Explorer Class Starship
Sorry for the delay in this post, things were a little bit crazy here for a time (floods and power cuts) but everything is back to normal and the posting can continue.
This post is to show off my Explorer class ships, the only battleship sized vessel in the fleet. The last post was on the only cruiser sized vessel, the Hero class, that appears in the fleet (yes, there is also the Merchant class, but that appears elsewhere!) so it sort of made sense to keep up the increase in size.
The Explorer is the backbone of the Tau Merchant fleet and is pretty critical to just about any strategy you can get going with them. However it is also the place where the “merchant” vibe of the fleet really makes itself known with substandard armour and weaponary coming to the fore.
The Explorer, like the Hero, comes in two differing configurations (GW sneakily giving players more options while only have to produce one model :O ) which again only differ in armnament. Each has 12 DC, a 15cm move, and 45 degree turns. That is pretty normal (though slow) for a battleship class – remember it will only take a single blastmarker to stop your ship from turning.
So far, decent. However this is where the problems start to show: each ship only has a single shield(!), and has 5+ armour all round, except on the rear which is a 4+. That is pretty shocking – a battleship with only one shield is unprecedented, while 4+ rear armour is pretty much only confined to Orks! So the ship is big, but incredibly fragile, even more fragile than the cruiser class beneath it.
So as we can see from the stats the armnament is prety close on both configurations. The 45cm FP8 prow battery is decent, but nothing special, and the ability to take three Orcas is not super special (although Orcas are quite good). However, the 8 lanuch bays turn this ship into something quite good – 8 launch bays is a pretty fearsome amount, equivalent to an Imperial Emperor Class. Also, and this is important, each ship is only 230pts, that is less than an Overlord Battlecruiser, and and full 135pts cheaper than an Emperor Class!
The difference between the two configurations is actually pretty minimal, swapping out 4 launch bays for 8 torpedoes. In the context of the fleet, I think I would probably stick with the full 8 launch bays, especially with the torpedo spreads from the Hero class ships and escorts. While a volley of 8 guided torpedoes is nice, I think a wave of four Mantas is probably nicer!
My fleet has two of these big boys, who I plan on keep as safe as possible, probably hiding them behind the Hero class ships or terrain, while pumping out wave after wave of ordnance. They cannot tangle with opposing ships, so while they are a good addition to the fleet, it does place a heavier burden on the Hero ships to do th heavy lifting and take the brunt of the enemy fire. It is all a balancing act – can I put the enemy on the back foot enough with ordnance from the Explorers that my Hero’s won’t get blown to smithereens?
I hope everyone is enjoying this slightly more detailed look at the Tau merchant fleet, it has been a good exercise for me to put together and learn more about them too.
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