Aeronautica Imperialis – Taros Air War

Right along with the Skies of Fire starter box, came Taros Air War, the second campaign supplement for Aeronautica Imperialis.

Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War

The Taros Air War is part of the Taros Campaign, a conflict Forge World covered in one of their Imperial Armour books back in 2004, Imperial Armour Volume Three - The Taros Campaign, to be precise. Taros was mining world, in the Ultima Segmentum, in the service of the Imperium of Man. But the Planetary Governor Aulis, head of the Taros government, developed friendly trading relations with the Tau, and sought to defect to the Tau Empire with the support of much of the planetary population. A treachery the Imperium couldn't let go unpunished, and their response was relentless.

A proper conflict to introduce the T'au Empire to Aeronautica Imperialis. Games Workshop covers that in a 96-page hardcover, that includes the game rules from the starter kit Skies of Fire, along with further content.

Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War

It is necessary to point out, that the game rules are not identical, as for example the moving rules are expanded with 3 special manoeuvres (Landing, taxiing and taking off), as are other parts of the rules, for example firing. You have the option to fire directly overhead, along with new weapon special rules for Ground-to-Air fire and effective altitude, autonomous weapons (for example grot bombers), Air-to-Ground fire, Ground attacks, strafing and bombing run. So a lot of interaction with ground assets and buildings / terrain. And this extended rules are the reason why those take up 31 pages in Taros Air War compared to the 23 pages they fill in on starter set rules. A lot of these special / new rules have to do with the type of scenarios that are included with this supplement.

After the updated rules, you'll find the background on the conflict on 22 pages. This includes a large map, which is an updated, more detailled variant of the one shown in the Taros Campaign book by Forge World. Games Workshop points out that they cover "Example colour schemes of Imperial Navy, Astra Militarum and T’au Air Caste aircraft." in the product description of this book. Well, technically that's right, but one of each is not really generous and that could be by far more various. Especially with the artwork that is still around from the old Imperial Armour book and / or original Aeronautica Imperialis.

Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War

There are 4 new scenarios covered in this supplement, along with the one from the starter set. Which gives you The Dogfight, The Chase, Subterranean Assault, Sky-Fortress Attack and Canyon Attack Run. It is a bit odd, that the suggested sizes for areas of engagements are different in the two books. Taros suggest a bit smaller size (from 2 ft. by 2 ft. to 6 ft. by 3 ft.) compared to the regular book suggestions (3 ft. by 3 ft. to 8 ft. by 4 ft.). But the scenarios are not just scenarios, this mini-chapter adds rules for terrain height, ground targes and landing zones. Along with new rules for Fighting at low altitude and a rolling area of engagement. This recreates a fast hunt, where the game plan moves as well, as the tiles leave one side of the table and new tiles are added on the opposite side. They covered this idea a few years ago with Jetbikes in the White Dwarf.
The new special rules make sense from a point of view of the lore. Taros is a mining planet and many parts of the surface are not ideal for regular ground warfare, therefore you have to attack / defend the factories along with bring in drop troops.

Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War

The campaign section covers rules identical to the ones printed in last years campaign supplement of Rynn's Air War, and features aces with experiences.

Beside the specific scenario rules the main aspect of this book are the new squadron lists, that cover new Imperial Navy / Astra Militarum and T'au Air Cast units, along with options, defences and aces. The squadron lists are complete, so they cover all the units from the current wave (so basically the squadron lists from Skies of Fire plus the new units).

In this case this means the Imperium has new special rules for rocket boosters, transport aircrafts, valuable cargo and jump troops (for example the Elysians that were part of the Taros Air War), stealth and jink. Along with the new units of the Avenger Strike Fighter and Imperial Arvus Lighter and Astra Militarum Vulture Gunship. I assume all of them will be released by Forge World (that's at least confirmed for the Arvus and Vulture, the Avenger might be plastic as it was shown in groups of four). And of course the supplement adds new ground defences with the Hydra Flak and Basilisk AA. The Hydra was part of the 2019 ground assets.

On the other side, of the T'au Air Cast, there is a new upgrade exclusively for Barracudas (which were part of the Skies of Fire box, so it is a bit odd, that they didn't include them with the basic rules), but I assume that the Ionic Afterburners only make sense with the added game play of this supplement. As for new units the T'au have access to the AX-1-0 variant of the Tiger Shark and the Remora Drone. With the focus on drop troops and such, I somehow expected for the Manta to be covered in here. T'au aren't defenseless, we already know the T'au Tidewall, and I expected the Gunrigg to be included in here, but they added new defense units, with the KV 126 Skyfire and KV 129 Stormfury. I wouldn't expect a plastic kit like we have seen for the Imperial Guard and Orks, more like blisters by Forge World for these.

Both factions have their fighter aces, two for each side. Imperial Aces Flight commander Megana Ayce and Flight Ltn Dyce Vander, and Red Horizon Hunter Cadre Kae O'ar and Dawn Sword Hunter Cadre Dor'n O'ka.

Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War Aeronautica Imperialis - Taros Air War

The last pages are the Quick Reference Sheet, Movement Diagrams and Markers (you'll have to copy these to cut them out, if you don't want to damage your book).

Tough one. It is a clever idea to tie in this supplement with an existing conflict and provide the Forge World / Specialist Games players with some additional options to play their games. Yet, the generated value of this supplement is not that great and that is a problem, especially with the price tag.

A third of the pages is used for the basic game rules. It makes sense to offer that, in case you want somebody to join Aeronautica without buying the starter set. Yet, for someone who already owns the starter set or last years campaign supplement, a third of the new product is "wasted" on something he already owns. So, for the Imperial Navy you have duplicate content, and for the T'au Air Cadre is shared rules and only two new units and two aces.

I don't want to compare this supplement with a main range product for Age of Sigmar or Warhammer 40,000, but if you take a look at Titandeath or Doom of Molech, they are similar in size and price. And they cover so much more added value to the game of Adeptus Titanicus compared to this for Aeronautica Imperialis. Not only do the AT books cover much more rules and play-able content, but for the lore and fluff, there are multiple colour schemes of houses and legions in there, with examples for the different titans and knights. In here, they just managed to show three (!) examples of paint shemes, one of each faction. And they could have made so much more from the scenarios, show a bit of the tables, use for example pictures from the Imperial Armour book and so on, just to create the mood. But the way they handled it here - that's just not enough, especially for the price. It is less about paying 30 EUR for 96 pages, that is okay, they are just not well used in this case. As for the last pages, they could have the books shrink wrapped and added the card board markers and the reference sheet as a double-side single page with it, as some others manufacturers do with their books (and as they provide both with the starter set the print setup and die-cut is already available).

If the smaller rule book would cover more, it would valorise the starter set and would free up space in the campaign supplement, to talk about the conflict, set up the scene and provide the players with ideas and a setup worth fighting over.

Warhammer 40,000 and Aeronautica Imperialis are brands by Games Workshop.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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