I bought this when I was visiting Games Workshop in Glasgow the other month and had no chance to go to one in months. The book contains about 96 pages of useful information if you wish to know more on the background of this ferocious hive of aliens or if you wish to start collecting the army of Tyranids.
The background information shows you the battles the different races of the 40k universe have had against the different hives of the Tyranid force. From the first contact with the Imperium by Hive Fleet Behemoth, to the Ultramarines protecting their home system of Ultramar, to the Orks fighting the Hive fleet Leviathan and many more.
It also gives you the background information of each different unit that the Tyranids can put on the field of battle. Along with the rules to use them in your army.
It also includes loads of pictures of the minatures range that Games Workshop sells, that were painted by their experts.
I enjoyed reading this book, even if it is only 96 pages long, along with all the other Codex books Games Workshop have and will produce
I bought this a few weeks ago, as I've always loved the Tyranids, and wanted to get back into Warhammer. It has a far amount of backstory at the front, detailing a few situations the Tyranids have been in, and their overall history. It then gets into the individual forces. This seems odd, as each unit is given 2 spaces; one in this initial background-and-special-rules section, one detailing it's statistics, optional weapons and the like. Then there's another section that details the weapons, and another that details the psychic abilities. This could all really have been better organised. Why not have a page for each unit, with *all* it's rules and statistics? As it is, players may find themselves as I have, flicking through from chapter to chapter to chapter, wishing I'd brought bookmarks. The compilation of statistics at the back is helpful, but for some reason psychic abilities are missing from it.
This doubling of each unit's space has me kind of suspicious when comparing it to other works by the same author (eg: Codex Imperial Guard). The latter was huge, and had a great amount of passion clearly put into it, with a wealth of units, options, characters.. The Tyranids stand by comparison with a lot less, especially if you wish to play in any way competatively. Ripper Swarms, Pyrovores, Harpies, Carnifexes, Flying Ripper Swarms.. A lot of these units are, to put a finer point on it, pretty rubbish. Space Marines, Grey Knights, Imperial Guard and the like will most likely eat your army for breakfast unless it fits a quite rigid form (lots of Tervigons or lots of Genestealers seem to be the best). Even then, Tyranids as they are are a non-competative army at the moment. Hopefully 6th Edition will fix that. But I count it as a point against the codex, as in prior editions many units were a lot stronger.
The special characters are the Parasite of Motrex, an interesting flying Warrior variant that spawns Rippers whenever a unit it kills fails a Toughness check. Old One Eye remains in this book, but has been nerfed to a great extent, leaving him fairly useless. The Doom of Malantai is basically an uber-Zoanthrope, which I've heard many have had a lot of success with. The Swarm Lord is an uber-Hive Tyrant. The Death Leaper is.. Like a Lictor, but more usable (Lictors seem to have gone the way of OOE).
The artwork is nice, with work that compliments the models well, and gives the book an insectile, chitinous-horde feel that matches the army well.
Overall, if you're looking for an army with a great theme and interesting background/artwork, go for it. But currently, you may be fighting at a disadvantage. And be prepared to buy/paint a lot of the same models; Tyranids tend to run in swarms to be effective.