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Video Game / Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

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"A Storm is coming to the Gothic Sector"

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is a space battle Real-Time Strategy developed by Tindalos Interactive and based on Games Workshop's specialist game Battlefleet Gothic and set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.

The game's setting is set during the Gothic War, in which Warmaster Abaddon has launched the 12th Black Crusade against the strategically important Gothic Sector (held by the Imperium of Man). His goal is to acquire the Blackstone Fortresses, ancient and massive space stations with highly destructive capabilities. But in order to activate them, he must first find two devices, the "Hand of Darkness" and the "Eye of Night".

The game features a single-player campaign with the player in control of the Imperial Navy. Other factions such as the Forces of Chaos, Eldar Corsairs and Ork Freebooterz are available to play on Skirmish and Multiplayer modes. The Space Marines and Tau Empire were released as DLC fleets.


In January 2018, a sequel was announced: Battlefleet Gothic Armada 2. It is set during the recent Gathering Storm story arc and will feature 12 immediately playable factions, including the Tyranids, Necrons, Dark Eldar, and Adeptus Mechanicus. The first trailer.

This game provides examples of the following:

  • A Commander Is You: Every faction has a unique set of perks and flaws which requires a different playstyle for each of them.
    • The Imperial Navy has strong prow armor and several ships have Torpedo Tubes and access to the Nova Cannon. However, they're not very effective at long-range gun fights and are slower than average. Overall they play the Generalist faction role, able to do a little of everything, but not the best at anything, working best by fielding a force that the other fleet is weak against.Examples 
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    • Chaos excels at raiding attacks with good accuracy at long-range, fast ships, and having numerous launch bays on ships that can carry spacecraft. Unfortunately, they have antiquated ships which are inferior to the Imperial Navy's in terms of Armor and Firepower.
    • The Orks are strong on ramming and boarding actions with ships that are heavily armored and are fully customizable. But they pay for this with very poor gunfire accuracy and an egregious lack of discipline. They overall play as the Brute faction
    • The Eldar Corsairs are very strong on hit-and-run strategies with ships that are very mobile, have highly disciplined crews, and have the best spacecraft available. This comes at the heavy cost of their ships which have very little armor, are very vulnerable to boarding actions, and have no shields (which are substituted by Holo-fields that reduce the accuracy of hostile gunfire, but the ships must remain constantly mobile to benefit). They overall play as a Technical faction, requiring lots of micro managing to stay alive, but when played well can shred the enemy down with multiple attack run passes.
    • The Space Marine Chapter Fleets are the Elite faction, using small fleets which are heavily armored and shielded from fire, as well as being faster than average compared to other fleets capital ships. The combination of their powerful boarding capability, via homing boarding torpedoes, Thunderhawk Gunships, and the standard boarding assault and lightning strike teleport attacks, along with their Bombardment Cannons can leave enemy ships crippled by an ever increasing amount of critical hits. However, they tend to lack strong direct firepower, and while their ships are good at ignoring damage, they tend to lack the hull points to survive sustained and anti-armor fire. Additionally, they suffer in defending themselves against bombers due to the lack of dedicated fighter support.
    • The ships of the Tau fill the role of the Ranger faction. Their ships tend to have extremely good range with decent firepower, featuring fairly fast firing Railgun (Macro) and Ion Cannon (lances) batteries, extremely accurate missile attacks instead of torpedoes, and ships that can coordinate with each other. Additionally, Tau Fleets can choose between Mont'ka (Killing Blow) or Kauyon (Patient Hunter) tactics before the start of battle. Mont'ka favors taking the initiative, and performing a decisive strike that the enemy can't recover from. Kauyon favors luring the enemy into a killzone where their ships lie in wait to spring the ambush and cause significant damage, then decide whether to press the attack, or re-position and form a new firing line further away. However, the Tau are weaker than other fleets on dealing with the receiving end of boarding actions (though better than the Eldar), and suffer at close range or when flanked due to concentrating their firepower to their forward arc. Additionally, they lack the speed that other fleets tend to enjoy.
