Showing posts with label spaceships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label spaceships. Show all posts

Friday, 18 September 2015

A Night of Flames and Thrust

We had two games on the go last night. Bryan and Ralph played a Flames of War games set during the 1967 Six-Day War, featuring Israeli Shermans taking on Egyptian T55s (see, Ralph, I read the scenario you posted).

The Egyptians based their position on a piece of cheese.

The inevitable: Ralph + Tanks = Burning Tanks

Although Bryan managed some as well.

However eventually all of Ralph's were on fire, having not troubled the objective markers they were after at all.

The rest of us played Full Thrust, with a New Anglian Confederation force taking on the Neu Swabian League. There were a few rocks floating around as well.

NSL ships.

My part of our force - it included the Essex, captained by Sean Connery.

We exchanged fire. A few of the NAC destroyers were taken out, but the NSL ships suffered too, as heavy fire from the beams and torpedoes of the NAC ships concentrated their fire. Captain Connery made a small navigational error, though, which found the Essex too close to a rock. At that point it took a bridge hit, and could no longer change course ...

Did I say I'd not played Full Thrust in a while. I forgot how to turn and completely failed to judge distances. A destroyer flew into another asteroid ...

... then I finished up by piling my other cruiser into the same asteroid on which the Essex had met its end.

With Geoff's ships destroyed by more conventional means, that was pretty much it for the NAC fleet. And it's back to starship driving-school for me.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Void and Stars - An Alternative Activation System

'Void and Stars' was a playtest game of starship combat which used a version of the 'Ganesha Games' 'Songs of Blades and Heroes' system. Development activity on it fizzled out a couple of years ago, but from time to time I give it some thought, wondering if there's still a viable game to be teased out of it. After all, this is the size of starship game I want - five to eight ships a side - but with a low level of bookkeeping and technical detail, and no pre-plotted moves.

One of the problems with it was the activation system. Whilst the idea of some of your figures not doing anything during a turn kind of works for individual beings in a skirmish setting, it didn't sit quite right to an environment where your playing pieces - spaceships - are in constant motion. The problem Void and Stars had was that an entire fleet could spend a lot of the game flying around in straight lines not shooting because of a few unlucky activation rolls. Add in terrain and you had ships flying headlong into planets because one of their fellows had a bad roll when activating.

The principle was sound, but a number of games showed that it didn't quite work so well in practice.

For a while I've been mulling over a variation in the activation system, which allows all ships to act in some form of controlled manner, whilst still rewarding those ships with quality - or luck. I'm certain there's holes in it a mile wide, and I haven't crafted the wording into something consistent and logical, but for what it's worth, here it is - untried and untested.

Alternative Void and Stars Activation System

Both sides roll for initiative. The highest roll decides who activates first. In the event of a tie, reroll.

The player with initiative chooses a ship that has not attempted to activate this turn, and may attempt to activate it with 1, 2 or 3 dice. Each successful roll against Quality gives an action. A ship automatically has one action, plus however many it rolls. However at least one action must be spent to move the ship (including a turn)

If a ship fails to activate with two or more dice, the initiative passes to the other player.

Otherwise the player with initiative chooses another ship to activate.

If a player has attempted to activate all of their ship, initiative automatically passes to the other player. They may attempt to activate each of their remaining ships one after the other, with 1,2, or 3 dice as normal. However if a ship fails to activate with 2 or more dice, then subsequent ships cannot activate with more than 2 dice. If a subsequent ship fails to activate with 2 dice, then all further ships may only attempt to activate with 1 dice.

Once every ship has attempted to activate, a new turn begins.

Indirect fire markers move twice during the turn, immediately after a player activates their final ship.

Example. The Red Player and the Blue Player each have three ships, Red One to Red Three against Blue One to Blue Three.

The players roll initiative and Red wins. He chooses to go first.

He activates Red One with 3 dice, but fails two activations. Red One gets two actions, one of which must be a move.

Because Red failed two or more activations, initiative passes to Blue.

Blue actives Blue One with two dice, and both rolls succeed. Blue One gets three actions – one compulsory move and two other actions. Blue can now attempt to activate another ship, and attempts to activate Blue Two with one dice. The roll fails, so Blue Two merely gets one action, which must be a move. However because it was only a single activation roll which failed, Blue keeps the initiative. Blue has one ship left; Blue Three. He activates it with three dice, because there is no reason not to.

Blue has now attempted to activate all of his ships, so all indirect fire markers move and resolve attacks. The initiative passes to Red. Red has already attempted to activate Red One, so just has Red Two and Red Three this turn. He attempts to activate Red Two with two dice, and fails with both of them, just getting the compulsory movement action. Red Three is the only ship that has yet to activate in this turn. But because on his previous activation Red failed with two or more rolls, Red Three cannot attempt to activate with more than two dice. Once Red Three has been activated the indirect fire markers move again, and then the turn ends.

I hope that makes some sense. Comments and criticism welcome.

The other major effort I think is needed is on the damage system which, whilst workable, needs a little streamlining in my view. But I'm not sure where to start on that.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Gothic Empire

A couple of years ago I scratchbuilt some spaceships in order to playtest a possible starship combat game based on the 'Songs of Blades and Heroes' engine. The game was fun, but there were still flaws in it when the developer seemed to stop work on it, so nothing more came of it. This was a shame, as it had about the right level of detail (not much) complexity (not much) and scale of game (small) that I wanted in a starship game, and had yet to find in any commercial rules up to that point.

Anyway, at he time I built three forces, whose adventures you can find documented elsewhere on this blog. However I built a fourth force that never saw action. I found it today whilst rummaging through boxes for something else, and thought they deserved a quick iPhone photoshoot. Say hello to the ships of - The Gothic Empire!

Here's the fleet deployed - one Battleship, two Cruisers, three Frigates and four Destroyers.

The Battleship Sombre Poetry of Dreams

The Cruisers Master of the Tortured Existence and Mistress of the Exquisite Solitude

The Frigates Stygian Purpose, Dark Enshrouded Desires and Fearful Symmetry

The Destroyers Shroud, Suffering, Seduction and Silence

A top down view of the vessels - the largest is a couple of inches long, the smallest about an inch. As with my other starships they are built from stacked layers of card, toothpicks, lentils and grains of rice.

I have to say that, having found these models I'm keen to give them a game of some sort, even if it means fixing the last published playtest version of the rules myself.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Full Thrust

We played 'Full Thrust' tonight. It's been a while for most of us, so we spent a while trying to remember how to play (as well as putting a couple of forces together).

We hurled two forces of ships against each other. We think that scenarios are probably a better way to play it; otherwise with two fleets it really just becomes an exercise in lining up and blazing away.

