There's a few bits here that weren't quite covered, so I figure I might as well go over them. There were the Tyranids, which I honestly thought weren't very fun to play as, since most ships would end up being sort of AI controlled, and you had to go down a checklist as if you were playing 2nd edition Mechanicus just to see what your ships were going to do. Naturally moving out of the way of torpedoes wasn't included on that list of actions, and overall they played a lot like Orks, just with more models and less control. Then there are the outside materials, specifically how Battlefleet Gothic had its own magazine, in which they'd keep introducing new ships, new ways of playing the game as in rules tweaks , even Forgeworld got in on this and released rules for an orbital Tau Air Caste city, they also had tactics sections alongside rule updates in which they gave advice on how to deal with certain threats, for example in one section Andy Hall explains how to win against the Necrons odd tactics but they were effective, basically you should engage the entire fleet and try to make them brace, reducing the vast majority of their abilities.
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Battlefleet Gothic is an out-of-production specialist game made by Games Workshop , where players control fleets of spacecraft. Don't ask how the Tau are there; Warp storm or some shit should be all the hand wave you need. The rules for ships that are aligned with the Imperium , Chaos , Ork , or Eldar and were present in the Gothic War are in the main rulebook. Rules for ships other than that were released later in other publications with rules for playing games not necessarily set in the Gothic Sector - the largest and most relevant of which is Battlefleet Gothic - Armada , which contains rules for ships belonging to other major factions in 40k.
Note that in Armada does not state that the factions, fleets and ships described were necessarily in the Gothic Sector, it is intended to expand the game to any void war in the whole 40k galaxy.
Some people still think that BFG is one of the best or at least most fun games that GW have ever made. Particularly assuming you just ignore the Necrons , and everyone is playing competently, much fun can be had by all, doubly so when the optional limit on assault boats is used so that escorts are worth a fuck. Any game that encourages you to plow through the middle of the enemy so that you can shoot all your guns at once has got to be pretty good.
Also, the flavor of the game is pretty fucking awesome actually, what with the various planet-demolishing shenanigans and just plain gorgeous rule book. Also, in the land of 30cm range weapon batteries, it used to be that the man with an unerring ability to guesstimate his Nova Cannons on target was king. Putting the 1cm hole onto a 3cm ship base at cm range and straight fucking up a cruiser is just beautiful, though of course that takes a fair amount of skill.
Alternatively, this can be achieved by building your own board and making apparently random stars bigger and brighter and knowing the distances between them. In theory this is faggotry, but since not a single fucking person ever built BFG tables except the people that were crazy into it, this counts as homefield advantage, or at least is near-on impossible to spot and as such is not really cheating.
And then later rules revisions changed the Nova Cannon rules so that the template scattered instead of having to guess the distance to target as part of the general change from "guess-range" weapons to scattering between 4th and 5th editions , rendering the whole thing moot.
In general it is outclassed by Battlefleet Neoclassical due to its purposeful use of rich ornamentation, elegant arcades, isolated decorative elements, superior shielding and medium range arsenal. When compared to the geometric designs, smooth lines, sparing use of ornamentation, forward acceleration and missile and lance arsenal of Battlefleet Art Deco it is clearly outmatched.
Can go toe to toe with Battlefleet Ultra Modernist despite its use of vast fleets of cheaply mass produced fighters, and typically can best Battlefleet Romanesque in a straight up shooting fight unless severely outnumbered. Battlefleet Baroque was at one time rumored to be the next line of improved Gothic-class ships, until everyone determined that it was going to cost several quadrillions of credits just to rename the already existing ships without changing any hardware as not even the most ardent specialist transhuman mechanopriests were able to actually determine what was functionally different about the new ships compared to the old one.
That said, whether or not a gunners' deck harpsichord would truly improve Imperial gunnery remains a point of heated debate to this day. Of course this wouldn't be a GW game without the Imperium being represented. Imperial Navy ships look like giant fucking Vaticans with warp drives and cannons. It is rumored that in the lower decks there's like According to the rule book they have massive fucking crews and apparently zero actual technology to move shells weighing hundreds of tons into gun breeches and such.
The book shows slaves running on massive treadmills to move them about. Wouldn't your navy work better if you used like If only we had a bunch of crazy ass priests who are fucking insane about technology on board to sort that shit out for us! This probably had something to do with with the fluff being from 3rd edition, in which Grimdark levels were at their highest to the point of being retarded.
In general, the Imperials are good at torpedoes and nova cannons and other stuff. The above statement fails to point out that the Imperial Navy is the most diverse fleet in the game, comprising of no less than six fleet lists and sports more cruiser classes, in every subtype, than any other fleet in the game.
