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Warhammer 40K Book of the Astronomican from 1988

As someone who played Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader (paid link) in the late 1980s, I have to admit I’m still a big fan of beakie Space Marines, Squats, Space Pirates and other OOP miniatures from the first edition of Warhammer 40K.

So when I recently acquired a ragged but complete copy of Warhammer 40,000 Book of the Astronomican, the first companion book to Warhammer 40,000 Rogue Trader, it was a real kick to discover it included army lists for Space Pirates and Eldar Raiders, as well as for Rogue Trader retinues and the Imperial Army, which apparently recruits almost as many space dwarves as it does human soldiers.

The Warhammer 40,000 Chapter Approved Book of the Astronomican was published in 1988, a year after the release of Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader. This official companion book contains an extensive four-part Spacewolves vs Orks campaign, designed for two or more players, plus a game master! This was back when Warhammer 40K incorporated RPG-type elements.

The Book of the Astronomican also includes army lists for Whitescars Space Marines, the Imperial Army, a Rogue Trader entourage, Space Pirates from the Claw Nebula, an Ork Legion and dreaded Eldar Pirates. Plus it provides several pre-made Imperial Characters, including assassins, inquisitors and Rogue Traders.

For me however, the most intriguing section in the Book of the Astronomican is the full-color photographic guide to all Warhammer 40K miniatures available at the time of its publication. In addition to the classic Space Marines, Space Dwarves, Space Elves and Orks, the guide also showcases a number of miniatures I had never seen before, such as Warhammer 40K Mercenaries and Imperial Army soldiers.

The Warhammer 40K Book of the Astronomican is a bit of a rarity these days, and my personal copy is literally falling apart. If you’d like to see highlights from this amazing piece of Warhammer 40,000 history, just click on the video player at the top of this post.