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The Horus Heresy (Game)

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Targetdrone.gif This article is about the tabletop game ruleset. For other uses of Horus Heresy, see Horus Heresy (disambiguation).
The Horus Heresy
Designer Alan Bligh, John French, with Andy Hoare & Neil Wylid
Manufacturer Forge World
Games Workshop
Released 2012
Scale 28mm
Players 2+

The Horus Heresy : Age of Darkness, sometimes referred to as Warhammer 30,000 or 30k, is as a supplement and expansion game to Warhammer 40,000 produced by Forge World, and then Games Workshop (since 2022).


The player commands an army of Forge World and Citadel models which represent either those Loyalist forces who fight in the name of the Emperor, or the Traitors who have chosen to side with Warmaster Horus.[2b]

From careful recreation of the detailed panoply and heraldry of the Legiones Astartes, to the organisation of exciting scenarios and campaigns for groups of like-minded friends or the creation of dioramas displaying iconic moments, the hobby provides a wealth of options.[2a]


Set roughly 10,000 years before the time of Warhammer 40,000, the game system takes place during the events of the tumultuous Horus Heresy and includes weapons and characters such as Primarchs who existed during that time.[1] The vast armies of the Imperium are sundered by the betrayal of the Warmaster Horus, who seeks to overthrow the Emperor and forge his own dark empire. Under the banner of Imperial Loyalists or the Traitors of Horus, the Space Marine Legions, Mechanicum Taghmata and endless hosts of the Imperial Army clash in a war that will reshape the galaxy.[2a]

‘Of all the conflicts that have beset this Imperium of Mankind, it is the rebellion of the Warmaster Horus, the Horus Heresy, which has left the greatest scars upon its fabric. Even now, centuries after its end, when few save ancient and shrivelled creatures such as myself remember the horror of those dark years, men speak of it with awe. For those were the last days of legend, when the Emperor and His sons, the mighty Primarchs, strode forth to war, when the dominion of Mankind spread across the galaxy and none could challenge our might, the last days of a golden age long since consigned to dust by the actions of one man. It is the curse of history that few care to remember other than those fragments that exalt them, to relive those glory days endlessly while the present crumbles about them.’

From the final testament of Sulem Rei, historiarch of the Imperial Court, presented to the High Lords of Terra circa 098.M32[2a]


First played with the 6th[5a] and then 7th editions ruleset from Warhammer 40000, it received its own rulebook in 2017.[2b]
To a great extent the works of Alan Bligh and John French[5b], the various Horus Heresy books supplement and expand upon the core rules and provide the players with additional units, missions, battle zones and play styles. Campaign books (aka Black Books) focus on a particular Age of Darkness campaign and battles and include detailed background about the factions involved and rules to play those pivotal engagements. Army Lists (aka Red Books) are reference books that provide detailed rules information for using armies of Space Marines, the Mechanicum, the Imperial Army and more.[2b]
The 2nd Edition of The Horus Heresy was released in 2022, alongside a new box set: The Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness. This edition refreshes the rules, while injecting new decision-making into the mix. It is supplemented by new Army Books.[3]


At first played only with resin miniatures from Forge World (2012-2021), Games Workshop took over the production of generic units in plastic (2022+), while Faction-specific units will still be produced by Forge World in resin.

The following miniatures galleries illustrate the wide range of miniatures that were and are available for the setting :