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A few quick questions.
How long do games usually take? I used to play 40K but am trying to get out of that and was wondering if 1500 point games of BFG took the two hours that 40K usually does.
I'm also assuming there are less models(per points) than 40K, or at least it seems that way. I want to still play some tabletop game but don't really have the time or space for 40K.
Also how steep is the learning curve. I would like to interest some friends in the game, so i naturally can play with people, wondering how bad it would be to teach someone to play this over say like mordheim (i'm trying to scale down if you can't tell).
BFG is a great game, not only for getting people interested in itself, but for getting anyone interested in TTGs.
A 1500pt game (for me) runs a bit shorter than the average 40k game. The shooting phase is simpler, the movement phase is simpler, and there's no real close-quarters phase at all. Fewer models to move as well. The longest part of the game is in the ordnance phase, when torpedoes and fighters/bombers are buzzing around.
We have always played to 6 turns, just like 40k, as annihilation missions can go on FOREVER. At the end of 6 turns, you'll usually find that few ships have been destroyed, and only a handful are crippled. This game was made for campaigning- it has it's own campaign system written right into the core rules. You can play one-off games just as easily as you can with 40k, and they are just as fun and as convincing, but if players are left asking "why is the deathtoll so low", this is the answer I give them.
The learning curve is simple. It is a very easy game to understand:
Your ships move, they usually turn 45o
Your ships shoot their guns, usually broadsides, and everyone uses the same chart for how accurate their gunnery is (range modifiers, target orientation, "cover" are all represented as column shifts), and there are no armor saves- you simply try to roll equal or higher than the enemy armor value on a D6.
Any critical damage is worked out on a standardized chart that everyone uses, with 2D6.
All torpedoes, fighters, and bombers work the same, with the exception of movement allowances (torpedoes are all standard).
The downside to Gothic is that it is not always as balanced as what other GW games might be. This is no problem for 40Kers, as it's about equally fair. You'll find that some ships or fleets are just broken- namely the newer, odd ones.
Fleets to steer clear of, for sake of simplicity:
Eldar/Dark Eldar - crazy cool fleets, and pretty balanced (DE are actually weak), but they have wierd rules. They break practically every rule in the game, and have their own movement rules which are based on their heading according to the "solar side" board edge. They have odd torpedoes, they have different shields, and their own critical charts. A great fleet and fun to play, but whoever picks them has to go solo on learning the rules.
Necrons- same as Eldar with the whacky rules, but also ridiculously overpowered. Furthermore, they are gods at killing eldar fleets. They have "pulse" type weapons that will hit multiple ships, and chain attacks that will hit a ship and then leap to another. Again, interesting fleet, but a little different, and mostly just unfair (they could drive players away).
Nids- wierd fleet with limited model support. They work on a chart system that represents their primal instinct. Sometimes they do as you want, other times no. They have few ship hull-types, but several different upgrade options that are similar to wargear in the tyranid book. Nid players usually understand them with ease, as they follow similar tactics, but normal players are going to wonder what the hell is going on with their boats.
Good fleets to test out would be:
Imperial Navy- easy fleet, focuses on torpedoes and broadsides. Truly the middle-of-the-line for everyone, and quite equal to Space Marines in 40k.
Chaos- another easy fleet, focusing on speed, long range attacks (oddly) and fighters and bombers. They are right there with IN fleets, but take a tiny bit more finesse.
Space Marine- all metal fleet, with few ships, and very high point costs. They have the best armor in the game (6 all around) and bombardment cannons are disgusting. Alone, as just marines, they are actually not as high powered as you would expect- but paired with IN fleets in the Armageddon Fleetlist, and they can become a little unstable (pairs a few great guns, with a lot of mediocre ones. Weight of fire is punishing in BFG).
Orks- borderline difficult, these ships have all the randomness of an orc. They focus on head-on brutality, they love ramming (an oft forgotten part of BFG) and guns which can range anywhere from horribly deadly, to a mere fizzle (random firepower each shot). They're very fun though, especially if you already love the orks.
There are other fleets and available ships out there in different PDF files. Ships like the Inquisitorial Black Ship, the AdMech fleet, or Tau, along with a separate list specifically for Chaos Marine fleets. These lists are often trial-and-error type lists, and aren't guaranteed to be balanced. They're cool fleets, but they are better for campaign play or mixed play with 40k.
so how would the fleets go in terms of power level?
i used to play nids in 40K and probably would in BFG, or eldar considering their nimbleness which really appeals to me
BFG is a bit strange in terms of powerlevel. It's a little tough to rank them, as I haven't seen each fleet play against each of the others, and you don't hear about it as much as 40k or Fantasy.
