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"Rule sets!" Topic

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Darkfine26 Sep 2019 10:11 p.m. PST

I'm doing the rounds on space ship rules sets and under its description ACTA Starfleet says the game can handle fleets yet there is a post on these boards talking about 3 ships per side taking around 2 hours if both players are decently versed.

How accurate is that?

I've been putting Colonial Battlefleet through its paces but am leaning towards giving it a pass. The way Fire Control works combined with a lack of an "Orders" system seems to show that the ship with a higher FC will win a straight up fight every time. Looking at data cards this stat doesn't seem to be weighed with that in mind (two ships cost the same but one has a higher FC for example).

Battlefleet Gothic is of course the old stand by but I really don't like the wildly out of balance factions (Necrons, Admech), or how certain factions interact (Space Marines and Chaos).

While I haven't actually picked up Stars and Lasers at this point from what I've read/watched I'm concerned it might be too watered for the sake of large model counts.

Basically I guess my issue is I'm finding rulesets to either be to crunchy or too simplistic.

Maybe I'm chasing a proverbial unicorn here but I thought I'd pop in and see if anyone has played a ruleset that can handle upwards of fleet size without watering things down overly much.

Apologies if the ruleset topic has been beat to death, the few I've seen didn't really resolve anything for me and thanks for your time!

Toaster26 Sep 2019 10:53 p.m. PST

I'm a Colonial Battlefleet fan myself, but I notice my 2nd choice game isn't on your list. Have you tried Full Thrust, with the latest fan rewrites there are a lot of options for adjusting the crunch level.


John Leahy27 Sep 2019 4:15 a.m. PST

Starmada is a great set of rules and easily handles 10-20 ships per side.

Dexter Ward27 Sep 2019 7:03 a.m. PST

Full Thrust is an excellent set of rules, and easily scales up to larger fleet actions

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2019 7:38 a.m. PST

Another vote for Full Thrust.

Stryderg27 Sep 2019 8:38 a.m. PST

Full Thrust has certainly stood the test of time. The original rules: link
The Compendium is here:
And a lite version:

Two Hour Wargames has Star Navy:
It's more campaign driven, so the individual battles take less time than other rules. The Klangbong ship fires at an Enterprising ship, roll to see which system is hit (oh no! The bridge takes damage.) Then roll to see the effect (the captain decides to stay and fight at reduced effect). Also handles solo play very well.

And there's GOBS:
PDF link
Might be too simplistic for what you are looking for. Might still be worth a read.

Stogie27 Sep 2019 5:12 p.m. PST

Silent Death and Full Thrust are solid systems. If you want something a little different and somewhat abstract, check out Acsencions (previously Quad-S) by Powercell Games. It is over on Wargame Vault: link

charles popp27 Sep 2019 5:53 p.m. PST

Look at Task for Games Task Force Zeta. Can handle decent amount of ships,fast play and great for DIY.Plus it has ground combat all the way from mvm up to grand Tactical and it all integrates.

Jimmy da Purple28 Sep 2019 1:26 a.m. PST

We have really enjoyed dropfleet commander.

Darkfine28 Sep 2019 2:47 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the replies.

I've looked into Full Thrust a few times but something feels off with it, not sure just never clicked with me.

I'll definitely check around the rest of the suggestions!

Jimmy, I'd love to play Dropfleet but unfortunately I'm in the US and sourcing TTCombat stuff is sort of like pulling teeth. Except I think pulling teeth might actually be easier.

Fergo11328 Sep 2019 5:38 a.m. PST

I've played very large fleet battles with ACTA Starfleet and I found that the mechanics worked very well. Have a look at the battle report links below.

Scenario 'Disaster at Setlik III' and Fleets post: link

First Turn post: link

ACTA Starfleet with large fleets handles very well if you use the Squadron Special Rules and have your squadrons coordinate their fire rather than firing in all different directions. ACTA Starfleet has become my go-to game for star ship battles. You can also get the older Babylon 5 ACTA books on ebay that provide rules for fighters.

As for how long it plays for, that's hard to be specific. You can pound your enemy and take out their ships fairly quickly with "alpha" strikes (i.e. firing all weapons at optimal range in a single turn).

