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I don't know why, but I suddenly want to read lots of 40k fluff (I've even scoured through the Macragge book twice). I'm thinking of getting old OOP copies of Codexes for about $6-7 each. But I've got two questions: Would it be viable to also look through the old Codexes to look for strategies to beat these races? And what other books have lots of fluff for a relatively low price? I'm looking for more history-type books (like the fluff in the Codexes) than actual stories. Hope this made sense. Thanks in advance.
5+ \ 0 \ 0 - 3'000+ Pts - Dal'yth Sept
0 \ 0 \ 0 - Work In Progress - Hive Fleet Hammerhead
0 \ 0 \ 0 - WIP
Victory \ Draw \ Defeat
Credit to Legionnaire for the bars.
Depends on what you're looking for. Wikipedia has good summaries of the fluff for most of the races due to an extensive 40k article project but for in-depth information, I would definitely recommend the old codicies especially if you're getting them at discount. Also of interest are the Index Astartes articles for Space Marine fluff and if you can find the Index Xenos and Malleus articles in White Dwarf (don't ask me for issue numbers because I absolutely do not remember), they're a fairly good resource for the alien, the mutant, and the heretic.
The one thing I woiuld caution you about with older codicies is that they may contain fluff that has been revised/retconned, with the emphasis on the may. I haven't actually read them myself but I would be careful if I were you. I don't know about tactics for beating them; I don't think an old codex is a good place to look but I'll let others comment on that.
History type books are a problem, especially from the Black Library because they tend to be expensive. If you don't mind saving up, try and get the Tactica Imperialis or the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, Xenology (if it's still in print), the Liber Chaotica (primarily Fantasy but Chaos in FB is similar to Chaos in 40k), and other such books. The Forge World Imperial Armour books have some really interesting "historical" fluff but they're about as expensive as Black Library stuff if not more, so I suppose you'll want to stay clear of them.
At all costs, though, stay away from the Sabretooth Horus Heresy series. Its got pretty pictures but there are some really glaring inconsistencies that I, as a fluff enthusiast, cannot support. My opinion of it is the least extreme I've seen thus far.
Hope this helps!
It depends on what you're looking for... as has been said, old codexes are a good place to start, although some of the information may be out of date. Also, get hold of as many of the old rulebooks as you can; they may not have fluff as their primary purpose, but they have some beautiful little snippets and (if you find the Codex Imperialis) huge sections of fluff written straight out. Granted some of it may have been contradicted since it was printed (it was a 2nd edition creation), but quite a large amount of it still holds.
And then you have the fun of piecing together a coherent fluff picture from all of that.
For a good (and free) place to start, download the Inquisitor rulebook and the Thorian sourcebook for information on the Inquisition. While the online version of the rulebook misses out little snippets of fluff, it's still jampacked with it, and sets a wonderful tone for the Imperium as a whole.
I will comment on the second edition codex. In general, all the armies are moving back towards that style of list, and thus some of the suggestions in them are certainly valid.
The rule books have some good stuff too, particularly the old rogue trader.
Besides that, you should be able to google it and pull up tons of stuff too.
16,000+ of Eldar (only need flyers)
7,000+ of Nids (want heirophant)
6,000+ of Space Marines (need rever titan)
4,400+ of Cygnar (all models for the faction)
1,500+ of Legion (just started)
Another thought... you might want to try googling "40K fluff bible". A lot of the information in these documents (yes, there's more than one out there to my knowledge) is fairly old, and thus possibly inaccurate in "current" 40K, but by and large they give a good lot of information, generally lifted from other sources.
Another good source for cheap is the Black Library books, especially the omnibi, and esp. out of that for just all around fluff the short story collection "Let the Galaxy Burn". They'll sate a need for fluff in no time and you'll still have some leftover. Yum!