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Warhammer The Horus Heresy Aeronautica Imperialis Review

Aeronautica Imperialis, the game of aerial combat has so far explored the aircraft battles of the 41st Millennium. However today with Warhammer The Horus Heresy: Aeronautica Imperialis, up for pre order today, we finally get to recreate these battles during the Age of Darkness

Massive thanks to Games Workshop for sending us an early review copy of the book for free for us to take a look at and show you all, if you would like to support the site then why not order your copy through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself some money too

We also have a full video covering the entire book which can be found below or over on YouTube!

So what exactly is this book? Is it a new edition of Aeronautica?

Not really, this is more like a complete edition of the game allowing you to play battles in the 31st millenium.

Rules wise nothing has changed, this is the full and complete rules as found in previous versions of the Aeronautica books – This is a great thing as it means that existing players of the game don’t need to worry about a brand new edition and means we don’t see differences between the various boxes and books currently available for the system, something that can often lead to drop off of players as people do not want to update to a newer ruleset. Aerronautica works pretty slickly as it is, so really didn’t need a second edition this early.

For people who have not played the game before, this is a very easy to learn but difficult to master system. Essentially you secretly place orders for each of your aircraft with a different number of manoeuvres available for each aircraft in the game. Each of these orders will cause your aircraft to reposition itself in a number of different ways in order to try and get the jump on your enemy. Adding a spanner in the works to this however is the fact that you alternate moving planes. So while you might have something perfectly lined up to take out your opponent, they may have outfoxed you and manage to shift it to a different position before you can open fire! This really adds to the feel of a dogfight, with planes trying to shift their positioning in order to get right behind them and start shooting! Another twist is the fact that you are not playing on a flat plane at a single speed – Aircraft can change altitude and speed, both variables that also affect the positioning, handling and the difficulty to hit and be hit – you can play some real psychological games with your opponent as you tease them with your aircraft. All of this is recorded in the special bases used for the miniatures, making tracking all this easy in a fast paced game. it’s relatively hard to wound targets compared to 40k, but makes it all the more satisfying when you manage to line up the perfect shot and take out your target!

In addition to the core rules we also get a “best of” of scenarios with 8 represented here from across both of the previous Aeronautica supplements – Off the top of my head the only one omitted is the underground battle from the Tarros Campaign book. Again, this makes the book a great jumping on point for people new to Aeronautica, though it is a shame we don’t get any new ones for existing players who already have the old books and want this for the Horus Heresy content.

Speaking of Horus Heresy we do get some substantial narrative about the Fall of Vanaheim between the Iron Warriors and the Loyalist factions trying to retake the planet. Its nice to see an aircraft heavy slice of the Warhammer Horus Heresy lore, and this acts as a framing device for this book, with your forces fighting over this combat zone.

The book also contains a number of complete army lists and profiles.

Firstly we get the full Legiones Astartes list using the rules found in the previous Companion book, which also means that players without the companion wanting to upgrade from one of the boxed starter sets may find this a great jump on point if they want to try the full game using all the profiles.

The various Space Marine Legions are represented, and differentiation between the different forces is done with a single legion specific upgrade for each faction. What’s nice about this is that the upgrades really capture the feeling of each Legion – So for example the White Scars get Jink in order to represent their skills with fast vehicles, while the Sons of Horus gain a reroll for priority representing the tactical genius of the Warmaster.

We also get a list for the Diviso Aeronautica showing the mortal flyers of the time period – this includes all the standard craft such as Thunderbolts, Marauders and Avengers – but does not include any of the Astra Militarum aircraft. Again, this means that non-xenos players from the original plastic boxed set will be able to use their existing flyers and join in on the Heresy action!

Finally we also get rules for the Ares Gunship – clocking in at 43 points this can be taken in a pure Custode force, or be taken alongside Legiones Astartes or Divisio Aeronautica forces (Though interestingly there’s no rule to say traitors can’t take them!) the ship is touch with 5 structure points and some pretty powerful weapons such as the Magna-blaze cannon with 3-4-3 DMG3+ and 4+ Extra Damage! The model also looks gorgeous and I can’t wait to see one in the flesh!

In summary I think this is probably the most “complete” Aeronatica rulebook yet if you are a player of a non-xenos force, it contains 8 awesome missions, 2 full army lists along with the core rules for the game. If you are new to Aeronautica then this and a couple of boxes of whichever aircraft you think look cool will be a great start – My only real disappointment here is that there is no boxed game version of this, especially as the previous boxes have now been discontinued – I hope that this is something they revisit in the future perhaps with “Start Collecting” style boxes containing a range of aircraft and the rules for the models in the box.

Warhammer The Horus Heresy Aeronautica Imperialis is up for pre order today and is released Saturday 27th August

Games Workshop sent Sprues & Brews a free copy for review purposes.

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