Anyway, here's a few pictures. Geoff and I took the NAC force. Peter, Caesar and John ran FSE ships masquerading as NSL vessels. There were a couple of Klingon models in there as well; John's quite attached to his Klingon ships. Oddly enough they've yet to actually appear in a game as Klingons.

Two NAC ships. A big one and a small one.

I think these are FSE or NAC models - newer designs. A couple of Klingons lurk behind. But in reality they were all statted as NSL ships.

A swirling melee of missiles, pulse torpedoes and laser death. The NAC came off worse, and ran away.

We're going to play Saga for the first time next week. I'm quite excited.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The Red Dog Rebellion

Scratchbuilt spaceships based on asteroids
The Red Dog Rebels
Left To Right: Fair Go, Eureka Stockade, Such Is Life,
Night Shifter and Ship With No Beer
Once again I have been playtesting 'Void and Stars'. I have tried a couple of odd, short games over the weekend, mostly to try out mechanisms and concepts, but this afternoon I played a full 750pt game. I used the recently released v1.4 playtest version of the rules.

The games was played on a 2' x 2' area, using half-sized measuring sticks. the ships were all scratchbuilt from card, lentils and cork tile. You will also notice that I have acquired, on loan it has to be said, a suitable gaming cloth. Space is no longer a sandy brown in this house.


With the cost of the conflict with the LLAR escalating, the Oceanic Union looked to its citizens for further funding. A tax on revenues from the lucrative asteroid mining operations on the western rim of the Oceanic Union proved too much however. The miners of the Red Dog System rebelled, and declared independence from the Union. A flotilla from the OUDF was sent to bring them back into line.

But the miners were resourceful. Living on the fringes of the Union had taught them to look to their own defence, and when the OUDF ships arrived they found that the miners had an unusual flotilla of their own ...

The Fleets
The OUDF were equipped with two Town Class cruisers (Mittagong and Emu Plains) and three Island Class Destroyers (Pukapuka, Savai'i and Norfolk). The stats for the cruisers can be seen here. The destroyers are as follows:

Island Class Destroyer - Escort, CV: 3, Range: S, Speed: M, Hardened Armour,Point Defence Support: S, Point Defence, Escort Support
Systems Cost: 24 Actual Cost 96

All ships were Quality 3
The Red Dog Miners' fleet was cobbled together from whatever ships they had available, plus their other main resource - asteroids. Their force consisted of two hollowed-out rocks, with engines and weapons systems installed, plus three converted mining support vessels operating as a carrier, a gunship and a missile launcher.

Asteroid 'Eureka Stockade' - Capital, CV: 6, Range: M, Speed: S, Indirect: 5, Shield Generator, Hardened Armour, Fighter Bays: 4, Capacity Battery, Repair Drones, Leviathan
System Cost: 85, Actual Cost: 255

Asteroid 'Such Is Life' - Capital, CV: 5, Range: M, Speed: S, Indirect: 5, Shield Generator, Hardened Armour, Heavy Ion Cannon, Leviathan
System Cost 65, Actual Cost: 195

Support Vessel 'Fair Go' - Escort, CV: 4, Range: S, Speed: M, Light Fighter Hangar: 3, Hardened Armour, Rapid Fire Escort Support, Escort Support
System Cost 33, Actual Cost 99

Support Vessel 'Night Shifter' - Escort, CV: 4, Range: M, Speed: M, Repeater Weapon, Hardened Armour, Escort Support
System Cost 33, Actual Cost 99

Support Vessel 'Ship With No Beer' - Escort, CV: 4, Range: S, Speed: M, Indirect: 2, External Ordinance: 1, Hardened Armour
System Cost 33, Actual Cost 99

All ships were Quality 4
Left to Right: Eureka Stockade, Such Is Life and Night Shifter

The Eureka Stockade - a hollowed-out asteroid converted to a warship.
The white counter shows that it has active shields.
The Battle

The Miners defended and, by a stroke of fortune, rolled three asteroid fields as the terrain. The scenario was a straight stand-up fight.

The OUDF advanced quickly, pushing the destroyers Norfolk and Pukapuka around an asteroid field to try and flank the miners' ships. meanwhile the miners advanced slowly, limited by the Leviathan special on their capitals. They concentrated on the third OUDF destroyer, the Savai'i, launching missiles and fighters at it, and hitting it with a slow, steady barrage of direct fire. It didn't last long, and before the fleets had really got to grips was blown up by a shot from the Such Is Life. The Miner's fighters switched to the other destroyers.

The early part of the game belonged to the Miners. Some bad activations by the OUDF meant that they inflicted very little damage as they moved across the board.

The advance
The Savai'i has already been destroyed, and missiles and fighters are closing on the Pukapuka to the left of the picture
The Miners switched their attention to the Pukapuka, and that was so badly damaged that it warped to safety. The OUDF were already two ships down, and fighters were now closing on the Norfolk. The Miners had still suffered no significant damage. However as it moved into the rear of the Miner's flotilla the Norfolk fended of a several waves of fighter attacks, and emerged relatively unscathed.

At this point the fleets had closed right up, and were exchanging fire at close range. Activation failures on the part of the Miners meant that their fire was weak, whilst the two OUDF cruisers started to damage the Ship With No Beer. The initiative remained with the OUDF as the flotillas passed each other, and the Mittagong and Emu Plains swung round into the rear of the Eureka Stockade and started to pound it with a deadly fire. Within a couple of turns it was so badly damaged that it had to test morale, and it quickly fled. 

The Eureka Stockade comes under a deadly fire
from the OUDF cruisers Mittagong and Emu Plains
Ignoring the Such Is Life, the cruisers switched their attentions to the Fair Go, destroying it in a volley of fire. The Norfolk duelled with the Ship With No Beer, badly damaging it, leaving it easy meat for the Emu Plains to finish off. However the Night Shifter put in some accurate shots on the Norfolk, forcing it to flee the battle.

Both fleets now had to test morale. The OUDF passed with little problem, as did the Such Is Life, but the Night Shifter decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and fled.

It was now the two cruisers against the Such Is Life. after a round of fire it was obvious the asteroid stood no chance against he well-drilled OUDF crews, and the Miners conceded the game.

The Such Is Life discovers that ... such is life
The Miners had lost the Fair Go and the Ship With No Beer destroyed, whilst the Night Shifter and the mighty Eureka Stockade had fled. The OUDF lost the Savai'i, with the Norfolk and Pukapuka fleeing.


