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So, I'm looking into starting a BFG fleet. Though I think the rules leave a little to be desired, they're pretty reasonable, and I like the idea of a ship game that's tied into the 40k universe.
Since I play Chaos, I'm looking to start up a Chaos fleet, and, to that end, I have a few questions for the community of BFG players here.
First, I really, really like the looks of the Styx Heavy Cruiser. I don't know the game all that well, though, and I don't have a good feel for whether it's a worthwhile ship. Are carriers generally worth playing?
Second, the Chaos fleet composition rules require me to bring two cruisers for every Styx, since the Styx is a Heavy cruiser. I don't, however, find that I care for any of the cruisers all that much, and so I'm looking for suggestions. Of them, I think I like the Carnage class the best, but I'm interested in other people's opinions.
Third, I'm curious about escorts. They seem good, especially the Iconoclast destroyer, but I don't have a good feel for how well Escorts actually tend to perform in game. Are they worth bringing at all? Are they actually important in a fleet, or does their fragility basically render them insignificant?
Finally, I'm curious about the Blackstone Fortress. I love the rules for the Blackstone fortress. I have no idea whether it's actually any good, especially given its extravagant cost, but it's exactly the sort of ship I would want to play. So, I'm curious to know your opinions about it. Is it any good? Is it too good? Is it the sort of thing you'd generally be willing to play against, in a sufficiently large game?
Anyway, thanks in advance for any comments or advice.
Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!
You'll find that 2 things rule the average BFG game: Ordnance, and Escorts.
Chaos can play a mean carrier-list. Running with a Styx and backing it with a pair of Devastations has never steered me wrong. With the 60cm long-lances on your Devastations and dorsal Styx, and the 60cm weapons battery on the Styx, you have yourself a very nice long-range engagement. In larger games, I've added in a Carnage, just to put out a lot more long-range weaponry. The carnage lets you knock down shields, and finish off with a punishing volley of Lance fire. This can reliably knock down a capital ship each round.
You need to field some kind of escorts as well. Most people I've seen don't run a mixed squadron, or large squadrons. I don't mind running 3 Infidels and 2 Idolators. Together, they have the hitting power of a cruiser, with 10 weapon batteries, 6 torpedoes, and 2 lances. If points are tight, you can run 3-4 Infidels for the torpedoes.
Remember that you need to take advantage of your speed when you're using a fleet like this. It's not really "fluffy", but keeping your ships at arm's-reach is the best bet (armor5 is a bad thing at quarters). If the enemy starts getting too close, pummel him with lances. Otherwise, play a running game where your bombers and torpedoes can carry the day. Usually I'm stuck-in by the end of the fight, because I close the noose and start firing those ordnance waves at close range where he can't intercept them.
The Styx class is a brutally efficient killing machine. No other fleet can bring so much fighter strength to bear in one vessel until they go all out and start fielding Battleships. And nobody does it for a similar points cost. One full scale bomber wave from a Styx will reliably kill Battleships in one shot! It's a fairly respectable gunship on its own, too - not enough to win a head to head duel, but plenty of power to make its presence felt.
The Carnage is just an overall beast - dangerous enough at range, but once the fighting gets up close and personal, it puts out a withering barrage of firepower that's truly frightening. A squadron of 2 or 3 Carnages is just pure evil. No lances is a bit of a downside, but quantity has a quality all its own, eh? Also, they make Eldar players cry.
Slaughters are pretty handy, too... Their range may be short, but their boosted engines let them get into an enemy fleet to start pounding targets up close in a real hurry. They carry a good mix of guns too, making them a jack of all trades.
The Murder class is a good compromise if you want a punch comparable to the Carnage but need to conserve points a bit too. Plus it has lances, an extra bonus.
Escorts are useful for much more subtle reasons than cruisers. Yes, they die easily, but their speed and maneuverability let them capitalize on just about any weakness - they can sneak into the enemy's baffles and pound them with relative impunity, dart in and out of asteroid fields, lob Torpedoes exactly where you need them, and spoil enemy plans by forcing them to protect a flank that would otherwise be left alone. And to boost their survivability, they're hard to shoot, too.
