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"Slugthrowers in space" Topic

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tkdguy09 Feb 2014 3:22 a.m. PST

In my space combat games, the spacecraft are armed with railguns rather than lasers. Missiles are also available, of course.

I am aware of the military's progress on laser weapons, but I decided to stick to ballistics for my campaign, mainly because lasers are already done to death in space combat games and shows. I also drew inspiration from shows like Firefly and the new Battlestar Galactica, where bullets seem to be the norm.

That doesn't go too well with one of my players, but the other regular player doesn't seem to mind. So out of curiosity, what do you guys think of it?

1. Yuck! Beam weapons only, please.
2. A mix of ballistic and beam weapons would be best.
3. I don't care either way.
4. It sounds intriguing; I'd try it.
5. Cool! I'd play that game.

Edit: Apologies for cross-posting this in the Renaissance Discussion board. I meant to put it in the SF Discussion board, and I couldn't correct my error.

Dynaman878909 Feb 2014 4:36 a.m. PST

1 but conditional. Ballistics are too slow to hit a target at any "long" range that can use thrusters. If you have missiles and use guns as point defense then that works. GURPS Spaceships has an excellent writeup on this.

kreoseus209 Feb 2014 4:39 a.m. PST

I prefer slug throwers to beam weapons. I wouldn't mind a mix of rail guns and mabye some unreliable or prototype beam weapons.

Is this part of an FTL or STL campaign ?


warwell09 Feb 2014 6:02 a.m. PST


I like Star Trek's mix of beam weapons with heavier hitting torpedoes.

So far, in my solo starfighter games link I use beam weapons for starfighter vs. starfighter combat and then torpedoes for starfighter attacks on capital ships.

Ron W DuBray09 Feb 2014 6:28 a.m. PST

weapons are weapons, It just does not matter, but you can bank a shot of bullets around a moon or planet. bullets can also be nukes Xray lasers or missile/smart mines. you can also fire a cloud of shots into a zone to force the other guy to turn away from it or take a lot of damage.

Jamesonsafari09 Feb 2014 6:47 a.m. PST

I think a mix would work best. A laser can be defeated by a mirrored finish which can be holed by a projectile which can be defeated by armour which can be beaten by a heavier missile which can be stopped by a laser or cloud of gravel. It's a bit of a rock paper scissors lizard spock thing in my mind.

TNE230009 Feb 2014 8:09 a.m. PST

the designer's notes for GDW's Brilliant Lances

points out a few real life issues with using lasers for space combat (about half way down / search for 'focus')

emckinney09 Feb 2014 9:40 a.m. PST

Such as a reflective coating just not working at all. UV laser instead of visibly light and it doesn't reflect. 99.9% effectiveness in the reflectivity? The reflective surface blows off you're vulnerable.

Mako1109 Feb 2014 12:40 p.m. PST

I'm fine with it, but as mentioned, it's pretty much useful only at close-in, "boarding action" distances, in most cases, unless you are launching buckets of sand, or ball bearings at the enemy.

tkdguy09 Feb 2014 12:44 p.m. PST

Thanks for the replies. My campaign is STL, limited to our solar system. Point defenses are used, similar to the CIWS. Railguns and coilguns are the big guns, but missiles are used for longer ranges.

I've been using the Starmada Compendium,, although I've used Full Thrust Light. I may convert to Starmada Nova. For the most part, it's just a matter of renaming the beam weapons as projectiles while keeping the mechanics the same.

Coelacanth09 Feb 2014 2:05 p.m. PST

My vote would be for option 2.

Space weapons article at the Atomic Rockets website: link


haywire09 Feb 2014 3:00 p.m. PST

You need a mix. Ballistic (Kinetic Kill), Missiles, Laser, etc…

Pedrobear09 Feb 2014 8:03 p.m. PST

It really depends on the rules, doesn't it?

Most of the computer games I played have the beam-slug-missile vs shield-armour-point defence combo in a rock-paper-scissors kind of thing.

In most rules beam and slugs hit instantaneously or in the same turn, while missiles and torpedoes may take more than one turn to hit the target.

If you are using Starmada, then perhaps you can rule that there are no shields and only armour to reflect your vision?

tkdguy09 Feb 2014 11:21 p.m. PST

That's basically my set-up, although I tend to equate shields to armor in Starmada Compendium, since armor doesn't protect as much, and mass drivers do extra hull damage. I can change that in the Nova edition, although I can still use shields to represent a glancing blow. I have built a few ships without shields using the Nova edition.

Mac163809 Feb 2014 11:33 p.m. PST

What Board am I on !!!!!

tkdguy11 Feb 2014 11:12 p.m. PST

I was hoping the thread would be moved out of the Renaissance thread, but I guess not. Sorry again for the mistake, guys.

tkdguy27 Feb 2014 10:40 a.m. PST

Just to show you some of my write-ups:

Spacecraft built using the Starmada Compendium: link

Spacecraft built using the Starmada Nova Edition: link

I used MJ12's Drydock programs for these.

billthecat14 May 2014 12:23 p.m. PST

Are those Italian flintlock lasers or French matchlock plasma emitters?

tkdguy26 May 2014 5:17 p.m. PST

Are those Italian flintlock lasers or French matchlock plasma emitters?

Neither; they're Ottoman wheellock mass drivers! evil grin

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