Every Man a (K-State) Wildcat!
"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
Federation Space was Task Force Games’ attempt to create a strategic companion to its popular Star Fleet Battles system. The game takes place after the release of Expansion #1 and before Expansion #2. Star Fleet Battles included the number of each type of ship in each fleet in order to create tactical battles for each fleet, but it did not have the layout of the universe, so you would know how to position your fleets to find weaknesses in the defenses of the opponent. Also, to play the entire fleet scale one SFB battle at a time would take a few lifetimes. This game corrected that.
The rulebook is standard fare 1980s Task Force: same format (Rule 7.21, for example). It is 16 double-sided 8.5” x 11” with only 1 illustration. A few more would be nice for clarity, but it is not written in such a way that it is difficult to read or understand and fortunately is not bogged down with confusing interpretations and excessive detail like Star Fleet Battles.
The game board is paper and because of the folds, you had better work hard to flatten the board or place it under a piece of Plexiglas. The board represents the known galaxy with each major spacepower represented: Hydrans, Klingons, Kzinti, Tholians, Federation, Orions, Romulans, and Gorns are all included. The neutral zone or border surrounding each race is shown, as are the battle station, star base and the planetary layout of each power’s major economic producing planets.
There are 432 die-cut playing pieces contained on four sheets. The game pieces are the typical counters. They include the silhouette of the ship, 3 ratings, a classification and ID number for that particular fleet’s ship-type. If you are familiar with Star Fleet Battles, the silhouettes match, as do the colors. The Federation CA, for instance, has the same appearance and is still a black silhouette on a blue background. The only drawback is that it makes Klingon ships nearly disappear into the background as you can tell on the picture above (The Klingons are in the lower left-hand side and appear to have no ships.
The game also comes with a small combat game board called a “tactical combat display,” five fleet organization charts, and a pair of standard 6-sided dice.
No expansions were made to this game, but a follow-up game called “Federation and Empire” was created. It used a similar game engine. It also added races created in later Star Fleet Battles Expansions. It upgrades rules for supply lines and while it fills in the weaknesses of this game, it creates other ways to favor the Federation – namely through economics.
Objective of Play:
The game comes with various scenarios, and the goals of each scenario are outlined.
Overview of Play:
Ships may move a number of hexes equal to their movement value. Standard movement rules applies (can’t save movement points, exceed movement points, etc). Because the map is outer space, there is no terrain charts.
Stacking limit is 6 ships per hex and may never be exceeded. Bases, docks, and fighters do not count against stacking.
Zone of Control
Standard zone of control applies. However, a ship does not have to stop in the ZOC unless the defender intercepts. Only the same number or less number of ships may intercept. If the attacker has more ships, the excess ships may continue moving.
Replace the combat units with the “Battle” counter and place the combat units on the Tactical Combat Display sheet. The defensive player selects a ship and places it in the box marked “1”. The attacker matches with a ship of his own. Then proceed from 1-7 (7 is for fighters). If one side has more ships than the other, he may either place them in the “reserve” box (keep them out of combat) or have them join other ships in a numbered box in order to combine fire.
Next, a box (1-7) is selected and combat is conducted in that box. Combine all attack number values and subtract the defense number (note: only one ship is fired on, even if there is more than one defender). Determine the differential, roll a die, and cross-reference it against the Combat Results Table. Firing is considered simultaneous. This is one combat round.
If a box is empty as a result of combat, a ship from reserve must be brought up to the box. If no ships are in reserve, he must use one of the “doubling up” ships. If none are available, the remaining ships may either go to reserve themselves or double up with other units.
A ship may attempt to disengage. The other side may attempt to pursue. Each player rolls a die and adds the value to the movement value of the disengaging and pursuing ship (carriers that attempt to retrieve fighters subtract one). If the disengaging value is the same or greater, the ship escapes. If not, it fails and conducts combat for another round, but the pursuing ship may not fire. If it does succeed, it moves to one of the six hexes surrounding the battle that does not contain an enemy. Intercepting movement cannot be used from ships in an adjacent hexes.
Advanced rules allow ships to split fire, self-destruct, or attempt to capture.
A fascinating part of the game involves the economics. Each original planet produces 2 economic points per turn. Each captured planet produces 1. These points can be used to repair ships or build new ships. To repair ships, you spend 1 point for every point of difference between the two sides of the counter. The ship is ready at the end of the turn. To build a new ship, it takes 2 points per defense point and the ship is ready in 2 turns. This gives you added incentive to not sacrifice ships.
More rules cover fleet repair docks, starbases, orion pirates and mercenaries, Federation scouts, ECM, Romulan Maulers and Warbirds, cloaking devices, and Klingon mutiny. And for those familiar with Star Fleet Battles weaponry, there are optional rules that try to capture the long and short range effects of certain fleet’s weapons.
This actually is a decent game. It’s pretty enjoyable to play. The system is not complex. There are numerous shortcomings to the game. They would be:
• No Lyrans -- Lyrans would really change the balance of power.
• Federation favoritism – A common complaint I have with the Star Fleet Battles Universe is the blatant favoritism shown to the “good guys.” For instance, in SFB, the Federation has fighters and drones, but nobody gets photon torpedoes. Only the Federation gets to use Emergency Deceleration for free. The first time a Federation ship gets captured, these secrets are lost forever, and only a stupid Klingon would take a disruptor over a photon. In this game, the good guys get their cheating in a handful of ways: 1) Only the Federation gets scouts (and with that ECM capabilities and extended ZOCs). 2) “Good guy” ships are superior to “Bad Guy” ships, yet the “Bad Guys” advantage – namely QUANTITY of ships is lost with stacking rule and combat limitations.
• Lack of variety – The scenarios are based on “historical” battles and I use that phrase loosely since the history is fictionalized (and once again favored the good guys). It would have been nice to have some more flexibility. With that many fleets and that big of a map, more scenarios should have been created.
In the end, this is not a bad game. I would give it a rating of 6. This game would go up another rating point if there was a computer version of this. If you are a Star Fleet Battles fan, this is a fun game, but I would only recommend buying it if you are a SFB fan and want to complete a collection, or if you can find it cheap at a thrift store. Otherwise, go with Federation and Empire for a more accurate representation of fleet action and strategy. I played this for hours on end during a summer vacation from school and I have fond memories of the game play, even if I grew frustrated with the favoritism played to one side.
- Last edited Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:34 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sun Sep 6, 2009 8:51 pm
Halfway between Castro and Mickey Mouse
Great review but I would not compare this to Federation & Empire. They're on the same topic, but Federation Space has about 3 pages of actual rules and F&E has about 80. It's like comparing ASL to a Euro.