Battlefleet Gothic Action Report: Chaos At The Gates

The Slaughter becomes crippled with a deadly lance strike aft.
Orders: Cruiser ClashLocation: Flare Zone, Hammerfall IV PrimaryThe Nochsi (Knocks-EYE) Gas Giant (Gas cloud, 8cm x30cm)Von Stryen's Belt (Asteroid belt, 15cm x 5cm)2x Solar Flare rollsFleet Composition: 700 pointsChaos: Slaughter class X2, Carnage class, Devastation classImperial: Mars class, Dominator class, Gothic class, 2x Cobras, 2x Swords + Cobra (via Unexpected Help)Sub plots:Blood Bond: ChaosUnexpected Help: ImperialsFinn and I had a casual BFG game Friday night, acting out a chance detection of a Chaos reconnaissance fleet and a picket of  Imperial warships. The game was started late and so we called it on turn 5 (out of proscribed 8) around 1 AM. It was still a blast, literally.

The Nochsi Gas Giant
Von Stryen's Belt There were 4 Celestial Phenomena in the Flare Zone of Hammerfall’s inner solar system and we had to roll for 2 solar flares in each of our turns as well. Phenomena played no role in this game, save for the Chaos Devastation cruiser prowling the shallows of The Nochsi gas giant, intending to descend into the immense gas cloud if cornered, where the loss of shields and disruption to reactor containment was preferable to standing up to Imperial broadsides.

The Chaos FleetThe Imperials (minus Unexpected Help)
Forces deployed, note the Swords and Cobra LRRP in the foreground, AKA Imperial Unexpected Help) Turn 1 and 2: The Imperial cruiser picket moved into a chevron formation  and closed on the intruders, firing Nova Cannons as Chaos shifted to allow the Carnage to skirt towards The Nochsi Giant with the Devastator behind. The 2 Slaughter cruisers drifted together on minimal power, undetected by the Imperial fleet, ready to crash-start and speed 30cm a turn towards the Imperials once the Carnage gains the Imperial left flank. 
From left to right: 2 Slaughters, Devastation and CarnageThe Imperial Nova barrage was long, but the Imperial gunners recomputed trajectories based on telemetry while hundreds of ratings hauled massive nova shells into cavernous cannons again. The Chaos Devastator launched 4 waves of fighters to patrol for Imperial torpedoes as auspex on both sides monitored the sun, watchful of dangerous solar flares. The surprise arrival of an Imperial LRRP asset hailed the fleet as it came around from the asteroid belt outlying the sector. The 2 swords and lone Cobra moved expertly amongst the outlying fields of rock and into formation with the Imperial fleet.
   Turn 3 and 4: The Imperials split into a pincer formation, as the ordered Swords and Cobras broke station from the thrumming wakes of their convoy out into the void between the fleets. Nuclear lance projectors stitched back and forth, flaring shields and slicing hulls asunder. Weapon batteries miles long flared along ship hulls as savage ordinance streaked out and detonated against energy fields that could not withstand the megaton concussions. A Slaughter was detected by Imperial Fury interceptors that had been launched and reported directly back to the Imperial Gothic class. Coming about in sprays of attitude thrusters, power levels spiked as the veins of energy and ammunition coursed into batteries which bombarded the Chaos ship. The Captain of Slaughter 1 sacrificed crewmen to Father Nurgle, who gave him warp sight enough to know to order the helm to blast port thrusters and adjust their aspect to the Imperial shots and receive the Imperial barrage spread from stem-to-stern instead of concentrated into one already molten, gaping wound.

In textbook synchronization, building-sized missiles were launched towards the struggling Slaughter from the Imperial Dominator cruiser, which were met and destroyed by lurking squadrons of Swiftdeath torpedo-hunting fighters.

Chaos fighters run down the closing Imperial torpedoes.Chaos lances illuminated streaking Imperial nova shells that plowed through molten metal that had ejected from impacts along the Slaughter’s hull and then cooled into tumbling, hill-sized parodies of coral. Below deck in the putrid bowels of the stricken Slaughter, hundreds of diseased crewmen perished as atmosphere ignited within compartments or sections of ship breathed them out into the frozen, crushing void when a Nova shell crumpled the port thruster stack of Slaughter 1.

Turn 5: The Chaos Carnage came amidships of the Imperial Line as their aft watch reported a massive Nova detonation against the trailing Devastator. Communication had been lost with Slaughter 1 while Slaughter 2 was ordered all ahead full to no avail. Starboard compensators flared as the Carnage’s port batteries and lances filled the void around the incoming Cobras with such incandescence that even their pierced and stabbed reactors breaking free from containment fields seemed but a spark amongst the bonfire of the disintegrating Cobra squadron. The Imperial Gothic shuddered as her shields flickered through the bands of explosive forces dealt long range by the Carnage cruiser.

 With launch bays still open and issuing fighter waves, a Nova cannon shot detonated with such close proximity to the Chaos Devastator that the Nova’s plasma wave carried just-launched craft back into the hangers like twigs carried on floodwater, to immolate in the estuary line between void and oxygen-filled holds, which burned from the inside out.

The Imperial commander called for reports as the Chaos fleet seemed to go dim and dissolve from his command lectern screens, indicating disengagement. Gunnery sections confirmed the Chaos contacts changing from hard to intermittent to silent. Damage reports streamed in from the fleet and the commander ordered the vanguard section into a Search turn towards the last position of the Carnage, leaving the bloodied Devastator for the mysteries of the enshrouding Nochsi gas giant which swallowed the cruiser whole. The limping Slaughter 1 was savored by the green gunnery crews of the Imperial Dominator to cut their teeth on instead of being taken as a prize.

Notes: Neither of us had used Nova cannons before so the what-fors and how-to’s took some time. Also, neither of us thought to take a true fleet commander with inherent Leadership and reroll. Given more time, I am sure my flanking Chaos fleet would have maneuvered around hard enough to cross the T of at least one Imperial cruiser but the Nova cannons had already found their range and it would be an attritional fight, perhaps helped by my now-triggered Blood Bond. I was disappointed that there were no solar flares all game... it would have been cool to see the havoc they would have caused and possibly the mess created between the tension of Imperial and Chaos fighter waves on the board. Finally, I had forgotten a major Special Order, Brace for Impact. I can only chalk my failure to use that up to the late (and great) night.