This was a fairly close fight. I thought that the Miners would be let down by their low Quality, but a conservative use of activation dice, limiting most ships to one roll in the early part of the turn, allowed them to keep up a steady fire on the approaching OUDF ships. The OUDF trusted to their superior quality early on, needing to out-manoeuvre the Miners, but failed a couple of activations. A Quality 4 force can survive without a Fleet Command Centre so long as its ships aren't designed such that they require multiple actions; low quality fleets require simple, no-nonsense designs, possibly with decent passive defences in order to survive those turns when activations mostly fail. Once the action hotted up the Quality 3 of the OUDF allowed them to move faster and more often, running rings around the Leviathans.

The new firing modifiers made direct fire more deadly and decisive, which was good. This was despite all ships having Hardened Armour. This was the first game I've played with reasonable numbers of fighters, and they seemed to work well; not as instantly deadly as missiles, but a sustained annoyance.

There did seem to be a small flaw with the morale rules - a force has to test morale when it has lost 50% of its ships. Escorts are easier to take out than capital ships, so the game developed into a fight to eliminate enemy escorts, forcing the capitals to test morale. I wonder if a force's morale value should be calculated based on 2pts for a capital and 1pt for an escort, with 50% of that total forcing a test. That way, for example, neither force in this game would have tested morale if all of its escorts had been lost; you would have to eliminate a capital ship.

Top Terrain Tip: I use areas of felt to mark asteroid fields. A field has a strength of 4-6, so I put the appropriate number of rock on each felt shape to show he strength in-game. So a Strength 5 field will have five rocks on it. I just need a way to show pulsar strength now.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Void And Stars - The Rematch

With fewer jobs to do on Sunday than I anticipated, and an early start in order that Mrs Kobold could visit the local market, I found myself with time to devote to Void and Stars. I decided to rejig the starship designs I used in the previous game, adjusting them to make them faster with better ranges and CV on the hope it would produce a more decisive game.

The new stats follow. I have listed two costs, System Cost and Actual Cost. The first is the cost of the CV plus specials, whilst the second takes into account the multiplier for Quality. I have decided to base the break-point for capital ship/escort on the System Cost, with anything over 40 being a capital ship. Thus a high-quality escort might cost more than 150pts (there's a phrase I never thought I'd write), whilst a low-quality capital ship may be less then 150pts.

OUDF - All ships Quality 3

Town Class Cruiser - Capital Ship, CV: 5, Range: M, Speed: M, Hardened Armour, Full Spectrum Sensors, Damage Control, Point Defence, Shield Generator
System Cost: 55 Actual Cost: 220

Opal Class Frigate - Escort, CV: 4, Range: M, Speed: M, Hardened Armour, Full Spectrum Sensors, Point Defence, Escort Support
Systems Cost: 36 Actual Cost 144

Explorer Class Carrier - Escort, CV: 3 Range: S Speed: M Hardened Armour, Light Fighter Hangar: 2 Point defence, Point Defence Support: M, Escort Support
System Cost: 30 Actual Cost 120

LLAR - All ships Quality 4

Port Class Cruiser - Capital Ship, CV: 5 Range: L, Speed: M, Indirect: 4, Assault Doctrine, Shields, Fleet Control Centre, External Ordinance: 4
System Cost: 70 Actual Cost: 210

Tiburon Class Missile Frigate - Escort, CV: 4, Range: M, Speed: L, Indirect: 3, Escort Support
System Cost: 38 Actual Cost: 114

Conquistador Class Gun Frigate - Escort, CV: 4, Range: L, Speed: L, Spinal Mount, Escort Support
System Cost: 34 Actual Cost: 102

Essentially I raised all CV values, and increased weapon ranges on some ships to allow for decisive fire at longer distances. The OUDF ships are still tough, but the LLAR have better factors for dealing with it. Higher speeds mean more chance for rear shots.

And then I played a game ...

You'll be pleased to know that I didn't record it in the same detail as the last one. It lasted longer because both sides had rotten luck in terms of activation, failing the easiest of rolls. It ended in a decisive result though.

Because of the changed points values the two sides were uneven in terms of numbers, with the LLAR having six ships and the OUDF only five.

The LLAR force was, once again, the cruiser Montevideo, the gun-frigates Pizarro and Orellana and the missile frigates Estrella, Tiburon and Raya. A total of 756pts.

The OUDF had the cruise Mittagong, the escort carrier Flinders and the frigates Opal, Sapphire and Diamond. A total of 772pts.

The OUDF defended and rolled a strength 4 asteroid field, a nebula and a dust cloud. The asteroids went in the centre, the dust cloud to the N and the nebula to the NE. The LLAR deployed to the S whilst the OUDF deployed to the N.

Once again the LLAR plan was to pump missiles at the Mittagong, whilst sending the gun-frigates after the OUDF frigates. The OUDF covered the Mittagong with the Flinders, and sent the frigates on a flanking move.

The LLAR move first in each turn.

Turn 1

The LLAR launched missiles at the Mittagong and fired at the Flinders until the Montevideo failed to activate.

On the OUDF turn the Flinders launched fighters on a CAP mission to cover the Mittagong, before the Mittagong failed its activation and ended the turn.

Turn 2

The Montevideo launched missiles, then the Estrella ended the turn.

The OUDF  frigates moved past the nebula, firing ineffectively at the Orellana as they did so. One of them caused a turnover.

Turn 3

The LLAR launched more missiles until the Montevideo ended the activation. the gun-frigates had not yet acted.

The Mittagong fired at the Estrella causing a weapon damage, whilst the Flinders used escort support to eliminate a missile marker. The Diamond caused a turnover.

In the turnover phase missiles hit the Mittagong, but its armour handled the damage.

This was pretty much the position at this stage:

Turn 4

In a change of plan the Montevideo and its supports closed up rapidly on the Flinders and hit it with direct fire and missiles, causing both systems and weapon damage. Once again the other ships failed to activate.

The Mittagong shrugged off more missiles.

In the OUDF turn the Flinders came good, repairing all damage, then launching a new CAP patrol to protect the Mittagong. The Mittagong returned the favour by failing to activate and ending the turn, but not before it had damaged the Estrella.

Turn 5

The LLAR switched attention to the gun-frigates, and the Pizarro inflicted a system damage on the Opal. Then the Orellena failed its roll.

The OUDF had it worse. Their first ship failed to activate on two dice and caused a turnover.

Turn 6

The LLAR failed to activate their first ship, and the two forces passed  each other with barely a shot exchanged.

The OUDF exploited this, with the frigates swinging around into the rear of the LLAR gun frigates, destroying the Pizarro's weapons. On the other side of the table the Flinders and the Mittagong took down the Montevideo's screens.

