Alright, I jumped on this one on Day 1 - I hope it sticks around awhile.
The books (yes books!) come in a nice heavy slipcase. It feels heavier than the one my D&D 4E books came in if that's a point of reference for you. It looks good. We're still putting Dark Angels on the cover but we're getting away from that ugly yellow-green tone of 6th edition's cover.
See? Books! We have the rule book, the history book, and the pretty miniatures porn book.
We also have cards! These are not included in the slipcase. I sprung for the whole set of stuff.
The objective cards look to add a whole new element to the game. I'm still reading the rules but the cards allow for instant scoring of victory points each turn if the objectives on them are met. This is going to make things a lot more dynamic than before. The box is really nice too. It's very heavy cardboard.
The psychic cards also come in a nice heavy box and this set is all 50 powers from the main book. Yes they changed from the prior edition. No your codex-specific powers are not included, but the handy reference chart of who-gets-what is there.
The books are really nice - these are by far the prettiest 40K rule books yet. The covers are textured and the images are glossy on the otherwise flat background - again this reminds me of the 4E D&D books in presentation. That one is the "miniature porn" book.
Lots and lots of pictures of the miniatures for every army.
Look, a centerfold - NOW do you see why I am calling it that?!
This one is the setting book.
It makes me think of the Time-Life history books, or some coffee table history books now.
There are articles about different armies, units, specific campaigns - all of the "fluff". Interestingly I don't think there are any pictures of miniatures in here - all of the illustrations are paintings or maps. I like it.
Finally, the rule book. Naturally they put my least favorite illustration (of the three) on the cover of the one we will use the most.
Even it goes full-color all the way through.
So there it is - if you're interested, there it is - a look at all of the "parts". I have to admit, I am ... impressed, and that's not something I expected to say when I heard a new edition was coming out this quickly. Now I am still reading the rules, so that's not an endorsement of the mechanics, but as far as the physical presentation, the bar has been raised. It finally feels like the premium product it's priced as, and I approve. If I'm going to pay that much for it then it should look and feel like something decent and it does.
I will say that other than the rules you probably do want the mission cards but the psychic cards are completely a convenience item, a handy reference and reminder as to what you have in play during a game. The mission cards are also a useful-in-play item but the way they can change during a game makes it even more important to have them out there on the table close at hand so you can deal with them as they come up. I'm pretty sure there's a table for them in the rulebook but I think being able to draw and discard them will come in handy.
Editorial: Oh, there is a $400 super-gilded-I-have-too-much-money-even-for-a-warhammer-player edition that comes in a really nice box with all of this including the cards and a 4th book with some extra fluff or pictures or something. I passed. People should be able to spend their money on whatever they want but honestly, this is already an expensive hobby. Get the regular edition and spend $300 on expanding your army, or buy a whole new one (eBay!), or get 3 more copies of the rules and give them to friends who can't easily afford to pick them up! There are so many better ways to spend that kind of $$$, even on more 40K stuff, than this.
More on the actual rules next week!