View Full Version : starting BF gothic Tau, advice?

Goq Gar
13-05-2006, 16:57
Any advice? Im thinking about starting with mainly carriers, (i.e. launch bay heavy ships) so I can keep a distance and pummel my enemy from afar using my long range weapons. Ill be facing Space marine and Guardsman fleets mostly with minimal terrain...

13-05-2006, 18:20
This is what most fleets consist of lots of Launch Bays. An Imperial Navy (there are no Guardsman fleets) fleet can bring alot of Launch Bays as well and will try and close the distance at the same time. Space Marine fleets carry a decent amount of Launch Bays with durable attack craft and will be getting close to you.

Your fleet idea is fine, but I play Imperial Navy and have defeated a Chaos Carrier fleet using my Carrier fleet.

It can also become an bad thing for you if your Ld is low because after you both launch your first waves probably a mix of Fighters & Bombers, you will have to reload and so your effectiveness goes down. Or worse still, he takes out your attack craft on your turn and then reloads and gets closer on his turn and attacks you.

So I would say go with a few Launch Bay heavy ships, make them the core of your fleet. But then add some lighter/cheaper capital ships to go in to finish off enemy ships or guard your now very valuable carriers.

13-05-2006, 19:30
an explorer based with a few heroes will work fine
this is the concept of tau

13-05-2006, 20:17
Here goes my advice: Go get the miniatures from Forgeworld, GW's are crap.

Cpt. Drill
13-05-2006, 20:52
Yeah... you want to get two exploreres two heros... lots of orcas (they are stupidly good!)

and thats about it....

you might have to include a merchant or two in bigger games but dont worry about that!

ALso I really rate defenders... I think they are quite cool!

13-05-2006, 21:41
Which list will you be using? The one from the armarda book or the one from imperial armour 3?

Also does anyone have a conversion chart/table for the GW/Forgeworld ships counts as rules?



13-05-2006, 21:58
There is a few different fleets for Tau - there is currently only one official list however, the one in Armarda. Imperial Armour 3 contains a variety of additional ships, but does not have a list for using them in pick up game play - the ships all appear in the sceniroes in IA3. There is however a player concept list that was developped and a link was posted here on Warseer. It is a list for the FW models.

From a background perspective I think the Tau Ships are very well done, the first ones and the offical list are very modular ships original built for exploration, colonization, and commerce. The FW ships are largely dedicated combat vessels and as such lack the modularity that the previous ships have.

13-05-2006, 22:12
Like others have said, get a core of Explorers, back them up with a Hero or two, and take Defenders & Orcas to your heart's content (Messengers can also be good in small quantities as support vessels).

It's up to you to decide whether you like GW's or FW's models better. The FW ships definitely are sleeker and look much more like the 40k Tau ships. On the other hand, I've heard people say that painting them up to look like huge starships is difficult. The GW models also have a nice "first time in space!" exploratory look to them. The Tau were technologically advanced sure, but they hadn't yet had enough experience to make bona-fide warships yet.

As for tactics, ordnance is your friend. Even an imperial navy carrier fleet will be hard-pressed to match your numbers of attack craft, and your torpedoes are the best in the galaxy. Conventional wisdom is to keep your fleet close together for mutual support instead of splitting it into sections.

Overall, the list seems to be slightly weaker than the mainstream lists, though a good player can still hold his own with it.

Goq Gar
14-05-2006, 06:52
So far I summise that an explorer or two should be my core, supported by 2-3 heros. The explorers should carry some orcas

Possibly a merchant. Some defenders would be handy for torpedoes.

Im kind of leaning towards planetary capture missions, which might be an upcoming campaign. any advice for this?

As for models, I think ill go for the bulky, explorer/commerce ships, as the sleeker looks just dont fit space travel. The tau wouldnt bother with design for looks, but for design for resiliance and reliability. (which the tau rules do well enough). They dont care so much for looks as they do for effectiveness. The bulky models just look more natural, in fact, almost look like space stations themselves! (personally I think you could make a space station model from tau ships and some extra bitz)

For fighters and torpedoes im definetly savng my money on cardboard cutouts, the models are just too pricey from ForgeW.

Im really leaning towards some defenders. Are they as good as they seem for small torpedo support? (Im looking at a torpedo barrage as an effective tactic, supported by fighters+bombers. Does torpedo escorting work? I.e., send a torpedo out and guard it with some fighters/bombers?)

