Kill Radius: Quick & Dirty Starship Combat


Kill Radius is based on the axiom that the larger the starship, the longer its deadly reach.  This game uses a hex mat and can be played with any miniatures, as long as both players are clear on what type of vessel each mini represents.  Steer clear of the enemy’s Kill Radius!


  • d10: A ten-sided die.
  • Fighter: Group of one or more small craft (attack shuttle/drone salvo/fighter squad, etc.) conveyed aboard a specialized vessel (a carrier).
  • Movement Points: Represents the maneuverability of a vessel and varies according to its Number:
          NUMBER     MPs
           1-2        8
           3-4        6
           5-6        4
           7-8        3
           9-10       2
  • Number: Represents a ship’s weapons systems, defenses and ability to absorb damage and ranges from 1 to 10.  Damage can reduce a ship’s Number during the game; recovery can increase it.
  • Phase: One of ten sequential stages that occur during ship combat.
  • Ship: Any vessel larger than a fighter.  Each ship has a Number that can change during a game.
  • Vector: The distance and direction a ship must travel before it can maneuver.  Maneuvering during one turn changes a ship’s vector for the next turn.

Numbers & Ship Types

  1. star bomber, scout, courier
  2. armored pursuit ship, gunship, monitor
  3. corvette, destroyer, frigate
  4. destroyer leader, heavy destroyer 
  5. light cruiser, escort cruiser
  6. cruiser, heavy cruiser, escort carrier*
  7. battlecruiser, light carrier,* pocket battleship
  8. dreadnought, battleship, heavy carrier*
  9. attack carrier,* galactic dreadnought, heavy battleship
  10. super dimensional fortress,* super galactic dreadnought
*A carrier holds an amount of attack shuttles/drone salvos/fighter squads (“fighters”) equal to its Number. 

Playing the Game

Each turn consists of from one to ten ship combat phases, a recovery period, and a fighters segment.  Ships begin the game with a vector determined by scenario, player agreement, or die roll.

Ship Combat Phases

During each combat phase, players alternate moving and attacking with all their ships of the same Number (starting with the highest Number).  Roll to decide who goes first during each combat phase.  Once all ships of the highest Number have moved and attacked, repeat this phase for ships of the next-highest Number, until all ships have moved and attacked.


  1. Place marker on ship’s current hex and move ship according to current vector (mandatory).
  2. Maneuver ship (optional):
    • Each hex forward costs 1 MP (ship must move in direction it’s facing).
    • Instead of, or in addition to, moving forward, a ship may change one hex facing for every 2 MPs it has available.  NOTE: facing changes do not cost MPs.
    • A ship may move into or through a hex containing another ship or fighters.
    • Ships may stack (up to total Number of 7).
  3. Record ship’s distance and direction traveled from marker (its new vector); remove marker.

Movement examples

  1. A ship with 3 MP begins the turn facing southeast, headed south with a speed of 4 hexes (recorded as 4S).  During the movement phase, place a temporary marker in the ship’s hex and move it 4 spaces south.  The ship does not maneuver. The ship still faces southeast.  Counting from the marker, record the new vector as 4S.
  2. A ship with 5 MP begins the turn facing north, headed north with a speed of 4 hexes (recorded as 4N).  During the movement phase, place a temporary marker in the ship’s hex and move it 4 spaces north.  The ship maneuvers forward four hexes (4 MP). The ship still faces north.  Counting from the marker, record the new vector as 8N.
  3. A ship with 6 MP begins the turn facing north, headed north with a speed of 4 hexes (recorded as 4N).  During the movement phase, place a temporary marker in the ship’s hex and move it 4 spaces north.  The ship maneuvers two hex facings counterclockwise (0 MP), maneuvers forward three hexes (3 MP) and maneuvers another hex facing counterclockwise (0 MP, but the most it can turn because a 6 MP ship can only make three facing changes).  The ship now faces south.  Counting from the marker, record the new vector as 2N2NW.


