I gave Jonathan a game of Battlefleet Gothic on Thursday night, at our club. Initially the place looked fairly empty but soon filled up with latecomers (Kruger/Jason, who didn't have a bad night either, amongst them). The guys have expanded to also play on Sunday afternoons there as well. So, along with the Chch Wargaming club over the other side of town, there is quite a bit of organised gaming going on. The Soviet lists I am pondering are for a club event at the beginning of next month, and there will be the major Chch comp, Conquest, on there in late October. Tim is putting on several mini-events every month at his store 'Comics' and the local Ancients players have on a DBA comp this month, which has attracted 17 players. A good place to be a wargamer at the moment.
John has two complete fleets of GZG ships, which we use instead of the GW models. He has those as well, but we both much prefer the GZG ships. John's scheme is to play 'demo' games as much as possible, to try and lure new opponents. I am always up for a game, I love that system. The 'Chaos' fleet is on the Red and the 'Imperial' is the Grey. My two favourites, the Battleships, are obscured by cotton wool here. I forgot to take better pics during the game.
D1=Chaos Flag (Despoiler)
S=Styx heavy Battle Carrier
D2, D11, D12, D13 are Chaos Devastation class battlecarriers
E=Imperial Flag Carrier (Emperor)
R= Retribution Class Battleship
D1= Dominator class cruiser, armed with Nova Cannon (artillery)
D2, D11, D12 are torpedo armed light cruisers (Dauntlesses)
D13, DV are Lance armed light cruisers (Dauntlesses)
Red and Grey arrows are the respective ordinance waves.
Deployment (Graphic pic one) Was 'Fleet Engagement'. I am the 'Imperials' (Grey).
Chaos turn one (pic 2), all ships advance. The Carriers of Chaos launch their bomber waves toward the Imperial fleet. There is some indecisive long range lance fire from the chaos battle carriers (Devastations).
Imperial turn one (pic three), Admiral Jamie cannot believe his luck. Either this is a cunning trap or the red fleet intends to let his battlegroup plow through the middle. He obliges, the battleships engage engines and advance, while the torpedo cruisers make the intended turns to switch flank, racing to join the lance cruisers on the right, which hang back for now. The Dominator fires off a round of the Nova Cannon, a palpable hit on the enemy flagship, its shields are almost gone! The combined guns of the Emperor and Retribution then go to work on the flagship with their front arc, while the starboard arc engages and destroys one of the enemy battle-carriers. On the port arc, gunnery dispatches an enemy bomber wave. Then the Emperor launches ordinance, fighter waves race forward and eliminate most enemy bombers. The Retribution holds its own ordinance. Then the turrets on the battleships eliminate almost all the remaining enemy bombers. Only minor damage is suffered.
Chaos turn two (pic four) Now committed, the Chaos fleet continues to advance and fire on the Imperial fleet. However, one of their cruisers (D2) is already crippled, drifting and exploding, and their commander begins to realise that those battleships are going to be tough to eliminate and that bombers alone will not do the job. Nonetheless, they come on and rake the battleships with lance fire, doing only minor damage. They then relaunch fighters and the Despoiler launches torpedoes at close range. The Volley strikes both battleships in turn - three hits on the Retribution and a couple more on the Emperor.
Imperial turn two (pic five) The Imperials have them now, the lance Dauntlesses on the right now advance, lock on and rake the remaining battlecarrier (D11) with fire. Combined with the Starboard guns of the battleships, this sees off the second battle-carrier. This leaves the cunningly repositioned torpedo squadron with no targets, but no matter. The Dominator finds the enemy flagship obscured by the asteroid field, but lands another solid hit on one of the battlecarriers to the left. Meanwhile, the main event. The battleships advance, all available guns firing forward in devastating close range volleys. The chaos flagship is then destroyed in the following torpedo volley from the lead Retribution,. Leaderless, the remaining Chaos forces flee.
That went well. Before we deployed, I thought I was screwed. What John took pretty much epitomised why we (like many BFG newbies, so I gather) thought Chaos was far superior to the Imperials. His ships were cheap, faster, able to launch more bombers and fighters and had 2' range lance weapons, allowing the fleet as a whole to stand off and defeat the Imperials bit by bit. Of course, that was not how he then proceeded to play. I think next time he might be back with the humble Chaos escorts and they will chase down those light cruisers, defeat them in detail, then my Battleships will find themselves with escorts shooting up the tailpipe and few defensive options. All the while his capital ships should stay the hell away and launch attack craft!
Some of my dice went well, the Dominator should only hit 2/3 of the time, not all the time. However, in the middle where the action happened, the damage was done by massed gunnery, using 'lock on' orders. This is my new discovery. If the enemy obliges and lets me sail through the middle, I don't mind losing the ability to turn and relish shooting with all three arcs.
Was a great game, I always have fun playing John, win or lose. We just need to get him motivated on his WOTR force.