OK, after talking about the previews of "Battle fleet Gothic" in WD119 (1989) in the previous post, I'd like to develop a bit further on the game itself and how it evolved. The previous post and discussions around it (either on this blog or on the GW specialist Facebook group) have enabled to gather a bit more information on the whole story thanks to Evo Von Himmel who playtested it at the studio back then and Andy Chambers who supervised the release of battlefleet gothic in its later incarnation.
The rules were incredibly complex, and involved lateral thrust, and protractors(!), from memory. I helped run a demo game of it at the Nottingham store. The version released in 1999 bore little to no relation to the original.
|yep, that's right 8+...|
|aaaand you're done !|
Now this may seem a little too simple but in fact, from gaming with the basic rules a few times it was already quite enjoyable. Getting this box in around 1995-96 made me get a french version (at the time sold by AGMAT which later became the french studio). Said french version came with the basic rules translated into french and published on a A4 sheet as well :
But what was in the advanced rules ? Well first of all the complete rules for loads of new starships but also loads of background material. The real thing is it didn't change the gaming mechanics but just made them a little more refined and allowed you to add depth with unusual ships and a form a progression for campaigns but always in a very straightforward way. A notable feature is that unlike many other games, Space fleet is based on simultaneous turns instead of alternate ones, with the help of "computer helms" on which you assigned orders to your ships/squadrons.
One of the things that didn't change is that the "hits" still had to be determined by throwing some D6 into the box cover... I have yet to find a single person who liked that part...
Now though this had always kind of annoyed me at the time I could have let that go for nostalgia's sake and for proper oldschool credibility. The only tiny issue with it being that my box has "aged" a little...
Well "aged" might not be the proper term here... DESECRATED would seem far more adapted to the situation... See that stain right in the middle ? Yeah that big yellow stain with the nauseating ammoniac stench and the wrinkled cardboard...
DAMN YOU, YOU STUPID CAT !
|Just witness Jacky's (that's my cat) total carelessness for my pain and anger|
|Far more elegant and convenient that throwing dice in a box...|
But back on track, what did the advanced rules bring ? They were published in WD139 from the initial release of the game (July 1991) until WD147.
New Ships: Emperor Capital Ship, Gothic Battleship, Ironclad Battleship, Firestorm Cruiser, Cobra Destroyer, Castellan Shield Ship; Eldar Wraithship.
New Components/Rules: Galactic Civilization, Stellar Fleets, Sub-Stellar Ships, Planetary Defense, Spaceship data cards, counters, & twelve pages of rules and loads of background material.
New Ships: Dominator Battleship, Tyrant Battleship, Galaxy Troop Ship, Goliath Factory Ship; Eldar Shadowhunter.
New Components/Rules: Flagship data cards, Spaceship data cards, counters, & fourteen pages of rules and loads of background material.
New Ships: Annihilator Battleship, Dicator Battleship, Thunderbolt Cruiser, & Stalwart Escort Ship.
New Ships: Hiveship, Dark Prowler, Drone, Wardrone, Deathburner Kraken, Doomripper Kraken, Ramsmiter Kraken, Hellblaster Kraken, Spore Mines, & Void Fiend.
New Components/Rules: Spaceship data card & one page of rules.
New Ship: Constellation Targeting Ship.
|Note the very simple rule where each weapon gets a determined number of dice to throw (as in the box) to attack. Starightforward, simple, effective, the more the better, end of story.|
And also gave you bits of essential knowledge about the 40k world as this chart explaining you the minimum and maximum "warp" times for a given "real world" distance...
|yeah, take that general relativity !|
Model wise, the 3 different factions were not really balanced in terms of variety and style...
The Imperial fleet got the lion's share of course with a big dozen of different ships from huge Emperor Capitol ships to small cobra destroyers. You can see the full collection on Solegend (from which I took all the pictures below).
In terms of style, the ships pretty much all fit with Jes Goodwin's sketches and rulewise some are really interesting with some having powerful weapons but no shields, some other the opposite and so on..
EDIT : Thanks to Ian Wood for pointing that a bucnh of teh ships were actulaly repurposed from older ranges, these are mostly the ones with no "Goodwin gothic touch" in the picture below.
Well the main reason is that a good amount of models were directly taken and repurposed from the Star Cruisers range.
|Yep, the terrifying truth about squats is that they were wiped off by sea food...|