It's an odd time to be a Dark Angel player. On the one hand there's the Dark Vengeance set, boosting the attention on the Chapter, while on the other there's the lack of an up to date Codex.
While the DA Codex was only released a few months before the last edition of the Chaos Space Marines Codex (March 2007, and September 2007 respectively). On the face of things this shouldn't be a big handicap. The Dark Angels Codex was the first to move over into the more streamlined layout for the army list, and isn't the oldest Codex out at the moment (That honour going to Black Templars (Nov 2005) with Tau a way behind (March 2006)). However the Dark Angel and the Black Templar Codices were both released before the current iteration of Codex Space Marine, and suffer markedly in comparison to their more generic brethren in terms of rule, points cost, and equipment.
It's not this discrepancy I want to talk about though. I want to know what to do if you're a player wither new to the game or new to the Dark Angels, having picked up the Dark Vengeance set.
While some players are going to be drawn by Chaos, and the newest Codex and models, others are going to be drawn to the Dark Angels. Initially the Dark Vengeance set caters to both players equally, with the scenarios provided giving each side fixed army lists and letting them punch chunks off each other in escalating battles. The issue comes when it's time to move out into the larger world of 40K. The Chaos player buys a Codex, and some new models, and heads off to the gaming table ready to play the game without any worry bar turning into a spawn, and the fate of his heretic soul.
The Dark Angels player is in a very different position. First off their army is buried under the "Space Marine" heading on the GW web store. Apparently Dark Angels really do value their secrecy. And at this point comes a three pronged choice. The Dark Vengeance rules provide no points values for models, meaning a player needs to have a Codex to play a game. Fair enough, until you look online and realise your £20 box might well be invalidated in only a few months. Long enough to build up the army, only to have your work nixed by the release of new models then. Back to the three choices, you could wait (assuming you know of the release rumours), you could buy the Dark Angel Codex and be prepared to be outdated, or you could get the Space Marine Codex and while you're also going to be outdated you've got a Codex that is still useful, either for a different Marine army, or to earn back some money on eBay, or the like.
While GW's release cycle and announcement policy having traps for the unwary is nothing new, this does seem to be a particularly bad case with players lured in by the new models and then almost certainly left out of pocket a few months down the line.
I'd be interested to know what Dark Angels players both new and old are doing with their forces at the moment, or if everyone has turned to Chaos.