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"Gaming The Expanse" Topic

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1,657 hits since 19 Mar 2017
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RTJEBADIA19 Mar 2017 11:27 a.m. PST

Anyone gaming The Expanse?

I'd imagine you could do space combat (Perhaps Squadron Strike or AV:T, though IIRC Expanse is much less laser-dominated than AV:T-- any other rules I'm not thinking of?) and man-to-man skirmishes (you'd need good rules for zero-g and tight spaces, as well as rules for low gravity, mag boots, and normal gravity).

Prince Rupert of the Rhine19 Mar 2017 12:09 p.m. PST

A guy over on the Lead Adventure forum has been painting up a few miniatures for it might be worth checking out his thread


TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 12:34 p.m. PST

I've seen a lot of oooing and ahhhing of the ships, but nothing about gaming same yet.


emckinney19 Mar 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

AV:T won't work without major modifications (and the physics of the the missiles in the TV show are wrong).

With Squadron Strike's extensive ability to design your own ships, you can get a pretty close approximation without too much problem.

mwindsorfw Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2017 1:06 p.m. PST

A sci-fi show got the physics wrong?

RTJEBADIA19 Mar 2017 1:30 p.m. PST

What was wrong with the missiles? Been awhile since I've seen anything.

RTJEBADIA19 Mar 2017 1:31 p.m. PST

Just saw Voidstrike from another thread--might work, no?

And what modifications to AV:T would be necessary, do you think?

Mobius19 Mar 2017 2:11 p.m. PST

They are firing like 20mm cannons at each other and the ships have no armor as the projectiles are going right through each other. You might think some could armor up as their engines seem to be so powerful they can kill their crew by acceleration.

wminsing Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 2:35 p.m. PST

The small cannons are some sort of coil gun with muzzle velocities in the several thousand meters per second range.


wminsing Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 2:36 p.m. PST

A sci-fi show got the physics wrong?

It gets a lot less wrong than most.


Mako1119 Mar 2017 2:49 p.m. PST

I'm not, though it seems like good inspiration and excuses for games. Lots of decent scenario options.

Spaceships are essentially beer cans with engines strapped on, much like modern, and/or near-modern ships would be, which is interesting for the crews in combat

Survivability for them seems to be overly optimistic perhaps, for those in combat, since I don't see how you could repair that much damage, and that many holes, and still get home in one piece.

Surviving in a spacesuit for more than a day or three seems rather improbable after the combat depicted, but other than that, it's fun to watch.

Daricles19 Mar 2017 2:55 p.m. PST

The limited amount of ship to ship combat depicted in the show so far seems to indicate that ship to ship combat is pretty much a mutually assured destruction scenario.

The weapons seem to be orders of magnitude more effective than defensive systems.

It seems like the probable outcome of any battle can be determined in advance based on the relative starting positions and velocities of the engaged units with the deciding factor largely being who has more ships and, perhaps, who can fire more shots before their inevitable destruction. i.e. Who can kill the enemy ships faster.

wminsing Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 3:28 p.m. PST

Also remember that in the show timeline, there hadn't been a major space war fought yet. That means that everyone is pretty much operating off of theory rather than experience.


tkdguy19 Mar 2017 3:38 p.m. PST

I use Starmada Compendium for my near future games. The mass drivers in the game would work well for the cannons in The Expanse. The EM railguns would be a spinal mount weapon. I'd use drones or phoenix missiles to represent the missiles in the Expanse.

nvdoyle19 Mar 2017 5:32 p.m. PST


RTJEBADIA19 Mar 2017 6:10 p.m. PST

I wouldn't say it is MAD, per se, although a head to head fight between actual navies would be fairly Lanchesterian and the fear of such a fight is indeed similar to MAD (though at that point the weapons include IPBM-- interplanetary ballistic missiles-- it seems most 'warships' are actually more like patrol cruisers for force projection and policing). I don't see this as bad for gaming, in fact the feinting you might see at a fleet scale seems pretty interesting to me (as the offensive power being greater than the defensive power is primarily at CQB, not at normal ranges-- but committing to CQB is basically guaranteeing high casualties, so you have to pick the right times to do that, possibly based on imperfect info, as it seems clear that sensor technology hasn't greatly downscaled or anything, so AWACS-sorta command and sensor ships are necessary).

It's just different from conventional "boats in space" sorta space combat, closer to air combat perhaps.

Parzival19 Mar 2017 6:21 p.m. PST

I have some old home brew rules for near-future combat, though they're not designed for the particular setting, and I admit to "goosing" the physics here and there. I've also only watched the first season so far, so don't know what all might match with my proposed future tech.
These are in a very "'90s" style, using hexes and a modified, more detailed Triplanetary type vector movement system.
Might have to dig 'em out.

