Great Tactical Starship Combat Requires?
Keith Anderson
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Tulsa
Oklahoma
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When I read the "The Holy Grails of Game Design" geeklist and found starship ship to ship combat listed, I then opened up Aardvark's "Tactical Starship Combat" geeklist.

Many Tactical Starship Combat games are listed on the geek and many more have been produced and there are many other rulesets available online for free. Yet the highest ranked one on the Geek is Silent Death at just 363.

So what would be in your Great Tactical (ship level) Starship Combat game? Feel free to add your requirements.
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1. Board Game: Full Thrust [Average Rating:7.25 Overall Rank:2257]
Keith Anderson
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Full thrust has movement plotting and simultaneous movement which are two systems that I prefer. Sure it takes a few seconds to write down your move but since everyone is doing this at the same time it turns out to be faster than having each player plan and move one at a time. Also, not knowing exactly where your enemy will end up limits some analysis paralysis.
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2. Board Game: Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:3349] [Average Rating:6.68 Unranked]
Keith Anderson
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If starship combat is a Holy Grail gaming topic, then a great damage system is a Holy Grail feature of that game. All of these games account for some combination of hit/miss, shielding, armor, weapon damage, and hit location(s).

ST-STCS damage allocation is not perfect but it is one of the better ones I've seen. For each shot, one roll for hit/miss and one for damage location if the shields are penetrated. Also has special effects like knocking out a weapons grid and repair rules. Its downside is that it is VERY volatile (a photon can take out an entire warp engine or just a minor system) which many would say is too luck driven. Then again that may be fairly 'realistic' since hit location is so important in the real world.
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3. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1671]
Keith Anderson
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Star Fleet Battles illustrates this: Each ship type should have a different feel to it. It should have different strengths, weaknesses, and play differently than the others.
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4. Board Game: Attack Vector: Tactical [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:4373]
Keith Anderson
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I have never played or read the rules to Attack Vector: Tactical. It illustrates the quest for a good 3-dimensional movement system. I would prefer 3 dimensions but will take 2 if the 3rd adds too much complexity, slows the game too much, or is too hard to visualize on the board.
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5. Board Game: LNL: Laplace, Newton & Lagrange [Average Rating:5.20 Unranked]
Keith Anderson
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Like 3 diminsional movement, realistic movement is another quest. Once again, I don't mind if this is somewhat compromised for playability.
 
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6. Board Game: BattleFleet Mars [Average Rating:6.22 Overall Rank:6714]
Darrell Hanning
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Jacksonville
Florida
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If what you seek is true, Newtonian movement in a full, 3-D environment, than I haven't seen anything that did this better in a boardgame than the tactical combat system in Battlefleet Mars. A novel approach at the time (and perhaps still), using two grids - one for X and Y axes, and one for X and Z axes - and two counters for each ship, along with up to 3 vector indicators for velocity along each, possible axis.

The problem with realism is that it ain't as fun as the movies. What most often happened in this simulation was a single pass on the opposing ships (missiles launching and beam weapons firing), then your fuel would be exhausted, and the two forces would pretty much just drift apart - all in all a rather dry affair. (If you assessed your forces as being capable of taking more damage, you would reduce your rate of approach, thereby increasing your loiter time, and perhaps giving you the chance at a second pass.)

But realistic? Yes, I would say so.
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7. Board Game: Star Cruiser [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:10580]
Champion Eternal
Malaysia
Unspecified
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...requires a great background.

A good but not great game, but the 2300AD background is superb.
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8. Board Game: Alpha Omega [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:14363]
Bill Galloway
Canada
Lansdowne
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Simplicity. For all that realism provides, to me nothing replicates the speed, intensity and pressure of being involved in combat than quick gameplay.

Alpha Omega may have had its problems, but it certainly gets fast once you've played a turn or two.


