Saturday, 30 December 2017

Horus Heresy Age of Darkness Rulebook review

Hi all,

I managed to get my hands on a hard copy of the Horus Heresy rulebook on Thursday and I've been pouring through it to see how much has changed between 40k 7th edition and Horus Heresy v1.0.

At first glance, I must admit I didn't notice much different in terms of content because it is based off 7th edition after all but I will get to that in a bit. The first thing I would like to cover is the quality, the layout and generally the presentation of the book. I must say, I am impressed, Forge World have done an outstanding job here, it fits in perfectly with my other HH red books, they've really gone to town on how they present the rules - if you are familiar with the images used to depict things like firing arcs on vehicles and such, they have done this here but have used 30k units rather than reused the old 40k images - a minor detail maybe it makes this look very polished like as though this is a rule set designed for playing battles in the 31st millennium.

Art work from the various black books have also been splashed about here too - to fill gaps maybe in some of the sections or space things out a little better so you aren't constantly facing a wall of text but as it's the Forge World art work you'll find yourself distracted (in a good way) by very pretty artwork of even prettier in person models that just makes you want to get your wallet out and... bad Hector, we'll buy more toys later!

At the front of the book, there is a nice In Memoriam to Alan Bligh which is a very nice touch and we will continue to remember him while playing games in the Age of Darkness for years to come.

Anyway, back to the content of the book itself, I did notice some things on the rules that had changed depending on how you play the game - not game changing, just you may need to rethink army compositions if you are affected. Also note that I have deliberately skipped the content that Tony Cottrell gave us a sneak peak at on Warhammer Live a few months back (but to be clear, yes, Invisibility is gone and you can mass melta-bomb tanks again):

Lords of War

The options under Panoply of War has changed somewhat but more to clarify what was meant about the Lords of War options that are available to *all* armies in Age of Darkness and that if there is a AoD datasheet for the unit in question then that will trump all other legacy versions of it (so Imperial Armour, 40k Apocalypse, etc). For example, if you wish to use a Baneblade in a Legiones Astartes army list, you must use either the Solar Auxillia or the Militia Cults datasheet for the Baneblade - in the case of Legiones Astartes, the same upgrades such as Space Marine Crew and such are still available to use in addition to the rules in the datasheet.

Another change which may affect some but not all is that in the War Machine Squadron option for Lords of War is that Questoris Knights are now not an explicit option unless your army list includes Knights as a valid Lord of War choice (e.g. Mechanicum Taghmata army list). If you wish to use Questoris Knights along with Legiones Astartes you will need to ally instead meaning that you will need to take at least 2 Knights so that some people may need to reconsider their lists if they were reliant on taking a single Knight for example as a Lord of War.


This looks for the most part like a copy-paste of the Stronghold Assault rules however there are some noticeable differences. First of all, possibly more of a rules clarification than anything else but in the case of Fortifications that provide cover by models standing behind it (in rules terms - so for example an Aegis Defence Line), the models must be at least 25% obscured to gain the cover save granted by the Fortification in question - no hiding big tanks behind tiny walls.

Another thing to note is that the list of available fortifications is a sub-set of all the ones that were previously available - I do not think this is a typo or misprint by any means as at first glance it appears that a lot of the fortifications that have been released in the past couple years have been missed out and just the older pre-Wall of Martyrs fortifications exist in AoD however it appears that on top of that, the Fortress of Redemption and the Skyshield Landing Pad are also conspicuous in their absence. Overall, there seems to have been a deliberate pruning of all the more possibly esoteric fortifications like the pipelines and plasma generators while keeping the more traditional style of fortifications (bunkers, defence lines and so on) in the game.


