Over winter break, I spent time reading through the space ship miniature combat games on Board Game Geek. I had no idea there were so many games. For example, check out the Tactical Startship Combat Geeklist. I have played a few of the more well known games, mostly at Carnage, including Star Fleet Battles, Federation Commander, and Firestorm Armada.
But I recently I’ve seen a number of discussions of the Star Wars and Star Trek themed star ship battle games that use the FlightPath maneuver system. It reminds me of Wings of War, to which my friend Ted introduced me some years ago. And because I have a number of Trek fans in my family, I treated myself to the Star Trek Attack Wing Starter Set.
The Star Trek Attack Wing Starter Set
Jamie and I played the quick start game, and then a game with the full rules. As you might expect with strategy games, Jamie won both battles. But there’s lots to like about this game. Not only is the FlightPath system quick and easy, but you add upgrades and crew to your ship(s) to provide additional capabilities and replay variety. It’s a lot of fun, very much in keeping with the Star Trek theme.
Of course, now I’m eyeing the next ships that I’ll be adding to the fleets. And I’ve even seen videos of people repainting their minis. Very cool.
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.
Our gaming getaway concluded on Sunday, and I’m thinking it was a good thing. Our room was located in a high-traffic area of the hotel, so we were roused frequently by late night gamer carousing — especially Beloved Wife, who is a light sleeper. Needless to say, we all were pretty tired.
NatureBoy and I were scheduled to play just one game, Star Trek Fleet Action from 10 am to 2 PM. After breakfast, packing and checking out, we headed to the dealer room where we picked up two D&D 3.5 books at 50% off: the Fiend Folio and Monster Manual III complete our monster sourcebooks collection. BW and NB also each got an oversized die. One dealer had some fun t-shirts, but we resisted the call to spend.
Star Trek Fleet Action was a mixed bag. It was a huge tactical miniatures game, with at least ten players controlling several spaceships each. All the players except one hadn’t played the game from which this homebrew rules set had been derived. The GM has lost his voice from running many games already, and the noisy room made it next to impossible to hear. And even though the players unanimously opted to go with his simplified rules, we still each received a 10-page (or so) booklet of the rules and reference charts. (I should have known when I saw that the GM had provided calculators.)