Of course, this speed and playability is also one of the positive characteristics of Silent Death.
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9. Board Game: Starmada X [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:7808]
Peter Drake
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Movement plotting: check
Simple damage system with plenty of variety: check
Variety of ships, weapons, and equipment: check
(lots of optional rules, and they're independent -- pick and choose the ones you want)
3D: there's an option, but we don't use it
Newtonian movement: provided as an option; we use the system described on the "Maximum Burn" site (see links on Geek Starmada page)
Background: okay, a little thin here, but very easy to adapt
Simplicity: check

You're playing something else why?
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10. Board Game: Renegade Legion: Interceptor [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:4470]
Jim Pulles
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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A space battle game played on a large hex map with 'cardboard box' playing pieces which almost made the game 3D. Each player's ships had differing thrust, targeting, weapons, etc. which made each one fairly unique. As unique as the ships, was the infamous damage flowchart! It almost took a rocket scientist to trace the damage path for weapons fire. FASA also included some role-playing aspects into the game for extended campaigns... carrying pilots and ships from one scenario to another. If 'Great Tactical Starship Combat' requires cardboard box ships and a damage chart that will make your head spin... this is the one for you.
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11. Board Game: A Call to Arms: Babylon 5 Space Combat [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:5337]
Kämmen mein schnurrbart
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Austin
Texas
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I've hooked up with a group playing this and it's been a lot of fun. The rules make play quick without being too simplistic. I like it better than Starfleet Battles.
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12. Board Game: Babylon 5 Wars [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:5053]
skippen
United States
Greeley
Colorado
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This was good one too for Babylon 5.
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13. Board Game: Star Blazers Fleet Battle System [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:8987]
Paul Denhup
United States
Alexandria
Virginia
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Emperor Desslok at first hated this song, and then grew to like it when Zordar got on his nerves.

http://www.desslok.com/INFO/lyrics.htm


The Earth will survive
With our Star Blazers!


(Great game system too.)
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14. Board Game: Battlefleet Gothic [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1761]
Gunther Schmidl
Austria
Linz
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I really like this one, although to really play it, like with any extensible miniatures game, you need to make an investment. It is playable with the ships that come in the box, though, if you do a bit of planning.
 
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15. Board Game: Battlestations [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:1467]
Jonah Johnson
United States
Van Nuys
California
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Battlestations has a tile/module for the ships(where the characters run around and perform their actions) and a hex map(zoom out) for the movement of the ships and the layout of the outerspace terrain.

the damage system and hit allocation is simple.

there is a variety of ships{size and species), weapons, and equipment.

there is a pulp sci-fi background, you don't need a spacesuit on to survive outside the ship just a EVA belt.

i think the simplicity of the game is the best part of the game. you dont need to read all the rules to play, pull it out of the box make a character, pick a mission or make one up your self, use the player aids, have fun playing.
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16. Board Game: Mayday [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:9531]
Paul Boos
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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I have never played this, but I am a big Traveller fan. This game though doesn't seem too well rated, so maybe Marc Miller didn't get it quite right?
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17. Board Game: Vector 3 [Average Rating:5.24 Overall Rank:13599]
Paul Boos
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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Vector 3 IMHO was pretty good for a small pocket game.
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18. Board Game: Silent Death [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:2759]
David Ausloos
Belgium
Ranst
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Can't believe nobody yet aded this to the list, maybe the essential Space-combat game that replaces the complicated
rules that come with most of the above titles with a streamlined set of easy-to-learn fast-going mechanics.
Foget all those tremendously boring charts and statistics, this game offer exciting combat that so many similar titles try desperatly to capture.
It's more of a ship-to-ship dogfight affair, so if you are looking for an epic space-fleet battlesystem this is not for you.
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19. Board Game: Victory By Any Means: Campaign Guide [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:7862]
Kristian
United States
Seattle
Washington
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Has anyone had any experience with this? From their website:
Quote:
Originally a freelance project slated for publication by Agents of Gaming, who at the time held the Babylon 5 wargaming license, the Campaign Guide was at the time entitled Crossroads to Empire. Written largely by Jay Waschak and Byron Sinor, the guide was nearly ready to go to press (or so we thought) when Agents of Gaming closed its doors.

http://www.vbamgames.com

Curious more than anything... It looks interesting!
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