To start, the most glaring omission in my opinion, and something that makes me somewhat regret picking this up, is that there is no appendix with the listings for the Eight, and nowhere in the book does it list their cost.
What I was really looking for in the book was a two page spread of unit entries for the Eight, with points, stats, and rules summaries, just like a normal HQ page. Not only did it not have that, it didn't even have the points for the suits listed anywhere. Instead, you are instructed to use the Tau book to create the Eight exactly as described. To address this, I decided to put together a 1-page summary word doc with Name, Points, Unit Type, Wargear, and Special Rules and print it out to keep in the back of the book.
|The entirety of the section on the Eight|
What becomes particularly apparent in the hard copy book is that it is almost entirely fluff. I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all. It is what it is, and the fluff that is there I really liked. It really brings to the fore some of the more potentially sinister aspects of the Tau Empire in general, and the Ethereals in particular. I still need to reread it, but the interactions in particular between the Ethereals with Farsight and daemons on Arthas Moloch are intriguing.
The description of the first encounter with Daemons struck a chord with me now that I've been reading the Horus Heresy series. In particular, their ignorance and lack of understanding at first seemed parallel to that of Loken in Horus Rising, which provides a cool parallel to think about; what would have happened had Horus decided to leave the Imperium like Farsight rather than try to take it over?
The missions, again, seem like fun. In particular, the most outside the norm missions of Arthas Moloch and a last stand of the Eight against Tyranids seem fun. These would be fun, narrative games to play with friends, worrying about creating a story rather than finding a winner.
I think because it is mostly fluff, and the fluff that is there uncovers a good bit, I'm actually more interested in the supplements, even those I wouldn't play. In particular, Black Legion and Sentinels of Terra. That said, as more and more roll out, for the sake of my wallet I will certainly have to be a bit picky. I am leaning more toward the hard copy versions, in part because of difficulties with formatting on the digital versions. Also, there's something about the book in your hands I like better.