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Can they be used in a fleet list? In the rule book they are under planetary defence. Can you use them in any fleet?
No. Being planetary defences, you can only purchase them as planet defenses, specified in the rules whether you have a points allocation for them. They aren't really part of a fleet; just crude defenses made by the planet's government (or chaos overlord, or wheatever) that you just happen to be defending.
That is what I figured, but it would be a pretty nifty tactic. Just maneuver them to the right spot then Boom!!!
That would be wuite a nice tactic, especially against escort-laden fleets.
Also, do they explode if they are destroyed? escorts don't roll on the catastrophic table, but do they explode as if you had set them off? My guess is no, but it'd be good to be sure.
It does not say. here is what it does say.
The controlling player can detonate a fire ship at any point in its movement phase, inflicting D3 Fire critical hits on every ship within 3d6cm. As with any escort suffering a critical hit, escorts within the fire ship's blast are automatically destroyed, as are any ordnance markers. Remove the detonated fire ship and put a blast marker in its place.
Thats all its says on page 143 in the Triple B. I think it is pretty cool. Plus you can have 0-6 and they are only 10 points each! To bad they probably can't travel in the warp, thats why only planetary defences.