The Compilation, better known as 'the yellow one', is the second of the two books that gather articles from White Dwarf and sells them to the greedy public in a handy, bound, format. Unlike the Compendium this particular collection is actually split into thematic sections. So I figured I might as well review it in the same format.
This is the smallest section in the book and is made up of individual articles from various editions of WD. So what do we get?
More Terminators! After spacehulk came out it appears that Tactical dreadnought armour was flavour of the months(s). In compendium we already had a background article and additions to the space marine army list but now we get all the terminator colours of the rainbow!
Thunder hammers, Storm Shields, Lightning Claws, Cyclone missile Launchers all first appeared in these articles and have been part of the armoury ever since.
Commissar training squads appear as an addition to the imperial guard list. The article expands on the training and deployment of the discipline corps of the emperors anvil.
And finally we get a meaty article all about the development of Space Marine armour, showing us (with John Blanche sketches) how marine armour has changed over the centuries, a seam that Forgeworld have been mining deeply recently. We also get some marking and colour guides for some of the bigger chapters which formalises the markings and rank badges of different squads and formations. All this leads to the release of new models. The beginning of the metal bodies and plastic arms that seems to have been de-rigeur in 40k from now on. The marines lose any character and individuality they may have had and become interchangeable automatons (I suppose that the plastic set was always going to lead to samey looking models but I'm going to overlook that and be deliberately disingenuous.
Up until now, the emperors finest had managed to keep the human race safe from the multiple threats in deepest darkest space by being toughness 3. But no longer! Space marines will from now on (according to an article by Rick Priestly) be toughness 4! Cos they are tougher! Oh, and power armour gives a marine +1 to hit. And they have new morale rules. And they can now use overwatch. Codex creep starts here folks!
EldarAt Foundry this year, during oldhammer day, I was sitting having a chat with Bryan Ansell and a couple of the other Oldhammerers (JB and Antipixi). We were discussing the Ork books and Nigel Stillman's contribution to them. During the chat, he mentioned that the plan had been to produce a similar book for each of the 40k races. Ever since then I've been convinced that the Eldar pieces published in White Dwarf and then collected in the compilation are in fact the basis for that Planned Eldar book.
What we get is the basis of the Eldar story that has been retold in every subsequent codex release. Aspect warriors are introduced as are guardians and a detailed discussion of the fall of the eldar. The differing paths and eldar may take throughout his life are laid down and the Avatars of Khaine are first seen.
The articles flesh out the eldar story in as much detail as Waaargh the orks does for the greenskins and its's tempting to imagine what a hard bound book may have been like had it ever appeared. However we do have a host of gorgeous illustrations from the likes of Kevin Walker, Wayne England and Adrian Smith but it is Jes Goodwin'd drawings that really make this chapter zing.
As well as illustrations of the inside of craftworlds and other parts of eldar life we are also treated to concept drawings for the aspect warriors that were released as figures around the time the articles were originally published.
As well as aspect warriors other members of the Eldar way of war are introduced. The Exarchs are the heroes that lead the differing bands of warriors. Warlocks and Farseers add psychic punch to the army (it is obvious where this is going) and of course there is the Avatar in battle.
Then comes the inevitable army list. I have to say of all the Rogue Trader army lists, this one will be the most familiar in format to modern 40k players and I would doubt a lot has changed over the years.
Add to this a painting guide, a page from 'eavy metal and a smattering of stories and you've got a tantalising glimpse of what the fully realised Eldar book may have been. We can only imagine.
GenestealersThe last section in the book is probably the main reason for owning Compilation these days. First published in White Dwarf 114-116 in 3 articles, we have all you could ever want to know about the fabulous not-giger-esque alien gribbly, the genestealer.
Genestealers actually appear in the RT rulebook as a freaky looking monster for the GM to hide on death worlds. They had made a massive leap into the 40k bigtime with the release of Space Hulk. Suddenly everybody had a load of placcy genestealers and folk wanted to use them on the 40k battlefield. These articles expand on the background of stealers and show how they work their way into human society by implanting their genes in human hosts who then give birth to hybrids which, after four genertaions, produce more genestealers with which to try to conquer the humans society they have subverted.
As well as the background article two different army lists were published. The first is a fairly straight forward list entitled as an invasion list, which gives the player a Patriarch (the genestealer that started the infestation and therefore the cult that surrounds it), Hybrids (the descendants of the Patriarch) and Purestrain genestealers.
The second army list is the worth the price of admittance alone. The Genestealer cult army list.
Yep, this is the list that was thought up down the pub after one two many shandies. A slightly pissed nottingham resident who wanted to play a big game of Rogue Trader and had just bought Space Hulk, A box of imperial guard and still loved his realm of chaos models and made a list to fit. This is the bonkers motherlode!
So what do we get.
Patriarch - An ancient intelligent genestealer with psychic control over his followers not enough for you? Fine how about letting a major daemon possess him and give some Chaos gifts.
Magus - 4th generation Hybrid with Hypnotic gaze? add a couple of chaos rewards and a daemon weapon
Genestealer? - or mutated Genestealer?
Do you see what I'm getting at? What we really need is some kind of cannon fodder to protect our precious Hybrids an purestrains. Cool, how about some brood brother? Humans that have given birth to hybrids, ready to lay their life down for their purpley offspring.
Want more? Take some beastmen. How about some mutants? Not mental enough? How about tieing some bombs to your mutants and throwing them at your opponents and putting Frenzon dispensers and explosive collars on your beastmen? Not gribbly enough? Fine, have some chaos spawn and summon yourself some daemons. Need to get around the battlefield? How about a limousine and some horses?
To be fair, the list does have enough flexibility to allow you to play it without all the chaosy bits added on but you have to add some just for the sheer nonsense of it all.
When you see the genius/madness of this list it makes you a little sad that it Genestealers were eventually just subsumed into the greater Tyranid gribble mix as mere foot troops and that nowadays a Genestealer cult army is only a warm folk memory.
Still, I've got some old Imperial guard models.
And some beastmen......
And those placcy 'stealers are quite cheap.....
and i've got 6 hybrids.......