Attacking ship rolls a d10 and adds its Number.  Target ship rolls a d10 and adds its Number and the range between the two ships.  If attacker's total is greater than target's total, target receives that much damage.  In mathematical terms:

     D = (Ad10 + A#) – (Td10 + T# + R)

Damage = (attacker’s d10 roll + attacker’s Number) –
         (target’s d10 roll + target’s Number + range)

 This breaks down as follows:
  1. Attacker chooses target and rolls a d10, adding attacker’s current Number
    • If an attacker (except a fighter) shoots into a hex with multiple ships, each ship in the hex (excluding fighters) rolls as a target (including friendlies).
    • An attacker shooting through a hex occupied by an enemy ship subtracts the enemy ship’s Number from its roll (due to ECM).
    • An attacker may make multiple attacks at less than full strength (but not 0); combined Number of attacks may not exceed attacker’s current Number (must declare all targets before firing). 
    • An attacker shooting into rear of a target other than a fighter adds 1 to its attack roll.
  2. Target rolls a d10, adding its current Number and adding the number of hexes between attacker and target—do not count the hex containing the attacker or the hex containing the target.
  3. Subtract target’s modified roll from attacker’s modified roll.
  4. If this number is positive, note the amount in the damage row for the current turn.  A target may be hit multiple times during the same or subsequent phases; record each hit in the damage column.
Once both players have moved and attacked with all their ships with the same Number, play out the combat phase for ships with the next highest Number.  Continue until all ships have moved and attacked.


  • Once all combat phases are complete, reduce the target’s Number for the next turn by the total damage inflicted during the current turn.
  • Because all shooting is considered to occur simultaneously, damage does not take effect until the start of the next turn.
  • Once damage takes effect, a target uses its current Number—not its starting Number—for all attack and defense rolls.
  •  When a ship’s Number drops to half its starting Number (round up), its MPs decrease by 1 (which may affect turning ability) and carriers cannot deploy fighters.
  • A ship is destroyed when its Number reaches 0.
  • Carriers use their current Number divided by 3 (round up) when rolling as attacker or defender.  
  • Unless otherwise specified in a scenario, all fighters start the game on board their carriers.  
  • During its phase, a carrier may deploy up to half its fighters (round down), up to 2 hexes away. 
  • Undeployed fighters are lost if their carrier is destroyed.

Attacking examples

  1. An attacker with a Number of 5 fires across two hexes at a target with a Number of 4.  The attacker adds 5 to his d10 roll.  The defender adds 4 plus 2 to his d10 roll. The attacker rolls 4 [+ 5] = 9.  The defender rolls 1 [+ 4 + 2] = 7.  Subtracting the defender’s 7 from the attacker’s 9 gives 2 points of damage, and the target’s Number is reduced by 2 (from 4 to 2) at the end of the current turn.  As the defender’s Number dropped to half its starting amount, the defender’s MPs are reduced by 1, from 6 to 5, and it may only make two hex facing changes per turn (down from three).  
  2. An attacker with a Number totaling 6 may make one attack with a Number of 6 or split its attacks: once with a Number of 3 across three hexes (d10 + 3) at a target with a Number of 2 (d10 + 2 + 3), once with a Number of 2 across three hexes (d10 + 2) at a target with a Number of 5 (d10 + 5 + 3), and once with a Number of 1 across 0 hexes (d10 + 1) at a target with a Number of 1 (d10 + 1 + 0).
  3. An attacker with a number of 7 fires across three hexes at a hex containing one ship with a Number of 3, two ships with a Number of 1, and two fighters (not escorting) with a Number of 0.  The attacker rolls d10 + 7 once, and each target makes a separate roll (one at d10 + 3 + 3, two at d10 + 1 + 3, and the two fighters at d10 + 3).
  4. An attacker with a number of 8 fires across two hexes at a target with a Number of 5 escorted by three fighters.  The attacker rolls d10 + 8, and the target rolls d10 + 5 (Number) + 2 (range) + 3 (escorting fighters).

