In the Introduction, designer Paul Kerrison details eleven design goals he had in mind for this ruleset. In summary, he desired a fast-playing system that was simple to play, functioned both on the tactical and strategic levels, and that minimized record-keeping and measurements.
Ships and Fleets
In the world of Space Dreadnought 3000, there are six space-faring civilizations fighting to win the guardianship of the vital 7th Sector:
Each civilization is associated with a line of models in the Space Dreadnought 3000 product line, although the rules state that any manufacturer's ships can be used as long as the players know what each model represents. (ID markers can be photocopied from the rulebook and placed near the models, or applied to the bases.)
All forces have the same eight ship classes (though statistics differ):
Fighters function as "swarms" (players can decide whether to actually mount multiple fighters per stand, or to simply have a single fighter model represent each swarm). A Baseship, in addition to its normal combat abilities, can host up to 4 fighter swarms.
An additional ship type, common to all of the civilizations, is the Terminator. This is a merchant ship converted into a suicide ship, loaded with close-range weapons and built for making interceptions. They are rated by size (large, medium, small).
Naval bases may be used in some scenarios. These large installations begin play in a hidden location, are difficult to destroy, and may make a random number of attacks per turn.
Fleet Lists provide the statistics for each civilization's ship classes, as well as their point costs, combat tables, and (in some cases) photographs. Blank record sheets are provided so that players can record their fleets.
The Tactical Game
Play takes place on a a dozen or so hexagons, arranged in any of ten recommended configurations and numbered for reference. Certain of the hexes may be designated as containing supply planets (markers provided). Fleets are organized into Task Forces, which are represented on the tabletop by markers.
The game is played in 10 "time phases" (turns), each of which is composed of these steps:
Movement orders simply consist of writing down the ID number of the hex to which the task force is to move. Task forces have unlimited movement, with one important restriction - a task force which moves through a hex containing an enemy task force which is not moving is automatically destroyed. A task force in the same hex as an enemy task force may instead choose to "pursue" the task force, in which case it will move to the same destination. (Unless the target moves through a hex containing a non-moving ally, in which case the pursuer is destroyed!)
Combat is resolved between rival task forces in the same hex. The miniatures are set up, and each ship or swarm may be given a written target (i.e., "Destroyer 2 ATTACKS Fighter Swarm 3"). Ships without written orders are assumed to be in Defensive mode.
Each ship may then make one attack, with all results considered simultaneous. A 12-sided die is rolled, and compared against the combat table for that ship to determine the strike value of the attack. If the strike value equals or exceeds the target's defensive value, the attack succeeds and the target is removed from play.
A ship's supply status has a critical effect on combat. A task force is considered "in supply" if it can trace an unobstructed path to a friendly supply planet; if not, it is "unsupplied." Ships use different combat tables depending on their supply status. A ship's defensive value depends both on its supply status, and whether it is in Defensive mode or not.
Fighters have the option of taking the role of "escort," being placed directly in front of the ship they are protecting. An escorted ship cannot be attacked in the current turn, but can still make attacks normally. Escorting fighters may not make attacks. Fighters may alternatively deploy in the battleline as starships do, or may lurk on board baseships (but if the ship is destroyed, so are all of its passengers).
After 10 turns of play, the winner is determined by totaling the points for all surviving ships.
The Strategic Game
The rules provide two scenarios:
Other scenarios can be devised by randomly selecting a hex configuration and picking appropriate point totals. However, players desiring more variety will probably move up to the campaign game.
The campaign game is played on a map that consists of nodes (star centres) linked by travel lines (galactic trade routes). Each node is rated for its economic yield in points (Economic Units, or EU's).
Ships are organized into Fleets, with a limit of 1 fleet per star centre per player. Fleets can move 1 star centre per turn. If a fleet chooses not to move, it can instead collect economic points from that star centre. When the fleet reaches a naval base, it can drop off any accumulated EU's.
Naval bases can be built by spending EU's and having fleets remain in an area for a few turns. Gaining a naval base means the star centre will no longer produce EU's (they all go to maintain the base), but the naval base can be used to turn EU's (transported there by fleets) into new ships and fleets.
If, after movement, two rival fleets occupy the same star centre, then play proceeds to the tactical game. Each fleet is divided into several task forces, a hexagon configuration is randomly determined, and 10 turns of the tactical game are played out. Afterwards, a new strategic turn is played, with surviving units returning to their parent fleets.
The rulebook provides two campaign scenarios:
The Rest of the Rulebook
This product also includes optional rules (supply ships, command and control, etc.), optional campaign rules (including alliance rules), and rules for multi-player games (both team-play and multi-force campaigns). Extensive guidance is given for those who want to construct their own hexagon gameboards, plus tips are supplied for painting and storing starship miniatures.
For those desiring more information about the background of the game, the rulebook provides several pages detailing the civilizations, technologies, and history of their struggle. Finally, four full-color pieces of art are provided in a central section, which can be easily removed for display.
|3 November 1999||page first published|
|Comments or corrections?|