Friday, June 26, 2009

BFG: Chaos Navy

The typical Chaos cruiser is armed with longer ranged weapon battery and lance broadsides, medium armor (5+), and moderate speed (faster than Imperial and Tau but slower than Eldar and Necron). As such, the Chaos fleet is frequently successful by using their speed to attack from longer ranges. However, no fleets would allow itself to be shot from long range without trying to close range. Thus the Chaos fleet will need to counter this by either keep moving to maintain range or close and pass through. Keep moving typically will only work for so long given the limited table top playing surface. Closing and passing through nullify for a period their advantage in weapon range. There is a third option, and that is to close and pin the enemy with a portion of your fleet, while the majority stand from afar unmolested and shoot. Ships choices should keep the above in consideration.

The Cruisers:
The Slaughters = good. The slaughters have only short ranged weapons but compensate for this by having a faster approach and more powerful broadside than most Chaos cruisers. Given these atypical traits that set it apart from most Chaos cruisers, it should be used apart from the main Chaos fleet. Thus it might be used as bait for the enemy to chase, but few competent opponents would fall for this. The best use for the slaughter would be to close with the enemy fleet to force a firefight and thus pin the enemy. This is in essence an active bait role. If taken for this function, two (or three?) slaughters work better than a single ship. A single slaughters would be better as a counter attack or reserve cruiser.
The Devastation = good. Without torpedoes (the Chaos fleet is short on torpedoes overall) however, their attack crafts are less effective. Thus the attack crafts of devastations to be more defensive in practice, with only occasional opportunities to feign and or actually make an attack run. This is why the devastation is rated good rather than excellent. But given long ranged lances the devastation can still contribute to the fleet attack (its batteries are defensive).
The Carnage = excellent. The carnage can deliver 10 battery points at 60 cm and 16 at 45 cm, or 2,3, 6 attacks against capital ships abeam at 60 cm, 45 cm, 30 cm. These guns provide extended coverage against Eldar from afar and give the carnage the option to close for broadsides. This flexibility to attack from afar or up close make this an excellent ship.
The Murder = poor. Compared to the carnage, the murder has shorter range batteries and less firepower. While it is armed with 2 lances, the lances cannot combine with the weapon battery broadsides. The lances are forward firing yet the chaos fleet is best encircling the enemy at range.

The Heavy Cruisers:
The Acheron = average. This is a lance ship but at 60 cm no better than the devastation and at 45 cm adds only two more lances.
The Hades = average. The hades is in essence a murder with an extra two lance that can be added to its broadsides. If you are looking for a long ranged ship with both batteries and lances, then this might be considered, but two hades is probably not as effective as a devastation and a carnage.
The Styx = average. This is another carrier like the devastation. It costs 50% more, has 50% more attack craft capacity, but same number of lances. The devastation is a better buy.
The Repulsive = above average. Medium ranged batteries and short range lances seems an odd combination. It should be upgraded to have medium ranged lances instead. Having 10 hits rather than 8 means that you can take this ship into the heart of the enemy fleet and duke it out. It costs about 50% more than a slaughter and is armed 50% more as well, and while the slaughter is faster, the repulsive with medium rather than short range make the ship point effective. One thing good about it is the torpedoes it can add to the Chaos fleet.

The Battleships:
The Desolator = good. This is another lance ship but is actually reasonably armed. At 50% more than the devastation it actually has 100% more long ranged lances. True it is not a carrier but with a salvo of 9 torpedoes, it sufficiently compensates.
The Despoiler = above average. This ship firepower wise is about as effective as two devastations. But two devastations has 16 hits instead of the despoiler 12. But given that it can be upgraded to have torpedoes, the despoiler becomes the only combined torpedoes-attack craft carrier in the chaos fleet. That is why the despoiler is above average rather than poor.
The Planet Killer = above average. At 505 points it is very expensive, but also well armed with 18 points of broadsides and 6 lances at 60 cm. Then there is the armageddon gun that can be very devastating but requires reloading (which will also reload the 9 points of torpedoes) and it can misfire. I agree that it should be a unique occurrence to field.

The Escorts.
The Idolators = good. This escort has 45 cm batteries that do not suffer a column shift above 30 cm, along with 2 turrets make this a very capable escort. Add in the lance and this escort in a squadron very able to take on capital ships point for point.
The Infidel = average. Sure it adds torpedoes to the Chaos fleet, but to fire it as one salvo the ships have to be in base to base, which make it vulnerable to having one hit take down the shields on each of two ships in base to base. In general I am not a fan of torpedoes on escorts.
The Iconoclast = average. Poorly armored but reasonably armed, and cheap. You get what you pay for.