Recovery Period

Once all ships have moved and attacked, roll a d10 for every damaged ship.  If a ship rolls its starting Number or less, that ship recovers by increasing its current Number by 1, up to its starting Number (this may allow a ship to regain MPs as well). This represents a ship’s automated repair systems, damage control parties, or astromechs. If a ship’s Number falls below half its starting Number, the ship cannot make a recovery roll.

Recovery examples

  1. A ship with a beginning Number of 8 had its Number fall to 4, which reduced its MPs to 2.  During the recovery period, the ship rolls an 8.  The ship’s Number climbs to 5 and its MPs increase by 1 (back to 3).
  2. A ship with a beginning Number of 3 had its Number fall to 2, which reduced its MPs to 5.  During the recovery period, the ship rolls a 6.  The ship’s Number does not increase this turn.

Fighters Segment

If any fighters have been deployed, players resolve their actions according to the rules below.  If no fighters are on the board, the turn ends.


  • Fighters deploy during the phase in which their carrier is active, in the same hex as the carrier, but fighters do not take action until the fighters segment.
  • Fighters do not count toward stacking.
  • Once deployed, fighters do not move or attack conventionally.  Instead, during the fighters segment, players alternate moving each deployed fighter up to 12 hexes. 
  • Fighters placed in a hex with enemy fighters must dogfight.  Fighters placed in a hex with an enemy ship must assault.  Fighters placed in a hex with a friendly ship will escort.  Fighters placed in an empty hex are on patrol.
    • Dogfight: Once all fighters have been placed, each player rolls d10 per fighter and compares the highest roll, the second-highest roll, and so on.  If one player has more fighters than the other, those extra rolls are ignored.  Each winning roll destroys one enemy fighter.  In case of a tie, the fighters both remain in the hex.  Resolve dogfights before resolving any assaults.  If a fighter moves into a hex already occupied by a fighter or fighters, the moving fighter “pins” those fighters already in the hex, and they may not move out of the hex except when they are removed to refuel and reload.
    • Assault: After any dogfights have been resolved, the attacker rolls d10 per surviving fighter and totals the results, comparing with the defending ship’s defense roll.  
    • Escort: Escorting fighters move with the ship and must dogfight any enemy fighters placed in the ship’s hex before the enemy fighters can assault.  Also, each escorting fighter adds 1 to any defense roll for that ship against other ships due to ECM.  
    • Patrol: Patrolling fighters may be attacked by conventional ships and defend in the normal manner, with a Number of 0.
  • After taking part in two fighter segments, a fighter is removed from the board during the phase of a friendly carrier (it’s recovered by the carrier to refuel and reload), even if there are still enemies in the same hex.
  • Recovered fighters may be redeployed after one turn on board their carrier.
  • A carrier can only hold an amount of fighters equal to its current number; additional recovered fighters must have another carrier to land on; if not, they are lost.

Fighters examples

  1. The first player has two fighters in an otherwise empty hex.  The second player places three fighters in that hex, triggering a dogfight.  The first player rolls 6 and 3.  The second player rolls 5, 3, and 2.  Comparing the highest rolls, the first player wins, so the second player removes one fighter.  Comparing the second-highest rolls, the players tie, so the remaining first player’s fighter stays on the board, along with both the second player’s fighters (since the second player’s third fighter had no opponent to beat it, the players ignore the roll of 2).

Ending the Game

Play continues until one side meets the agreed upon victory conditions.  Examples include: destroy a certain percentage of the opposing fleet, control a designated sector of the map, exit a certain percentage of your ships off a specified map edge, etc.  Optionally, each player may choose a different victory condition to achieve within a certain number of turns (or assign one to the opponent); if neither player meets his or her condition when the time limit is reached, the game is a draw.

Kill Radius © 2012 by Desert Scribe


Unknown said...

Just found your cool game, but having trouble understanding do you slow down, it don't you???

Desert Scribe said...

Hi paul,

Glad you like the game. To slow down, you have to pivot your ship in the other direction and then apply thrust, just like in the old video game Asteroids.