Stephen and I have played pretty much every mission, except Escalating Engagement.  We dropped 1500 points.  Who’s gonna come out on top?


Bozeman – Azure Flames Space Marines (Space Marine Crusade Fleet)

-Master of the Fleet Zeraf Antonius, Ld 10, 3 re-rolls (aboard the Honor)

-Strike Cruiser Honor, Extra Shield

-Strike Cruiser Vigilance, Extra Shield

-Strike Cruiser Courage, Extra Shield

-Strike Cruiser Sacrifice, Extra Shield

-Strike Cruiser Duty, Extra Shield

-Nova Frigate x5, Light Squadron

-Hunter Destroyer x4 Wrath Squadron

-Hunter Destroyer x4 Vengeance Squadron


Stephen – Imperial Navy Segmentum Obscurus Bastion Fleet

-Admiral, Ld 9, 1 re-roll (aboard one of the Gothic class cruisers)

-Lunar class cruiser, Nova Cannon

-Lunar class cruiser, Nova Cannon

-Gothic class cruiser

-Gothic class cruiser

-Gothic class cruiser

-Dauntless class light cruiser, lances

-Dauntless class light cruiser, torpedoes

-Firestorm x3

-Cobra x2 and Sword x1


Mission: Escalating Engagement

Battlezone: Flare Region




We rolled 2 Solar Flares, so terrain was scarce on the board.


Turn 1 – Azure Flames

Wrath Squadron goes on Burn Retros in order to hide behind the asteroids.


Turn 1 – Imperial Navy

Squadron of 3 Gothic cruisers advances.


Turn 2 – Azure Flames

Light Squadron appears on the right board edge, but fails to go on All Ahead Full.  Wrath Squadron, unable to Burn Retros again, pops out and fires batteries and torpedoes at the Gothic class ships.  The Gothics Brace for Impact.  Batteries take down one shield, but then the torpedoes die in the resulting blast marker!  Note to self: cool it on the crappy batteries when the badass torpedoes are on the line.


Turn 2 – Imperial Navy

The Gothic ships come forward and fire, but the most incredibly awful rolls followed by the most incredible Brace Saves by Wrath Squadron keeps all of them alive!


Turn 3 – Azure Flames

Wrath Sqaudron flies through the Gothics and takes down one of their shields.  Light Squadron tries to go on All Ahead Full again and fails again.


Turn 3 – Imperial Navy

SOLAR FLARE OCCURS!  Gothic ships go on Burn Retros because Blast Markers make Come to a New Heading useless.  They barely stay in formation.  A few lance shots take out one of Wrath Squadron.  Turn not pictured.

Turn 4 – Azure Flames

Squadron of Vigilance and Courage comes in from the far long edge, fires torpedoes and Thunderhawks, doing serious damage to one of the Gothics, and doing a bit to the other two.  Light Squadron takes a big risk by flying into blast markers and blasting the Gothics, crippling one, thanks to Lock On.


Turn 4 – Imperial Navy

Squadron of 2 Dauntlesses arrives on the left board edge, goes on All Ahead Full.  Squadron of 2 Lunars arrives and peppers the Strike Cruisers with Nova Cannons.  Poor rolls take down one shield.  The crippled Gothic tries to disengage, but fails.


Turn 5 – Azure Flames

Vengeance Squadron arrives via the left board edge, and does some damage to the Lunars who fail to Brace.  Light Squadron finishes off the lower Gothic, and the Strike Cruisers board the higher Gothic, turning both into Drifting Hulks!  Wrath Squadron finally Reloads Ordnance after several turns of bracing.


Turn 5 – Imperial Navy

The fleet tries to regroup, but Brace orders and being a bit out of position do very little for the Imperials.  Turn not pictured.

Turn 6 – Azure Flames

Squadron with Sacrifice and Duty arrives, fires torpedoes and Thunderhawks that cripple the last Gothic.  Honor arrives as part of the same marker and goes on All Ahead Full to launch Thunderhawks to stifle the Dauntlesses.  Vengeance, and the other Strike Cruisers POUR ON the torpedo damage, crippling one of the Lunars.  Light Squadron, on Brace from last turn, fly around to regroup.


Turn 6 – Imperial Navy

The Lunars try to harm Light Squadron, but a gutsy decision to not Brace pays off as the crippled, braced ships can’t put out a lot of fire.  Squadron of Firestorms arrives from the lower board edge.  The Dauntlesses force a Brace on Wrath Squadron, and fire batteries at the Honor, but fails.  The Gothic with the Admiral disengages.


Turn 7 – Azure Flames

Vengeance Squadron reloads and torpedoes the Dauntlesses, crippling one.  Torpedoes from the Sacrifice and the Duty turn one of the Lunars into a Blazing Hulk.  Two flights of Thunderhawks wait till next turn.


Turn 7 – Imperial Navy

Cobra/Sword squadron arrives from the right board edge and fires on Light Squadron, causing a Brace but no casualties.  Firestorms cause a brace on Vengeance Squadron.  Dauntlesses try to come about.  Lunar tries to disengage and fails.  Ordnance causes the hulked Lunar to explode!



Turn 8 – Azure Flames

Despite Brace for Impact, Light Squadron destroys the Cobras and Sword.  Thunderhawks do one last damage to the Lunar, destroying it. Torpedoes and Thunderhawks take out the Dauntlesses.  Batteries and Bombardmant Cannons finish off the Firestorms.  Tabled.


Final score:

Azure Flames: 1466

Imperial Navy: 0


OK, so the past few games have been a bit unbalanced.  Let’s do an autopsy on this one.  Why was the margin so huge?  Here are some reasons why I think this happened.

Unbalanced Fleets: Being a Specialist Game, Battlefleet Gothic doesn’t really have overpowered fleets (I’ve changed my mind on the Necrons, they are actually a bit fragile thanks to their low HP count and no ordnance).  Some fleets are better at some scenarios than others.  Space Marines are fast and speed is key for Escalating Engagement.  That said, the Imperials can make a decent showing with escorts and Dauntlesses.  Sadly, Stephen only owns two Dauntlesses, and eschewed more escorts for the Gothics in order to punch though Space Marine armour.  Oddly, this didn’t hurt him, as the capital ships came in before the escorts!  Despite the initial unbalance, fleets didn’t cause this.

Tactics: Stephen’s ships bunched up in the center of the board. This made them prime targets for multiple torpedo waves.  Stephen also had no fighters to protect against my torpedoes which did the lion’s share of the damage in this fight.  Stephen also turned the Gothics different directions, limiting their effectiveness.

Luck: UGH.  Stephen failed SO MANY TURRET ROLLS.  Those torpedoes would have been way less effective with turrets doing their jobs.  He also got several Brace saves that failed in key situations.  Die rolls are always a big factor.  Plus, Stephen’s escorts failed to come in on a 4+ for like three turns.

My final verdict, Stephen bunched up in the middle, couldn’t stop torpedoes, and had some really terrible rolls.

Next: some more action at Highland!

By Bozeman

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