  • The Aesthetics of Technology: Imperial ships look like flying Gothic cathedrals with a massive white and gold prow on the front. Chaos ships are angular and spiky, a dark parody of Imperial vessels that take on different forms when they take favours from one of the four gods - covered in dried gore in Khorne's case, diseased and writhing with tentacles in Nurgle's case, blue and gold in Tzeentch's case. Ork ships are hulks of scrap metal, mismatched parts and tribal fetishes, moved through space with very large smoke-belching engines. Eldar ships are characteristically sleek and elegant, resembling tropical fish with solar sails and glistening decks. Space Marine ships are essentially flying bricks with Bling of War, coated in the chapter markings to show their allegiance. Tau ships are rounded and utilitarian, lacking the (some would say entirely unnecessary) flair of their rivals - if it doesn't serve a practical purpose in a fight, it comes off.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: The AI will ALWAYS know where your ships are at any given time, which makes Escort Missions especially difficult as you cannot bluff the AI into chasing diversions/decoys while the fragile cargo vessels escape.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI makes some truly boneheaded decisions. Half the time, AI ships won't bother to avoid going through Asteroid Thickets (somewhat justifiable in that the damage is minimal and the field grants some stealth) or mines (completely unjustifiable, as all mines do is explode, insta-killing escorts and dealing serious damage to capital ships). Especially egregious when, in the main campaign, you ally with the Eldar, and Eldar AI ships in battle seemingly want to die. Other allied AI-controlled ships (Imperial Navy, Space Marines) are little better, constantly getting in each others' (and your) way trying to get firing solutions on enemy ships.
    • Later patches cause the AI to now avoid asteroid fields and mines if at all possible, though they frequently do so by stopping dead just before they run into them. If they're low on hit points, the AI won't even risk taking a little extra scratch damage to turn away from the field either, so you can marvel as their ship absolutely refuses to move, patiently letting you maneuver into its blind spot and hammer it into oblivion.
  • Ascended Extra: The Space Marines were initially just a Favor that could be assigned to individual Imperial Navy ships, but they were expanded into their own standalone faction through DLC.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Most battlefields are strewn with large swarms and clusters of rocky debris of varying sizes. Ships can use these for cover, although they will damage any ships that actually pass through them. Larger, likewise unrealistically thick clusters of space rocks are common in the backgrounds.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Orks tend to be like this (when controlled by the AI, at least). They have pretty low morale, and so have very high chances of being Insubordinate and attempting to retreat when a ship gets sufficiently damaged or destroyed. And since ships retreating through Insubordination are apparently counted as "destroyed" for purposes of other Insubordination checks, it's very easy to create a domino effect where an Ork force that's otherwise doing very well has one ship retreat, then another, and another, until they're all gone. Even ones that haven't even been damaged (or even seen) by your force yet.
  • Beam Spam:
    • The Gothic-Class Cruiser is the first ship Imperial Navy Admirals can get their hands on that focuses on this. Its armed with 4 broadside lance batteries. Since Lances ignore the majority of enemy armor and always hit, this makes the class well suited as a mid to long range support "sniper" to deal with weakly shielded or unshielded enemies.
    • Chaos ships tend to put a bigger emphasis on Lance broadside batteries instead of Macro weapons.
    • Eldar Pulsars are this.
    • The Tau railguns appear as this.
  • BFG: Puns about the title notwithstanding, every weapon on the ships you control is one of these, evidenced by the use of the prefix "macro-" which means "large." Lances are even bigger.
    • Special mention goes to the Nova Canon, a Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon that fires projectiles the size of buildings at relativistic speeds, which then implode, dealing respectable damage to everything around them. Two of them fired in unison (and landing near their target) can ruin just about any enemy ship's day, or at least significantly cut down the work your regular weapons have to do.
  • Big Bad: Abaddon the Despoiler, Lord of the Black Legion and Warmaster of Chaos, for the Imperium Campaign.
  • Bigger Is Better: As a rule, bigger ships are more powerful and can take much more punishment than smaller ships, although they tend to be slower.
  • Bittersweet Ending: No matter what the player chose in Story Branching or amounts of planets liberated/lost, Abaddon's 12th Black Crusade was repelled with two Blackstone Fortresses being taken by Abaddon while the remaining four self destructed by themselves, and significant losses of war assets for the Imperium.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: The battle against the Ork Space Hulk. As soon as you nearly destroy it, the Warboss yells he's now gonna use his hidden superweapon... an ancient Exterminatus grade cyclonic torpedo. His vessel is the only one destroyed.