Don't expect them to go toe to toe with full fledged cruisers, but when used as raiders, harrassers and spoiling forces in co-operation with heavier vessels they can be surprisingly deadly.
And finally, the mighty Blackstone. My BFG opponents have all promised to punch me if they see me fielding one in my fleet, so of course, I'm getting one.
Having 6 shields, 16 hit points, and armour 6 all around makes it very hard to kill, and a strength 8 lance that ignores shields and holofields from a full 90cm away lets it brutalize entire sections of a fleet all on its own with almost total impunity. It's not a total gamebreaker, but it's definitely a force to be feared - use the warp cannons to cripple high value targets (Nova Cannons, heavy carriers, etc...) and let the rest of the fleet start mopping up.
Chaos fleets are like cavalry archers- indians on horses with bows and arrows if you will. They want to ride around the wagons and keep them trapped in a circle, while they pour fire and bombers into their midst. I would be confident to tell anyone that the basic Chaos strategy is:
shoot the closest targets first, while getting away from them. Once they're dead, shoot the target further away. Never move closer to the enemy.
It might seem discouraging at first to constantly be firing at long range. But trust me- if you want to feel some serious pain, try closing with the enemy when you've only got an A5 bow. Imperials and Space Marines have A6 up front, and you won't do nearly as much damage as you take going in. And once your in a fair fight trading broadsides, they're already going to have you softened up. Think- no other fleet can bring so much firepower to bear at any range beyond 30cm. We can fire, on average, at 45cm. You might only be throwing 2 dice with each weapons battery, but they're not going to be returning fire at all.
1- Erosion: if a cruiser is at half strength, she's crippled and moves slower. Plus, cruisers take critical hits which can take an entire weapons system offline, cause more/reoccuring damage, limit mobility, and reduce leadership. Escorts on the other hand will always move at the same speed, and never take critical hits. This means that Escort squadrons erode much 'cleaner' than Cruisers do.
2- Maneuverability: an escort can turn before it moves, and can turn a LOT. This makes them perfect for getting right where they need to be, and they can make darting attacks. I tend to consider "the diamond" whenever I'm using escorts. During deployment I try to guess where the battle is going to close. Then, I deploy my escorts so that a straight flight would take them right into prow of the central enemy ship in that fight, but angle them 45degrees to one side. Now, they can move across the front of the enemy, firing as they go, turn 90 degrees and move across his rear, turn 90degrees and move across the rear again, then turn 90 degrees and work their way back to the bow.
I play most of the game's fleets- SM, IN, Chaos, and Eldar. I've taken down cruisers with escorts quite often, because few cruisers can fire into their rear fire-arc, and it's just too easy to get there. Just fly right up his engines, literally almost into base/base contact. If he moves and turns, he's still won't bring you into gunnery range. If he does, he has to use CtNH and penalize his shooting.
Well all i'd say is make sure you have a good base of opponenets who you will be able to play regularly. Its almost upsetting reading Captain's and Wraiths excellent and detailed comments because they clearly get to play the game fairly regularly. I have played a total of 6 games in about as many years. I think gothic is the best games system GW has come up with, but im struggling to find people where I play who think the same.
Thanks to everyone who's responded. I appreciate all the input.
Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!
No problem, I love to help. And I'm not trying to be confusing or contradictory, but I wasn't exactly shooting down Wraith's strategy. Chaos is a fast fleet, and they can close with an enemy without taking as much damage as other fleets might. Also, my tactic won't work as well against Orcs. They're much faster than you, and they'll get right into your face whether you try to avoid it or not. They're really the bane of Chaos IMO.
Wraith's strategy works because Chaos have the some of the biggest Weapons Batteries in the game, aside from a lucky Ork (who's firepower is random, but sometimes horrifying). Getting in close and getting into a slugging match can work to your advantage if you can reasonably "give more than you get". Against certain Orcs, other Chaos, Eldar, certain Imperials, and possibly even Space Marines, this can work out quite well. I just prefer to take as little damage as possible, because I hate taking pretty ships off the table, haha.
