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Exp. ship combat rules

Posted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 11:43 am
by Xah
Disclaimer: these are experimental concept rules for ship combat. Feel free to read, comment and offer suggestions via PM or in Discord. They've not been balanced or play-tested, so might be very OP at either end. If you try them out, let me know how it goes!

The Game Board

Combat is played on a hex grid representing an area of space being contested over. This part of space may contain a planet, moons, asteroids, space stations, whatever it is being fought over. In the example below, there is a single terrestrial planet.
Click for an enlarged version
Black hexes represent empty space and have no special rules
Orange hexes represent High Orbit. Ships can pass through high orbit without penalty and weapons can fire through it. To enter into a high orbit, a ship must end its turn in an orange hex and have a velocity of zero. Ships in high orbit can move one hex around the orange zone without expending thrust or may move into low orbit. To exit high orbit, simply accelerate out.
Yellow hexes represent Low Orbit. Ships passing through low orbit without stopping in high orbit first suffer one damage and have their velocity halved (rounding down - to zero if necessary). Ships in Low Orbit move one hex clockwise around the planet each turn without expending thrust, may move one hex into high orbit or can accelerate out as normal. Energy and kinetic weapons cannot fire through low orbit. Missiles entering Low Orbit that do not hit their target are destroyed
The planet in question is represented by the appropriate icon or image. Ships entering this space without spending a turn in low orbit first are instantly destroyed. The planet blocks line of sight. Ships that enter the planet space legitimately are out of the game (presumably have landed or equivalent).


Ships have four 'Ship' stats:
Drive - How much the ship can accelerate and decelerate in one turn
Hull points - How much damage the ship can take before being disabled
Shield points - How much damage the shields absorb. Can be regenerated
To-hit - Chances of a given attack to hit; essentially the number needed to equal or get under on 1D6

They also have two 'Game' stats:
Current Velocity - How many hexes the ship must travel
Current Heading- Which direction the ship is travelling in

Example Ship card
Each ship has six triangular 'slots':
The bottom red slot displays the drive space; this represents the amount the ship can accelerate or decelerate in one turn.
Green slots display weapons which have an icon and a number. Firing arcs are all 360 degrees.
Icon - A star for energy, triangle for missile or circle for kinetics
Damage - How much damage a successful attack causes


Unless narrative states otherwise, the order for all ships is randomised, not all of one players, then all the others. This order remains for the entire battle. A ship moves, then fires, then play moves onto the next ship.

Ships can accelerate or decelerate according to their engine rating, add or subtract that number to the current velocity of that ship, then move that number of spaces. Ships must move their current velocity. Ships can turn their facing by one after moving their entire allotment. The faster you're moving, the harder it is to turn. Ships that leave the hex grid are out of the game. Ships cannot share a hex; if this might occur, halt movement in the hex before.

Each weapon 'slot' can be fired once a turn. There is no restrictions on targets, or range limitations. A ship may fire at different targets with different weapons, although all targets must be declared before any rolling to hit. Damage is applied first to shields, then to the hull. Reducing hull to zero destroys the target. Targets given to destroyed ships are lost and cannot be reassigned.

Weapons rules are as follows:
Energy weapons: Roll 1D6 and get under the To-hit value for the firing ship. A successful hit deals the damage rating of the weapon
Missile weapons: Roll 1D6 and get under the To-hit value to get target lock. Missiles move at the current velocity of the ship +1 in the shooting phase of the ship that fired them and will home in on their target by the most direct route, going around obstacles like planets and other ships. When the missiles hit, they deal the damage rating of the weapon. Missiles can be targeted by other missiles and energy weapons and will be destroyed if hit by kinetics fire.
Kinetic weapons: Pick a linear direction along hexes, not a ship, roll 1D6 and get under the To-hit value to successfully fire. Kinetics move at the current velocity of the ship +5 in the shooting phase of the ship that fired them but only along their original trajectory. Anything in the hex when the kinetics arrive, or in a hex the kinetics pass through, is dealt the damage rating of the weapon and the shot is finished.

At the start of a ship's turn, roll 1D6 for each downed shield, on a 6 that shield regenerates.

Creating ships

Ships are created using Build Points, and limits set by your Client's tech level, to represent the limitations of the technologies:
Tech levelBuild PointsShip limitWeapon limit
Engine, Hull points, Shields and To-hit cost 1 point each, to a total maximum based on the Ship Limit set by your Tech level.

Tech Level E4 can split 8 build points between the 4 stats
Tech Level A3 can split 15 build points between the 4 stats

Weapon cost is based on type and damage
The damage is scored from 1 to 5 and then multiplied by the following: Energy x3, missile x2, projectile x1
The maximum build points that can be spent on a single weapon is listed in the table above.

Example ships:

Morthanveld Starliner (Tech level A3)
Engine: 3 Hull points: 4 Shield: 5 To-hit: 3 (Total ship points: 15)

Weapon 1: Energy 4 (12 points)
Weapon 2: Energy 1 (3 points)

Total cost for ship: 30 points

Terran Cruiser (Tech Tier E4)
Engine: 2 Hull points: 2 Shield: 0 To-hit: 3 (Total ship points: 7)

Weapon 1: Missile 2 (2 points)
Weapon 2: Missile 2 (2 points)
Weapon 3: Missile 2 (2 points)
Weapon 4: Missile 2 (2 points)

Total cost for ship: 15 points

Developer's Notes

Some points to ensure that the game is played in the spirit of the rules, even if the letter is OP or broken:
  • The hex grid is not to scale; in reality, higher orbit extends much further out from the planet and low orbit is typically less than a thousand kilometres.
  • Ships of 30+ points are giant behemoths, marvels of advanced technologies, or barely understood devices that can decimate planets and annihilate lesser fleets. These should not be considered typical warships.
  • Weapons have been heavily over-simplified. If your ship has banks of lasers, dozens of missile rack or cannons like hedgehog spines, then just give it a bigger damage rating. You can fire all your weapons every turn anyway
  • There might be rules for specialised weapons in the future, so don't complain that your mega-neutrino-lance has extra-special rules, or the robot-drone capsule isn't represented.
  • Lots of smaller weapons may be better than one big one. A good fleet will have mix of the two.
  • Ship sizes aren't considered, but the more ship points you have, the bigger than ship will be.