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"Vector Movement" Topic

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Oldgrumbler28 Nov 2018 7:59 p.m. PST

Do many people play fleet battles with vector movement? I haven't tried it but it is appealing. I am concerned that it may be too slow. I am thinking of using the vector movement system in Starships (on Wargame Vault) for my Colonial Battlefleet games.


Skrapwelder28 Nov 2018 8:07 p.m. PST

Have you looked at Mayday, the old Traveller rules for space combat. I remember their movement was vector based and it was supposed to be a relatively quick playing game.

SBminisguy28 Nov 2018 8:51 p.m. PST

You have a couple of systems you can try. The most "hard science" system is Ad Astra's Attack Vector: Tactical and their Squadron Strike games that do both vector and 3d movement.

I think Voidstriker also does vector movement.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2018 8:58 p.m. PST

GDW's Triplanetary is the original vector movement system (hex based). Recently reprinted via Kickstarter by Steve Jackson Games.

GOBS offers a vector movement system, though honestly it's an add-on option. I know it works because I developed it for an entirely different game and just "ported" it over, but I really didn't test it with the large fleets that GOBS is intended for; I rather suspect it would be too cumbersome beyond a dozen or so ships. But it's there!

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2018 9:28 p.m. PST

Even the original Traveller starship combat rules had vector movement, with paper and pencil. They were pretty easy, but I liked Mayday for the simplicity of uses hexes.

Attack Vector Tactical and Squadron Strike are a little mind-bending but pretty well thought out after you've played a couple of games.

Dexter Ward29 Nov 2018 3:03 a.m. PST

Full Thrust has an optional vector-based movement system which is simple and works well. Very good set of rules altogether.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Nov 2018 5:38 a.m. PST

Ages ago my group ran a large-scale Traveller's campaign with some pretty big battles using vector movement. The games worked, but sadly a lot of the players had trouble grasping the TACTICS that needed to be used with the system. There were many times when players, anxious to come to grips with the enemy, built up vectors way too large and went flashing past their enemies and had to spend most of the game turning around to come back again :) I remember one time where one fellow, misjudging the vectors, wasted a huge number of missiles which just couldn't make the intercept of the target. So a vector system can work, but you really need to study how it all works and plan turns ahead.

Dynaman878929 Nov 2018 5:52 a.m. PST

the easiest method is to have two counters (or counter and mini, etc…) for each ship. The mini is where the ship is, the counter is where the ship will be next turn. Your thrust points can move the counter a number of inches. Measure from the mini to the counter and continue the line to double the distance. Place the counter at the double distance spot and place the mini where the counter was.

Gravity wells will be a bit of a pain. How quickly or slowly it plays is based on the amount of thrust (changing vectors by a foot can be a problem) but far more so on the players – some people just can not grasp vector movement.

Allen57 Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2018 9:06 a.m. PST

I devised a system which was supposed to emulate the effect of vector movement without all the measures and mechanics of same. The game was based on hexes. A ship pointed to a hexside. At the start of the turn it could increase its speed by the thrust value of the ship. It had to move its full movement speed and each hexside turned during its move reduced its speed by 25% of what its speed was at the start of the turn. This system resulted in a teardrop shaped area which a ship could reach with the tip of the teardrop ahead of the ship. Reduction in speed was done by turning.

Oldgrumbler29 Nov 2018 10:48 a.m. PST


The system you describe is the one in Starships. You place a counter at the point that the ships current momentum will take it to. You are allowed to move to within X" of this point where X = the inches of Thrust available to the ship. The ship will end up facing with its tail to the original point that momentum would've taken it to. It seems really simple, but definitely takes getting used to or your enemy will not be in the proper arc of fire.

Oldgrumbler29 Nov 2018 11:20 a.m. PST

Here are the movement rules that I plan on testing tomorrow:

VECTOR MOVEMENT for Colonial Battlefleet
When necessary the ship's facing will be adjusted by the minimum amount so that they will always face a hexside.
Place a counter on the hex that the ship's current momentum will take it to on its next move (called the Momentum Point, MP.) The counter may be shifted slightly so as to be in the center of a hex. The player may freely determine the shift so long as he minimizes it.
A ship must move to a hex that is within a defined range of hexes which is:
(6 ship size) + Delta = Destination hex range
So a size 5 battleship with a Delta of 1 must move into a hex that is within 2 hexes of its MP.
When placed in its Destination Hex (DH) it will be faced so that its rear will point toward its MP. When in its DH it may then change facing by up to 1 hexside for each point of Delta that it has.

Toaster29 Nov 2018 4:38 p.m. PST

I ran a quick playtest of the voidstriker (I think) vector movement rules with Colonial Battlefleet a number of years ago and it seemed to work well. I may have even posted about it on the SDG forum.


Lion in the Stars30 Nov 2018 8:56 a.m. PST

Honestly, I think Ad Astra made vector movement easiest to understand. It's still complex, but the game handles most of the heavy lifting.

I'd get Squadron Strike, assuming you want to build your own ships. Attack Vector: Tactical is locked into that universe, you need to understand calculus to design ships in AVT (and Ad Astra is not generally willing to share the ship design rules to third parties, since they're going to have to review the designs anyway). Squadron Strike at least has a nice Excel spreadsheet app to make designing ships easier.

Oldgrumbler30 Nov 2018 10:45 a.m. PST

Squadron Strike does sound good.


ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Nov 2018 10:56 a.m. PST

As I recall, the Ad Astra system is in three dimensions. Not sure my brain can handle more than two :)

Oldgrumbler30 Nov 2018 11:04 a.m. PST

Sounds like you can dumb it down.

"In Squadron Strike, ships move in one of three movement modes, named for the number of Newton's Laws being obeyed; with these options you're not stuck with whatever movement mode the game designer liked – you can pick the one that works best for the setting you're trying to run in. You even have optional fuel rules (for both interstellar and tactical movement) to simulate the setting or TV series to whatever degree you like. You decide what reality level is appropriate for your level of fun."

Forager30 Nov 2018 3:33 p.m. PST

Starwar 2250 used vector movement ,also.

Lion in the Stars30 Nov 2018 5:34 p.m. PST

@ScottWashburn: Then try the old Jovian Chronicles game from Dream Pod 9. vector movement on a hex grid, but I don't think there is a vertical component to it.

Oldgrumbler01 Dec 2018 1:08 p.m. PST

I downloaded & looked through Squadron Strike. I think that the complexity may be above my pay grade. To me Colonial Battlefleet is hard to beat. For I will just tinker with it & patch on some trial 2D vecotor movement rules. Looked at Full Thrust again & I still can't see it as better.

Lion in the Stars01 Dec 2018 3:44 p.m. PST

There are some 2D vector movement rules for Full Thrust, I think they're in Fleet Book 2.

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