Why we're excited for Aeronautica Imperialis

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war...

With the arrival of Aeronautica Imperialis, the war of the 41st millennium has found a new vessel in the form of midair combat. Become the captain of either the Imperium Navy or the Ork Air Waaagh!! in a quest for aerial domination. Here's why you should be excited to take to the skies!

Easy to learn, rewarding to master

Great to pick up and play, but it's not skin deep!

In a game of Aeronautica Imperialis, turns are relatively simple. You figure out how you want to move your units, roll to see who gets to move and shoot first, take turns moving them, then take turns shooting each other. While the rules seem a little intimidating, once you start playing a game, you'll quickly understand how everything works and be flying with the best of them in no time.

Once you've got your head around the rules, you'll start to see more intricate lines of play appear before your very eyes. Knowing which manoeuvres to utilise, predicting how your opponent will move, choosing which of your units to move first and adjusting your units' speed to combat the actions of the enemy fleet is critical to your success in the skies. Combined with learning the strengths and weaknesses of you and your opponent's fleets of choice, these advanced tactics help push Aeronautica Imperialis from a very fun dogfighting game to a surprisingly deep tactical experience.

Dogfighting in the 41st millennium

Dogfighting

If you've ever had a game of Fantasy Flight's Star Wars X-Wing, you'll know the rush of emotions you can feel during a session. Chasing down your opponent's ships with your fleet of X-Wings or Tie Fighters leads to a level of palpable tension that'll keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time.

For those that prepare the flavour of the 41st millennium, Aeronautica Imperialis translates the dogfighting gameplay to the world of the far future perfectly. The Ork fleet, made up of speedy jets that prefer to get in close to take our their enemies with a suite of machine guns, give you that same rush that their tabletop counterpart provide in a full game of 40K. Meanwhile, the slower, refined warmachines of the Imperium Navy give you less room to fly around but much more power at range, allowing you to enact lethal force without having to fear the close range brutality of the Ork jets.

Fast and brutal games

Fast and brutal gameplay

Sitting down to play a game of Aeronautica Imperialis is fantastically simple. The Wings of Vengeance box set comes with everything you'll ever need for a game - rules, dice, tokens, a play space, and, of course, the models. Once you've got everything assembled (which should take you about an hour based on our own tests), setting up a game only requires you to unfold the game's included playmat and placing your models on one side of the field.

As soon as you start a match, you'll find that you're engaging in ship-on-ship combat from the first turn. The speed of the Orks combined with the range on the Imperium Navy's artillery forces you and your opponent into fighting right from the get-go. High shot counts and low jet health means you'll be seeing planes on both sides fall from the sky every turn, keeping tension high and gameplay exciting.

Based on our time playing the Wings of Vengeance starter set which features a smaller play space and half-size fleets, a game of Aeronautica Imperialis should run you about half an hour - shorter than the approximate forty-five minute runtime of something like Star Wars X-Wing, or the hour plus required for Wings of Glory. For those that enjoy their strategy games on the shorter side, or want something they can get through in a lunch break, Aeronautica Imperialis is absolutely worth checking out!

You get to paint!

Oh, the joys of assembly!

One of Warhammer 40,000's greatest strengths is the customisation that the game's model system allows for. When you build your army from those sculpted plastic pieces, you're offered choices to really make them feel like your own personal force.

Continuing in this vein, Aeronautica Imperialis also sells its models as unconstructed plastic sheets. Both the Ork and Imperial Guard fleets of fighters offer alternate weaponry options for their fighters (the Ork planes also have additional cosmetic pieces, while the strict code of the Imperial Guard does not allow for such frivolities) and come unpainted, giving you room to express yourself in your fighters however you choose. Will you stick to tradition on your Imperial Guard fleet? Will you embrace the Ork spirit and coat your Dakkajets with a furious red? It's entirely up to you!

Planes of the Imperium Navy

Interesting in picking up a copy of the starter set? You can preorder Wings of Vengeance here. Alternatively, if you'd rather construct your own squadron, all of the different sets can be found here!