Table Top Space Combat Game

Discussion in 'Games & Gaming' started by PaulK, May 7, 2006.

  1. Hi, everyone. For the past ten years or so I have been looking for a space combat game with excellent construction rules. Failing this I have begone the long and tedious task of creating my on system.

    At this point I have made a good deal of progress, however, I have run into a couple of slight problems and hope I can get some feedback from the sci-fi and gaming community here.

    One of my difficulties is determining the size of a space hex. Star Wars RPG has a 500 meter space square, a little hard to swallow when a Star Destroyer is 1600 meters long and extreme range for turbolaser is 20 hexes or about 10 km. BattleTech ground hexes are only 30 meters. On the other end of the spectrum we have 10,000 km hexes in FASA's Tactical Combat Simulator. Star Fleet Battles hexes are even larger, being one light second in size as stated in C1.0 in Star Fleet Battles Special Pre-Release Captain's Edition Basic Set of Doomsday.

    I need as many suggestions as to the size a hex should be as possible. Single man fighters are part of the game so I hope to use a single hex size, but if that turns out not to be feasible.

    Right now I am considering using a 50km space hex.

    My other stubling block is weapon damage. Should I use set damage for every weapon, a number of dice rolled to determine damage, or a combination of the two.

    At this time I am using set damage for missile weapons and cannons and rail guns and 6-sided dice to determine energy/beam weapons.

    Any other suggestions will be appreciated and considered.

  2. Shrike

    Shrike Smug Deity

    First I'd ask what kind of style are you aiming for. That'll be fairly important for what scale/time aspects you plan to use.
  3. Aiyel

    Aiyel Space Communist

    I'd reccomend you say 'screw construction' and go play Attack Vector Now.

    It's almost entirely grounded in realism, and it rocks absolutely.

    As for your damage set, we really need to know what makes your damage system tick. How do your ships take internal damage? Is your armor degradable, does it reduce the damage by a set amount, or some combination of the above?

    Do you want capital ship battles to be more like modern naval combat, where if a missile gets through, you're fucked, or do you want a more WW I mindset of two large ships pounding the hell out of each other until one either blows up or is rendered nonfunctional?

    Are you allowing for the ship's movement in calculating kinetic damage, or not? (especially important if you have vectored movement.)

    Are your fighters capable of destroying capships or just disabling weapons and subsystems?

    Answer those questions, and I'll help work something out. (I'm a wargame fanatic, and there are things I like in the damage rules for each one I've ever played. Take the afore-mentioned Attack Vector. It's got a thoroughly unique take on armor and internal damage that makes for good 'pounding each other to scrap' battles, and it makes nukes thoroughly horrific. Exactly as they should be in any kind of near-future scifi.)
  4. Game Basics

    Well, the reason I am working on the construction is that the systems I have only allow for plugging systems into the ship and I want to allow players to be able to customize the systems and the ships.

    As of right now to construct a capital ship you choose/purchase a number of base structure points which are basicly superstructure points, this determines the total amoount of system structure a ship can mount. Each system for a capital ship wether engine, weapon, shield generator, or armor is alotted system structure starts at 3 points per system, one laser weapon is considered one system. System structure can be as high as 200% of base structure before any other facts are added in. So at the basic level any one unarmed/unshielded system will be able to take three points of damage.

    Armor will come in degradable and non-degradable forms with different combat values. Certain weapons will be able to destroy non-degradable armor.

    Concerning the style of the game, I'm not entirely sure exactly how I want it to play out but, I'd like to give the players the option of either fairly realiatic to grossly cinematic. The most important thing of course is to have fun playing the game.

  5. Ooopss

    Sorry Aiyel, forgot to answer your questions.

    Yes I want ships to be able to slug it out, however, they may also be able to blow each other apart fairly quickly with single attacks.

    Yes, I'd like to include vector movement.

    Will fighters be able to blow capital ships to atoms, that may be left up to the players.

    If I go for the purely realistic combat than we come to the problem facing the navies of the world today of small one to three man aircraft or boats with large explosive devices being capable of blow gapping holes or outright sinking multi-billion dollar ships.

    The last I heard concerning antiship missile was that the only ships that had the armor to ignore an Exocet missile were the Iowa class battleships which are no longer in service. However, the pilot would have to get close enough to the ships to fire the Exocet and the Exocet would have to penetrate the missile defense systems before it could hit the target ship

  6. dacis2

    dacis2 Bureaucrat Moderator

    they have those in AV: T. They're called nukes. Other than those, all other weapons take a long time to kill another ship.

    the main problem about AV:T is complexity. It truly is a tactical level game, with each player at most being able to command one or two ships. One has to take care of vector resolution, power consumption, heat, damage, weapons and other stuff for each ship, and that can bog it down pretty quickly.

    I recommend waiting for Attack Vector: Fleets if you like the AV universe.
  7. Tarquinn

    Tarquinn Custom User Title

    I'd recommend Babylon 5 Wars, but it unfortunately is out of print.
  8. I have most if not all of Babylon 5 first and secind edition materials. The system is good but there's no way to build ships.