As for the campaign linked above with large fleets, it was played over a number of sessions. But each turn was about an hour to two hours played depending on how much damage was being scored. The first turns tend to go quickly though as ships move into position.

But I have played smaller games of ACTA Starfleet with a couple of ships per side and they are over and dusted within an afternoon.

Jimmy da Purple29 Sep 2019 1:36 a.m. PST

I got mine from the Wee Wolf people at one of the HMGS cons.

manyslayer29 Sep 2019 2:30 p.m. PST

Full Thrust

One Page Fleets

Orion's Gate

A Sky Full Of Ships

Red Chicken Rising

All free rulesets (well, ASFoS has a free sample, I believe) so costs nothing to check them out and compare.

khanscom01 Oct 2019 4:03 p.m. PST

"Red Chicken Rising"

I'll second that recommendation; design your own ships and races if you prefer; lots of comic book action. Space Monkeys vs. Vampire Women from Outer Space, or Space Battleship Tirpitz vs. the Splats-- lots to like.

Tim White17 Oct 2019 10:40 a.m. PST

I'd recommend Starmada. Unity edition is the newest, and I think its quite balanced. Nova addition was the previous, and could handle lots of ships per side. Admirality edition had a lot of crunch. With all the supplements you could design almost anything – but there were certain combinations of weapon traits etc that could be a bit overpowering.

There is a spreadsheet (Drydock) for making ships (and weapons – you design your own weapons too). They are in the process of coming out with a new drydock with even more design options, and a more flexible way to design weapons. Much of this was a result of developing the supplements for SFU with ADB. So if you are interested in using the starfleet ships, they already have them all converted from Federation Commander. But hey, if you don't like the conversions, you can always redo them yourself or if you are like us, do stuff like have like Chaos from BFG fight it out with the Klingons! ;-)


Akalabeth19 Oct 2019 1:47 p.m. PST

I can't attest to the speed but another great game of manoeuvring is Babylon 5 Wars. The game has been out of print for a while but you can pick up a fan-made rulebook that removes all references to Babylon 5

Called Advent of Galactic Wars

You can also find record sheets for every universe under the sun including Star Trek, though it's based on FASA's ships mainly not SFB's.

The problem with most games out there is that they all end the same way. Ships start on opposite edges, they move into the centre, they shoot a bunch and then game over. B5Wars is different in that actually ships are manoeuvrable enough to circle the enemy and come back around. Manoeuvring is much more important.

Is it a fast game though? It's complicated to be sure. The game is geared around 4-6 ships per side plus fighters, which would take a few hours. Can't say how long it takes but back in the day when I played it I found it very enjoyable.

Lonely Gamer26 Oct 2019 1:46 p.m. PST

@Darkfine not sure if you have found the "proverbial Unicorn" yet, although I don't know if it is really out there.

You say, "While I haven't actually picked up Stars and Lasers at this point from what I've read/watched I'm concerned it might be too watered for the sake of large model counts."

I can honestly say that it is not watered down for the sake of large model count, it is just meant to be a simple spaceship combat game.

I have played many games with twenty or more ships plus several stands of fighters and fighter bombers per side and easily managed to get a game in an evening at the club, not sure of the number of ships you are thinking of using but Stars & Lasers can handle a good number.

But I guess like most other game systems it will slow down as the number of ships increase, but as I said just like most other game systems ( well the ones I have played anyway )

But as the ships die the turns speed up, and things can die fast in Stars & Lasers that's for sure!! Luke Skywalker has been rumored to be flying the occasional mission in a fighter bomber ;O)

I have played many other great games systems over the years, but they never managed to hit the mark for me, there was always something that just never felt right for me.

Even though Stars & Lasers is a simple game to learn and play, it seems to always manage to give a great fun game, whether there are two ships on the table or twenty, but I guess I am a little biased as I did write the rules.

I do wish you luck in finding your Unicorn.


Lion in the Stars27 Oct 2019 12:06 p.m. PST

What, nobody has mentioned GOBS yet? (That's Generic Outlandishly Big Spacefleets)

For when you want hundreds, if not thousands of ships per side, and the little escorts dying in droves.

Akalabeth27 Oct 2019 9:00 p.m. PST

I think no one mentioned it because it's not what the OP wants. They want something where the ships have detail but it's still fast playing.

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