You can take Space Marine or some Chaos ships as reserves and sport up to four re-rolls more than any other fleet - except Abaddon who gives one re-roll every turn, so really Chaos have more than any other fleet since there's usually more than four turns in a game.
Nova cannons are so powerful that it is considered poor gamesmanship to take more than three in a tournament list points while many even advocate to using the one-perpoints restriction and most of your basic cruisers can be upgraded to carry them. The six up prow is a huge help since most hurt comes from the front, and it lets you take power rams , a nice but situational point filler. Your average range is 30 cm, and only two basic cruisers can push to Your 60 cm weapons are few and far between.
Nothing fancy, you are the baseline that is used by other factions to set out their niche. With all the options in the world, the biggest reason why the Navy fails to win many matches is that it is predictable by nature hurr hurr, Imma fly at you while booming mah nova cannon, trying to fly between your lines to blast your arse off with both sides and everyone and their pet otaku has a fleet.
Easy to play, a real pain to master. The Chaos fleet is pretty similar to the Imperial Navy, but emo'd up. They are a bit faster than their corpse-god worshiping counterparts and have the largest selection of ships, making them superior to any other fleet except sometimes Necrons if correctly built. For various reasons, the Chaos ships look totally different from the Imperial ones, not just Imperial ones with tentacles and spikes and crap.
They later made some ship that was supposed to be the 'old' Imperial ships that were bastard chimeras of both and they were ugly as all fuck and somewhat terrible, which raises the question of why the Chaos fleet is actually any good. The reasoning behind the different looks of the Chaos and Imperial fleets is due to building techniques changing.
Older vessels are mostly "keel built", meaning they were built upward from their keel and thus have a low, wide look to them. Meanwhile newer ships are mostly "spine built", meaning that the dorsal spine was made first and thus they have a tall, thin look. Additionally, the more recent Imperial ships have been built or retrofitted with an armored prow, while the Chaos ships lack one to allow for more speed.
It stands to reason that older Imperial ships would look like the Chaos ones which is why reserve fleets use Chaos classes and models and any new ships turning traitor would look like Imperials. Chaos sports the second most diverse fleet in the game with the second highest complexity and ship count. While they lack the strict durability and torpedo numbers of the Navy, they make up for it with absurd firepower, assault boats, better speed and overall better ships for fewer points.
As a result they have some of the best ships, point per point, in the game. Your average range is 45 cm with lots of 60 cm options, and a few 30 cm options. They also have a pretty flexible set of upgrades, including putting Chaos Space Marines to improve leadership and boarding. Where Chaos suffers is their lack of durability to incoming fire and ordnance.
You quickly start missing that six up armored prow after you watch your prized Repulsive grand cruiser get erased by a lucky round of fire. Also, Chaos ships can have Marks of Chaos, and daemon-possessed ships, with some options being such a cheese even Elfdar feel their pants getting soggy, and as centrepiece models you have the planet killer , and activated blackstone fortresses , which are expensive in terms of points apiece but can shoop da whoop an enemy ship or two off the table.
It also has four god-specific lists that add up upgrades and unique ships, sometimes cheesy, sometimes outright rapey. Nothing beats the priceless look on enemy face when your Conqueror starts counting how much boarding action power it has. Necrons have like 5 different kinds of ship and according to fluff are fucking nasty to fight. They are also the most powerful fleet, and have light cruisers that can blow apart battleships without a scratch, due to having the only armor saves of the entire game no joke here and a shitton of close-ranged weapons, and anyone who thinks they're outrunning you in a straight line had better prepare the lube, thus being unkillable and murder incarnate.
The drawback is that if you lose even only one ship, your opponent will gain way more victory points than said ship's point cost, something that can cost you victory if you are careless. There is no defeating a Necron fleet that outnumbers you, not in the fluff, not in the game. They remain OP, but then again, they are like millions of years old and are the most advanced ships in the game so that sounds about right.
Eldar ships look a lot like their vehicles. With only about six ships in the original rulebook, they were somewhat gimped from the get-go. They have shiny fields of awesome to protect them from lances and the like, but gun batteries fuck them up so hard it's retarded, particularly since they HAVE to dip into battery range to fire the fields are basically naval-scale holofields which obscure the exact position of the Eldar ships, making them difficult to hit with pinpoint weapons, but doesn't help much against the "spam more dakka" approach to conventional battery gunnery.
Also, the cruisers are so frail and lacking in firepower that they're worthless, so they're left with a fleet of escorts. While they're pretty fucking awesome for what they are, they melt when sneezed at, so the Eldar are pretty bad except in specific scenarios that let them abuse the fuck out of their movement rules.
If the sunside edge is towards the enemy, you are fucked and there's just no reason to play. Take the above, and add in that the Eldar sport the most powerful torpedoes in the game with re-roll to hit, and only being hit by turrets on 6's, which is hands-down the best torpedo in the game. Even considering imperial Vortex torpedoes. Also, they have weapons batteries that always get the full shots unlike all other factions, which only get a fraction of their shots for the final rolling.
And also, lances that can hit multiple times with a single lance shot. Ridiculous cannons. Powerful multi-hit lances. The nasty torpedoes. And the dangerous as fuck flyers. To sum it up: Eldar are, together with the Necrons, the best fleets in the game. And this is said by a BFG veteran who does not even play Eldar.
Between this and canonical stuff like an Eldar Ghost Ship surviving a direct hit from an ancient Ark Mechanicus' secret Archeotech "Chrono Cannon" that apparently fires black holes Emperor only knows what that weapon was originally designed to destroy back in Dark Age of Technology , and leaving only damaged as described at the end of the book Priest of Mars by Graham McNeill. Be prepared for some insane Eldar trickery when facing off against these skinny mother fuckers.
As strong as their torpedoes and planes are they suffer a huge problem when building a fleet, originally there were only 6 Eldar ships , this has since been improved but practically your only choice to play the amazing torpedoes is in a half dead spasticated escort and you have to bring an entire point cruiser which will fuck you over as it dies within a turn of coming into range of seeing the enemy even with your fun ordnance moves.
In the end the Eldar are a fun race but suffer badly from a case of lack of diversity which makes it hard for them to build a competent list with anything but as many Eldar hellbores and aconites as possible. The Tau have two choices of fleet. Their initial fleets were composed of refitted modular merchant ships and scout vessels. After getting their shit wrecked, they got together and finally built combat ships.
Players have the option of the modular, adjustable, Merchant fleet boxy or the efficient, effective Combat fleet sleek. None of the ships' names are pronounceable. The most effective Tau weapon is surprise! Meaning, torpedoes which can adjust speed and direction, which is unique for standard torpedoes in the game there are guided torpedoes for the IN, but they can malfunction, and do not have the adjust speed gimmick. Other than that, They have starship-sized Ion cannons lances and massive railguns macrobatteries.
Extra bonus is the ability to get an aura that lets you turret more effectively and ignore the column shift of battery at long range.
Though you still don't get the 60range guns and your firepower is below the waterline. Without using allies Tau fleets suffer horribly at the hands of Elfdar Chaos and Necron foes.
And if anyone gets to board you, you get your shit wrecked because your crew power is half of that of the basic enemy most of the time. Your "combat" fleet sacrifices a lot for that tasty 90 sharp turn, being even less effective than your blocky cruisers of merchant fleet, getting even more assraped by chaos, necrons and elfdar, but they get the lances, so they are not as prone to one-sided ownage at the hands of 6-armour-all-around marines, though you go below the average in terms of air superiority and torpedo power when you start building combat-fleet instead of merchant-fleet, so try mixing them for best results, keeping your 6-hitpoint protectors squadroned behind beefier hero class to avoid sudden cripples.
In theory their random strength heavy batteries are pretty cool, it turns out that random translates alternately into 'pathetically ineffective whenever it's important' and 'did exactly what any other weapon system would have done' inside the game. However, fleets of ram ships are pretty awesome, because nothing is funnier than ramming the shit out of people.
The Dark Eldar are like the Eldar up to eleven, except you have no battleships. You are pretty much the epitome of glass cannon in this game, you hit hard and move ridiculously fast but if the enemy gets so much as a mean look your way you spontaneously combust. You have exactly two ship choices a cruiser and an escort , rarely a good sign, although their ships have fully customisable weapon loadouts unlike most other factions, where each ship has fixed armaments with maybe a couple of options.
Battlefleet Gothic is an out-of-production specialist game made by Games Workshop , where players control fleets of spacecraft. Don't ask how the Tau are there; Warp storm or some shit should be all the hand wave you need. The rules for ships that are aligned with the Imperium , Chaos , Ork , or Eldar and were present in the Gothic War are in the main rulebook. Rules for ships other than that were released later in other publications with rules for playing games not necessarily set in the Gothic Sector - the largest and most relevant of which is Battlefleet Gothic - Armada , which contains rules for ships belonging to other major factions in 40k. Note that in Armada does not state that the factions, fleets and ships described were necessarily in the Gothic Sector, it is intended to expand the game to any void war in the whole 40k galaxy. Some people still think that BFG is one of the best or at least most fun games that GW have ever made.
Battlefleet Gothic (Rules)
Battlefleet Gothic 02 Advanced Rules