Oh yes, there are some rules for Daemons here but only for the purposes of summoning (we're expecting more rules in Angelus which hopefully is a more in depth army list). If you have an older publication of Codex Daemons (kinda realistically talking 7th edition 40k) then if your opponent agrees you can summon Daemons from that book instead whereas if you don't have it or if your opponent is otherwise inclined, there is a set of generic rules for Daemons provided. There are stats for "Lesser", "Beasts", "Heralds" and "Greater" Daemons that corresponds with the relevant spells in Daemonology: Malefic. On top of this, you may choose 1 rule from a list of 4 for the Daemon(s) you are summoning that is applicable to them (e.g. to represent Lesser Daemons of Nurgle you'd choose Feel No Pain) along with the standard special rules that Daemons all have in common explained in the section.

This is the major stuff I have noticed however, I am aware that Radio Free Isstvan (Theforgottenlegion30k on SoundCloud) have done a podcast on the changes in the book where they have gone through the book thoroughly - I believe they mentioned that at least two of them sat down with a 7th edition rule book and an AoD rulebook open in front of them and went through everything line-by-line so if you want a more in-depth analysis of what has changed between 7th and HH v1.0, follow this link:

I'd like to hear what you guys think. Is there anything I missed that you'd like to mention as well? Drop us comment below!

Until next time!

Hector Cephas


  1. This is very interesting. Thanks for the review Hector. It springs to mind that if they have gone to such pains to provide a well-rounded book, visually as well as ruleswise, one could be forgiven for assuming that the core of Horus Heresy might remain firmly rooted in 40K 7th Edition for the foreseeable future, wouldn't you? I believe that the statlines and rules mechanics of 8th don't go well with what we have come to expect of Heresy gaming. Cheers.

    1. Yeah, I agree that this is going to be here with us for a while and isn't just a throw away book. A nice side effect of branching off from 40k is that it also ensures that the rules for the game will always be under Forge World's control rather than there being a transition period between 40k version updates and then Forge World playing catch up with the whole Horus Heresy range.

      There are some things I would like changed like how Barrage works and all the minuses to hit in Inferno (which is another conversation all together really as it's not related to this publication in particular) but Forge World have complete control over the system so they can make changes like like if they want to - moreso now than before.

    2. I really struggle to think how the specific Rites of War for the Legions would work in the current 8th edition format. A gentleman in a blog I read some days ago was musing about how the Stone Gauntlet of his Imperial Fists, as well as his collection of Breacher marines, were quite unusable in the hodgepodge adaptation for 8th that has been doing the rounds on the web. The game is just too simple to allow for all the nuances and interactions between Legions. Anyway, I think that this is a good decision and the nicely bound rulebook will provide entertainment for decades to come for sure. Cheers.

  2. I got mine this morning, and had a quick look through before I had to leave for work.

    All looks fantastic, and I don't think I'll have to rewrite much in the way of my armies (possibly grenades for my salamanders??)

    I didn't catch anything about template weapons and multi-level structures other than hitting the building as well as the unit on the battlements in the fortifications section (which will be useful to know for my salamanders and iron warriors! )

  3. I really liked how the Book is laid out and how a lot of the rules are clearly worded amd then explicitly detailed in how it works.

    1. That last point especially, they appear to have reworded a great deal of the rules, which results in far more clarity than the original 7th rules had, that alone is a substantial improvement.

  4. To some extent, those changes to available Fortifications actually make sense to me. I'm pretty sure the Fortress of Redemption has been explicitly mentioned as a post-heresy design at some point, for instance.

    1. That was the main reason I didn't buy it when I had to choose which expansive fortification I should buy.
      Lucky me ;)

  5. I didn’t realise Alan B was only my age, sucks even more, before his time. Anyway, good review, hopefully HH players are not feeling the pinch too much from 8th taking up all GW efforts?

    1. I play Iron Warriors.
      My stuff is all out, special characters had already been build by me, so no, I don't give a damn.
      I welcome it even because it gives me time to build and paint the huge pile of miniatures I've bought over the last couple of month.
      My group went real crazy and ordered almost every week for 250+£ for month.
      Fun's over, now it's time to work.

  6. Thank you so much for the review

  7. Great review. Cheers Hector.
    The Memoriam is a great touch in my opinion, and well deserved as all know.
    Did they add anything in the Stronghold Assault to fix the Castellum’s issues?