Legions Imperialis Preview - I Love These Little Dudes!

How many Astartes can dance on the head of a pin? Find out with our review of the teeny, tiny, in-depth new Warhammer mass battle game, Legions Imperialis.

Published: November 18, 2023 5:00 AM /

Previewed By:

Legions Imperialis Preview header image featuring miniatures next to a glue bottle for size comparison.

With the upcoming release of Legions Imperialis, Games Workshop is set to bring back epic-scale warfare to the world of Horus Heresy. We reviewed the launch of the latest iteration of Horus Heresy last year, and even put together a handy guide for Horus Heresy, but now it's time we shrink things down to zoom out in the conflict!

Games Workshop sent along a copy of the Legions Imperialis core set for me to check out, so read on for my initial thoughts (and lots of pictures of these lil' cuties).

What's Included In The Legions Imperialis Core Set?

The Legions Imperialis core set includes everything you need to jump into this world of epic conflict, but it's also enough for two players to build smaller, beginner forces.

A full product shot of Legions Imperialis of the components of the starter set from Games Workshop.
The full contents of the Legions Imperialis box. Image: Games Workshop

But let's get nitty gritty and break it down. Included in the Legions Imperialis Core Set are the following components:

  • Legions Imperialis 240-page Hardback Rulebook
  • One Order Token Sheet
  • Two Rules Reference Sheets
  • Twenty Six-sided Dice & One Scatter Dice
  • 106 Space Marine and Walker Miniatures
  • 5 Space Marine Vehicle Miniatures
  • 6 Solar Auxilia Vehicle Miniatures
  • 2 Warhound Titan Miniatures

Though this is a starter set, it should be noted that you'll need glue and cutting tools to assemble these miniatures. And I also highly recommend using a decent pair of tweezers as well, as you'll often need to carefully place extremely small Astartes onto their base.

Just some of the models from the various starter boxes we checked out courtesy of Games Workshop
Just some of the models from the various starter boxes we checked out courtesy of Games Workshop

How Do You Play Legions Imperialis?

A game of Legions Imperialis is played over a series of phases, with many aspects of Warhammer 40K - and even more aspects of Horus Heresy - shining through. I've been working through the impressive rulebook included in the Core Set, but think that the following video created by Games Workshop does a nice, neat, and succinct job of explaining the game.

Is Legions Imperialis A Complicated Game?

Legions Imperialis is, compared to other Games Workshop releases, a fairly complicated game system. I felt this way about Horus Heresy as well, but it's safe to say that this is not a game for everyone. But hey - that's okay! Not every wargame has to be for everyone. (Just ask all my friends who refuse to play SPQR with me!)

Though videos like the above show that the actual construction of a round is very straightforward, I find that the heavy use of weapon keywords (which also occurs in Horus Heresy) slows down my gameplay.

I know that if my gaming group and I were to fall head over heels in love with this system, we would soon memorize exactly what each of our weapons did, but this "classic Games Workshop" feel is a little beyond what I'm personally looking for a miniature game.

A Warhound Titan and a group of five Solar Auxilia infantry posed next to a glue bottle for scale reference.
A Warhound Titan and a group of five Solar Auxilia infantry posed next to the best damn glue in the biz, for scale reference.

Hopefully, though, there are people coming to this Preview to see if the game really has that crunch that they're looking for. For those who want to be deeply tactical, and spend that satisfying time building out the perfect mass forces -- I'm happy to report that you will love the depth of army build and decision making on display with Legions Imperialis.

How Big Is A Legions Imperialis Model Compared To A Warhammer 40K Model?

Here's the fun part -- these really are incredible little dudes. I couldn't help but snap some size-comparison pics. 

What I really like about them is that, even though you obviously lose detail on the Astartes miniatures, they still do a great job of invoking the spirit of each model. When I see a little cluster of five of these short kings on the battlefield, I get exactly what's going on.

Where I think this range really shines is in its sculpting and treatment of vehicles. The big, bulky shapes of a Kratos Heavy Tank or a Rhino transport translate very well into Epic scale.

A group of Astartes stand next to a normal-sized Warhammer 40K space marine
They're TINY! A group of Astartes (Right) stand next to a normal-sized Warhammer 40K space marine (Left)

What Are Our Initial Thoughts On Legions Imperialis?

As I mentioned above, it's hard for me to truly judge this game because I'm not the target audience for it. I love the quick and chaotic battles of Warcry, and when I want to line my space boys up and fire off rounds of bolter fire, I've been loving the new streamlined approach to 10th Edition Warhammer.

But I can sense, within these pages, that there is an extremely fun game that you can easily sink your life into, if you have the notion to. The rules, though involved, are cleanly written. The gameplay, though it encourages a lot of flipping back and forth between the rulebook, feels big and bombastic. And the scale is just plain awesome.

A Legions Imperalis Kratos tank next to a full size tank.
A Legions Imperalis Kratos tank next to a full size tank.

If you're already a fan of Horus Heresy, I imagine there's a lot to love here for you. And, despite the miniatures being so... well... miniature, assembly on everything was actually pretty easy.

Just don't you dare drop a Space Marine... the tiny little man will be forever lost in the warp (aka your carpet).

The copy of Legions Imperialis used for the creation of this preview was provided by Games Workshop.

Previews you can trust: To ensure you're getting a fair, accurate, and informed review, our experienced team spends a significant amount of time on everything we preview. Read more about how we review games and products.


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Giaco Furino joined the TechRaptor team as a Staff Writer in 2019 after searching for a dedicated place to write and talk about Tabletop Games. In 2020, he… More about Giaco

More Info About This Game
Learn more about Warhammer 40,000
Game Page Warhammer 40,000
Games Workshop
Release Date
September 1, 1987 (Calendar)
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