Turn 7

Things were hotting up now. The LLAR gun frigates also came about and the Pizarro blasted the rear of the Flinders, damaging its weapons. The Montevideo added to this, adding a weapons destroyed to the tally. Were it not for the armour the Flinders would have been destroyed.

The Mittagong now engaged the Pizarro with full spectrum sensor enhanced  overload shot, causing a weapons critical. The Diamond caused a systems destroyed on the Pizarro, but caused a turnover.

The Flinders In Big Trouble

Turn 8

The LLAR got a good set of activations this turn. The Orellana and Raya engaged the Sapphire, but inflicted no damage, whilst the Tiburon and Estrella damaged the Diamond's weapons with a volley of direct fire and missiles. Finally, aided by the fleet command centre on the Montevideo, the damaged Pizarro managed a series of rear-shots on the Flinders which destroyed it. First blood to the LLAR.

This was now the situation:

The OUDF lost no time in taking revenge. Fire from the Mittagong and the Diamond stacked up hits on the Pizarro, caused a crew panic and the Pizarro engaged its warp drive and fled. the Sapphire then failed to activate an the turn ended.

Turn 9

The LLAR frigates engaged the Diamond and Opal with direct fire and missiles to no effect, before the Montevideo ended the activation.

The OUDF had a better turn. The Sapphire moved in behind the Orellana and destroyed it, and the Opal damage the Raya before the turn ended.

Turn 10

In danger of going off the table the Montevideo slowly turned back into the fight. The Estrella and Tiburon used missiles and direct fire to plaster the Diamond, leaving it with a systems destroyed and weapons damaged.

In the OUDF turn they managed a systems destroyed on the Tiburon, before the Opal once again failed to activate.

Turn 11

The Estrella and Raya continued to persecute the Diamond, putting it in weapons destroyed with a crew panic as well. It passed its morale, but was in a bad way.

In the OUDF turn the Opal failed the fleet again, but not before inflicting weapon damage on the Raya.

Turn 12

The Estrella finished off the Diamond. But that was it for the turn.

Once again the Opal threw away the OUDF turn.

Turn 13

The Raya showed that it could emulate the Opal, and threw away the LLAR turn.

The OUDF engaged the Montevideo with the Mittagong and the Sapphire, using overload fire and full spectrum sensors, and left it with its weapons damaged and systems destroyed. It hadn't had chance to raise its shields since they were taken down on Turn 6. Meanwhile the Opal destroyed the Raya's weapons. Things were starting to look bad for the LLAR.

Turn 14

The Raya and Estrella launched missiles at the Sapphire, causing weapons damage. And that was it.

In the OUDF turn the Mittagong caused a turnover, but still managed to add a systems destroyed to the Montevideo's woes.

Turn 15

This happened:

The LLAR launched everything it had at the Sapphire, overloading it with direct fire and missiles. It didn't stand a chance and vanished in a massive explosion. The OUDF had now lost over half of their ships, but the morale test only caused a systems damage on the Mittagong.

The Opal and Mittagong concentrated their fire on the Montevideo; the Opal's shot caused a weapon critical, giving the Mittagong the opening it needed to destroy the enemy capital ship. 

Bye Bye, Montevideo
The LLAR morale tests went less well than those for the OUDF - the Estrella and Tiburon fled, leaving the Raya alone on the field. At that point I ended the game.

The losses were as follows:

The LLAR lost the Montevideo and Orellana destroyed and the Estrella, Tiburon and Pizarro fled.

The OUDF lost three ships destroyed; the Diamond, Sapphire and Flinders. Despite this the victory was really theirs as the Raya was in no state to take on both the Opal and Mittagong alone.


This was a much more decisive game than the last, with the changed ship designs making a lot of difference, as well as being easier to run. Faster speeds meant that rear shots were easier to get, and they seem to be the key to destroying an enemy; getting behind a ship and unloading every weapon you have is very effective. The problem is not leaving yourself vulnerable to return fire.

The rapid turnovers were frustrating, and it looks like a force needs either a good innate Quality, or such things as the fleet command centre to avoid being inactive. Since ships that don't act still move in a straight line, there is a danger that with a run of bad luck your fast ships will fly off the table and count as lost. I reckon a force needs to have, or simulate, a Quality of 3 or better to stand a reasonable chance, although a fight between two low-quality forces might be interesting. Or amusing.

The hardened armour still proved useful, but was not as frustratingly useful as it was in the last game. The OUDF's direct fire linked with full spectrum sensors is a great weapon, but I also have a soft spot for the LLAR's spinal mount gun-frigates. When it activated the Montevideo's assault doctrine was effective too; this could be nasty if combined with a spinal mount, although I don't know if a capital ship can have two doctrines. The current version of the rules doesn't forbid it ...

The game generated no major questions. I tried the the alternative escort support rule (your CV + die roll against full strength of missiles/fighter) but not enough to form an opinion as to whether it's better than the 'published' version.

Overall, a much more satisfying game in terms of result and ease of play.

Edit: I realise after reading the rules again that in both games I made a mistake with direct fire in that I gave the firing ship a +1 for overload, rather than it putting the target on a -1. Obviously this makes a difference in how decisive damage is. OUDF ships are better off skipping overload if they can use their full spectrum sensors, though, as the sensors give both a +1 to the firer and a -1 to the target; a nasty combination.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Void And Stars - The Game

The Diamond Goes It Alone
Having designed and built the starships I needed for my first Void and Stars game, I was ready to play. Here is the report.

I played solo, 700pts, six vessels a side. The vessels were as described in previous posts. I used a 2' x 2' board, with a ruler cut to half the length listed in the rules. I don't have a black cloth, so just went with the sand-brown one that was already on the table. It made for easier photos, of course.

I didn't have the ships on bases so didn't use the measurement conventions for them as listed in the book Each model had a designated point on it, to and from which all movement distances and ranges were measured. This point marked the actual location of the ship; the rest of the model was irrelevant.

On to the actual game. The report is long. Very long. If you just want my views on the game, scroll down to the section headed 'Thoughts'.

The League of Latin American Republics (LLAR) defended. I rolled on the terrain table and got a nebula, a dust cloud and a strength 1 pulsar. The pulsar was placed in the SE corner, the dust cloud to the E and the nebula to the NW. The Oceanic Union Defence Force (OUDF) chose the W edge. The LLAR deployed to the E, well away from the pulsar.

LLAR Deployed

OUDF Deployed

My long-shot of the setup ended up blurred. Sorry

In the following write-up I will list each ship in terms of how many dice I rolled to activate, followed by how many actions it got. So 3D/2A means 3 dice were rolled, for 2 actions.

