All right. We have a card-based positioning system. But how do we change our relative positions to other ships?
If this were a supplement for Saga Edition, I would say that in Initiative order, each pilot chooses a ship that he wishes to evade/pursue. Then both make an opposed Piloting-check. The winner gets to turn either his ship or the opposing ship one step. If the check is beaten by five or more, the winner gets two turns. Then the player whose turn it is shoots.
But let’s be more ambitious. Let’s try to make a whole tabletop game out of this.
First, what kind of experience do I want the players to have? From all the space combat simulations I have played, I-War managed to stand out with its realistic physics and how it handled a huge space ship. Rather than being a conventional dogfight, the ships had inertia and you had to take note to approach vectors and such. And rather than being prone to critical existence failures, the ship took damage, lost subsystems, started to drift and went on emergency power. Those are the things I want the player to experience.
Our ship will have several stations. Pilot, who flies the ship and shoots the guns. Engineer, who repairs the ship and reroutes power and Captain, who gives orders and boosts efficiency. Depending on the amount of players, they might have one or two different ships.
The Pilot will have his own Piloting Deck. The deck consists of maneuver-cards, which are used to perform maneuvers. Captain will have Orders and Engineer has Engineering cards. More details on those later.
The game turn consists of the Captains taking the initiative and giving out orders first. Then the Engineers boost the ships and repair damage caused by enemy fire. And finally the Pilots duke it out and outmaneuver each other. Each phase has some standard actions that anyone can do, plus the actions on the cards. I’ll take a look at each phase in detail later.
Now we have a basic mechanic structure for the game. Each phase will hopefully be short enough as to not bore the other players. But we still have some questions left, such as the following: Do I want this game to be a roleplaying game?
There is a game called Zombeja! Ovella! It is a weird zombie-based roleplaying game with a game board and a strict structure. I’ll tell you about the game in detail later, but for now I’ll point out its structure. The game always starts with the zombies being distant rumors and everything quite normal. As the game progressess, the zombies start getting more numerous, gain new abilities and become a grand threat that the survivors must overcome. In the final phase the zombies are everywhere and even the military cannot contain them. It is a cunning system. One that I will modify somewhat.
The players are mercenaries who have salvaged a working starship and are selling their services. There are three factions that give out missions for them to undertake. These missions advance their plans for sectorwide dominance. The players will uncover these plans in time and then must take sides in the final showdown. That is the basic premise, re-used in many starship games. In this game the missions are drawn from a mission deck, as are the plans of the factions.
So. I leave you with a card-based starship game with a strict plot and randomised details. I’ll flesh out the details in later posts, but for now, this is the concept.