There are new battles coming to the skies of Warhammer 40k. It’s Aeronautica Imperialis. This is a new dogfighting style game coming to 40k. This is done at the scale of Adeptus Titanicus. Aeronautica Imperialis goes up for preorder this weekend. But first let’s make a swooping dive into the details.
Aeronautica Imperialis is played differently from standard 40k style battles. Using a system similar to other dogfighting tabletop games.
First among the changes is the use of hex bases on the models. Which correspond to the playing field. Meaning no measuring is required to play, only counting hex spaces. These spaces are used to determine range and travel distance. The height and speed of the aircraft is determined by the counters on the bases.
For movement, the player must choose one of the Ace Maneuvers. Which can be things like fly straight ahead or perform a sweeping turn. More agile aircraft can also perform more advanced actions like hard 180 degree turns. Also this is where you can change the altitude of your aircraft. Which really affects shooting.
For shooting all planes have the same range on all weapons. But each weapon performs differently at different ranges. The ranges for planes are short at 1-4 hexs, medium at 5-7, and long at 8-10. Weapons like the quad autocannons fire two shots at short range, six shots at medium range, and no shots at long range. Plus some weapons have special rules like extra damage on lascannons.
Each plane measures the damage it took against its structure number. There also are minimum speeds, maximum speeds, maximum altitudes, handling, throttle, and ace maneuvers usable. These numbers show how slow or fast your aircraft can go. The maximum height it can achieve, and how fast it can accelerate. The Ace Maneuvers available show how agile the plane is.
Positioning is key for Aeronautica Imperialis because if you end up within close range, behind another aircraft as you can shoot at that aircraft before the shooting phase. But be careful that the same doesn’t happen to you.
The two initial factions for Aeronautica Imperialis are the Imperial Navy and the Ork Air WAAAGH. Both of these factions have a number of aircraft at their disposal.
First up we’ll focus on the forces of the Imperial Navy. These forces are incredibly durable, with large versatility, and excel at mid-range engagements. But each aircraft fills a different role.
Like the Thunderbolt here. Which can be the only type of aircraft in a squadron and still do well. They also boast being able to use the most aerial maneuvers. But that’s just the Fighterjet configuration, which sports quad autocannons and dual lascannons. There’s also the Fury configuration. Which has an avenger bolt cannon, which will decimate lesser aircraft. But it only can fire straight ahead.
For those wanting a bit more muscle there is the Marauder Bomber. This thing is ridiculously well armed and armored. Sporting lascannons at the front with a couple turrets along the top. Plus having four additional weapon slots to fill. This thing will be dropping multiple lighter aircraft.
But then there’s the Marauder Destroyer. Which is terrifying. From the huge amount of weaponry this thing brings to bear at the front to the tail gunner that is as effective as lesser aircraft. However, all the armament does lead to slow speed.
As a counter to the Imperial Navy is the Ork Air WAAAGH which fights very different. Orks prefer to fight in close range. Getting as close to their opponents as possible before unleashing lots of dakka. Their aircraft are of course faster to be able to achieve this goal and they are more numerous. Allowing the loss of an aircraft to long range fire before unloading.
Dakkajets are the primary Ork aircraft and exemplify their way of aerial combat. Not sporting much durability but being able to fly out of enemy fire handily.
However, the Fighta Bommerz are a different story. Built as a well-rounded unit. They have more than enough dakka combined with 3 additional hard points for weapons. But standard on the aircraft are four big shootas on the front and a turreted big shoota that can even fire rearward.
The starter set which is being released for pre-order this weekend is called Wings of Vengeance. This kit has forces of the Imperial Navy pitted against those of the Ork Air WAAAGH.
The set has the parts to make two Thunderbolt Fighters, two Marauder Bombers, three Dakkajets, and two Fighta Bomberz. These models have some variety from the sprue, such as different tail wings for the Orks. These models look like a great start to a force that will scourge the skies.
Wings of Vengeance also includes dice, the rulebook, movement diagrams, tokens, and a two-sided play mat. Pretty much everything you need to play the game with a friend.
If you’re looking to bolster your squadron or want to build your own unique force outside of Wings of Vengeance. You can do that too with the various kits also coming to shelves soon.
There are individual kits coming with varieties of aircraft in Wings of Vengeance. But there also is one kit that has yet to be mentioned. The Marauder Destroyer. This is the flying fortress of the Imperial Navy and it comes in a kit of 2.
The Thunderbolt Fighterjets come in a set of four and can also be assembled as Furies, the more rapid fire version. Marauder Bombers also come in a set of two. Dakkajets come in a set of six which lots of different customization available. The Fighta Bomberz get a set of four models. But extra sets of models isn’t the only support coming to Aeronautica Imperialis.
There already is future support for Aeronautica Imperialis planned. The first bit that’s been shown is a campaign book called Rynn’s World Air War.
The book itself contains special rules for units taking part in the war. Including special aces for the Imperial and Ork forces. These units act as heroes in the game with better stats and/or weapons. The book also boasts six new scenarios in addition to a full set of the base rules to play the game.
But the book for Rynn’s World isn’t the only thing being added in the expansion. There also will be ground targets which present additional targets and adversaries for the would be wing commanders. There also is a new Area of Engagement that will release alongside Rynn’s World. Which is even bigger than the one in Wings of Vengeance. There also will be datacards for each air force, extra tokens available, and special dice with Rynn’s World.
Aeronautica Imperialis looks to be a great new way to explore the Warhammer 40k universe. From the great new models, to the simplicity of starting a game. We certainly are excited to see it at the game table.
As always, A big thanks to Games Workshop for the images provided for this article.