The OUDF planned to cover the Mittagong with the two carriers, Leichhart and Flinder, whilst the three frigates Diamond, Sapphire and Opal would push through the nebula and attack the enemy ships, the idea being that the nebula would cover them until they could bring their short-range weapons to bear.

The LLAR planned to use the two gun frigates to attack the Mittagong and the carriers along with a series of missile volleys from the other ships. The aim was to take the Mittagong out of the fight as fast as possible.

In the report I will skip mention of compulsory moves unless they had a significant effect. In essence every ship makes at least one move per turn unless it chooses to come to a stop. No ship did in this game.

Ships are listed in the order they activated.

Turn 1 - OUDF

Flinders - 2D/1A - Launched fighters on a CAP mission around the Mittagong
Leichhardt - 2D/2A - Fired on overload at the Estrella. And missed.
Opal - 2D/1A - Moved
Sapphire - 2D/2A - Moved twice
Diamond - 2D/2A - Moved twice
Mittagong 3D/3A - One move, then a sensor scan on the Estrella followed by direct fire. Which missed.

At the end of the turn the frigates were entering the nebula. In the turnover the Flinders' fighters moved into position around the Mittagong.

Turn 1 - LLAR

Raya - 1D/1A - Launched missiles at the Mittagong.
Tiburon - 1D/0A - Nothing
Estrella - 2D/2A - Launched missiles at the Mittagong, followed by its external ordinance.
Pizzaro - 2D/2A - One move, followed by a shot at the Leichhart, causing a system damaged.
Orellana - 2D/2A - One move followed by a shot at the Leichhardt, which would have damaged it had the carrier's armour not protected it. The armour on the OUDF ships stopped many damaging hits through the game.
Montevideo - 3D/1A - Launched missiles at the Mittagong.

The LLAR ships benefited from the fleet control centre on the Montevideo, although this doesn't help the Montevideo itself.

In the turnover the missiles homed in on their target.

This was the position at the end of the first turn:

Turn 2 - OUDF

Diamond - 3D/2A - One move, followed by a shot at the Raya which missed.
Sapphire - 3D/3A - One move, followed by a full sensor scan of the Tiburon and an enhanced shot, which missed. The sensor scan followed by a shot was a standard attack of the OUDF, so I will list it as a FSS shot from now on. It takes two actions.
Opal - 3D/1A - It moved, and that was the end of the activation.

The Mittagong and the carriers could afford to hold off until the frigates were in a better position, so I activated the frigates first.

In the turnover  the missiles continued to home in on the Mittagong.

Turn 2 - LLAR

Montevideo - 2D/1A - Fired more missiles at the Mittagong.
Raya - 2D/2A - Fired missiles at the Mittagong, then took a direct shot at the Opal which was stopped by the armour.
Tiburon - 2D/1A - More missiles for the Mittagong.
Estrella - 2D/1A - Missiles. Guess the target.
Pizzaro - 3D/0A - End of the activation.

There were a lot of missiles aimed at the Mittagong now.

This was the position at the end of the second turn:

Turn 3 - OUDF

Flinders - 3D/2A - The Flinders couldn't get close enough to the incoming missiles to use escort support, so it took an overloaded direct shot at the Orellana which missed.
Leichhardt - 2D/1A - Launched fighters on a CAP mission to protect the Mittagong.
Mittagong - 3D/2AP - FSS shot at the Orellana causing a weapons destroyed.
Diamond - 3D/3A - One move out of the nebula, then a FSS shot at the Tiburon, which missed.
Opal - 3D/1A - A shot at the Tiburon, which missed. End of the activation.

The carriers and the Mittagong were preparing for the first wave of missiles, so activated first. In the turnover the first two hit the Mittagong, but it was protected by two fighter patrols, its own point defence and the point defence support of the carriers. They didn't even get close.

Two missiles target the Mittagong, whilst two more close in. All four missed.
The white counter shows that the Mittagong has raised shields.
Turn 3 - LLAR

Pizarro - 3D/3A - A move followed by an overload shot at the Leichhardt. Once again the OUDF armour saved the day, converting a systems destroyed to a systems damaged.
Orellana - 3D/2A - An overload shot at the Leichhardt, which missed.
Raya - 3D/1A - Fired missiles at the Diamond. End of the activation.

The gun-frigates concentrated fire on the Leichhardt, whilst the other ships planned on picking off the Diamond with missiles. The latter failed through a failure to activate the first ship to try.

In the turnover phase two lots of missiles hit the Mittagong, for no effect, although it used up the last of the CAP fighter missions. A missile hit the Diamond, and also caused no damage.

This was the position at the end of Turn 3:

Turn 4 - OUDF

Diamond - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Tiburon, which missed.
Sapphire - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Tiburon causing weapon damage.
Opal - 3D/3A - An overloaded FSS shot at the Tiburon - systems destroyed
Flinders - 3D/3A - Now close to a volley of missiles it attempted escort support. Three shots, three misses.
Mittagong - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Pizarro, which missed.
Leichhardt - 3D/2A - First it repaired the weapons hit, then launched fighters on an attack mission.

In the turnover another missile hit the Mittagong. It would have caused damage, but the armour stopped it. There's no getting away from the fact that hardened armour is a useful special to have.

Turn 4 - LLAR

Raya - 2D/2A - Fired a point defence disrupter at the Diamond, which missed, then launched missiles at it.
Estrella - 2D/1A - Fired missiles at the Diamond.
Tiburon - 3D/2A - Repaired its weapons, then fired missiles at the Diamond.
Montevideo - 3D/3A - Fired on overload at the Sapphire. With its assault special this gave it a good factor, and it caused a weapons destroyed. It then launched missiles at the Diamond.
Pizzaro - 2D/1A - A shot at the Leichhardt, which missed.
Orellana - 3D/1A - A shot at the Flinders, damaging its weapons.

A lot happened in the turnover.

Fighters attacked the Orellana but had no effect. A missile hit the Sapphire, causing weapon damage; armour prevented a weapons destroyed. Three missiles targetted the Diamond, one of which was from the rear. Two weapon damaged hits became a single weapons destroyed. The third missile also caused a weapons destroyed, putting the Diamond onto weapons critical. This left it in a rather odd position; the Diamond has a CV of 2. Two weapons hits would cause a -2, putting it on a CV of 0. But weapons critical has the effect of halving the CV, which puts the Diamond back up to 1. This is only an issue with a CV of 2, but it is an oddity.

Here are the missiles targeting the OUDF frigates:

At the end of turn four this was the position. As you can see the markers were starting to build up:

Turn 5 - OUDF

Flinders - 3D/2A - Launched fighters on a combat mission, then took a direct shot at the Orellana, which missed.
Leichhardt - 2D/0A - End of the activation.