And Andre- I know how it feels to have nobody to play BFG against. It's rare that I look at this section, just because it's hard to find a game here. My friendly gaming circle played BFG with some regularity until we found CanvasEagles and then all split for college. My local shop also had a BFG night for a while, where I'd take on a couple of regulars, but also run demo games for other players.
BFG has a lot of selling points that make it a great game to pick up as a spare. It's also a good game to market at parents of kids who come into the store. You know the type- the ones that don't want to spend too much money on the hobby and usually end up buying Warmachine. I think that BFG is actually GW's answer to that game. Here are just a few selling points:
-BFG models are quick and easy to paint, drybrushing a model in 5 minutes can give acceptable results
- BFG has the lowest model count of any GW game
-- this makes painting a fleet even faster
-- you don't need as many models, making the game cheaper
- Most BFG fights are done within an hour, so it's a good alternative to busy people, or people who want more games for their time
- BFG models can be very cheap. Currently, you get 2 cruisers for $20 I think, and if you build Heavy Cruisers or the like, you can amass quite a few points that way. Obviously, metal armies like Space Marines, Eldar, or the Forgeworld fleets can get pricey, but even then they're often cheaper than a 40k or WHFB army
- The rules are easy and simple to learn. A young kid could learn them easily, and mom or dad could figure them out in about 15 minutes to play along (the starter box comes with 2 full fleets worth of cruisers after all). The game has enough depth however, that it can take a long time to fully master it. You won't get bored like you do with 40k, Fantasy, or WM.
- Intro to the game can be as cheap as you want. Markers, templates, fleetlists, and rules are all up for free download as PDFs. Or you can buy the starter box which gives you dice and rulers, a basic rulebook, and 8 cruisers (enough to base a whole fleet around). This is unlike the other games, where you have to buy the starter box, or spend an equal amount of money on a hardcopy of the rules.
Try pitching the game to people that way, whenever they're talking about starting a new army or a new gaming system, show them BFG. If you can run a nice demo game, or if you and a friend are able to let them watch a good battle, you can probably get them to buy at least the starter box. It will be a while before you can start wiping the floor with them consistently (don't scare them away from the game), but eventually you'll have a new admiral to fight on a regular basis.
Hmm. Yeah, my close ranged methodology might not be the optimal approach, but my most common opponent plays Imperial Navy and he always, ALWAYS rolls hits and sixes for his Nova Cannons! (I kid you not - even he's starting to suspect himself of playing dirty!) I find myself having to close range in a hurry or I start losing cruisers on turn 2!
I might have to start trying the long ranged approach though - you've laid out a very solid tactical guideline, and having to rely on getting a sufficiently large first close broadside in to neuter the return fire is getting a bit iffy.
Well, always remember that our ordnance can be used in close range as well. It's almost better to fire ordnance point-blank with the new rules about only fielding as many squadrons as you have available launchbays.
At close range, the enemy doesn't have time to scramble their own waves to defend against you. You can send out truly enormous bomber-squadrons rather than a ton of tiny ones, or having to back them up with fighters. At long range, you can hide behind asteroids or planets and send your squadrons out to do the fighting for you.
Ordnance is really the only broken part of BFG, but people don't see that. However, I don't mind this, because I feel that BFG is based more on WW2 than on 18th and 19th century naval conflicts like so many claim that it is. If you want to trade broadsides with me and try to cross the T, Mr. Nelson, that's fine. I'm going to sit 200mi away and bomb you to death before you can even see me.
Chaos powerplayers will never take escorts since Chaos is a perfect cruiser fleet. Personally I do use them since they are pretty nifty. But their usage is somewhat more delicate. But in general escorts are seen as a weaker 'thing' in the game.
For cruisers there are two options:
A) Closing Menace
Core of 2 Murders and a Hades throw forward 8 lances @ 60cm. Easy to use, lock on and have fun. A Styx is very useful in this setting.
lot of long range port/starboard weapons. Good ordnance coverage.
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