Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday Starships: Kill Radius

I think everyone who plays wargames also has the urge, deep down, to be a game designer.  I'm no different, and I started working on a set of rules for the kind of starship combat game I'd like to play: simple, fast, and a minimum of recordkeeping.

I came up with Kill Radius: Quick and Dirty Starship Combat to scratch that itch.  The game is short, but not as short as I intended.  I originally wanted to keep the rules to two letter-sized pages (or one front and back), but it grew to almost four pages.

You can use any starship miniatures in your collection, but you do need a hex mat.  Recordkeeping is fairly simple--you can fit a whole fleet on one sheet of paper.  Ship design and combat is abstract, but I thought that was a good tradeoff in return for ease of play.  Kill Radius still needs some work, but when I playtested it last year, we had 30 ships on the table, from destroyers to dreadnoughts, and we played five turns in about three hours. I've revised it since then to make it play a little faster.

It keeps the vector movement system that most people I game with have said they enjoy.  I like the way maneuvering works in Kill Radius--you have to think where you want to be not just one turn, but several turns ahead.  In last year's playtest, we started out on opposite ends of the table's long axis, closed within a couple of turns, then drifted past one another, exchanging fire all the while.  Of course, then we both had several ships drift out of range (and even off the board), so we ended the game.

I have posted a preliminary version the rules on the Kill Radius web page, so take a look and tell me what you think.


Mik said...

Very cool, thanks for the rules!

pahoota said...

I've found simple rules to be the best in my homebrew efforts. I really like how your game boils the ships' capabilities down to a single number. Easy and functional. Cool stuff.