Friday, 19 August 2016

Fleets in Spaaace!

The last game I ran at BOYL 2016 is a game I have been hankering after for a long time. I vaguely recall an old childhood friend getting a copy, but like his Advanced Heroquest set, we never played it much if it all. I fear his acquisition of it unfortunately coincided with our discovery of beer...

Space Fleet always intrigued me as a youngster - space ship combat was very alluring thanks to the likes of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Ulyses 31 and countless other 80's Sci Fi movies. However, I never really associated Warhammer 40K with space ships. Sure Space Marines had to get to the many war zones they were required to attend and both Space Crusade (a game I did play quite a lot) and Space Hulk were both actually set on space ships, or rather hulks, but I had never really got my head around space travel in the Warhammer Universe - must have skipped that section in the Rogue Trader rule book to look at the cool pictures of alien monsters!

I guess Space Fleet had been and virtually gone by the time I had any disposable income and my attention was distracted by Warhammer Fantasy Battle and those lovable greenskins. It's been great to rediscover this old gem and although its been a slow process to amass these fleets at vaguely sensible prices it was a happy moment to bring it along to BOYL and find a few folk to game with on the Sunday morning.

Paul (or Golgfag as he's better known on the forum) was my first victim and our game was the one I took a few pics of. He took command of the Imperial fleet while I slithered into the Tyranid command nexus.

The two fleets close for battle!

This wasn't quite the first game of Space Fleet I'd played. I'd given my kids a few games using the basic rules that came in the box and tried a practice game with my Tyranids with my gaming buddies back in Yorkshire. However I managed to forget a key White Dwarf with the advanced rules in for certain Imperial ships and hadn't made a set of cards for the Tyranids so we ended up bodging the rules quite a bit! Thanks to Paul for his patience while I furiously flicked through various White Dwarves in an attempt to keep the game flowing at a respectable pace!

Dark Prowlers seek to outflank a squadron of Firestorm Cruisers - I should have hit them with the more powerful and forward firing Deathspitter rather than the Dark Prowler's Hullgrinder broadsides.
This time I did remember to make up the cards but yet again managed to leave behind a key White Dwarf magazine with most of the advanced rules for the Imperial ships! This resulted in many of the Imperial ships being upgraded to use the rules for Tyrant and Dominator battleships which I think left the Tyranids a little outgunned. Ah well - it was great fun all the same!

A Ramsmiter Kraken prepares to plunge its bone ram deep into the bowels of an Emperor Capital Ship - ready to disgorge hordes of Genestealers and Tyranid Warriors deep into the bowels of its prey!
I had intended also to order some D18 dice to use for the firing phase but never found any for a reasonable price - especially when some Imperial ships roll 6 dice when firing at short range! Instead we indulged in the childish pleasure of dropping the dice in the box lid!

The second game I played was against a father/son combo (apologies, I never got your names!) who happened past just as me and Paul were finishing our game - a crushing Imperial victory to Paul by the way! Congrats to my second set of opponents on their excellent win too!

A Gothic battleship lines up a ram against a Void Fiend - the mini is actually from the old Star Cruisers I think but was a bit bigger than the Wardrone minis, hence my designation asthe next class up.
The Tyranid card system works very well and they play very differently to the Imperials with their traditional orders system. I think I definitely need to invest in a Hive Ship as my fleet often fell into inactivity without the massive 6 cards per turn it would have granted me.

All in all this was fantastic fun to play and definitely another game I'd like to play more. Expanding both Imperial and Tyranid fleets is certainly something I'll keep on the backburner - there are plenty more types of Kraken and more exotic Imperial ships like the Dictator and my favourite the Thunderbolt Cruiser to add to the ranks. There's also the smaller ships from the old Star Cruisers I have to paint up as a small Pirate fleet...

I'll be posting more pics of the two fleets in further posts and looking a bit more in depth at their capabilities and tactics - keep watching this spaaaaaace!

Meanwhile if you haven't already - check out JB's excellent posts on Space Fleet here, here, here and here. Missed you at BOYL buddy but looking forward to seeing those fleets painted up. We'll have to hook up for a game next year maybe!


  1. I'm genuinely amazed to see this one played, I have such a fondness for it and I'm so glad some great folks as you guys could play it ! I think I bought my dice from Impact ! and don't think they were that expensive (given how rare they are).
    Anyway, this has greatly motivated me into painting my first fleet of Tyrannid.
    With your Epic armies, this could mean... oh well I shouln't be thinking of a campaign mixing Epic, Space fleet, space hulk and RT...

    1. Please think away - I've been meaning to link up Man O War, Mighty Empires, Warmaster and WFB 3rd ed for ages now but it seems I am further on with doing something similar in the 40K universe! Mind you that would mean me having to sell the other kidney to get an Epic Tyranid army. I do have a few minis for it as well as the Hive War rule book though, if not the army cards... Think you forgot Advanced Space Crusade as well.

      Must have missed those dice at Impact - cheapest I saw them was about £3.50 each and the cost of the twelve dice I wanted would have bought me at least one Tyranid ship! ;)

      Can't wait to see your take on the Tyranid ships - I kind of went with a mixture of random tie dye patterns and colour schemes pinched from various exotic sea life but there'll be a post with more detail on that in the next week or so.

    2. Here's the linkto the dice :
      In all fairness, finding someone with a Nid army is feasible or you can even skip them from the epic game.
      Just imagine a game where the forces of the imperium have to split their forces between a ground invasion (with Epic) and a space one (Space fleet) with the Eldar playing their own cards in both cases and space hulk games and RT games just to grant advantages...
      There's a 5 games campaign here using 4 systems that could be really interesting...

    3. Cheers for the link - definitely invest in some of them.

      Love the sound of the interlinked games. I'd be tempted (if there was time for such luxuries!) to play out any boarding actions that occurred within a Space Fleet game using Space Hulk - would be interesting to have the Nids as the invaders for once in that game!

      I wonder if a sequence of games like this would work - dice off for initiative as the two fleets (I have Imperial and Tyranid in mind here) enter orbit around the target planet - winner picks an enemy ship to board a part of a commando raid prior to the initial fleet engagement. This would be played out using Space Hulk/Advanced Space Crusade. If the raiders win then the target ship is lost. The fleet engagement could then be fought using Space Fleet, with the winner of that battle gaining an advantage in terms of the position their invading troops are in when the hit planetside. An RT game could come next - if the Imperium won the fleet engagement, the RT game could be centred round taking the fight to the limited Tyranid landing zones that made it through to deny them a toehold on the planet. Should the Tyranids win the fleet engagement it could be a surgical strike against a key Imperial defence facility cut off from relief by the overwhelming numbers of Tyranids. Again victory would mean certain advantages in the Epic battle that could come next - choosing which table edge to set up on or having reinforcements in reserve.

      Sounds like a lot of fun I must admit!

    4. You've summed up a 20 years old dream. It's within our grasp really.
      There's no need to limit this to just the 2 of us but man I'm really excited about this !

    5. Absolutely - all comers welcome!

  2. So lovely! I never got to know the original game, I just got to play BFG, so I'm avid of learning of everyone's experiences with Space Fleet. Cool!

  3. Cheers Suber - I'd definitely reccomend it, especially once you've beefed it up with the additional rules that were published in White Dwarf.

  4. Finishing off my Imperial fleet, I'll have to get someone to try it with me.

    1. I'd highly recommend it - be interested to see your fleet when it's done!