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I collect all the Warhammer 40,000 Codices. I buy them as soon as they are released. I’ve been really really impressed by the sixth edition hardback books. The productions values are really high with embossing and spot uv (glossy areas). It just feels nice and it helps justify the £30 price tag a little more. Read on to find out if my first iBook codex can win me over.
Navigation is easy with each section showing the pages within that section at the bottom of the navigation screen.
I keep all my codex books and still have copies dating back to second edition on the same shelf as the current incarnations. Having bought Games Workshop publications since 1994 I was extremely skeptical about the iBook codices available on the iPad. I’m not someone who is is set in their ways and I’m always up for experiencing new things so I thought I’d give the iBook version a try.
I’ve been reading books on iDevices for a few years now, I love the convenience of having a book on my phone to read whenever I want. I was disappointed to discover that the Games Workshop Codices are not available on iPod or iPhone, only iPad. Don’t even think about trying to buy a copy for Android devices as that platform isn’t supported.
As I mentioned I already own all the hard copy codices so I didn’t know which one I should choose to be my first iBook. I downloaded samples of the Tau and Necron book and literally had a flick through both. I quickly came to the decision to buy the Necron Codex for the sole reason it’s been optimised for sixth edition and includes pictures of the entire the range of models.
The Necron iBook is £20 and the Tau iBook is £30 which is the same as their printed equivalents.
Instantly I’m impressed and depressed about my first iBook purchase. I’m really pleased to own a document with all the correct spellings, corrected rulings and latest pictures but I’m unhappy that my hard copy Codex is riddled with errors and missing pictures. To make my hard copy version be the same as the iPad version I would have to print out the FAQ and tear out pictures of the missing model range from White Dwarf. OK, this isn’t as drastic if you bought a hardback sixth edition codex because the whole model range is complete and the rules are current but it could still happen. Let’s say for arguments sake that GW release a wave of new tanks for several armies in a month. They would be releasing the rules for these tanks in White Dwarf meaning you have to tear the pages out or carry a White Dwarf around with your Codex. The iBook would just receive an update and be current again. Sometimes errors slip through, for instance the sixth edition printed Dark Angel Codex had incorrect wargear lists in some of the entries. That’s extremely frustrating if you’ve spent £30 on a book. The iPad version was corrected and is perfect.
The iPad codex features all the models released after the printed codex so nothing is missing. 360º views are a nice bonus.
Most of the imagery is clickable giving you a zoomed in version This box showing a synaptic disintegrator can actually be swiped left and right to show more weapons..
The picture quality of the retina display iPad is incredible. The images are so sharp and bright. You can pinch and zoom and many pictures have 360º views which is a really nice touch. These 360º turns aren’t really a bonus though because they use the views on the GW website which (obviously) are free to view. The pictures win outright on the iPad versus the printed version.
A very useful glossary and search engine certainly speeds up finding those rules.
Navigating a printed book is easy, we’ve been doing it since we were children. The iBook needs to be navigated differently. Yes you can sit there and flick through the pages one at a time but you also get a search feature which is very accurate, a glossary and a contents page.
Clickable rules saves flicking backwards and forwards through the book.
On top of this all the unit entires have quick links to the army list entry and vice versa. I also like the fact the special rules in the list entries are clickable and opens a pop up with the full rule. This approach completely eradicates the need to flick backwards and forwards through the book trying to find rules. It’s going to make wargaming much easier and faster. The new sixth edition Codex books do have a six page fold out section at the back with all the rules you need though, so that’s quite accessible but not nearly as convenient as the pop up on the iBook.
No annoying centrefolds distorting double page spreads.
Imagine having all the iBook codices at your disposal at a tournament. Within seconds you can pin point rules that you think your opponent might be bending and because the iPad is backlit you can play true night fighting games and turn the lights off while your opponent fumbles in the dark trying to read his printed version. OK so that last point is ridiculous but it’s nice to read at night with the lights off. You can add notes, highlight and underline text and all the words can be defined using the iPads built in dictionary, so if you’ve ever wondered what an oubliette is you can now find out without leaving the page.
