40K: The Future of Supplemental Codexes

Are the days of the Supplemental Codex done? Let’s chat.

There was a time in GW’s not-so-distant history that they were testing out a new model of codex. These were the Supplemental Codexes that were designed to be used in addition to their parent codex. Khorne Daemonkin, Black Legion, Sentinels of Terra, and Crimson Slaughter are a few examples of what I’m we’re talking about.

These existed in the weird spaces of 6th and 7th. They were add-ons that helped to bring some armies “up to par” but a lot of players did not enjoy having to look out side of their base codex for rules and useful rules. On top of that, they added more list building complexity to a game that was starting to get a tad bloated.

When Games Workshop dropped 8th Edition, they also dropped Indexes for every army and unit that was currently in the game. They managed to crank out 10 codexes in half-a-year, and look to be on pace to crank out even more this year. It’s been a great time to be a 40k player! The era of the Supplemental Codex appears to be over…for now.

What’s going to happen in the future when GW completes all the current codexes? Are we going to see this cycle repeat, again, for the 9th time? Are we going to start over with a new edition and new codexes all over again? Honestly, it doesn’t sound like that’s the plan. With the Chapter Approved coming every year and the “plan” that GW released about 2 BIG FAQs every year, it seems like they want to change it up.

So, again, what’s going to happen when GW competes this run of Codexes?

Let’s assume that all the codexes are out, the rules are done and the yearly cycle of Chapter Approved + 2 FAQs holds true. If GW wants to keep printing codexes for players to buy, they have a few options:

New Armies – Naturally, that makes sense. But for now, let’s table that thought.

Re-Release Codexes with Updates – this isn’t unprecedented. Space Marines are a classic example of an Army that has gotten a new codex within the same edition. This isn’t a terribly wild idea and it would give them a chance to included any of the FAQs/Errata that needed to be added. Maybe even introduce new units…

Create Supplemental Codexes – They could return to the Supplemental Codex model. This could be a way for them to add-on new material to existing codexes without the hassle of having to invalidate the old ones. The issue of bloat and allies is a little less convoluted in 8th thanks to the Keyword system also – for example if the Death Guard were to get a new unit in a Supplemental codex, they could just slap on “Death Guard” as the key word and *boom* unit added.

Launch 9th Edition – Hey, hitting the reset button worked before. Just sayin…

Do We Need Supplemental Codexes?

I think it’s going to come down to who you ask and what army they play. If you have a codex and you feel like your army is under performing, then I’m sure a codex that comes in and helps will be welcome. If you’re already playing an army that has access to “the soup” I’m betting you’re feeling pretty good as is.

I don’t think we need them until after all the current armies get a new book. Except Sisters of Battle – if they get a new book, then clearly we’re going to get 9th edition within a week or two, sorry Sisters. But seriously, I think we need to see all the armies get a codex first before GW starts issuing supplemental codexes. Will that happen or will get get a “Codex: Adeptus Astartes – Primaris” book first? Guess we’ll find out in a year…

What do you think? Will we see Supplemental Codexes return or do you think GW has moved past them? Do you even want a Supplemental Codex? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Kabal1te

    I suspect we will see combo supplemental codices (the correct plural for codex by the way) combined with narrative books like the war zone Damocles or war zone Fenris books were for tau, guard, and space wolves.

    • SYSTem050

      Agree both with your point and the pluralisation 🙂

    • Rasheed Jones

      actually codexes is also a correct plural to codexes, kinda like how fish or fishes can be plural.

      • TenDM

        Nah, codex becomes codices. Games Workshop use Codexes because it makes more sense and they couldn’t Google the correct answer back when they made the decision.
        It’s one of those stupid words that can probably be traced back to some noble getting it wrong once then insisting everyone else was wrong to save face.

        • Rasheed Jones

          I did google it when I checked myself though, and it says Codexes is also a correct plural.

          • Adam Marshall

            It’s one dice, two codexes, three rules, four useful rules.

          • Muninwing

            codexes is acceptable.

            die for one of many things in your dice bag is also acceptable

            no need to be pedantic and demand the technically correct form in another language, while ignoring modern conventions…

      • kingcobra668

        Fish plural refers to lots of one type of fish. Fishes refers to a group with multiple types of fish.

        Codices is correct outside of 40k. GW has uses Codexes for a long time. It’s essentially their own word for multiple of the Codex rule books.

        • Rasheed Jones

          Codexes is correct in general look it up, and fishes is still correct as a plural for a single type of fish, even though some peiple do make that distinctiin, its not widespread and both are technically correct.

    • Aurion Shidhe

      IIRC, some time in the past GW came out and said that they knew the correct plural spelling but chose to use Codexes anyway. Which is funny coming from a company that was so very careful to use the proper term “dwarfs” as opposed to the Tolkien-ized “dwarves”. Technically still correct but a very rare spelling at the time. Even Tolkien himself came out and admitted he was offended by his own use of the minimally used “dwarves” and he should have been ashamed of himself as a philologist.

