I had a Battle Fleet Gothic game with Gavin and his gorgeous Eldar Corsair fleet at our FLGS a couple of weeks back.
It was a pity I didn't bring in my space gaming mat as both of our fleets were painted to a very decent standard and would have been a thing of beauty to behold. However the game was still a spectacle and we had more than a couple of curious onlookers checking us out.
Given that we were still a bit rusty with the rules we decided on 1,000 points per side to allow us some toys in our list without having too big a fleet engagement that would go on for ages.
1 Shadow Class Cruiser
2 Aurora Light Cruisers
4 Hellebore Frigates
2 Nightshade Destroyers
1 Battle barge with Master of the Fleet
3 Strike Cruisers
2 Gladius Escorts
Set up and Deployment
Similar to my previous game with Jeff, I suggested we play with some asteroid fields to add a bit of tactical depth to the game. We alternated placing asteroids which eventually formed three separate fields.
We then rolled for sides and alternated deploying our ships. We both ended up splitting our fleet into two detachments to facilitate movement through the asteroids.
I deployed my Battle barge with a squadron of two Strike Cruisers in the middle with a clear path into the centre of the table. I deployed my other Strike Cruiser beside a squadron of two Gladius on the left of the table.
Once again we decided to play a straight shoot em’ up game. Kill or be killed!
I had first turn. I advanced my main detachment with the Battle barge towards the centre of the table and launched Thunderhawks and torpedoes.
My other detachment flew into the asteroid field for cover.
In my ordnance phase the Thunderhawk squadrons and torpedoes flew straight into the middle of the table in an attempt to influence his movement next turn.
On Gavin’s turn he moved his ships forward. His Shadow and two Hellebores flew at my ordnance in the middle of the table. He moved his two Nightshades around into the asteroid field. On his right he flew the Aurora and the other two Hellebore straight parallel to the asteroid field. He split the other Aurora and moved it into the middle of the table.
The Corsairs then launched their own torpedoes directly at the Thunderhawks which together with his ships’ armaments managed to destroy the majority of my ordnance.
On his ordnance phase all his ships did a 180 and ran. Eldar ships can turn freely and can move in both the movement phase and their ordnance phase. In addition, if the sunward edge is behind them they get a massive boost to their speed. This was my first time playing against Eldar and was completely unprepared for this. Very tricksy.
On my turn I continue to move forward with my main detachment to within weapons range. On my left, the Strike Cruiser continued to move through the asteroid field. The Gladius, with their 30cm speed, flew through the asteroid field right beside the Aurora that was trying to escape.
Eldar are very resilient due to their holofields. This provides a 2+ save against lances and ordnance. Against weapon batteries they force a right column shift reducing the number of attack dice.
I issued the ‘lock on’ special order and unloaded with all my guns reducing the Aurora to a drifting hulk. Space marines’ bombardment cannons use the gunnery table and therefore negate the Eldar’s holofield saves. Eldar ships without holofields are as strong and resilient as wet toilet paper.
The Corsair responded by springing a trap.
In the centre, the Shadow and Hellebore that were running away made a complete turn and zoomed directly at my two Strike Cruisers. His Nightshades also successfully navigated their way through the asteroid field to come up right on the Strike Cruisers. On his right he punched his other Aurora and Hellebore through the asteroid field right on the port side of my Battle barge.
He then unloaded all manner of deadly Eldar munitions against my fleet. His weapon batteries stripped shields from my capital ships. He then followed up with pulsar lances which made mockery of my heavy 6+ armour. The icing on the cake was when he launched torpedoes at point blank range and started to strip my hull points at an alarming rate. Eldar torpedoes are hard to hit with defensive turrets and can reroll any misses. It was not a pretty sight. To top it off, his ships than did another 180 and ran off into the asteroid fields!
Somehow, when the space dust settled, none of my ships were destroyed. Both of my Strike Cruisers were crippled and my Battle barge loss four hull points. However my fleet was still intact and ready for vengeance.
On my turn I moved away from all the blast markers bringing my shields back on line. I also succeeded with reloading all of my ordnance. I reckon the only way to destroy more ships were to concentrate fire so I flew all of my ships towards the right side of the table in pursuit of the Shadow Cruiser, Hellebore Frigates and Nightshade Destroyers.
The Eldar had speed on their side and I would never catch up with them with my capital ships. However my Thunderhawks can move in both of our ordnance phases. Therefore, I scrambled all Thunderhawks from my launch bays and hurled them at his ships. On my shooting phase my main armaments couldn’t find any gaps through his holofields but my Thunderhawks managed to land a couple of critical hits against his Shadow Cruiser.
On Gavin’s turn, the Eldar once again did a u-turn and came right up on my grill. He reloaded ordnance and again shot them point blank at my ships. This time around he managed to blew both of my Gladius Escorts into scrap adamantium. He also succeeded in overloading my shields and stripped a couple more hull points from my Strike Cruisers.
With that we ran out of time and ended the game.
Post battle analysis
Pirate Prince Gavin:
"It was my first time facing Space Marines and it was quite a challenge dealing with their high armour and fearsome bombardment cannons!
Due to not having any attack craft tokens I was forced to rely on holofields for ordnance defence. Next time I will make sure to take ships with fighters and bombers to deal with pesky Thunderhawks!"
Master of the Fleet Voiddragon:
"That was a thoroughly enjoyable game! It was my first time against Eldar and I was very impressed with their special abilities. They had advantages in both their movement and weapons. However my Space Marines held their own thanks to their heavy armour and Thunderhawks.
Also I realised I cheated after the game as both of my Strike Cruisers were crippled (i.e. lost more than half their starting hull points) but I forgot to play them as such. Sorry about that Gavin!
Tactically, I don’t think I could have done any better given the placing of the asteriod fields. Deploying centrally meant that no matter which direction he went I would be able to chase and keep within weapons range most of the time. Also I realised there was nothing I could do against point blank torpedoes. Man those were nasty!"
Hope that was an enjoyable read. We certainly had fun playing it. More to come soon. Stayed tuned.