In summary the mainstay of a chaos fleet should be devastations and carnages. It should also contain a detachment of slaughters or a repulsive. Sprinkle in a squadron or two of idolators. Lead it with a desolator.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

BFG: Imperial Navy

The imperial navy fleet should be built around its workhorse, and this is the standard imperial navy cruiser. How the fleet will work thus will depends on the theme of the standard imperial cruisers. Imperial cruisers are defined with 6+ armored prow and short ranged but powerful broadsides. Thus the usual way to play imperial is to stick your fleet close together as you drive toward the enemy, secure behind the 6+ armored prow, shooting your nova cannons or torpedoes until you split and splinter their fleet with broadsides. Sticking together means the cruisers should work together, complement each other, and probably be squadroned. While it is quite reasonable to maintain a force apart from this thrust to harass and harry from afar, it would be unlikely to win engagements if most of your fleet plays this way. Most of the cruisers just do not have the range and both torpedoes and nova cannons are just not reliable enough at range to consistently win.

The cruisers:
The Dictator = good. A combined bomber-torpedo attack works better than either alone. When both ordnances are combined into one ship this means just one reload roll is needed.
The Lunar = good. Best when squadroned with another lunar or two. The combined batteries will be supported by the combined lances that will be there when you need and want it.
The Gothic = average. The gothic comes with powerful lances but is best used as a supporting ship, letting other ships fire their batteries first.
The Dominator = average. Though 12 pts of broadsides looks great, in play against capital ships abeam you get only 4 dice, probably at 5+ to hit. Abeam because against a smart opponent they will want to cross your fleet as quickly as possible and thus won't let you fire on closing. Meanwhile, as previously stated, the nova cannon with the scatter die is unpredictable.
The Tyrant = better than average. The tyrant gets 10 pts of broadsides and against capital ships abeam this is also 4 dice to hit, just like the dominator. However, unlike the dominator it can fire its batteries to 45 cm ranges which will prove handy, and not just against Eldars. This slight increased range make up some of the short comings of the imperial cruiser format. For about the same points as the dominator imo it is the better ship.
The Dauntless = less than average. The dauntless lacks the 6+ prow of the standard cruisers, making it less survivable as the fleet moves forward toward the enemy. It also lacks the fire power of the standard cruiser or even an equivalent points of swords or firestorms. It is almost as maneuverable as escorts and slightly more durable. The only advantage of the dauntless is that being a cheap cruiser, it allows you to take a battlecruiser or a battleship sooner points wise.

The battlecruisers.
I think all battlecruisers are average. The only advantages they offer are longer ranged batteries (but not much better than tyrants) and long ranged lances. Ranged batteries are really defensive fires and while long ranged lances are good, it is unlikely you can match the number of ranged lances other fleets can field. In addition, with the longer ranges, you might be tempted to play them separate from the main fleet. However, this will weaken your main thrust of more affordable cruisers spearhead.

The battleships:
The Emperor = above average. At 365 points it is the more expensive battleship. Going for it are 8 squadrons of attack crafts, including assault boats, up to 16 points of 60 cm batteries broadside (6 attacks at 30 cm against capital ships abeam and 3 attacks at 31-60 cm) or 10 points of 60 cm batteries forward (4 attacks at 30 cm against capital ships abeam and 2 attacks at 31-60 cm), and most valuable the +1 leadership. Against it are the 5+ prow and the 15 cm move that makes it vulnerable to not being able to turn if there is even just one blast marker in the way. Most would field the emperor apart from the main spearhead where it would be less effective.
The Retribution = above average. At 345 points it is the less expensive battleship. It has 12 points of 60 cm batteries broadside (4 attacks at 30 cm against capital ships abeam and 2 attacks at 31-60 cm) which is only slightly less than the Emperor but once you factor in the 3 lances and at over 30 cm ranges it will have more firepower. With the 6+ prow it will fit right in with your cruiser spearhead and thus be fighting at short range typically.

The escorts:
What escort to take really comes down to covering the deficits of the cruiser spearhead. If there are dauntlesses, you might not need them at all. If you are lance heavy with gothics, take Swords. If short on lances or relying on cruiser batteries broadsides then take Firestorms. Cobras should be taken with an emperor to get the attack craft-torpedoes synergy.

In general, an Imperial fleets should have many dictators and lunars, a few tyrants, some dauntlesses, and a battleship as your centerpiece. Such a fleet certainly won’t be a sure win but would be fluffly and reasonably competitive.