Remembering and Revisiting Battlefleet Gothic

Battlefleet gothic still plays well for an 18-year-old game. While first being released in 1999 the game received FAQs and was updated until 2010. Until I had picked up the original boxed game I was a fully engaged player of 40k starting way back during third edition. I still play now with a group of friends. We, however, have put some house rules in place to speed up our games which mostly relate to the flyer unit type. If I post a battle report I shall outline the minor change we have made.

History

Now then, back to battlefleet gothic, the original boxed game came with four imperial and four chaos cruisers. As well as a rulebook, two measuring rulers, a small comic that doubled as the assembly instructions some normal dice, six special order dice, two quick reference cards, fleet listing sheets and a large quantity of counters. The game was immediately picked up by my then gaming group and we ran through a long running campaign which due to the relatively easy to acquire spares and parts at that time coupled with the conversions shown in the rulebook we each customised our battleships as we earned refits and upgrades.

Moving with the times the fleets we owned expanded which led us to play a massive 16000 points game on an 8” by 4” table. Having just been released recently at the time we used the armarda update and played a custom scenario based on one of the final actions of the gothic war. The chaos team had three blackstone fortresses and entered from one of the short table edges while the other short table edge was marked with a half sun marker. We then placed planets, defences and the imperial fleet before we started the game. It was a fitting end to my first stint playing battlefleet gothic where unlike in the described battle in the rulebook chaos carried the day leaving wrecked and burning imperial vessels in their wake as well as a couple of destroyed moons.

The other members of the gaming group returned to playing 40K and I joined them. Then about a year ago I played a game of X-wing and this reignited by interest in battlefleet gothic but the news that games workshop was bringing back specialist games didn’t hurt.

Witness the scale difference, the ships from battlefleet gothic are huge. (This image is rather apt considering it was a game of X wing that drew me back in to BFG)

Finding my original fleets, I set about the task of repairing and updating them, documenting the ship types and then returning to the half-finished projects I had set aside. Following on from playing a few small games with my current gaming group I expanded the fleets to include more variety which led to ebay.

The discrepancy between what the models cost during their release and now is a strange one. Originally a cobra destroyer was £2, 2 cruisers were £10 and a battleship was £18. On ebay today a cobra would cost you between £2 and £5 a single cruiser between £5 and £15 and battleships now sell for £40+. Over the same period a space marine tactical squad has risen in price from £18 to £25 (A 38% rise) so barring the battleships it is still rather inexpensive to get a small battlefleet gothic fleet.

Fast forward to today and recently we used a battlefleet gothic mission as part of a Warhammer 40k narrative campaign. Adding to the overall feeling of the chaos invasion of an imperial world which depending on the outcome on the ground will lead back to a game of battlefleet to drive off the chaos forces or rescue the imperial forces stranded planetside.

Pictures

Now onto some images.

First up my imperial fleet.

 

The half that is painted in a light brown is my colour scheme, the other half was sold to me by a friend. The Adeptus Mechanicus Ark, the Battlebarge, the strike cruiser and the inquisitorial apocalypse battleship were added recently.

 

Closeup of the cruisers showing the detailing.

 

Blackstone fortress

 

My Alpha legion fleet (painted to match my 30k army.)

 

This fleet is small and is the most recent addition to my collection. I treat the small 3D printed ship I got as a freebie as a chaos dauntless light cruiser with lances.

 

My Main chaos fleet. You can see my customised battleship the Claw on the left here. In game terms now it is treated as a despoiler class battleship even though it is made from a despoiler with parts taken from a space marine battlebarge. It destroyed the three battlebarges during the course of our old campaign so I built it up using parts to show the chaos forces salvaging the wreckage for usable parts.

Other ships have had greenstuff ‘daemonic’ growths added to hide the damage they have suffered during use. And my need to model extreme battle damage when I was younger.

And finally, no game is complete without projects

 

So here we have my to-do models and no game is complete without a to-do list. A Ramilies class star fort, a space marine strike cruiser and an imperial vengeance class grand cruiser. (Space marine and chaos cruiser for scale purposes.) Not pictured is my Eldar fleet which all 1000pts of which is still bare metal and is waiting for me to finalise the paint scheme before I can proceed.

Battle Report

To finish I have a few pictures of the game played as part of the narrative campaign that is currently in progress with my gaming group. The mission and the ground results meant that the imperial fleet was split in half during deployment. And the Alpha legion fleet was hiding in the nebula. The nebula is the apocalypse barrage template, while the planet is the CD. (I’d misplaced the cardboard planet you got with the game.)

Set up


Half of the imperial fleet was deployed to hole the planet while the chaos fleet was deployed at the edges of their deployment zone.

End of Turn 1


Miscalculating the distances the imperial player had moved too far forwards and took heavy damage. One ship reduced to a blazing hulk, one crippled and an escort was picked off.

Turn 2

With the gap all but gone the imperial ships attempt to disrupt and attack the chaos fleet but the dice do not respond and with a particularly nasty khornate boarding action taking out a light cruiser the imperials are left with a handful of escorts and a crippled battleship.