Not a good move for the OUDF; their frigates were closely engaged with the LLAR ships, and didn't get any actions.

In the turnover two lots of fighters went for the Orellana; two weapon damage hits translated to a weapons destroyed. This stacked with the previous one to leave the frigate on weapons critical.

Turn 5 - LLAR

Orellana - 3D/2A - Two moves, in an attempt to get away from the fighters.
Pizarro - 2D/1A - A direct fire shot into the rear of the Leichhart scored 8 to 2, which would have destroyed the carrier. But the armour shifted it to 8 against 3, which just caused weapons destroyed.
Raya - 3D/1A - A move, then the end of the activation. 

Nothing significant happened in the turnover. And I forgot to take a photo.

Turn 6 - OUDF

Leichhardt - 2D/1A - Launched fighters on a combat mission.
Mittagong - 3D/0A - Appalling bad luck saw the OUDF turn end again. Their frigates were in danger of flying off the board due to failed compulsory movement.

In the turnover fighters from the Flinders attacked the Orellana, causing systems damage.

LLAR - Turn 6

Estrella - 3D/3A - Moved and launched missiles at the Leichhardt, then took a direct shot at the Leichhardt. This would have destroyed it, but for the armour again. But a systems destroyed became a crew panic. 
Tiburon - 2D/2A - Moved, then fired missiles at the Flinders.
Montevideo - 3D/1A - Fired missiles at the Flinders.

The LLAR cruiser and missile ships had now passed the inactive OUDF frigates, and were turning onto the Mittagong and the carriers.

In the turnover two fighters attacked the Orellana causing weapons damage, whilst a missile caused weapons damage on the Leichhardt. The Leichhart was now in a very bad way.

I took a photo at this point, but it's too blurry to use.

OUDF - Turn 7

The Leichhardt took a morale test, and suffered a systems damage from it which took its Q to 7. So it engaged its warp-drive and fled.

Flinders - 3D/3A - A failed escort support on some nearby missiles, then two moves into the dust cloud to get protection from them.
Mittagong - 3D/3A - One move, then a FSS shot at the Tiburon which missed.
Diamond - 2D/2A - Two moves, turning around in an attempt to get back into the fight.
Sapphire - 3D/2A - Repaired weapons, then a move.
Opal - 3D/1A - Moved.

In the turnover fighters inflicted systems damage on the Orellana.

LLAR - Turn 7

Tiburon - 2D/0A - And that was it.

In the turnover the Raya moved off the table and out of the fight. I assume that ships which leave the table are lost. The Flinders was hit by a missile, causing a weapons damaged which cascaded to a weapons destroyed.

This was the position at the end of turn seven. In the bottom right you can just see the pulsar, which had no effect on the game at all, aside from the fact that both sides avoided that part of the table; a pulsar causes ships near it to suffer combat penalties.

OUDF - Turn 8

Mittagong - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Tiburon, causing weapons damage.
Flinders - 3D/3A - Two moves, then launch fighters on a combat mission.
Opal - 3D/3A - One move got it closer to the Tiburon, then a FSS shot caused systems damage, which cascaded to crew panic. the Tiburon got two morale passes and stayed in the game.
Diamond - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Tiburon missed.
Sapphire - 3D/3A - A moved, followed by a FSS shot at the Tiburon, causing weapon damage.

In the turnover fighters and missiles moved, but nothing contacted.

LLAR - Turn 8

The Tiburon failed its morale and fled.

Orellana - 2D/1A - Repaired weapons damage
Estrella - 3D/3A - Two moves got it to the rear of the Mittagong, where it launched missiles at close range.
Montevideo - 3D/0A - Once again the flagship let the side down. Most LLAR ships were beyond the range of the fleet control centre at this stage.

In the turnover missiles went into the rear of the Mittagong and the Flinders. The Mittagong was saved by its shields from its first damage of the game. The Flinders would have been destroyed, had it not been for, yes, its armour. It still took a systems destroyed.

And here's the position at the end of turn eight.

Turn 9 - OUDF

Mittagong - 3D/0A - Oh dear.

In the turnover fighters attacked the Orellana, but missed.

Turn 9 - LLAR

Estrella - 2D/0A - Oh dear again.

Nothing happened in the turnover, and whilst ships had moved I didn't take a picture because nothing significant happened.

Turn 10 - OUDF

Opal - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Estrella missed
Sapphire - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Estrella missed
Diamond - 3D/2A - A FSS shot at the Estrella missed. Do you see a pattern here?
Mittagong - 3D/2A - Two moves in an attempt to close up on the Montevideo.
Flinders - 2D/1A - Launched more fighters.

In the turnover the fighters engaged the Orellana and caused weapons damage.

Turn 10 - LLAR

Montevideo - 3D/2A - Launched missiles and external ordinance at the Sapphire.
Pizarro - 2D/1A - Moved, as it was well away from the fight.
Estrella - 2D/1A - Fired missiles at the Diamond.
Orellana - 3D/0A - Just a compulsory move, which lef tit wide open to the fighters attacking it as they could now move into its rear.

In the turnover fighters attacked the Orellana, but missed.
Missiles went for the Diamond and caused weapon damage.

And here we are at the end of ten turns:

Turn 11 - OUDF

Diamond - 3D/2A - After repairing weapons damage it fired into the rear of the Estrella causing weapon damage.
Opal - 3D/1A - A shot into the rear of the Estrella caused another weapon damage, cascading it to a weapon destroyed. Both ships used compulsory movement to get into the rear shot position.
Sapphire - 3D/0A - Nothing more to say.

Turn 11 - LLAR

Montevideo - 3D/3A - A move, followed by missiles at the Sapphire.
Pizarro - 3D/2A - An overload shot at the Sapphire missed.
Estrella - 3D/1A - Fired missiles at the Sapphire.
Orellana - 3D/1A - Repaired its weapon damage.

In the turnover two missiles hit the Sapphire. A system damage cascaded to a systems destroyed, and it took a weapon damage as well.

At this point I'd had enough. Playing solo can be quite taxing, and I wanted to record the game whilst it was fresh as well. It was obviously good for a few more turns, and I just didn't have the time or energy to play them through.

It was hard to say who was winning. The game swung from one side to the other, although I think the OUDF's ability to resist damage would just outweigh the LLAR's ability to inflict it. Both capital ships were totally undamaged and the Montevideo hadn't been targetted once.


