Friday, June 22, 2012

Another 5150: Star Navy playtest

I got together with Ed the THW Guy to playtest the latest version of 5150: Star Navy, the fleet battle game (go here for the EFP report on the battle).  This time we used actual fleets--he had 15 ships and I had 17 (but he had more of the larger ships than I did).  It was nice to be able to actually use such a large number of my starship models in one battle.  I took my favorite fleet, the red Terrans, to play as a Free Company.  Once again, Ed took the Avarians as models for the Hishen.
We rolled our reps and allocated weapons to our ships.  At the admiral level, you're concerned about the amount of guns, missiles, AA, shields, and hangars you can have on a vessel.  And this time we tested out the fighter rules.  Also, since some people had voiced concerns about making each ship fire at the closest enemy that hasn't been targeted, we deep-sixed that rule and said any ship could shoot at any other ship.
Ed had about 20% more ships than me, but those are the breaks in space battles.  We finished the game in a little over two-and-a-half hours, which included a lot of discussing and rules revisions.   
By the end of the game, Ed had only destroyed three or four of my ships, but others had been driven off because of all the fire they received.  I like the fact that starships don't remain on the board till their last hitpoint.  Instead, engine damage, seeing a sister ship or flagship destroyed, or even getting a hull hit can cause a ship to flee. 
The damage rules are based on the class of the ship that's firing, not the specific weapon.  So while a starship can put a whole lotta hurt on something its own size or smaller, attacks on larger ships won't do as much damage.  A lucky shot still has a chance of wreaking havoc, however, and might (on rare occasions) be enough to take a larger ship out of the game.  And larger ships can still withstand a lot of fire, even from ships of the same class.
The lethality of weapons and their interactions with defenses will hopefully make it apparent to players that they must bring a variety of ships to the battle, but they can create specialist craft to fill certain roles. 
After the game, we decided to institute some weapons ranges and tweak the fighter rules.  I still want to work on the movement system, to offer more tactical choices (and to make those choices meaningful), but I like where we're headed.

1 comment:

Gonsalvo said...

Sounds very encouraging!