Thanks for the immediate advice :P Im looking to order in the next 1-3 days so quick response appreciated.


maybe kroot warsphere for planet attack?

What configs would be best for my heroes/merchants in planet assaults?

Cpt. Drill
14-05-2006, 08:51
Merchants are diobolically bad.. but you have to have one per hero you take... unless you have an explorer...

the warshpere is terrible.. dont bother with it...

I would go for something like

2x explorers
2x heros
6 orcas
3x defenders...

thats about 1200pts off the top of my head...

14-05-2006, 11:27
As far as carrier/ordnance warfare goes the Tau are 2nd in rank only beaten by the Tyranids ability to buy ordnance to start on the table.

Goq Gar
14-05-2006, 12:31
I know, reading through the other armies nobody has the ordnance capabilities combined with shooting of the tau. The tyranids have far too short a range to pose a threat to tau fleets in shooting.

The warsphere i can tell must be a pain in the neck to manouver, btw, does it need to make an all ahead full roll every time it wants to change direction? (if so, why bother getting one!?)

The merchant class just looks like a good medium between escorts and capitals, and it's ability to focus alot of firepower in the front arc must be partially effective right?

2x explorers
2x heros
6 orcas
3x defenders...

This is what Im going to order if nobody contradicts it in the next 24 hours.
Thx for the help G's

14-05-2006, 14:10
Not only must the Warsphere make an All Ahead Full roll (though it autopasses the check), it has to roll 10 or above for the direction change to stick. Basically don't expect them to be reliable. At all.

Your proposed list is solid. The Explorers can sit back and pour out the ordnance, where the true firepower comes from the Heros. Those guys can throw out a world of hurt if they can keep the enemy in their forward arc. Orcas are a must, and you're right to take as many as you can. Defenders are a bit of a dud with their poor turning speed, so they'll end up as a missile team more than anything else. But that's not bad, as since you can have them fire three salvos of two missiles, you can steer those guys into enemy torps and fighters to clean them up. Tau torps are fun that way.

Your list should be fine.

Goq Gar
14-05-2006, 14:53
Thx mate.

Where should I go from there?
My idea for what to do next is to get a merchant, or perhaps just another hero to dish out an extra bag of hurt.

14-05-2006, 15:49
connsider the messenger to coordinate your ships

Goq Gar
14-05-2006, 15:56
with a tracking system, it seems like a good use of 50 points, all my ships will be closely packed anyway (but not so close as to be endagered by novas)

Im looking forwards to getting to launch some guided missles, it'll be almost impossible to miss XD. Thats why im eager to dget some defenders

18-05-2006, 00:10
Where should I go from there?
My idea for what to do next is to get a merchant, or perhaps just another hero to dish out an extra bag of hurt.
Remember that for every Hero in your fleet you must include an Explorer or a Merchant.

Im looking forwards to getting to launch some guided missles, it'll be almost impossible to miss XD. Thats why im eager to dget some defenders
Meh. For the price of 4 slightly overpriced Defenders ( replete with their 8 missiles ), you can get one ridiculously underpriced Hero. Yes it only has 6 missiles, and they're less flexible than the Defenders', but you gain the vital 6+ prow, an extra 2 shields/hits, more direct fire weaponry and 2 launch bays.

Whilst there are other differences between the one capital ship / multiple escort choices, it's a bit of a no-brainer I think. The Defenders don't add that much more to the missile salvo, and lose out to the Hero in survivability and weaponry. This is an unfortunate truth given that it undermines the balance of the list.

Goq Gar
19-05-2006, 12:13
ah well... one dream gone, 99999999999999999997625324 left XP

My new plan is:

2 explorers
maybe 3 heroes
maybe 1 merchant
(with a merc.) 8 orcas

19-05-2006, 13:30
the original fleet was better
2 explorers
2 heros
6 orcas
2 merchants
and the rest as defenders perhaps (to accompany the Heroes)

19-05-2006, 14:37
{Buy a Demiurg Stronghold}Defenders are very useful when you've already maxed out your Hero allowance[eg if you had a fleet of
1 Explorer
3 Merchants
4 Heroes, then you'd do well to have a few Defenders, if you had the above but only two Heroes, then it'd be another Hero every time instead of Defenders].