I found it very hard to get effective damage on ships. This could be a function of their design - the armour on the OUDF ships saved them countless times, whilst their low firepower meant that they couldn't inflict serious hits on the LLAR vessels. But I can't help thinking that the damage cascade effect has too many steps, leaving ships as ineffective hulks that still can't quite be finished off. I wonder if any system damage on top of a crew panic, or weapon damage on top of a weapon critical should just finish the ship off. This would require an rewrite of the morale failure effects though.

Let me emphasise a point in the paragraph above; hardened armour is very good. It saved three OUDF ships from destruction. 

I do wonder if some of the problem is that hits are diluted between systems and weapons, with no direct penalty for total accumulated damage.

There were specials I didn't use. The point defence disrupter was fired once, and the force disrupters were never used. I do wonder if, in fact, the rules have too many specials with similar abilities. Obviously it makes for variety, but it does make it hard to remember what each ship can do. Part of the reason I created standard 'doctrines' for my two fleets was to have as many specials in common across ships as possible.

Whilst it's a free ability, escort support didn't seem up to much. But perhaps I was unlucky.

The activation system certainly made for an interesting game; it was quite tricky deciding where to go first, and risk ending the turn. I'm not sure about ships on compulsory failed movement going in a straight line, though; running off the table or into a planet seems too much of a possibility.

You end up with a lot of markers on the table. Damage could be written on the data sheet, of course, which would save having those markers, although it does make it easy to see which enemy ships are vulnerable. And it's not a bad way of seeing what state your own ones are in as well. I didn't come up with an obvious way to keep track of which ships missiles were targetted on, or which ship launched fighters; for fighter bays this isn't an issue, as a ship can keep launching fighters, but light fighter hangars only allow one counter per ship. I sometimes lost track of which carrier a counter belonged to.

I love the terrain. It breaks up the table, and actually has an effect on the game as well, both good and bad. A couple of times a ship was able to use dust or a nebula to avoid a sticky situation.

I came up with a number of questions, which I have sent directly to the author. I won't bore you with them here.

On the whole I'm keen to try Void and Stars again, but may try some different ship designs. I wonder if fewer ships, built to more points, would give a more decisive game.

Void And Stars - The Ships

In my previous post about Void And Stars I went through the process by which I created the game stats for the two forces I want to use for my first playtest game. One of the reasons I chose those particular forces is that I have a small selection of ships for them, which I scratchbuilt over ten years ago from balsa, card and, of all things, lentils. There are pictures of two of them accompanying the post.

Unfortunately in terms of playtesting the game at home, I have a small problem. Void And Stars recommends a playing area of 4' x 4', and sets the distanes for Short, Medium and Long accordingly. It is also designed for use with 'standard' spaceship models; those the same size of my scratchbuilds in fact. However the playing area I have at home isn't very large, at least in terms of providing a square table. I could do 6' x 2 1/2' easily, but I wanted to try the game on the recommended table size.

So I decided to shrink the game and play it on a 2' x 2' area (a standard 'Hordes of the Things' board for 15mm figures on a 40mm frontage. Since all distances in Void and Stars are based around the S/M/L mechanism it was easy enough to use a half-sized measuring stick.

The problem comes with the miniatures, though. Basically the ships I have are of a size where, given the smaller playing area, if they get close together they'll overlap and get in each others' way. I personally think that you shouldn't use models that are longer than the shortest range band in the game; it doesn't look right, aside from the actual play issues of models overlapping. If I was going to use a smaller area,  I'd need to use smaller miniatures. Which I didn't have.

So I decided to scratchbuild some. Quickly. Late on a Thursday afternoon I sketched out some designs. By the end of the evening they were cut out, assembled and ready to be painted.

They are designed to be a halfway house between counters and figures - 3D counters, essentially - and are less complex in design than the larger ones I made all that time ago. They are, however, built on similar principles, consisting of a card template with layers of thick and thin card building up the superstructure, and lentils and rice providing some of the detail. All card pieces are cut to a set of rules and standard sizes, so that repeating the builds, or making similar ships, is not an impossible task further down the line.

Here they are assembled and undercoated (click on any picture to see it bigger, of course):

You can see the two different types of escorts, and the capital ships on the right. The top row are the OUDF vessels, whilst the bottom are those of the LLAR.

The escorts sre 3cm long, whilst the capital ships are 4cm.

Here's the next stage - a base-coat of colour and some dry-brushing:

A few deft brush-strokes later:

To be honest I'm not thrilled with the colour-scheme of the OUDF ships, but it will do for now.

Anyway, they went from a concept sketch on a piece of paper to finished, painted pieces in just over 24 hours. Not bad, really.

Time for some names.

I know the OUDF covers more than just Australia, but it's a good place to start. So their force will be:

One Town Class Cruiser - Mittagong
Three Opal Class Gun Frigates - Diamond, Sapphire and Opal
Two Explorer Class Shuttle Carriers - Leichhardt and Flinders

The LLAR is harder, as my Spanish is non-existent. Let's see.

One Port Class Cruiser - Montevideo
Three Tiburon Class Missile Frigates - Tiburon, Estrella De Mar, Raya
Two Conquistador Class Gun Frigates - Orellana, Pizarro

And now I'm ready to actually play the game ...

As an aside, are there any manufacturers who make small spaceships? Most models I see seem to be done to a kind of 'GZG Standard'. What I want is a range of models where even the biggest capital ships are no more than, say, 2 1/2 inches long. I know I could 'rebadge' small ship models from larger ranges, but it doesn't look the same - a meaty battleship looks like a meaty battleship at any scale.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Void And Stars - Starship Design

I have recently volunteered to help playtest Void and Stars, another game from the Songs Of Blades And Heroes stable. As the title suggests this is a game of starship combat., with the basic game being designed so that a player can run 1-2 capital ships supported by 2-6 escort vessels.

OUDF Cruiser
It uses the basic SBH mechanisms - a ship has a Combat Value (CV) which reflects its basic offensive/defensive capabilities, and a Quality (Q) which represents how efficient its crew is. Each turn you roll one to three dice for a ship, testing against its quality; this gives the ship a number of actions, which may be such things as movement, firing or launching missiles and/or fighters. A major failure on activation causes play to pass to the other player.

The playtesting and development is being run through a blog - Void and Stars

Ideally I would like to run this game as part of one of our club sessions, and a few members have starships we can use. However initially I think a solo game is in order, just to get a feel for the rules. Although the game comes with some sample ships (based on famous movies and TV programmes, naturally), I thought that it would be a useful part of the testing process to work out some of my own. This post will look at how I went about it.

I decided to do ships from two of the lesser faction in GZG's Full Thrust universe, the Oceanic Union (think Australia. In Space) and the League Of Latin American Republics (think Banana Republics. Also In Space). I saw them fighting a low intensity conflict along a common border; no big fleet actions, but a handful of ships on each side. Perfect for the scale of Void and Stars.

