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PzVIE

Space Combat ... yeah, I know, again. But I still don't get it.

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I slowly got used to space combat in this system. I read a lot of posts here and finally thought I understood it (not sure if I ever did).

My interpretation was/is, that the PC's ship is in a relative position to all other ships. So, if three groups of TIEs are approaching from Short range, the PCs can Maneuver away from them, but only from one group, right? So after the maneuver, one group is Medium range and the other two are still Short. On the TIE's turn, each TIE group can try to maneuver back to the PC's ship and - if in range - fire. 

I guess I got that one right. At least I hope so. Otherwise, everything I wrote below is obsolete.

 

But, in Friday's game, we had a situation where nobody had a clue who this should be solved according to the rules:

We played the final pages of Beyond the Rim, and the group escaped from Raxus Prime with three ships: the CR90 Corvette, their own YT-1300 and an old X-Wing which belonged to IsoTech. So on the PCs side there were three ships.

They were attacked by three groups of TIE fighters as well as an Imperial Patrol Vessel. Now, when the YT-1300 maneuvers away from the IPV, the other enemy ships - the TIEs - stay in the same range; they just opened a gap between their 1300 and the IPV. But what about the X-Wing and the CR90? They still are in the same position to the IPV as they were before. Now if the X-Wing and the CR90 each maneuvers away from a different group of TIEs, how would you visualize, narrate and of course, memorize that? We use a sheet with range bands, but in fact, given that each friendly ship is in their own relative position to each enemy group, you would need in fact three sheets with range bands and need also to memorize how far the allied ships are apart from each other. Right?

 

Our heads spun after the session; we surely did something wrong, but we tried to help ourselves by using narrative elements to solve the situation. However, we would love to discuss this situation with rule-pros; how would experience GMs handle such situations? 

I'm having trouble with the basic concept already: on one hand, you have a very detailed system with nitpicking points of damage, system strain and available maneuvers and actions; but on the other hand, I so often hear "forget it, use advantages to narrate events and don't bother". That does not really work for me; it's somewhat unsatisfactory ... either you have rules, talents, skills, and abilities that help you, or, you forget all the stuff, simply roll and invent situations as you see fit. The latter is also very likely unpopular with the players. 

 

I would appreciate any advise from the pros here!

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Just try and pick one ship and ground the encounter around it. I can wrap my head around trying to keep track of 5+ ships because Im a commodore junkie however I advise you to pick one ship and think of everything happening around it. Just keep track of its postition relative to everything else and give a range band and direction to everything. It helps when I introduce space combat to new guys

 

Or 

 

You could do what me and a other GM do when us capship and starfighter escorts do during massive battles and pull out a d&d mat and translate squares to range bands. It varies from party to party in interepretations but if you type it out and say "The is gun can only fire this many squares" or "This ship traveling at speed two can only travel 2 squares in one" Hope that helps from the space junkie. 

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On 9/1/2019 at 3:31 AM, PzVIE said:

So, if three groups of TIEs are approaching from Short range, the PCs can Maneuver away from them, but only from one group, right?

GM/Player/narrative call. Considering how large range bands are and how the system works you can allow the players to close with one group showing them as making a maneuver to try and isolate it, or make them all flying in tight formation so the player has to close with all, or whatever makes sense in the context.

 

On 9/1/2019 at 3:31 AM, PzVIE said:

 

I would appreciate any advise from the pros here!

Let me ask you this: How do you handle movement and positions in a Melee fight? What do you narrate to prevent it from just being everyone making a Melee check until one side is koed?

Starship combat, after all is said and done, is really just a modified Melee fight.  So what you do to keep a sword or lightsaber don't exciting and managed work here too. 

Really that's the big catch. Starship combat is expected to be this big system that accounts for all this special movement and action. However since FFG went with a huge scale that can accommodate a Super Star Destroyer, the system is actually a lot simpler than it appears.

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Eh, yeah.  What they said.

I haven't had to run a space combat encounter with multiple ships* (as my players aren't really interested in that aspect of the game) but to help the players visualize and keep track of massive ship based combat, we use FFG's X-Wing mini's to great effect.

But I also find myself using other RPG and tactical game references to help me understand and limit space combat so that it's consistent and plausible.

 

I am reminded of my experience with an old Star Trek space combat game kit that I picked up.  I remember studying the game intently and not understanding the rules well at ALL.  There were a lot of assumptions that were just missing from the game and it didn't really make any sense and I had to (as the GM) sort out what was available and make up rules to fill in the gaps.

I found out MUCH later that the game designer had assumed that the players were familiar with and understood the basics of ADB's Star Fleet Battles . . .

The moral of the story is to feel free to adapt the rules as needed to fit your needs.

 

As for a recommendation, I HIGHLY recommend GM's to go check out the original SJ Games Car Wars to get a REALLY good understanding of vehicular movement and combat.  And while that game is too clunky and slow to use purely as a combat sim for an RPG it WILL give you a good understanding of how vehicles behave when things go pear shaped.  I just checked out Warehouse 23 and you can pick up the Car Wars Compendium for just under $15.00 in pdf format.  (For a primer or if you are short on cash, you can pick up Car Wars Classic for just $6.00 [again in a pdf format]).  

 

* Actually I have run a handful of encounters with a VCX-100 & shuttle, but I just position the ships on the star mat in relation to each other.  The other thing that helped was that the shuttle was being piloted by a rank amateur who shouldn't be behind the HOTAS, and they spent considerable time fighting to keep the shuttle from crashing . . .  But I digress.  This hasn't been an issue that I've had to REALLY deal with yet so take this block of advice with a due quantity of Sodium Chloride.  If you want you can use Mono Sodium Glutimate too as it's just as good.  ;)

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On 9/9/2019 at 9:56 PM, Bellona said:

HOTAS?

According to Google/Wikapedia:

Hands On Throttle-And-Stick

HOTAS, an acronym of Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, is the name given to the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle lever and flight control stick in an aircraft's cockpit, allowing pilots to access vital cockpit functions and fly the aircraft without having to remove their hands from the controls.

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