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Aeronautica Imperialis Companion Review

Now on it’s third core boxed set, Aeronautica Imperialis has been enabling fans of the Warhammer 40k universe to capture a slice of the universe that isn’t the easiest to replicate in standard games of 40k – Aerial combat!

In the Aeronautica Imperialis Companion, available to purchase now, Games Workshop have expanded the options available to all existing forces, added a new race and expanded on how the game itself plays!

Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a review copy to share with you guys!

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When the latest Aeronautica Imperialis box dropped, many in the community questioned the lack of a Campaign Book to supplement the release, and some worried that this may be the end of printed support for the game. However, the Companion book acts as an expansion to the game – both collecting together existing material from White Dwarf and Warhammer Community with new aircraft for all factions and the brand new Necron faction! This softback book clocks in at 64 pages and costs just £15

The book kicks off with the campaign rules reprinted, but also includes the charts needed for the ace abilities of Necrons, Adeptus Astartes and Asuryani – bringing those 3 newer factions into the fold when you want to use these optional rules with those forces! Speaking of the new factions, the majority of book covers updated and full squadron lists for them along with new aircraft introduced for every older faction! While some of these have had rules printed and included with the models, they are collected together here in a book for the first time.

Necrons

The Necrons get added to Aeronautica Imperialis in this book with their first Squadron List! We only get 3 aircraft (2 sharing the same chassis) and a high points cost leading to some very elite forces, but you get a lot of bang for your buck!

Night Scythes are tough with 4 structure points, quick at speed 8, manoeuvrable with jink and a Manoeuvres stat covering 1-8 and also boasting a transport capacity and decent weaponry with 8 shots at short range! When you absolutly need to take out enemy aircraft you can upgrade them to a Doom Scythe for 3 points replacing the transport capacity with a 4 shot 9 (at close range) Heavy Death Ray with a damage characteristic of 3+ and extra damage on a 4+!

The 3rd aircraft available is the Night Shroud, a slightly slower but still impressively nippy bomber! The Death Spheres it drops acting like a Ground Attack equivalent to the Death Ray causing extra damage of a 4+

The Necrons also get a couple of tasty upgrades too including the ability to once per game teleport up to 2 hexes in any direction immediately after it makes a move – this is very cool and opens up some rather ace aerial tricks such and pulling off a manoeuvre then teleporting directly behind your target! They also get another nice upgrade that allows an aircraft to repair each point of structure damage on a 5+!

We don’t get any named aces, though from a lore point of view this does make sense!

Adeptus Astartes

While nothing new is contained here, the book does consolidate all the Space Marine rules together. This means that anyone who didn’t pick up Wrath of Angels could instead just pick up this book and have all the rules they need for putting together their Astartes squadron.

Asuryani

The Eldar get their full squadron list in this book including 4 aircraft that strangely did not get cards released as part of their card pack!

First up we get the Vampire Raider, a fast and agile bomber with a transport capacity and a main gun with 10 shots! It also has the option of reducing its transport capacity for missiles. With a top speed of 7 and a throttle of 3 it can run rings around most other bombers in the game!

Alternativly, the Eldar can take the Vampire Hunter, another fast bomber with weaponry designed to tear heavy targets to shreds!

The Hemlock Wraithfighter is a terrifying concept, a super quick, super agile interceptor with 3 shot weapons that damage on a 2+ and cause extra damage on a 3+. They have the manoeuvre range to get where they need to get to and the speed to keep up with nearly any target while ripping them to shreds with decent weaponry.

Finally we have the new Nightshade Interceptor which trades off some of the firepower of the Hemlock for an even quicker flyer clocking a top speed of 9 and a throttle of 4!

Orks

Orks gain a couple of new aircraft in the form of looted Thunderbolts and Marauders, allowing Ork players to go to town kitbashing some cool Orky creations! You are able to take a maximum of 1 for every 5 Ork flyers in the force and can even outfit them with Ork upgrades and ordanace!

The Orks also get the full rules for the Mega Bommer printed here and it really is a flying tank! Rocking 10 structure points and covered in weapons it will make an impressive centre piece for an Ork sqadron.

T’au

The T’au fleet gets a big boost in the variety of aircraft it can take with human auxiliaries added to their squadron list! Now, like with the Orks there is a limit of 1 per 5 tau planes, but the T’au pretty much get access to every Astra Militarum and Imperial Navy aircraft. This suddenly gives them a whole range of options for use in games and a nic excuse to paint up some more aircraft in Tau colours!

Imperial Navy

The book also contains the full rules for the Marauder Pathfinder and Marauder Colossus giving these rules a printed source now! The Colossus isn’t subtle, being armed with a massive bomb to cause devastating damage. On the other hand the Pathfinder is an interesting aircraft that can be used to change the orders given to friendly aircraft. This gives you the ability to react to how enemy aircraft have moved and change your manoeuvre as needed, which is an amazing ability to have!

The book also contains a suite of optional advanced rules for altering how the core game operates – this includes a system for giving an ammo characteristic to all weapons in order to capture the realism of all aircraft realistically having limited ammo. In practice I’m not sure how many people will use this, but its good to have the option of more advanced rules.

Speaking of advanced rules we also get expanded damage rules that replace the damage system in the core game with something a little more like older editions of 40k where you roll a chart once you damage an aircraft with varying results from simply causing the target to spin up through causing the engine to belch smoke all the way through to causing the plane to lose a structure point and catch fire! Due to the fact that you don’t always lose a structure point this means that your aircraft stick around longer, with smoke and fire themselves having additional rules such as reducing hit rolls or causing prolonged damage each turn the fire still rages!

Along side this we see a list of new ace abilities designed to go along side these expanded rules – the logic being that skirmishes between aces will be more cinematic considering the planes will stay in the fight longer. I really like these optional extra rules, but suspect that many will stick to the core game rules – but they would be nice to try out every now and then for creating particularly epic combats!

Finally, the book concludes with some matched play scenarios designed for both tournament play and pick up games – these will be particularly useful for people looking to host their own events or run a mini tournament in their local group!

Summary

To conclude, the Aeronautica Imperialis Companion does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a Companion volume that adds both new options to mix up your games of Aeronautica and adds new aircraft options for most of the factions in the game. From a completionist point of view it is also nice to have the rules for all the new flyers released since the last Campaign book collected together in one place! My only real mark against it would be the fact this is paperback compared the the previous hardback books, but this does help keep the price down at a reasonable £15 – and with that in mind is well worth your attention if you play games of Aeronautica!

Games Workshop provided Sprues and Brews a copy of the Companion for review purposes.

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