  • Computers Are Fast: Regardless difficulty setting, the AI opponents you face will perfectly launch any sort of skill or unguided ordnance to perfectly hit one of your ships based on its current course heading and speed. The only way to dodge it, is to make an immediate course change of some kind, be it going to All Ahead Full, Burn Retros (Full Stop), or changing direction. Thankfully, if you set your own ordinances and abilities to auto use, the computer will do the same for you.
  • Continuity Nod: The opening scene shows a map of the Segmentum Obscurus, with the labels of the Calixis Sector and the Scarus Sector. Notably, the primary narrative writer for Battlefleet Gothic: Armada was previously one of the lead writers for Fantasy Flight Games on their Warhammer 40,000 roleplay line.
  • Converging-Stream Weapon: The narrative trailer shows what looks like three Blackstone Fortresses combining their attacks for an apparent class X2 Apocalypse in a manner very similar to either the Death Star or Species 8472.
  • Critical Hit: When your ship gets hit with one it will destroy a weapons battery, subsystem, set your ship on fire (including multiple fires), or cause a hull breach which inflicts extra damage. There's an upgrade that lets you ignore the first one in an engagement, but only the first. A patch allowed for 'temporary' criticals (typically caused by lightning strikes or assault boats), which can be repaired with the Emergency Repairs order, and 'permanent' criticals, which are with you until the end of the match.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In Skirmish, Multiplayer, and non-Ironman setting Campaign modes, death is fairly minor. Destroyed Line ships (non-escorts) take a few "Turns" (battles in Skirmish/Multiplayer) to be rebuilt. However, once repaired the ship comes back with all of its levels, upgrades skills, favors, and crew training as they were. And the repair time can be bought off with Renown as "Priority Repairs". The only major penalty involved, is that for one battle, the crew fight as though they have no point investment.
    • Averted with Ironman Mode. Ship destroyed? While replacing the ship it self is "Free", it loses all levels and upgrades, having to be earned and repurchased again
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Eldar's Starcannons. They do very little damage, and their base critical hit rating is terrible. However, the guns fire extremely fast compared to other fleets macro batteries, and from the light cruisers on up pack at least 6 to a ship. End result, they shred through both shields and hull with ease.
  • Deflector Shields: Void shields protect ships by absorbing much of the damage. Armor only comes into play if the shields are down or against attacks that bypass shields.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: Players are capable of adding special equipment to expand their available skills. As they level up or purchase faction favors, they can also add upgrades to the ship that improve it's stats, such as improving particular weapon type's range, or increase their shields or hull.
    • Orks, rather than having ship classes with specific designs, instead let the player pick specific kinds of weapons and mix-and-match their ship's loadout when adding it to their fleet based on one general hull.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • Abaddon's flagship, the unsubtly named Planet Killer, is capable of destroying an entire planet with its main weapon. Likewise, a single Activated Blackstone Fortress is capable of this (though it doesn't often come up in the campaign), while three combining fire can detonate a star.
    • To indicate how desperate the situation will become in the Gothic Sector during the warp storm and Abaddon's Black Crusade, The Inquisition will destroy planets that remain under enemy control for too long.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Missiles fired from Chaos ships are accompanied by wails and screams of decidedly disturbing nature.
  • Here There Be Dragons: The opening cinematic starts with a shot of a star map featuring illustrations of numerous space monsters between the various star systems and sectors, including a serpent, a kraken-like beast, and a monstrous leviathan. Considering what kind of universe 40k is, these are likely realistic depictions of very real dangers in those areas of space.
  • Hero Unit: Space Marine favors work differently from everyone else as you can only assign one of each favor to your entire fleet, being that each favor corresponds to a specific ranking member of the chapter. As such, you can have your ship with the likes of Varro Tigurius, Astorath the Grim or Supreme Grand Master Azrael at the head.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The climax of the Gothic War. When Abaddon fires three of his Blackstone Fortresses at the primary star of the Schindelgheist system, Battlefleet Gothic is too far away from them to put a stop to it. Only one ship, the ship of Captain Abridal, is close enough, and he doesn't have near the firepower to destroy one of the Fortresses, let alone all three. What does Abridal do? Power his ship into the convergence of the beams and cause a critical backlash that renders the Fortresses inoperable, all while he screams his devotion to the Emperor and mankind.