Mardaddy19 Mar 2017 8:13 p.m. PST

It is a more realistic portrait of early space combat having the crew get into their EVA suits before the battle because it is only a matter of HOW MUCH the ship will be riddled with holes, not, "will it be?"

David Johansen19 Mar 2017 9:31 p.m. PST

Triplanetary GDW

nvdoyle19 Mar 2017 10:31 p.m. PST

You know, I think David Johnson is on to something​ there. Limited burns, gun combat, just need to make missiles more important.

kabrank20 Mar 2017 5:08 a.m. PST

Not yet seen any episodes but several of the books have good descriptions of the ship combat and tactics etc

Darkest Star Games Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

I'd go with either Voidstrike, or Lightening Strike (1 or 2) from DP9. I don't recall there being a build system in LS or LS2, but the combat between ships was dern pretty good.

Balthazar Marduk20 Mar 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

Keep in mind that the Rocinante is an atmosphere capable corvette that's built for speed and firepower. She is carried by a larger and more heavily armed and armored battleship when they find her… She's not meant to be put through the paces like the crew have put her through. She's not meant to sustain serious damage. The Rocinante relies on speed… The stealth ships rely on stealth. Nukes also complicate things.

SBminisguy20 Mar 2017 10:34 a.m. PST

For the man-to-man stuff, the 5150: Star Marine rules from Two Hour Wargames would be a great fit -- they have rules for boarding actions and boarding countermeasures (locking down compartments, blowing atmosphere, combat hacking, etc.), zero-G movement and combat, vacuum and hostile atmospheres, etc.


Paint it Pink20 Mar 2017 11:06 a.m. PST

Before seeing the first two episodes of The Expanse, I had thought that Jovian Chronicles would be a good place to start, but I've reframed my expectations of the series from hard SF to Space Opera.

Dynaman878920 Mar 2017 3:46 p.m. PST

The Roci is a small ship but even the Martian battleships, the largest and newest combat vessels, get holed quite readily when hit by the railgun rounds – one goes right through a character's head in the first season. The rounds don't do a lot of damage unless they hit something important however.

Balthazar Marduk20 Mar 2017 4:19 p.m. PST

Well, I haven't watched the show, but in the book the characters are listening to the battle and getting information about it based on vibrations and rattling and stuff. They determined that the enemy got into CQC range because the railgun was being used… And in-universe, railguns are B.A. ship killers. Getting holed by a antiship railgun doesn't seem that crazy to me.

Mobius20 Mar 2017 9:44 p.m. PST

The first season had more missiles and they were the most deadly. The stealth ships have them. The Martian combat ship Rocinante doesn't have any but uses the auto-cannon. Apparently it is for close range.

Apparently the projectile are not APHE nor are they DU or tungsten.

At least there is no time travel nor Qs.

SBminisguy22 Mar 2017 7:11 a.m. PST

Here are a couple of AARs for 5150 Star Marine:

1. In which the desirability of wearing a full pressure suit while boarding a hostile ship is discovered:


2. In which the advantages of Exo Armor become apparent:


billclo22 Mar 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

I don't see why Full Thrust couldn't be easily adapted if you use the Project Continuum rules.

Use short range K-guns, Martian military hulls have 4-rows, Belter ships have mostly 5-row hulls, all use point defense systems, salvo missiles or rocket pods. No armor, no screens, no FTL obviously. Vector movement might be a good idea, though I don't use it, some folk do.

Balthazar Marduk22 Mar 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

Mobius, that's weird man… In the book, the Rocinante is slathered with external torpedo tubes and they even strap on a keel mounted railgun.

tkdguy22 Mar 2017 1:02 p.m. PST

The Rocinante did shoot a couple of missiles in the 2nd season. The first was to shoot down a ship whose crew was trying to escape with the protomolecule. The second was to try to send the remaining protomolecule into the sun.

Balthazar Marduk23 Mar 2017 2:22 p.m. PST

I see now that the books diverge from the show at that point.

Mobius23 Mar 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

tkdguy, you are right. Forgot about those missiles.

tkdguy23 Mar 2017 10:28 p.m. PST

I wrote up the spaceships in my campaign a long time ago and posted them in SCN. I think they'd fit in the Expanse universe. Here are the write-ups for Starmada Compendium and Full Thrust.


Feel free to use them if you find them useful.

For the man-to-man stuff, I may use FUBAR or even Classic Traveller. I thought about using GURPS, but Traveller has a quicker build and is easier to manage in skirmish situations.

chromedog11 Apr 2017 2:44 a.m. PST

Roci had torps in S1 (they got mentioned but not used).
They are also in Leviathan wakes (book 1 – likewise, not used).

Otherwise, it has PDCs (the retractable gatlings) and several books later, a keel mounted railgun retrofitted.

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