When we attended Carnage in November, NatureBoy and I played in a huge game based on the Star Fleet Battles, a tactical space ship combat system set in the Star Trek Universe. The rules were dense, even for a stream-lined homebrew, and once combat was engaged, it took twenty minutes to resolve a single round.
One aspect of the game that I found really intriguing involved movement. Rates of travel were constant, and you could accelerate or decelerate on you turn by half you current movement, and your rate of movement affected how quickly and tightly you could maneuver. If you weren’t careful, you could fly right off the edge of the map.
Skip forward to December. I am placing my pre-order for the Mouse Guard RPG at Indie Press Revolution, and I noticed a game in the sidebar called Warcosm – Victory in the Stars. Curious, I took a closer look. The description promised an easy-to-learn, stream-lined ruleset for battles with counters or minis. The price was reasonable, so I tossed it (book and pdf bundle) in my cart, too.
The game came in a large plastic envelope, and included the booklet, three 11×17 hex map sheets, card sheets of ship counters, and a d10. I also have the electronic package, which has PDFs of the rules, counters, and hex maps, and a TrueType font with the symbols for making your own ship stat blocks.
The game book is all of twenty pages, and includes rules for ship combat, fighter combat, scenarios, and ship design, as well as a rules summary sheet (on just one side of an 8½×11 sheet). The rules were a pretty quick read, and relatively clear and concise. The ship counters are printed on cereal-box-style heavy card; a good pair of scissors and a steady hand worked just fine to cut them out.
Here’s a section of the first game scenrio, showing the stats for two identical ships:
Compare that to a sample sheet from the Star Fleet Battles game:
There are times when I like lots of crunch, and I may pick up Star Fleet Battles at some point. But I like the streamlined rules and simpler stats in Warcosm. In the rather brief game NatureBoy and I played of the first Warcosm scenario, game play was quite fast. We did have a question about whether the critical hit and chain reaction rules would be compounding. I found a message board on the Precis Intermedia website that I’ll review for clarification.
I was slightly disappointed by the movement rules, which are the more typical “move up to X hexes per turn.” But I did find that the game author has posted a set of Alternate Movement rules which work more like those in Star Fleet battles. I’m looking forward to playing again and trying these new rules out.
The other idea I had is to make small ship minis with polymer clay. But that will have to wait until the Wiz-War project is completed.