    Captain Abridal: "My ship is closest to the Blackstone Fortresses. All power to the void shields! I will attempt to put an end to this madness. By my faith, may the light of the Emperor spread to the farthest star. By my duty, the galaxy will belong to the righteous! By my actions, the Imperial Navy will be honoured, and remembered upon Holy Terra! For the Emperor of mankind, and for the Battlefleet Gothic!"
  • Homing Projectile: Eldar Starcannons fire bolts of plasma that will turn and track their targets like Covenant plasma torpedoes.
    • One of the Tau's gimmicks is their use of guided missiles rather than conventional torpedoes, which behave in this manner. Unfortunately, because they require a target to fire, they can't be used for blind bombardment like their counterparts, but they are quite useful up close.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Whilst Abaddon the Despoiler is the main Big Bad, being directly responsible for the game's main conflict, the Deceiver orchestrated the entire war for the sole purpose of destroying the Blackstone Fortresses, which are in fact ancient weapons built by the Eldar gods against the C'tan.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Facing the Space Marines as the Eldar, especially at low levels, is incredibly difficult, as the Astartes two primary talents (heavy armor and boarding actions) are hard counters to yours (starcannons and holofields). To explain, Starcannons run on Death of a Thousand Cuts, being high volume, low damage cannons, which run into a problem when faced with ships that have the heaviest possible armor in the game in all facings. Additionally, holofields do not go down like normal shields, so Eldar ships are technically always unshielded, which means Lightning Strikes can be conducted against them at any time. And, since not only do Eldar have rather low Troop scores to begin with, but Space Marines have the highest Troop scores for their size in the game, your ships will spend most of the battle on fire and desperately hoping their attempts to warp out won't get cancelled by yet another boarding action.
  • More Dakka:
    • The Imperial Navy make very extensive use of large broadsides of Macro Gun Batteries and Turrets. Most aren't extremely long range, and their accuracy further out leaves a lot to be desired. Up close however, their better rate of fire, critical chance, and large amounts of equipment and skill synergy however can shred enemy ships apart.
    • The Ork Pirate "Freebooterz" also get in on this, as is the normal for them. Unlike the Imperial Navy though, they prefer mounting their guns in the prow of their ships to give them something to do before they push the Big Red Button for Ramming Speed.
    • As ranged combat is very much their hat, the Tau ships exhibit this, with most of their weapons facing forward.
  • Plasma Cannon: The aforementioned starcannons, as well as Imperial plasma macro-batteries. The latter differ from conventional batteries in their greater range, lower raw damage, and greater chance of landing a Critical Hit.
  • Player Headquarters: Port Maw, the sector capital and headquarters of Battlefleet Gothic, in the campaign.
  • Ramming Always Works: Most ships have prows attached that can be used to ram enemy ships. This can be an extremely effective tactic if used by a large ship against a ship of a smaller class. Between their thick front armour (and thin rear armour) and high speed in a straight line, Ork ships are practically made for this.
    • Imperial ships are no slouches either, also having thick front armour on all but one ship, and the ships that don't have Nova Cannons have large spikes in the front designed for punching holes in enemy ships. The Imperial Navy even as an upgrade, the Power Ram, specifically designed to make ramming more dangerous (not that it particularly needs to be).
    • Chaos vessels can perform passable ramming manoeuvres in a pinch, but you will have few opportunities to use the ships in that way as they are long range lance sniper specialists. Despite what their high armour stats and blocky appearances would suggest, Space Marine vessels are poorly suited for ramming because of their relatively low HP, unless the unfortunate target ship happens to be several weight classes smaller than the ship performing the ram.
    • Between their flimsy armour and slow speed, Tau vessels are very poorly suited for ramming actions. However even they can expect to come off better than an Eldar ship attempting a ram - all Eldar ships have the "Fragile" trait which greatly reduces ramming damage, and they have the armour and HP of wet tissue.
  • Roboteching:
    • Chaos missile pods - such as those found on their escorts - fire straight upwards, before the projectiles sharply correct their course to seek their current target. They also make a daemonic shriek as they launch.
    • Tau Gravitic Launcher torpedoes will begin pursuing their target after flying a short distance forward. They aren't quite as nimble as you might expect them to be, but they're still much harder to evade than ordinary torpedoes, for obvious reasons.
  • Run or Die: During the prologue, after the player dispatches two chaos escort ships, a vast chaos fleet appears. The only options the player has is to either be suicidal and face the chaos fleet or escape through emergency warp travel.