Turn 3 imperials


The chaos forces have pummelled the imperial force here. At this stage the only surviving imperial ships where the battleship and the handful of escorts while chaos had lost two escorts and taking a handful of ship hits in return.

Turn 4


At the end of turn 4 the first half of the imperial fleet had been wiped out and the reinforcements delayed due to the warp (dice gods being fickle) arrived to put up a last gasp resistance.

Turn 5 Chaos

The imperials by this stage had killed two chaos cruisers. One of which drifted into the nebula and detonated taking out two alpha legion escorts and stripping 2 hits from each alpha legion cruiser. We joked that the exploding ship had done more damage than the entire imperial fleet. At the end of this turn we called it as all the imperials had left where two sword frigates.

I’ll write up, photograph and share a full battle report the next time I play BFG or any other game I happen to be playing.

  • Welcome to the team!

    I can’t wait for this to get re-released. If Blood Bowl is any indication, Battlefleet Gothic will be in good shape. I have never played the game, but I’ve been really interested in it for a long time.

    • Kenneth Raymond

      Thanks Thor,
      I’ve lined up a game using matched fleets for a player who’s never played BFG before. After we’ve played it I’ll write up a report for the battle and explain the basics of the game.
      In addition I have a plan for the elder fleet, I have a big box of spare Tyranid parts and an idea to bring my number of fleets up to four. (And then play a defend the craftworld type scenario with the two fleets.)

      • Sounds great.

        Oh, please be sure to reply to the other comments here. If someone takes the time to leave you a comment, be kind enough to acknowledge it with response :)

        Also, If you haven’t, subscribe to the article (bottom left), for new comment notifications.

  • I miss that game very much. I think it’s my second favorite game from GW, only bested by Epic. I don’t have a fleet anymore but I’m so hoping that it will get re-released with new models. It would be nice if they fixed a couple things in the rules as well but either way, if it comes, I’m buying.

    • I’ll definitely buy this as well; no questions asked. The specialist games are great. Same with Necromunda when that gets done again. I’m curious to see how Shadow War: Armageddon is. GW said it’s the old rules for Necromunda that were used for it.

    • Kenneth Raymond

      I hope that the ships they produce when they come to update the game will be a similar size so that all of my old ships can still be used.

  • Frank Ford

    I enjoyed reading this, and it makes me want to break out my own fleets, restored and made ready to fight only a year ago, but yet to have a proper outing. Great game with awesome background.

    • Kenneth Raymond

      Thanks Frank, Hope you find someone to have a game with and then have fun playing a game.

  • Great to see the old stuff coming out again.

    • Honestly, their old stuff is their best stuff in my experience. I feel like 40K grew too big for its own good, while the specialist games give you a lot of flavor and fun with a fraction of the rules.

      • That is debatable, both work in their own way but I do get the gist of what you mean.

        • I find the RPG element of some of the specialist games to be a big draw for me. Battlefleet Gothic lacks that, but it’s a smaller scaled game, and that’s appealing to me lately too. I’m just tired of painting endless piles of dudes.

          • Kenneth Raymond

            Well BFG is simple at its core and if you want the RPG element there is a full section in both the core rulebook and in the armada supplement based around running an on-going campaign where ships can get refitted gain skills and better crew as they experience battle.

            • That sounds fun. It’s that type of thing that I really enjoy in 40K too, doing a progressive campaign. It just adds some more interest to the game.

  • None of my gaming groups got into Gothic, but it looks like a fun game. It would be awesome to link together with a game of Apocalypse or narrative adventure

    • Kenneth Raymond

      One of the aspects of battlefleet gothic called fighting in low orbit. (Part of the core rulebooks advanced rules section) allows you to actually do this. A long time ago now games workshop themselves did this (around the time of the 13th black crusade supplement when the original metal wolfen were released) and I have done this in the past where depending on how the fleet battle was progressing in low orbit the apocalypse teams would receive orbital bombardments each turn. (provided the ships targeted the ground and not each other.)

  • yetisyell

    Good read!

    Oh man how I do miss this game. I still have huge painted fleets, terrain boards and everything, just waiting for somebody else to get excited about it all again.

    A few times a year, I play against myself for kicks… I am amazed at how much game there was left to play still in expansion rules, ships and the like, when that scene went quiet. I wait for the day when I can finally play my Possessed cruiser (submarine) against some hapless opponent! I just hope a reboot doesn’t force me to re-base all my models to some new funky guide peripheral. I guess if that’s what it takes though!

    Best,

    Yeti @ https://sarcophagi.blogspot.com/

    • Kenneth Raymond

      I hear you. I hope the old ships will still be usable when they re-do the game but so long as its the flying stands stem that still represents the ships position and not the model all will be well. Even if they make the ships larger during the re-release (which is what is happening with titanicus) we could then continue to use our old ships and all would be well. {And as a bonus we could get a made to order week dedicated to BFG so that the rarer ships could make a return. Ad mech light cruiser for instance.}

%d bloggers like this: