Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Starships: In action!

As I said yesterday, I had fun at South Texas Mini-Con.  For me, the highlight was running my second-ever game of Starfleet Wars.  I had designed a scenario for up to six people, but the early hour and relatively long drive for players meant I only had three other individuals there at the designated time. 
In order to have an even number of factions, I joined in to make it four players.  While I had enough ships to represent each of the Five Powers (plus my Terran White Fleet as a rebel faction), I ended up using just the Aquarian, Avarian, Carnivoran, and Entomalian forces and left the two Terran fleets in the box (sorry, Scott!).  You'll notice I also had calculators for everyone, as there's some (simple) math involved in Starfleet Wars.
The players were all familiar to me: Chris of the Hill Cantons played the Avarians; Chip "da Baron" directed the Carnivorans; Joe, our host for the Johnny Reb games I've blogged about, took the Entomalians; and I had the Aquarians.  The objective of the game was to gain control of a mysterious alien artifact of the ancient Mag'Uph'Un Empire that all four competing fleets had coincidentally encountered at exactly the same time.
As the battle commenced, the Entomalians split up, with the cruisers streaking toward the objective, while the battlecruisers veered toward the Aquarians.  Meanwhile, the Avarians and Carnivorans ignored the alien space station and started duking it out at long distance, as they began to close the gap.
The bug cruiser made it to the alien installation, but the scenario called for the player to make a roll on the Starfleet Wars boarding chart to actually gain control of the facility.  Joe ended up missing three boarding rolls in a row, leading to quips from Chip and Chris about the Entomalians skipping the airlock and looking for cracks in the foundation to crawl in, and me cracking myself up with a joke about an Ento pushing on a door with a big sign reading "PULL."
Long story short, with more manpower (bugpower) from the rest of their flotilla, the Entomalians eventually picked the lock and gained control of the space station.  While other players could have attempted to board and take it over themselves, we were all busy shooting each other up (OK, I had my Aquarians running away most of the time), and the bugs possessed the artifact as time ran out.  I had lost my battlecruiser, but I still had one cruiser and my destroyer, which was limping along at 10% capacity.  Although the birds and cats each still had their battlecruisers, so did the Entos.  More importantly, since Joe had been the only player to bother with reaching the objective, he was the clear victor in this scenario.
None of the other participants had ever played Starfleet Wars, and while they missed the vector movement of Galactic Knights, they all enjoyed the simplicity of SfW, which still required difficult resource management decisions.  And even though tracking power usage meant sometimes consulting the calculators, we still got through a 12-turn, four-player game in about three hours.  I will definitely be playing this game again, and maybe running it at the next con I attend.

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