Aeronautica Imperialis: Horus Heresy

Reviewing the new book for tiny planes in Warhammer!

Today I’m reviewing the new Aeronautica Imperialis book focusing on the Horus Heresy. Before we get into things, thanks goes to Games Workshop for providing this to review for free. As always I aim to be honest, impartial and constructively critical. With that done, let’s get on with the review!


Inside the book you get everything you need, rules wise, to play games of Aeronautica Imperialis in the Horus Heresy. You get the core rules, narrative as well as a selection of missions and data sheets for planes you can use.

Narrative-wise you get a lot of content from the details of air battles in the Horus Heresy to example planes used by each Legion.

Rules-wise, nothing really changes. Aeronautica is a hex-based movement game all about choosing the right distances and heights to engage from, out-maneuvering your opponent and getting ideal shooting attacks off. It’s a very tactical and rewarding game with a lot of depth if you put time into it. Using the right maneuvers and heights for attacks is the key to victory.

You also get a nice setting to use for an example narrative campaign. It covers why the forces are fighting as well as the combat zone they are fighting over.

Now for the missions…these are the same as from previous Aeronautica campaign books. While the re-print of missions isn’t new, it is a bit disappointing. Especially considering how the Aeronautica Compendium missions are much more balanced and easier to play without much investment or preparation.

For the Legiones Astartes, you get access to all the currently released Space Marine units for Aeronautica Imperialis. There is nothing new and rules are identical to previously released versions. While this is all fine, the biggest downside for me is how all the Legion special rules are just…upgrades. No plane gets built-in special rules. You have to pay to be unique. My gripe here is that some upgrades are so expensive that they are not worth taking whereas others as so cheap that don’t really do much, resulting it usually vanilla forces fighting against each other.

Horus Heresy gets around this on the tabletop version by giving each legion unique special rules and reactions. The fact this is not repeated in the Aeronautica version is quite disappointing. Sure, balance is maintained but Legions don’t really feel unique to play as.

Space Marines aren’t the only force in the book. You also get to play as the pre-Imperial Navy, having access to all currently released Imperial planes. These are all identical, only being seperated by whether you are a traitor or loyalist. Considering Imperial planes are generally more powerful than Space Marine planes, and you have much more to choose from, these may be more common-place than Space Marine planes. Still, it’s a nice addition to the setting for players.

Another new addition in the book is the Ares Gunship for Custodes. Unfortunately there is no troop carrier version (for now?) which means Custodes can’t really win/play missions that require transports. The Ares is a fine gunship, it just feels quite limiting for a faction to only have 1 unit. If you had the transport version too or some other Custodes attack craft, this would have been much better. Although the Ares is quite a mid-range shooting beast.


Overall Thoughts

Aeronautica Imperialis: The Horus Heresy is a really strange book. While it does give the guidelines for playing Aeronautica in the Horus Heresy, it does feel quite lacking for new content. It’s great for players new to the game or who haven’t bough campaign books before, but existing players may find it difficult to buy. There’s still a lot of good content here but it’s missing what I would expect to be in here from stuff like Legion traits to some new missions for example.

Pros:

  • Great for players new to Aeronautica Imperialis
  • Gives you everything you need to play games set in the Horus Heresy
  • Plane upgrades give you some way to represent your chosen Legion
  • Rules for using Custodes in Aeronautica Imperialis

Cons:

  • No Legion special rules, locked into plane upgrades which you may end up not taking
  • Missions are re-printed from previous campaign books, nothing unique for the setting
  • Limited new unique content for existing players

So would I recommend this? It’s a bit tough as was originally very hyped for this book after getting into Aeronautica Imperialis a few months ago. Upon reading, I’d only really recommend it if you’re new to Aeronautica Imperialis, as it’s a great jumping-on point for new players, or if you really want to play games in the Horus Heresy setting because you’ll get all the rules here needed for that. Other players will likely pass for the aforementioned reasons. I just really wish this book included at least unique Legion traits for planes. At least this book is launching with a new Horus Heresy board to play on as well as faction cards for everything in the book for quick-reference during games.

You can order your Aeronautica Imperialis products directly from Games Workshop or via my affiliate link at Element Games that will net you a 15% to 25% at no additional cost to yourself while helping to support me and my content, so check it out if you can.

Check out my Discord as well as my Patreon too if you want to give me some more support!

That’s it for now. I still really like Aeronautica Imperialis and I’m currently adding to my Aeldari fleet. So until next time, even while flying high altitude, don’t loose hope on your ability to roll a crit!

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