So far, the iBook is coming across very well but it must have some downsides… well it does, battery life of the iPad is 10 hours and if you’re not regular with your charging the battery might go flat mid game. Not a problem if you game at home but a bit trickier if you’re at a club/tournament. We’ve already mentioned about the availability of the iBook to just iPads and the iPad is the most expensive option on the market (you get what you pay for though). iPads are also more susceptible to theft as well. Some more unsavioury characters hanging around a club or store might see an opportunistic snatch and grab, where as you won’t suffer this outcome with a hard copy Codex. However, the biggest problem I have with the iBook codex is the inability to sell it on. If I quit the hobby tomorrow and sell all my models and books, I can expect to get some money back on my printed Codex publications. A £30 iBook is worthless. I can only pass it to other devices if those devices are registered to my iTunes account (which is fine because I’m against piracy) but if I bought an electronic version I should be able to sell that electronic version on if I wanted to. This isn’t a deal breaker really, because as I mentioned earlier I’ve kept all my hard copy Codices since 2nd edition.
Pinch and grab page navigation is really nice.
So with Codex Eldar on the horizon I need to decide, do I buy the iBook, or the printed Codex or both? I might buy the hard copy book only if the FAQ is tiny and not correcting big stupid mistakes like the Dark Angel one.
The conclusion I come to is I love the fact my iPad Codex Necrons is all up to date and correct, I’m not sentimental enough to stick with hard copy books and the benefits of the iBook over the printed book are fantastic and well worth it. But the issue I have is the cost. GW aren’t having to pay out for print or distribution or wages of staff having to sell the iBooks in a store which also has overheads. The price of these iBooks should be a lot lower. If they were lower I’d be inclined to buy the hard copy and the electronic copy. If GW make the iBook price lower then sales of the hard book would dry up. I don’t think they’d be any worse off though.
I wish GW would do a free download of the iPad version with every printed version you buy. Even if it was a code you had to apply for with proof of receipt, or a code GW staff issued. I know why they don’t do do free downloads with printed purchases because not everyone has iPads, so the people with the free download code but no iPad will be selling the code for a crazy low price like £10 to eager iPad owners looking for a bargain.
What do you think? Do you have a preference?
So you forget to charge it up and turn up with 5% power… that might be a problem.
Yeah, but that's like coming in with your codex and realising most of the pages have fallen out along the way… at least with an ipad you can try and find someone with a charger 🙂
- Triple D
Really pleased to see a review of the iBook codices, I guess my first question would be this: if you could only buy one version which would it be?
Then a second point, I use a list builder on my iPad that I have to hand during my games, how quick is the codex to load if I need to alternate between the two?
As I mentioned in the article, it really isn't as simple as choosing one over the other. Too many considerations to take into account. The bottom line is do I stop 20 years of collecting printed publications and start collecting electronic versions? Kinda similar to CD to MP3. It's annoying change at first but generally it's better int he long run.
In answer to your second question. if iBooks isn't open it takes 10 seconds to open the app and open the last book to the page you were last on (this is on iPad4 with A6 chip). If the app is already open and you use multitasking (double click the home button to bring up all the open apps at the bottom) then it takes 1 second.
for me the real downside is (as you mentioned) that it is only available for the iPad and not for Android systems…
Sure, I like to have the printed version in my book shelf but the additional information and updates of the iPad version sound very interesting. I am not a big fan of ebooks on readers like kindle – I simply like the 'old' paper laying around in my flat – but for army books I would definitely buy it, provided it was not only on iPad.
Other downside is that it is only in English (if I am not mistaken), no problem with me personally but I can see the downside for other gamers. And if I would have the English version, I had to always translate it to my opponent.
I agree with all of your findings – I have Dark Angels, Chaos Space Marines and now High Elves on iBooks. I bought Chaos Daemons hardcover (nurgle!) and I regret it.
– the ability to tap any rule/ability and see the details of how they work is invaluable – especially for an infrequent player like me.
– it's incredibly fast/easy to navigate
– it stays up to date with all corrects/errata etc
– images are gorgeous
– can easily carry multiple codexes around without back pain ;D
– you can buy it at 11:43PM on a Sunday night if you suddenly decide to play a new army – without leaving your house
– as you said, can read it in the dark
The only downside for me is the same as yours – can't sell it when I'm done with it! BUT – I currently have a few mint condition latest codexes/army books and can't find local buyers for them. I suspect there is low demand because people often buy the latest books out of hype/buzz, and also frankly they can be pirated. So selling it on is decreasing as an issue for me.
