What we're talking about here is the next evolution of the 40k Space Combat game.
Space Fleet. Horrible, horrible game. Anyone disagree?
Now BFG has a loyal following, but I was never thrilled with the rules. In a nutshell, they were too abstract for me and deviated too far from the fluff. I dunno, I expected more. See, to have a really satisfying game of BFG where you can ignore the abstractness you need ...ta daaaa!!! A LOT of miniatures. Little things like treating fighters and bombers as expendable ordinance...I won' t go into it. BFG fans, I'm not dissin' you. I've got every rules version, every fan-generated pdf and a bucket of BFG minis.... I write this post hoping for a little bit more in this next incarnation.
I want a Space Combat system...
1. You can ignore. Lot of people just aren't interested. For those players, you need a very abstract yet extremely colorful system not reliant on minis, maps or anything. I'm not one of these people, but I respect the players who just want to "roll a few dice and tell me what happens" so they can get on with RPG'ing.
For those that like Space Combat:
2. More detail than BFG in keeping with the fluff. For instance, do away with abstract firepower ratings and have actual batteries of Plasma Cannons, Lances, Point Defense turrets, Macro Cannons, each with pros/cons and different purposes. Have more types of torpedos, in keeping with the original Rogue Trader. If I have a Pilot character and want to fly a Fighter, then it should be in there. Don't go overboard on the detail, as that would be easy to do, but more detail=more RPG flavor.
3. Easy Bookkeeping. Hey, some bookkeeping has to be involved. Can we have a system where all vital info and a big silohette of the ship is pre-printed on one page? I'm not saying copy SFB, but they did that part right.
4. A consistent rules system that's easy to remember after a couple beers. All the pertinant charts/tables on no more than 2-3 double sided sheets for reference.
5. A battle involving 2-3 Capital ships (and a few smaller ships, fighters, escorts, etc.) should be playable in about an hour, plus setup time.
6. There should be a role for as many types of characters as possible, even if on the same (especially if on the same...) ship. Some sort of RPG element and/or turn by turn decision making that keeps all players interested and that they are somehow affecting the outcome of the battle.
I'm worried about "Starship Construction". Ok, I'm all for "Starship Modification.." but it had better be easy to extrapolate from BFG stats to make traditionally existing ships.
Somebody else noted that one of the keys is to make a system where the Ship is a character in and of itself. I highly agree.
I had a bit more to say, but Fred is yelling "Yabba Dabba Do!", so I gotta go. I'll finish tomorrow. Chime in and let me (and more importantly FFG) know what you think.