    • Many standard missions are this, including Data Recovery (keep/steal data from the enemy fleet and warp out with it) and Assassination (destroy enemy ship before it warps/keep your ship alive until it warps). Convoy missions are the most notable example, since the transports are lightly armed and armored, and not all that fast, so your best bet is to haul ass to the other end of the map using All Ahead Full as often as possible, while your fighting ships do their best to keep the enemy busy until the transports are away.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Ships that take too much damage may attempt to make an unauthorized retreat. The player can choose whether or not to execute the insubordinate captain or allow him to retreat.
  • Serial Escalation: The second game ones up the its predecessor by increasing the amount of ships that can be fielded on one battlefield, also giving the players the ability to command some of the most famous of those ships in the lore, and make the stakes even bigger than ever by throwing even more races and factions in the mess that is the Segmentum Obscurus.
  • The Shadow Knows: Look at the witch's shadow in the opening cinematic. Looks like someone is living up to their name. It's the C'tan being known as "The Deceiver".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Space Clouds: Gas clouds in the game are both small enough to fit more than comfortably inside orbital battlefields and thick enough for spaceships hiding in them to be completely obscured from sight.
  • Space Pirates: Eldar Corsairs are the more realistic kind, being essentially privateers in spaceships who violently take things from other species for the benefit of their own. Ork Freeboterz are the kind that's pretty much the stereotypical Caribbean pirate IN SPACE!, down to classic pirate clothing and space shanties.
  • Story Branching: While the campaign remains true to the source on how the Gothic War went, some of the player's decisions can change how the story will go. (eg. one or both the Hand of Darkness and the Eye of Night can be prevented from falling into Abbadon's hands, when in canon he was able to get both devices, the Eldar can either succeed or fail to protect their webway gate, and the Imperial Navy can form an alliance with the Eldar Corsairs as in canon or wipe them out completely.)
  • Title Drop: You belong to the Battlefleet of the Gothic Sector, so "Battlefleet Gothic" is name-dropped an inordinate number of times throughout the campaign.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Narrative Trailer ends up revealing that Battlefleet Gothic allies itself with the Eldar. Downplayed both by already being known to have happened in the canon and by turning out to be a choice in Story Branching.
  • Veteran Unit: The more the ships under your command survive battles, the more their skill levels increase, and can gain new abilities.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Abbadon's Planet Killer has one, designed for blowing up planets, but does a handy insta-kill against any and all ships in the beams firing path. The one Blackstone Fortress you fight in the campaign ironically has a much less impressive, but still dangerous, weapon.
    • Although, this is because those are its defensive weapons, its true main weapon is even more powerful than that of the Planet Killer, but take a longer time to change and is thus too unwieldy to be used against targets smaller than planets (or stars when combined with those of other Fortresses).
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Micro Warp Jump allows a ship to jump elsewhere in their detection range, allowing them to appear right on top of an enemy. This can be combined with Ramming Always Works to destroy a smaller enemy ship by warping in on its course. Additionally the "Lightning Strike" command for all non-escort class ships teleports a boarding party to an unshielded enemy ship to attempt to sabotage themnote 
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Your captains have a chance of becoming insubordinate, choosing to activate the emergency warp jump on their own every time an allied ship is destroyed or if their ship's remaining hull drops below 30%.. You can chose to prevent this by executing your captain, though. This comes at the cost of giving the "mutiny" debuff though, reducing skill effectiveness on the ship. Each race has a means to help "encourage" your ships captains to not become insubordinate, reducing the chance of it occurring, such as commissars (Imperial), demonic influence (Chaos), or the mysterious Harlequins who worship Cegorach the Laughing god to enforce one of his mysterious plans (Eldar). Orks can't do this by default, but can get a ship upgrade that add cages filled with very angry squigs that are placed behind the ship's Kaptain, and released at the command of the Ork fleet's admiral.
    • For the expansions, the Tau get Ethereals to keep the crew in check while the Space Marines have their "And They Shall Know No Fear" rule that renders them immune to normal insubordination conditions.
    • In the campaign, worlds across the Gothic Sector have a chance to become seditious, resulting in battles against other Imperial Navy fleets. Even when aliens and heretics are tearing the sector apart (or perhaps because of it), local demagogues and governors seem to think that the 12th Black Crusade is the perfect time to declare independence from the Imperium.

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