Nice that you came up with this! I know this game mechanic from other gamesystem.
Thanks. I borrowed the idea from Star Fleet Battles.
However playing with the impulse chart is very time consuming for little effect
I don't agree, because it means you have to time your weapons fire instead of everything all at once at the end of the turn.
And the two options needs additional bookkeeping per weapon system per ship.
True, though I think an SSD style layout would help with this a bit.
When you places all your weapons in forward firing arcs you'll have extremely short games. So these weapons should cost more relatively compared with sideways and rear firing arms.
I don't think it would be too difficult to modify the SU cost for certain arcs without breaking the ship design system. Maybe +1 per A/B arc, -1 per E/F arc.
Another thing that could solve this problem is "turn modes". Note that I'm assuming the Brian Rule here. This would be a function of the ships hull size and engine rating. Basically, larger ships would have to travel a larger number of hexes forward between facing changes than smaller ships at similar speeds. So, big ships with lots of forward facing weapons could be outmaneuvered by smaller ships.
I haven't fleshed out those rules yet, though.
I doubt about playtest. Much more could have come out of this gamesystem. They clearly don't use miniatures. You can't stack all your miniatures in one hex! So we use an houserule for that. Moreover moving and fire all your ships from one hex is always the optimum. You have optimum for firing and your opponent does not.
I guess you could just play it that friendly ships may not end up in the same hex using the same rules for opposing ships.
Something must be done to enforce spreading of spaceships in order to produce more interesting games. The explosion of spaceships rule will help, but more needs to be done.
Maybe spaceships should block line of sight. I know space is incredibly big, but for a better game something needs to be done. Maybe intervening spaceships interrupts aiming systems with their electromagnetic presence or something like that.
A houserule we use is that armour from the rear is thinner. This increases the will to manoeuvre around and works very well for us.
I think faceted shielding accomplishes this to some extent.