For the fleets in the core book:
Imperial Navy is by far the most forgiving, most akin to Space Marines. They have a little bit of everything, good solid armor up front for closing, and potent broadsides.
Chaos fleets are just below that- they're quick enough to stay the heck away from Imperial Fleets, and for this reason they might be the best fleet, in the hands of a skilled player.
Eldar- quick and agile. Their strength comes in the fact that Lances, which usually beat the daylights out of other opponents, making them a favorite weapon against ANY other fleet- are practically useless against Eldar. The downside to Eldar is that they are utterly unforgiving- a slip, or even a lucky maneuver by the enemy, will bring utter ruin. Their holofields are their weakness, as they do little to stop Weaponsbatteries, and each hit against the eldar is equal to 2 hits against a larger opponent.
Orcs- as always, if they were more reliable, they'd be amazing. Some games they feel downright overpowered, but other days, they tank horrendously. They have a very easy tactic to comprehend though: they don't turn well and all their guns are in the front... so charge headlong and ram everything you can. You have a bunch of ships, so going 1:1 ramming, or even 2:1 ramming, will leave you enough vessels to claim victory (if you roll well).
Beyond this, Necrons are probably the most powerful fleet, on the point of downright cheese, while Tau are probably the weakest (ForgeWorld supported, and intended for fluff play- mostly transports etc). Tyranids are a pretty solid fleet, and popular with players in my area. Space Marines are weak on their own, because they don't put enough ships on the table, but when mixed with IN, they can be devastatingly effective. I'd say:
everyone else ~ equal
'Horizon' might be able to put this into better perspective when he logs in.
I think Chaos fares better then Imperial Navy. Especially for beginning players. Chaos is easiest to learn. Reasonable fast and longest weapon ranges. The Imperial Navy needs more skill of the Admiral and has advantage in bigger games.
Corsair Eldar are overpowered in hands of a skilled Eldar admiral. Eldar are bad to learn the game since you won't be playing Gothic (with the crap) official rules.
Craftworld Eldar are somewhat weaker since they focus on easier to hit cruisers, have fewer numbers and less range/speed then the awesome Corsair Destroyers.
Necrons are overpowered when the Tombship shows up.
Space Marines are one of the weaker fleets in my opinion alongside Dark Eldar.
The Tau fleet from GW (Armada) relies heavy on ordnance but is a killer fleet if exploited (Explorers, Heroes, Orca's).
The Tau fleet from FW is more a mixed bag regarding weaponry but still focus on Attack Craft and missiles. In large games (+1250 ) steadily going weaker then the Armada Tau but beneath better. I get good results with this fleet.
After Chaos and Imperial Navy the Tau are good for starters.
Nids are perfect for kitbashers. Look at GothiComp, Warp Rift or www.PortMaw.com to find some excellent Nid fleets. Ruleswise I have no opinion on them except that in the upcoming FAQ2010 the unkillable Hiveship will be toned down somewhat.
Orks are less forgiving, people get good results by going against background and building a core of Terror Kroozers.
Adeptus Mechanicus is in essence an Imperial Fleet which has visited MTV's Pimp my Ship. Expect fewer vessels with upgrades. Last two games I won with them but before I lost 4 and drawing losses of 2. Yay.
In terms of powerlevel it is hard to say. Adepticon last years has been dominated by an Ordnance Heavy Ork fleet, a Tau Armada fleet and this year a Dark Eldar fleet (what? Yeah.... would be a scenario benefit I assume).
Imperial Navy generally cuts low in tournaments. Chaos as well but that is because none of them picks the good Chaos fleets.
A lot of powerlevel comes from the fleet you pick. I mean a Void Stalker assisted by what... 20 Nightshades in 1500pts is just killing. Just as the Tau AC fleet.
When going average, with background fitting fleets, non tailoring (I hate that) all fleets go pretty balanced with only (in my opinion) Space Marines and Dark Eldar being weak and Corsair Eldar and Necron being strong.
Thanks for the replies. Sorry I took so long to end up re reading the thread, moving and general chaos of life takes hold every now and again.
Probably going to start up with chaos here in a bit and then maybe move to eldar, after taking a deeper look at the fleets, nids just seem so slow.
also where can i find the 2010 FAQ?
and horizon what do you mean about the gothic official rules do you mean like from the rule book versus the starter rules? I usually just jump right into regular rules anyway.
FAQ 2010 (wip) to be found at the Specialist Games forums (Specialist Games at The Tactical Wargames Network).
Official rules, as like, official rules
Just the ones from the book.
And, yes, I dislike the official rules for Eldar.