Battlefleet Gothic Special Torpedoes Review

At Battleground Games in Abington gamers have started to return to the realm of Battlefleet Gothic.  BFG is a great game, created by Andy Chambers, and my absolute favorite Games Workshop production.  I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article for an overview behind the game.  Also don’t forget to get the rulebook for FREE at the Specialist Games website (yes this is legal).

In addition to BFG veterans getting back into the game there have been some new players eager to join the fray.  I’ve been playing BFG for almost a decade having started back in 2000, or thereabouts, at Danger Planet Games in Waltham.  One of the new players has a Tau fleet utilizing the special Tau torpedoes.  Sunday he played a 1k game against a friend’s Space Marine fleet resulting in a draw.  After watching the game I remembered that other fleets, excluding Tau, can use Appendix I of the Armada book to field special torpedoes too and wondered the value of doing so.

I created a study to determine the value of spending 20 or 30pts for special torpedoes.  This study is not scientific, I’m not a scientist, and I’m not a mathematician but I hope this study will be useful to you BFG fans.  I rolled 10 dice 10 times for a total of 100 rolls.  I recorded the results of each roll and then tabulated the totals.  This provided me with the percentage that a given result will be rolled on the Special Torpedoes table (see page 156 of Armada).

Here are the results of my study.

1 = Short Burn Torpedoes – 15%

2 = Guided Torpedoes – 15%

3 = Seeking Torpedoes – 12%

4 =Barrage Bombs – 21%

5 = Melta Torpedoes – 16%

6 = Vortex Torpedoes – 21%
It looks like an even chance across the board of rolling any of the different types, which to me shows this was a fairly accurate experiment.  But, there are some clear differences to take into account.  First, Seeking Torpdoes have the lowest chance of being rolled.  Second, Barrage Bombs and Vortex Torpedoes have the highest chance and Melta Torpdoes have a slightly higher (but not enough to differentiate) chance than the remaining types.

This tells me that spending the points of special torpedoes is a risky move.  Unless you’re assaulting a planet you will end up with nothing special 21% of the time.  If we add in the likelihood of rolling burnout torps that rockets up to 36% of the time.  Ideally, to me, a two or three is the best roll because those torpedoes follow a target and can be reloaded all game.

The Melta and Vortex Torpedoes are very powerful but a capital ship only has one volley with them.  Once you use them they’re gone for the rest of the game.  This makes the 37% chance of rolling either of them a difficult choice.  If you’re skilled in torpedo attacks they are points well spent.  If not please stay clear.

We have to keep in mind that Special Torpedoes are in the Appendix for a reason.  They add spice to a game but are too random to be counted.  Additionally, it is important to note that some races gain a greater advantage from them.  Eldar and Dark Eldar enjoy superior weapons, and pay more for them, but Space Orks will find them mostly useless.

If you’re playing with a Tau fleet the choice is easy as you’re forbidden from using these special torps.  But, it can be a tempting choice if fielding Imperium or Chaos.  Even Space Marines could enjoy a benefit if the right torps are equipped.

At the end of the day, as with so much else, it all comes down to the gamer.  Do you know how to properly use torpedoes or not?  I, personally, recommend staying away from these on a regular basis.  But, now and again they can liven up a game.  As a fellow gamer recently told me “Variety is the spice of life.” So spice it up my friend!!”  Whatever you decide get your BFG together, or get started, and post in the new Battleground Games forum to let us know when you want to play.  We’re eager for opponents.