That said {Buy a Demiurg Stronghold} I find Defenders alot more useful than people give'em credit for. Fair enough, they're not the most efficient ships in the fleet, but this is only emphasised by the undercosting of the Hero. Given that, you can still have a decent fleet consisting of Explorers and Defenders.

Merchants are okay, but don't factor them in as anything other than support for your main fighting line. Warspheres are gorgeous models, but utterly dire in terms of actual rules. They're not too much of a liability to tell the truth, but they're simply very frustrating. Their rules are poor and that about sums it up. Also they're horrendously expensive on the s side.

[Still a good model though! {Buy a Demiurg Stronghold}]

Still, the fleet you've proposed is pretty much the exact one I bought on the cheap at Games Day 04 when they were just released. Additionally[at the time as I got that lot for ~34...the guy serving me couldn't find the prices for them so just assumed a price!], I bought:
- 15 Defenders[love the models, 'nuff said]
- Stronghold {Buy a Demiurg Stronghold}
- 2 Bastions
- The FW pack of Air Caste Crew/Pilots. Just because they look cool!

Solid fleet list there[2 Exp, 1 Merc, 3 Heroes], anything else to it is a bonus.
{Buy a Demiurg Stronghold}
{Buy a Demiurg Stronghold}

{Buy a Demiurg Stronghold}
PS Sorry about the subliminal {Buy a Demiurg Stronghold} messaging. :rolleyes:

EDIT: The fleet of-
2 Exp
3 Heroes
1 Merc
8 Orcas
Allows for a fantastically solid line up for a Tau Fleet. A few more Defenders thrown in there, and maybe a Demiurg if you can afford it, but it's a very decent fleet. Having the extra two Merchants with no accompanying Hero is a poor bet IMO as the Merchant was overpriced to compensate the underpricing of the Hero...which was silly because they did nothing to the Explorer! Keep Max Heroes for whichever other ships you have and you can tailor the rest of your fleet to whatever you like really[it could even be a Kroot Warsphere, if you've a solid core fleet the Kroot can't do much to wreck it!]

Goq Gar
19-05-2006, 15:23
>_< now i cant decide!

I think a solid list would be
2 Exp
3 Heroes
2 mercs
10 Orcas

Ill be up against mainly imperial and Space marine armour, so I think the merchant's heavy fire will be valuable.

So if theres no "DONT GET THAT!" posts, thats what i'll order.

19-05-2006, 16:53
I would use any Terrian to your advantage, your fleet is slow with some fast manueverable ordance. Against both the fleets you are playing you are going to want to keep them at armies distance.

Add a Messenger or 2. This gives your ships re-rolls on misses with some weapons and stops the column shift beyond 30 cm! Notice this isnt a dont get that post it is a get more post.

At max I would break your fleet into 2 similiar groups of ships. This means you can deal with almost anything using the fleets 2 groups and can bring them together to deal with tough nuggets.

I would launch your Mantas as soon as you can and get them heading towards the enemy fleet, right along side your Tau Missiles - this will force your opponent to choose which one to shoot turrets at.

Goq Gar
19-05-2006, 16:59
okay then, ill add 2 messengers to that list, that will help significantly.

2 Exp
3 Heroes
2 mercs
10 Orcas
2 Msngrs

19-05-2006, 18:35
Add a Messenger or 2. This gives your ships re-rolls on misses with some weapons and stops the column shift beyond 30 cm! Notice this isnt a dont get that post it is a get more post.
The Messenger targetting systems do not allow you to re-roll to-hit dice on weaponry. They do however allow you to re-roll misses on anti-ordnance turrets.

Apologies if that's what you mean, but I've seen people get this wrong before - usually the same ones recommending Messengers :rolleyes: .

19-05-2006, 19:36
I'd strongly advise against having that second Merchant around if you're not using it to get a fourth Hero. Merchants are a bit of a liability you see...

However, it's not really a don't get that, more akin to: "Get a fourth Hero!", but failing that, a few Defenders would be handier[IMO] than a Merchant. That said, there's also the Orcas...it's up to you really. Orcas = Good, Merchant = Liability, Defenders = slightly sub-par but still useful [Fp9 Wbs and S6 Missiles from three of them...]...


19-05-2006, 19:53
i think a mix of two explorers and two heroes are about right

the messengers are for defensive targetting and i do believe this makes them worthwhile

19-05-2006, 22:28
Sorry my bad... but still good for defending.