LLAR Cruiser
I first set myself some ground-rules. Although a basic game of Void and Stars is said to be 750pts, I initially decided to settle on 600pts for my two starting forces, as I didn't want to handle too much on my own. The aim was to design one capital ship at 200pts, and four escorts, each at 100pts. In face I ended up doing a fifth escort for each side anyway, giving me 700pts. In Void and Stars the division between capital ships and escorts is based on their points - anything over 150pts is considered a capital ship, otherwise it's an escort. There are slightly different rules for movement and permitted systems for each; for example escorts have better turning capabilities, whilst capital ships can carry heavier, and more useful, systems. I also decided to forgo characters for the first game. Although they are an interesting feature of the system, it's an extra thing to keep track of and they can, of course, be added to the forces I come up with later.

In order to keep things simple I decided to keep the ship values as constant as possible, based on the doctrines of the two forces. The doctrines would also dictate a certain number of core systems which all ships would have.

The Oceanic Union (OU) have robust ships designed to operate far from base for long periods of time. They don't carry heavy weaponry, and are built for patrol and exploration as much as for combat. Because of the need to operate far from base they tend not to use much in the way of expendable weapons which cannot be replaced. Crews are well-trained and competent.

The ships of the League Of Latin American Republics  (LLAR) are more combat orientated, with a mix of both missile and direct-fire weapons. They are designed to hit an enemy hard before he hits back at them. Less politically unified than the OU, their crews are not as efficient.

So, some basic figures:

I gave OU escorts a CV of 2, whilst their capital ships have a CV of 4. Both have a Q of 3. This gives a base cost of 40pts for an escort, and 80pts for the capital ships

LLAR escorts have a CV of 3 whilst their capital ships have a CV of 5. Both have a Q of 4. This gives a base cost of 45pts for the escort and 75pts for the capital ships.

Working the ship cost formula on page 26 of the rules book, this gives the following pool of points for additional items - extra range, movement, indirect weapons and other systems - in order to arrive at 100pts for the escorts and 200pts for the capital ships:

OU escorts - 15
OU capital - 30
LLAR escorts - 18
LLAR capital - 42

OU ships are used to dealing with space hazards, and have toughened ships, so they all have a Point Defence (2) and Hardened Armour (4). All ships start with Movement: S and Range: S. I decided to make the escorts faster (Speed: M, cost 2) whilst giving the capital ships a longer weapons range (Range: M, cost 4). This leaves the escorts 7 points for other systems, whilst the capital ships have 20 points left. We'll come back to what they can be spent on later.

LLAR ships are faster and have longer weapon ranges than those of the OU. They also use indirect fire weapons as standard. I gave their escorts Speed: M (2) and Range: M (6), as well as Indirect Fire 2 (6). Their capital ships also have Speed: M (2) but Range L (7) and Indirect Fire 4 (12). This leaves their escorts with 6 points to spend, and their capital ships with 21 points.

Each force would have two types of escort.

The first OUDF escort type is a simple frigate. On the assumption that exploratory vessels have good sensors, I gave it Full Spectrum Sensors, and also gave it a Damage Control Centre.

The second OUDF escort type breaks my own rules, as I decided to give it external weaponry. I envisaged it as a exploration shuttle carrier, but with shuttles that can be pressed into service as combat craft in a military situation. It gets Light Fighter Bays with a CV of 2 and Point Defence Fire Support.

The OUDF capital ship is still built around being robust and self-sufficient. It gets Full Spectrum Sensors to boost its gunnery, as well as a Positronic Jammer. In addition I fitted it with a Damage Control Centre and a Shield Generator.

The first LLAR escort type would be a gun-frigate, based around concentrated firepower. I purchased Spinal Mount, an Energy Disrupter and 2CV worth of External Ordinance.

The second LLAR escort type would be a missile frigate. I increased its Indirect Weapons to 3, gave it a Point Defence Disrupter and added 1CV worth of External Ordinance.

The capital ship was based around coordinating the efforts of the escorts, whilst still adding a decent firepower of its own. I gave it a Fleet Command Centre, Doctrine: Assault, Shields and 1CV of External Ordinance.

So, leaving aside names and proper class designations I have two forces:


One Cruiser (200pts) - CV: 4 Q: 3 Speed: S Range: M
Point Defence, Hardened Armour, Shield Generator, Positronic Jammer, Full Spectrum Sensors, Damage Control Centre

Three Frigates (100pts ) - CV: 2 Q: 3 Speed: M Range: S
Point Defence, Hardened Armour, Full Spectrum Sensors, Damage Control Centre

Two Escort Carriers (100pts) - CV: 2 Q: 3 Speed: M Range: S
Point Defence, Hardened Armour, Point Defence Support: M, Light Fighter Bays: 2


One Cruiser (201pts) - CV: 5 Q: 4 Speed: M Range: L Indirect: 4
Fleet Command Centre, Doctrine: Assault, Shields, External Ordinance: 1

Three Gun Frigates (99pts) - CV: 3 Q: 4 Speed: M Range: M Indirect: 2
Spinal Mount, Energy Disrupter, External Ordinance: 2

Two Missile Frigates (99pts) - CV: 3 Q: 4 Speed: M Range: M Indirect: 3
Point Defence Disrupter, External Ordinance: 1

The design rules were relatively straightforward to use, even doing it with pencil and paper. A spreadsheet would make it quicker, but I'm a traditionalist. I wouldn't want to do it as part of a game session though; there are a lot of special options to consider. Indeed I found this the hardest part; many of the special abilities seem similar, and it strikes me that running too many in a given game could slow things down. This was part of the reason I 'standardised' my ship designs as far as possible; I was reducing the number of  special rules I would have to track during the course of the game.

One thing that did strike me about the designs is the distinction between capital ships and escorts. Anything costing 150pts or more is a capital ship. Anything less is an escort. However part of the cost of a ship is based on its Quality (Q) value. Now whilst some elements of a ship's Q can be down to its systems and infrastructure, a lot of it is down to crew training and morale, something that shouldn't effect whether a ship is considered a capital ship or an escort. Without going into the precise formula for calculating points values, a ship with a CV of 3 and 25 points of other systems would cost 120pts if it was Quality 4, but 160pts if it was Quality 3. So by having a better crew it ceases to be an escort and becomes a capital ship, despite it having exactly the same systems. I don't know if this is a problem or not, but I thought it worth mentioning.

Anyway, that was the ships designed. But there was an issue with the models. I'll cover that in the next post ...

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