Lastly: I'm not sure "can't get it on Android" is a negative for the digital book. It's a negative in terms of GW not servicing demand, but it does nothing to detract from how awesome the iPad version is, and android users can buy the physical copy so they aren't losing anything. I guess what I'm saying is it's a negative but not in the sense that "you bought it and are not satisfied", per se.
I think I'm done with paper army books and codexes.
I think it will probably be the case for most of us who game and have an iPad that I will buy the hard copy Eldar Codex on release and because I only game with Eldar (therefor not buying each new codex that comes out) as the FAQs for the codex are released I will buy the iPad version in addition. (Probably what GW wants to hear).
- Daniel N
One important factor for people outside UK (but inside EU) like myslef here in Sweden is GW pricing policy which I tbh have a bit difficult to understand. When I order a recent hardback codex from Wayland it sets me back £25.50, while the iPad version (Swedish region) costs around £38… so, since it is similar differences also for their other products I think I will (unfortunately) stay hardback and not buy anything from GW directly in the foresseable future. This is rather sad as I would like to support my local store, but the difference is just to large (often around 50%).
To me it is strange that the iPad version is the same price as the print. When I buy music on vinyl, they come with a free download code so i can have the vinyl version and the mp3. I wish they would do something like that for their codexes. Maybe not free, but print codexes could come with a discount code for the digital version.
The main thing holding me back from the iPad version is the price. If I am paying the same amount as the physical book retail, I might as well go on eBay and buy a reduced cost version of the physical book, then pay full price for the ebook.
I agree on the aspect of having the iPad version free with a paid copy of the book. Many RPG companies have been doing that for a long time now and it works brilliantly.
Not to nick pick but the iPad prices are actually 1p cheaper 😛 Necron codex is £19.99 and Tau codex is £29.99, other than that nice review though i've never had any issues with my iPad 🙂
I have had the exact same dilemma on this very issue, so nice to see Garfy cover it like this.
For me, this is a tangible hobby that is all bout touchy feely products, and for a long long time, that included the publications that come with it. I like seeing my bookshelf with my hobby collections of publications right back to the original Rogue Trader I have.
But the constant corrections and updates is very very annoying indeed, and the digital version addresses this very issue. The big question is…when a new version of a previously digital version arrives for say 7th Ed…will that be a free update, or a brand new iBook?!
As Eldar are my main army, I am thinking of venturing into the iBook version this time. Although my iPad is only a 2nd gen non retina, the extra images, and ability to zoom and cross ref rules I think will be very useful indeed. I might just get the Iyanden hardback fluff book though….as that should not need "updating" within 3 days of release when they discover they spelt Iyanden wrong or something equally silly.
For me as a native geman speeker it's anoing why the electronic version are not in multible languages…. my english is not that good to keep all rules in german and english and if the ipad version is avable in all the commoen GW languages, it would be may more worth the full printed version price
- TheFB Gnome
My issue is the updates are not always as fast as the post indicates… note the Eldar Craftworld codex is STILL ver 1.0 4 months later however it has many errors in it (the Crimson Death formation is missing the 4+save… the executioner psychic power links to a weapon profile for the Banshee Executioner… and the Fire Dragon Exarch Power is listed as a power for every member of the squad to name a few of the most obvious) I have repeatedly asked when these would be fixed … almost 5 months and the same answer "we are working on it" BULL!
Well what can I say, THANK YOU. Regarding price its cheaper when you consider the updates are free so that 30 pound spent once means you continue to have an up to date version, so value for money it must win hands down every time. I live in the arctic circle so the closest GW is in Oslo 1500km away. Given that I am about to start the hobby againwith my son I love the fact that we can buy the rules read them and then go buy our own armies next time we visit the south. Also my wife won't wine at me for having books lying out on the table or sides all the time, that is worth it :-). How often do you need a book and can't remember where you put it, well with the ipad you can always find it in my house and as my kids all have my account I have a back up of 4 options when I include my wifes.
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Why is having 10 hour battery life at a tournament a problem? The ones I go to don't tend to last much longer than that and your iPad shouldn't be turned on the whole time through that anyway!
You can also turned down the brightness a ton and make it last a whole lot longer 😉