  • Michael Linke

    Khorne Daemonkin was a standalone codex.

    • Kabal1te

      That is true, it is also somewhat beside the point being made. The black crusade codex would have been a better example, it the space wolves champions of Fenris codex. Curse of the wolfen, however was more than just a supplemental codex and is more like what we will likely see in the future I suspect.

      • NovaeVox

        “New” model of codex. Heh. 3rd Edition called and has some word for you, Adam….

        Sentinels/Raukaan,/Black Legion,/Champions: True supplemental sub-faction codexes.

        Baal/Sanctus/Damocles/Angel’s Blade: Campaign’s books with additional faction rules.

        Daemonkin: Surprise standalone, one Kharn short of World Eaters.

        Angels of Death: Consolidates all previous SM supplemons with some additional material.

        Chaos Legions: Brought CSM broadly in line with Angels of Death.

        Skitarii/Knights/Harlequins/Agents/Talons: Mini factions

        Gathering Storm: Codex Apocalypse a la Peter Jackson.

        In other words, GW”s supplemental rules release schema during 7th was all other the place. So far in with 8th they’ve been relatively consistent.

  • eMtoN

    If I were GW, I’d put out a campaign book once a year. Maybe even tie it to an annual tournament….

    • zeno666

      How about a campaign book a year where everyone gets something new.

    • Pete Croucher

      I like everything about that apart from tying it to a tournament.

      Let’s not do that. It’s a silly idea.

      • eMtoN

        I’m not saying you’d have to be in a tournament to make sense of the campaign book. Rather that the theme of the tournament would be based around it.

        That way those that don’t care about tourneys can safely ignore that aspect.

  • Boondox

    I wouldn’t mind seeing additional stuff in White Dwarf like back in the old days. Chaos Undivided would be on my wish list.

  • ZeeLobby

    God, please let supplementals die. They might have been cool, but their actual release was a horrible mess… Just stick to the mini full-fledged factions your doing GW. Campaign books are OK.

  • Gamecock13

    GW needs to go electronic with their updates/codex. Utilize their black library to drive GW narrative forward. Think they’re concerned about what a fee schedule looks like with an electronic product/updates.

    • DeadlyYellow

      Wouldn’t that just make it easier for our Russian friends?

  • stinkoman

    only if to fill a niche set of units (like Sisters of Silence). with keywords you can make your own soup (which is what the demonkin and first TSons books were)

  • John Cook

    I’m ready for 9th Edition

  • BaronSnakPak

    I wasn’t a fan of supplement codices. It was annoying having to carry around 3-4 books for a single force.

  • AkulaK

    Supplement books like Sons of Terra or Iyanden with 2 pages of actual rules = no
    Campaign books like Shield of Baa,Warzone Damocles with new units, narrative missions, stratagems/whatever = yes.

  • Max Knickerbocker

    I have several armies built up over my 20+ years as a 40k player. White Scars, Imperial Fists and Salamanders Space Marines. Space Wolves, Dark Angels and Blood Angels. Primaris Black Templars. Eldar. Mechanics. Orks. Lots of Orks. Lest I forget … Grey Knights and Sisters of Battle. Just for the Imperium I have about 100,000 points at present.

    If GW goes with the supplemental Codex I for one would like to see the primarch chapters receive special attention.

  • Munn

    He’s forgetring to mention the bit about the additional codexes either being completlely useless or completely broken.

  • Marco Marantz

    Im really interested to see how they flesh out a full codex for custodes….

  • Reven

    Yay, another joke about sisters of battle only getting a codex at the end. I’m sure many found it hilarious.

  • TenDM

    Haven’t they already said they want to do sub-factions? Craftworlds, Hive Fleets, Casts, Chapters, etc?

  • defensive

    I’m all for supplement codexes.

    Just so long as these codexes contain the rules for every unit that subfaction can take as well, rather than just being 5 pages of rules, and a big list of everything you can take from the codex, and the index because “lol, we’re just gonna not put this unit in the codex cus reasons”

    One book you can carry around, with all the rules you need.
    Seriously GW, ctrl + c ctrl + v isn’t that hard to work out.

  • Tushan

    Some are so worthless that not only the point cost is wrong but wargear rules, command costs and internal balancing.

    A little faq wont fix manure like GKs for example.

  • b00gnish

    Are codices/supplements even necessary any more? Why not just switch to the PP model & start including rules in the box with brand new, units plus a digital army builder app?

  • Moonsaves

    I imagine the easiest thing to do would be to create an add-on for Codices for sub-factions not already covered – kind of like “Angels of Death” was. Just include some more Warlord traits, stratagems, new fluff etc.

    They could even do a Primaris one for all the new Primaris chapters in order to give them fluff and rules.