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What would be the proper amount of Rapid Strike Vessels to take compared to Strike Cruisers?
1 Battle Barge
4 Strike Cruisers
8 Rapid Strike Vessels
Or Space Hulk goodness?
My own general rule is one squadron of Escorts per Capital ship. But since SM Cruisers are less expensive than Imperial/Chaos ones, then one squadron per two Strike Cruisers is about right. A squadron being 3-4 Escorts, generally. So your ratios there are pretty much how I'd play.
As for Battle Barges, you have to be careful with them. They're more expensive than most other Battleships, and can cost you the game if they're removed early on. I usually take them based on points, not other ships: one per, oh, 1500-2000pts.
There is no "right" or "wrong" fleet composition, though. BFG isn't really about list building, but instead about the tactics used on the table. Take whatever you're comfortable with, really.
There is no proper ratio of rapid strike vessels (RSV) to Strike Cruisers (SC). Unlike many other GW games, list building in BFG is less important, its more to do with how you use your fleet when you get there.
As Space Marine fleets consist primarily of SCs and RSVs, they are usually fairly mobile when compared to an Imperial fleet. Both RSVs and SCs are fast and maneuverable so the SC:RSV ratio has little effect on how well a fleet performs. I suggest you go with the ratio you feel most comfortable with and see how it works out - the amount you need depends on your playing style.
As SCs are cheap, fast and maneuverable I tend to go for one squad of escorts per two or three SC. You can often get away with almost no RSVs in a fleet at all thanks to the maneuverability of the SC (though this is not advised). I am of the opinion that you should have more points invested in SCs then RSVs, and many more points in SC than in BBs (battlebarge)... so SC should take up the largest portion of points in any SM fleet.
A quick breakdown of the escorts available:
- As SCs lack torpedoes I often lean towards either Hunter or Cobra escorts, as these give you those golden torpedo tubes.
- The Gladius and Sword frigates are also very good, and afford you some highly mobile (and quite sizable!) gun batteries. Group these up with a pair of strike crusiers and you will have a formidable little pack of ships flying around!
- The Nova and Firestorm frigates can add some lances to the fleet - something the SM fleet is sorely lacking. Not my favourtire classes of ship, but can be useful in some places (like gas/dust could heavy boards etc). Avoid these ships when fighting the eldar.
All that maneuverability and speed is thrown out the window the a BB arrives on the scene. They are big and have lots of guns, but are slow and cumbersome and those guns don't have the range that most Battleship's weapons do. If you include a BB, you have to make sure you have plenty of other ships so you can deploy some to escort the BB whilst leaving some with the ability to use their speed and maneuverability. If you include a BB in a small fleet, you will need to deploy almost all of your other vesels to escort it, therefore losing that nice maneuverability advantage you once had.
The BB is heavy on the points budget, so leaving it unescorted is a bad idea. If your opponent destroys it you are going to be hard pressed to win back it VP's in a small game. I think you fleet is too small for the inclusion of a BB, you should instead get another SC and another squad of RSVs (or indeed two more SCs). I would only really include such a points-heavy ship in a fleet of more than 1500 (i.e. 1500 of other ships).
Hope this helps you mate. SM fleets can be difficult to use effectively thanks to their short ranged weaponry, but they look so darn cool I find it hard to care too much about that! Good luck with the fleet.