free in White Dwarf. How things change.