22 December 2008

Set The Mainsail And Damn The Pulse Torpedoes!

After a break of about five years, I found myself having 5 games of Full Thrust and Battlefleet Gothic at the local gaming shop Area52. Two local gamers both independent of each other decided they needed a break from Warhammer40K and went looking for something new.

The first didn't stray too far from home and was looking for a opponent to face off against the Battlefleet Gothic imperial ships he was collecting. The second had heard about this 'Full Thrust' game and was wondering what it was all about. Suddenly I found my table converted to a spacedock as fleets of miniature spacecraft were rediscovered and repaired.

I have to admit that I really am surprised by Battlefleet Gothic, up until recently I had played exactly half a game when it first was released. My opponent for that game and I probably didn't like each other very much and while I had been busy painting my ships I hadn't had the chance to read the rules, my opponent derided me for daring to play without reading the rules and declared that he wouldn't be explaining them to me. Fair enough I thought as I started flipping through the rules, I decided to return the favour by making use of the special Elder movement rules to dash into extreme weapons range, pepper my opponent's ships with long range fire and turn around and run back to escape any return fire. And that's how it went until my opponent's friend turned up and pointed out another special Elder rule that increased my weapons batteries effectiveness, at this point my opponent decided the game was over. So that was that, my Elder ships were consigned to storage and I went back to Full Thrust and my NSL fleet.

So like I said this time round I'm surprised and after three much more fun attempts at BFG I have found I really like this game after all. Enormously big ships slug it out and the escorts have the life expectancy of a firefly, how can you not enjoy that? Too bad it's been relegated to the specialist games range.

The other two games of Full Thrust were equally enjoyable. I was able to wheel out first a Neu Swabian League fleet and then an alien Phalon Fleet. My opponent first borrowed my wife's Federal Stats Europa fleet and in the intervening week purchased and painted a 'new construction' Eurasian Solar Union fleet. I won the first game mostly due to some excellent luck and finished the second game with my Phalon battleship and heavy cruiser scurrying away behind the a wave of plasma bolts.

The break I've had from regularly playing Full Thrust has only served to reinforce how much I enjoy a wargame like Full Thrust after playing these two games. It's simple, yet flexible mechanics allows a surprising amount of detail, but it doesn't bog a new player down in page turning and they can get straight down to the business of pushing their miniature ships around the table.

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