Thursday, August 6, 2020

The Value of Older Gaming Books

The Value of Older Gaming Books

The cycle of gaming books (Codexes, Battletomes, etc) is something familiar to any hobby veteran. The shelf life of any given book that contains rules is usually measured in a couple of years. Although the rules may get replaced, it doesn't mean your older book is no longer valuable.

A complaint I see online a lot is when a new book comes out and you need to replace your old one and suddenly your old book is "worthless," which I definitely disagree with. This is even worse to me with campaign books like the Psychic Awakening books or the End Times series. People will complain that they paid $50 for 5 pages of rules and now those rules aren't even valid in the current ruleset anymore. Well there's usually 80 - 100+ other pages of stuff in those books besides the rules that don't become invalidated!

Space Marines Codexes

I know, I know, some people "just want the rules." I do get it, but you knew the drill when you bought the 100 page book that had 5 pages of relevant rules for you. There's so much more in these books! Tons of lore and awesome artwork and photography! It's honestly a little disrespectful to treat all that hard work and creativity as nothing. If you're not huge on the lore and just like the game part of it you may still want to read through the lore quickly. I promise, if you like these settings that we're playing in, you'll probably find at least something you enjoy in the lore for the army you play. I see this as kind of equivalent to buying a movie only to watch one five minute scene from it over and over again. This is especially true for Campaign books like Psychic Awakening.

The End Times

Honestly, you should be approaching campaign books as primarily lore based books with rules added on to compliment them. The main purpose of these books is to advance the story line. I know a lot of people were mad about the End Times books coming out followed by AoS, which they obviously can't be used in, but I really enjoyed the story from those campaign books. The razing of Khemri, the fall of Altdorf, the Skaven blowing up the moon! Vlad von Carstein's storyline in these books is worth it on its own. Iv'e definitely gone back through and re-read the Nagash book once already.

Imperial Guard Codexes

Even if you're not big on the lore you probably like the aesthetic of the setting. There's tons of artwork in these books that are amazing to look at. Although lots of art does get reprinted from edition to edition, there's a lot that gets left out as well. For instance, in the Flesh-Eaters Battletome, there is one of my favorite pieces of art from early AoS that didn't make the cut for the second edition. I still have the first book though, so it's not lost to me. I love looking back through old books at the art or the model photography. I was just looking through my Imperial Guard codexes the other day and the 3rd edition codex has a bunch of alternate color scheme ideas for the Cadian models that aren't shown off in any of the newer Codexes. 

Campaign Books

Sometimes you even get a look at some alternate lore or timelines that have since been altered or retconned. The Eye of Terror and Storm of Chaos books for example. Both of those events have been changed with the Gathering Storm and End Times series respectively, but I still enjoy reading the older versions. I'm sure a lot of that is tied up in nostalgia since I lived through those campaigns, but they're still really cool on their own as well. The Armageddon Codex from 3rd edition 40k is probably one of my most read gaming books. I even picked up an old 2nd edition 40k rulebook from a used bookstore awhile back purely for the joy of looking through the history of 40k.

Dark Eldar Codex

Sometimes books do get replaced really quickly, and I get the sting then a little more. Some books last for more than a decade though (looking at you Brettonians and old Dark Eldar codex). If you're short on physical space to store your old books I get that too. Besides those reasons though I really cherish a lot of my older gaming books. They're glimpses into the past and a nice bit of nostalgia. It's can be really enjoyable to take out a couple of different editions of the same army's book and see how they've evolved over time.

Stormcast Eternals Battletomes

Instead of treating your old gaming books as a set of invalidated rules, treat them as history books on your army. Treat them as something enriching the setting beyond what they bring to the tabletop. You'll get so much more value out of them this way. If you just want the rules and nothing else then that's completely fair. Digital versions are probably better for just rules since they're cheaper and take up no space. The new 40k App will even link up with any Codexes you buy allowing you to view the rules on your phone more easily. For myself, I think I'm going to thumb through some of my old books after writing this with a nice cup of coffee. (Disclaimer: I did indeed end up looking through my 6th edition Marine Codex for several minutes after shooting these photos.)

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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