    If we are looking for overkill weapons on fighters, I put forth the wonderful stingsships of Alan Dean Fosters' Humanx Commonwealth from the Pip and Flinx books. They fire a nuclear missile mounted on a KK drive unit called a sccam.

    For those who have not read the books a KK drive is a high gravity, black hole level gravity, used to achieve faster than light speeds. So, a two man stingship is capable of destroying any ship it meets and almost never misses. If the opponent ship has an active KK drive the sccam actually will home in on the KK drive.

    The problem I see with AV:T is that a cruiser is only 10,000 tons. I've checked "Jane's Fighting Ships" out of the local library and 10,000 tons is not much more than some of the worlds boomer and attack subs submerged.

    Right now I can not afford to purchase AV:T, so I will have to rely on the fans of the game to enlighten me.

    My question for now is does AV:T give players any idea as to how large a hex is?
  9. Premier

    Premier MODETAR

    As for map scaling, it depends on what you want to focus on in terms of game mechanics.

    Look at Star Warriors, for example; it almost exclusively focuses on individual fighter-to-fighter combat, where such details of dogfighting as loops, slides, rolls and other maneuvers are actually played out by the players. Consequently, the assumed scale of a hex would be something along the lines of a few meters, or maybe a few dozen meters. The upside is that fighter combat is portrayed very accurately; the downside is that capital ship combat is extremely abstract, and strategic level warfare is entirely missing.

    Now look at Axis & Allies: Every "field" is a large country, or a collusion of sevral countries. As a result, the game is all about strategic warfare. On the downside, levels of combat below strategic are not represented at all.

    Somewhere between the two is Battle Fleet Gothic. I don't play it, but as far as I understand, it focuses on capital ship combat. As a result, fighter-level warfare is abstracted (you don't get to decide whether your fighter will jink to the left or to the right, or if they'll do a loop), and, like in Star Warriors, strategic level warfare is missing.

    So it all depends on what you want to focus on.
  10. The Observer

    The Observer Good Owner (?) Staff

    I suggest you look at the Babylon 5 Wars Campaign Guide by Bandit. If you have never played B5Wars you should, it's an excellent game. The campaign guide sets it up for an empire building game including construction.
  11. Douglas Nicol

    Douglas Nicol Jadefalcon Supermoderator SuperModerator

    Wasn't there a game called Silent Death at one point?

    Related to B5 Wars, you also have Fleet Action, the fleet scale combat game of B5.

    There's A Call to Arms, the newest game, but I don't know what that's like, and I don't know if there's any construction rules.
  12. ck-Brenneke

    ck-Brenneke Gimme some sugar, baby!

    On that site, you will find PDFs of the award-winning Full Thrust and all its expansions. It is the finest generic space combat game you will find, very simple to learn (but not too simple!), and it provided the basis for the Babylon 5 space combat rules in The Babylon Project RPG.

    I played adaptations of Babylon 5, neo-BattleStar Galactica, and Star Wars using these rules.

    Well worth the download, and you could be playing the basic game within a half-hour.
  13. There is also Starmada X by MJ12 Games, which does have the benefit of having a built-in construction system (complete with a nifty Excel spreadsheet for designing ships and generating ship cards).

    It also coincidentally has official support for the Victory by Any Means Campaign System :) I have to get a plug in somewhere, you know!

    In regards to Babylon 5 Wars and construction systems: sure, there isn't a fixed and official method -- but it isn't *difficult* to create new ships and have them be reasonably balanced. Sure, point values are still a crapshoot, but it isn't like the official ships are all that much better. Outside the core ships that were playtested and balanced since the beginning of 2E, the point values aren't all that well tested. Sure, internal and external playtest helped to narrow it down, but there are still some ships whose point values are debatable (*cough* Avioki *cough*).

    As other people have commented, if you are looking for inspiration from the "as real as you can get it" angle, Ad Astra's Attack Vector is the way to go. However, based on the reviews from players I still haven't picked up a copy. As one reviewer recently noted on Board Game Geek, the game seems to be an interesting science exercise, but not a fun game. The people that seem to have enjoyed it are the ones that like crunching numbers a bit too much (which does cover a lot of the people here -- as demonstrated by the number of people that continuing try to make mathematical sense over artistic effects).

  14. The Observer

    The Observer Good Owner (?) Staff

    Tyrel... you're still around! :eek:

    You must be one of the ultimate lurkers :)
  15. Aiyel

    Aiyel Space Communist

    Hexes are 20km. Effective range for the most commonly used laser is 200km (still dfangerous further out, but at a rapidly decreasing damage level)

    effective range for missiles is quite variable.

    And yes, the ships are quite light, with the biggest ship currently in the game being a hair over 10 kilotons. (This has a lot to do with the universe's economy, they simply can't *support* the bigger ships)
  16. The Observer

    The Observer Good Owner (?) Staff

    There is the guide I was referring to