Goq Gar
20-05-2006, 04:00
o.o *confusal*

So I surmise that a list based on what you've said should be something like:

2 Exp
4 Heroes
2 mercs
10 Orcas
2 Msngrs

I just noticed how big this list is getting...
I'll be fielding a pretty large fleet, any advice for large fleet engagements?

20-05-2006, 05:21
You had to ask!

1- Tau Phalanx. Put the Heroes to the front, the Orcas just behind them, the Explorers behind those and the Merchants at the back. Keep it a compact formation

2- Do not split your fleet.

3- If your fleet is split regroup if you're not in a favourable tactical position. The enemy can most likely outmanouver your ships and get where you're going faster than you can.

4- Focus fire. You need to cripple and brace things primarily so that your force does not begin to take too much damage.

5- Ideally a Stronghold is perfect for soaking up Blast Markers by sitting it slap-bang in the centre-front of your Phalanx. Buy a Stronghold at some point.

6- Heroes are your main fighting ships, once those are gone it is most likely going to be a terrific struggle to actually continue the game. Of course, it's by no means impossible, but you really have to have a thinking cap on without the Heroes.

7- Directing fire against potent targets is the key. No exhaustive list is likely to ever be made of targetting situation priorities, but good advice IMO is to always think through the implications of your fire, what your opponent is likely to do and what the likely consequence is. This is crucial for the Tau as you need to be prepared to account for any problems in your fleet that arise 'mid game'. Having a restricted amount of re-rolls and a relatively high need to use Special Orders puts you in a very difficult position when deciding targetting orders.

There's an absolute ton more on the SG website forum and the BFG Yahoo Group[accessible from said forum], but the above should tide you through!


20-05-2006, 07:46
Hmm, I'll go ahead and post my usual suggested Tau starter force which weighs in at 1,000ps.

075pts : Tau Kor'el with Aun'el
230pts : Explorer(standard config)
075pts : 3 Orcas
360pts : 2 Heroes(standard)
120pts : 1 Merchant ( with hull upgrade )
050pts : 2 Orcas
090pts : 2 Defenders

This'll give you a fair selection of ships, which would allow you to see what you think of their capabilities for yourself and then expand the fleet in the direction you want to go.

20-05-2006, 11:06
splitting isn't so bad if you keep one group as Heroes + Defenders and the other main force as everything else.

Goq Gar
24-05-2006, 07:25
ordering soon, so final list ideas - post now

24-05-2006, 20:11
Ignore merchants.. Period.. another Explorer is more worth it than 2 mechants.. any day..

Explorers, heroes, orcas, is what your fleet will consist of, anything else is just fluff.. and we all know fluff is good so 1 merchant is ok, if you buy another hero to that...

I use torpedo explorers exlusivly, you need some long range fire power, and with 2 explorers and 2 heroes you get that long range fire power with torpedoes, and you can take down the 6 shield/turret with 14 hit points tyranid hive ships, with conventional firepower it is not fesable to do so imho..

24-05-2006, 22:40
Merchants aren't THAT bad. Surely in most cases a Hero is better, but they can be a cheap way to get another Hero - and squadroned with called heros they can prove quite durable (even in 4hits-variant).

Against upgraded Tyranid Hives conventional weapons could be really usefull. Equiped with 14 hits and Mucous Membrane, you won't deal much damage to them, espacially when the Nid Player decides to cluster the table with fighters - remember that he can spent 10% of his fleet points for AC, you'll have a hard time to take out all these 7p Fighters.

26-05-2006, 01:55
I recomend you look at other manufacturer's models before deciding to place your order. I'm not saying "don't play BFG", I'm saying "take a look at possible proxy models".

As much as I like the Tau fleet the models are absolutely terrible. I can understand the oversize cargo ship feel to the Explorer and the Merchant, but I simply cannot forgive how awful the other ship's models are (with the possible exception of the Defender, even though it's too large).

I would recommend you at least look at the following model lines:

A Call to Arms by Moongoose Publishing.

Cold Navy

Full Thrust by Ground Zero Games (GZG)

Lightning Strike by Dream Pod 9 (DP9)

I understand not everyone will share my sentiment that the Tau models are terrible, but I feel i'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention possible alternate models.

26-05-2006, 11:54
Also have a look at forge worlds Tau ship range.

The look far more tau than the GW modells and even less expensive (!) than that.


26-05-2006, 12:07
i actually like the SQ Tau line