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Ship to Ship combat in spaaaaaaace!


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6 hours ago, Ninja-Bear said:

Ouch. Did a Blackhole open up?


Nope.  In Savannah, I had a separate garage.  As it was a nuisance to get the Leviathan in and out of it, and my wife preferred to park under the carport (insisted I build so she didn't have to walk from the garage in the rain....), the garage housed my hunting gear and my motorcycles and made a decent workshop.  It also did double-duty as the gaming room, as my worktables could be pushed together to make a massive play area.  As a bonus, we could be as boisterous as we cared to be.


Short version:  when we moved here, I came up light two very nice hunting bows, some equally-nice tips (mostly shock tips for small game and some very nice broad heads), a tackle box, and some random gaming paraphernalia, to include my ship miniatures.  Likely all packed into one box, but where it ended up, I have no idea.  We moved ourselves, so either we dropped a box along the interstate (from a boxed truck and boxed trailer?  Highly doubtful) or we somehow over-looked it during our final clean up.  



2 hours ago, tkdguy said:

Here are some photos of my space battles. I will probably add more of my past games.





Man, that is a _gorgeous_ mat!


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7 hours ago, Spence said:


Great pics.


I can't place them, but I have seen to hull designs somewhere.



Many of the ships are from the Cold Navy Line, currently produced by Ravenstar Studios. Others come from the Star Blazers and Battle Fleet Gothic lines. I have other ships not shown in the battles.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm currently running a Galactic Champions game, so our space battles also include flying spandex people punching spaceships. We mostly use standard Hero vehicle combat (6ed), but I wanted to use a vector-based movement system with at least a passing resemblance to how objects actually move in zero G instead of looking like the usual WWII dogfight. (Basic concept swiped from the minis game Full Thrust.) We've only had one space combat so far, but it worked really well: the players found it easy to understand after just a couple moves, it played quickly, and really gave the battle a unique feel.

No hexes: freeform movement measured using rulers or measuring tapes. The exact scale is handwaved, but 1 “movement unit” = 1cm on the map. (You could use 1m = 1” but you’ll need a big playing space!)

We ignored the Z axis and just did everything in 2D. In my experience/opinion, trying to simulate 3D on the tabletop is way more trouble than it's worth.


A ship’s Flight is how fast it can accelerate; there is no maximum velocity. (I mean theoretically there is, but I’m pretty sure you’ll run out of table long before you approach 1 C!) Ships can move NCM if they want, with the usual effects on CV.


For each ship you need to keep track of three things:

- FACING is the direction the ship is pointing – indicated by the miniature’s facing

- COURSE is the direction the ship is moving, which may not be the same as its facing – indicated by arrow on a disk or a counter

- VELOCITY is how fast the ship is currently moving – we tracked velocity using 2d10s (ie a velocity of 24 is reflected with a 2 on one die and a 4 on another)


Ships move and act on their Phases as normal. Movement is a 4-step process:

- The ship drifts in the direction of its current Course for its current Velocity in cm. Leave the Course arrow in place to mark the ship’s starting position.

- From its drift location, the ship can then move normally up to its full Flight move in cm. There is no Turn Mode, and rotation is “free” so basically they can move wherever they want up to their full movement. The new Facing is in line from the drift point to its final location, to reflect the direction the ship was applying thrust.

- Measure the distance from the starting position (the arrow) to the final location (the mini); the distance in cm is the new Velocity.

- The new Course is in line from the starting location to the final location; move the course arrow up to the final location.


Combat is handled normally after movement. For simplicity, I let ships & character do a full move and attack at one additional range band (ie -2 OCV).

Movement Example: A ship with 24m of Flight is currently moving towards the right, which we’ll call 3 o’clock; its current Facing and Course are the same and its current Velocity is 10. The ship wants to accelerate. First the ship’s mini drifts 10cm towards 3 o’clock, and the arrow is left in place. The ship then moves normally, and decides to move 24cm straight ahead. The distance from start to finish is 34cm, so that is the ship’s new Velocity. Its Facing and Course are unchanged. Move the arrow counter up to the final location. Note that for linear examples like this you could’ve just added 10+24 and moved the ship forward 34cm.


The next Phase I took pictures! Ship’s Course and Facing are both still towards 3 o'clock, Velocity 34. (The arrow is on the disk under the ship counter, but you don’t need to see it until you move anyway.)



Say the ship wants to turn to port/left. First, the mini drifts 34cm to 3 o'clock, leaving the arrow in place.



From there the ship moves its full 24cm to 12 o'clock. The ship’s facing is now towards 12 because it was applying thrust in that direction.




Measure the distance between the starting and end locations, which comes out to around 42cm – that’s the ship’s new Velocity. The angle from start location to finish is the new Course; move the arrow up. (I left the arrow on top so you could see it.) Looking at this pic it looks like the ship counter got bumped out of alignment, but it should still be facing straight towards 12 o'clock.



On it’s next Phase say the ship wants to stop. First the mini drifts 42cm along its current course (call it 2 o'clock). Then the ship moves 42cm (using NCM) back towards 8 o'clock, ending up where it started. Velocity is 0; new facing is towards 8 o'clock, and the Heading counter is removed (or ignored).



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  • 4 weeks later...
On 1/3/2020 at 2:28 PM, bigdamnhero said:

Velocity is 0; new facing is towards 8 o'clock, and the Heading counter is removed (or ignored).


Hey Bigdamnhero, I just wanted to say thanks for writing up this movement example!!  I see nobody else replied, but i think that's very cool, and will definitely give it a shot when our Star Hero campaign gets to space combat. Standard Hero vehicle combat is okay for ground and air vehicles, but i really was not looking forward to trying to use it in space. 


I'm a firm believer in inertia and the vacuum of space.  Without air under ones wings or asphalt under ones tires, things are be different.  It really annoys me when some sci-fi shows depict space battles as airplane dogfights and i was dreading our space fights looking like that.  So all hail Babylon 5, BSG and The Expanse for showing us how amazing some realism can be.  :)  The movement system you've described looks like the perfect cure, and separating ones movement vector from their heading and using angles seems brilliant...  If you play again soon, would be sweet to see a short video depicting a few turns of space dogfight combat.  :D


Thanks again and all the best!

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I am planning a solo space combat game set in my universe soon. It's mainly to test out the effectiveness of one of my designs. The spacecraft isn't very intimidating on its own, but when there is a squadron of ships with this design, it seems to punch well above its weight class.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I would probably use the old First edition Albedo, starship combat.   Missiles, drones, hyperkinetic weapons. It’s extremely lethal, with a high incidence of TPK, but that would limit such combats. So if two enemy ships show up, one would power down ad coast, and then turn the inside of your ship into a horror survival game for the enemy boarders😄


however BigDamnHero’s vector movement system is so damn elegant I have to use it. 

My intent is the flavor is like The Expanse. So one depressurizes the living spaces and hope for the best. 

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