View Full Version : Is there any game that provides good ship/vehicle combat?

2018-10-11, 10:34 PM
So, I would like to run a game in which ship and vehicle combat will take a central focus. However, it seems to me that this will disinvolve any players not actually captaining the ship. Even systems that will allow them to man different attack stations still tend to have a single player making all decisions - the one positioning the ship.

I considered just giving each player a ship and leave it at that, but that greatly changes the feel of the game and the story.

Is there any game that offers a form of mechanical ship combat that still allows every player agency?

Koo Rehtorb
2018-10-12, 02:08 AM
Take a look at Stars Without Number Revised.

In brief, every ship has five departments that need to be manned. Bridge, gunnery, engineering, comms, and captain. Every turn each department gets an action. Some examples would be "evasive maneuvers" "damage control" "defeat ECM" or "fire all guns". Most actions need a certain number of command points to be able to be used, which you can generate more of with general actions instead of department actions.

Additionally, once each round you can negate all damage from an attack and roll on the ship crisis table instead, which provides all sorts of dangerous effects that need to be dealt with by someone promptly.

Firest Kathon
2018-10-12, 03:00 AM
I've heard good things about "Razor Coast - Fire as she bears" (https://paizo.com/products/btpy8yfr?Razor-Coast-Fire-as-She-Bears) for Pathfinder, but I have not yet had the chance to use it myself.

2018-10-12, 05:46 AM
"Attack stations" seems to imply spaceships to me, so I'm working with that assumption. So, first order of business is to note that there are decisions to make in individual attack stations in any reasonably complex battle. There's multiple targets, and often some notably different kinds - switching between point defense and standard gunnery, for instance.

Beyond this a lot of generics have decent mechanics here, though often they're one of several options. GURPS has you covered if you like intricate mechanics, d6 Space and Fudge both have you covered with less intricate mechanics, though for Fudge you'll need the 10th Anniversary hardback in particular (or maybe the third party Blood in Space game, which I haven't looked at in detail yet).

2018-10-12, 07:03 AM
One of the big problems with everyone on one ship is that no matter how you slice it, the one ship's crew needs to work together to fight effectively. Since they all occupy the same "space" (pun intended), the amount of real decisions they have is drastically cut down.

What I do in my campaigns is have someone running the big ship and everyone else flying fighters (I use Savage Worlds for this and I use the miniatures variant for ship battles, more intricate systems would take a lot longer with multiple ships).

But let's examine Big ship combat.
Boring way: Pilot moves, Gunners gun, Engineers repair and manage power, Science Officer scans, Tech Manages Shields.
Why it's boring: Pilot only moves and he is going to move where everyone else wants to be, Gunners are only going to shoot what the Pilot moves in range of, the Engineers only do what everyone else wants, the Science Officer is probably making all of one roll or chooses what "scanner" to use, and the Tech will focus shields depending on where the Pilot went. Everyone's decisions are so interconnected that it's barely more complicated than what one person should be doing.

How to make it interesting theory: You need really different kinds of Jobs. Like the Pilot could move, shoot, direct shields, manage power, and scan. One character could be managing drone swarms. Another could be trying to use Psychic powers against the enemy. Another could be trying to fake out the enemy scanners with fake data (illusions where what they are faking effects things). Another character could be netrunning to defend the ship and attack the other one. Another could be running the security team that repels boarding drones (which includes assigning and protecting repair teams).
All those jobs could by dynamic. Which I think helps keep people entertained.

2018-10-12, 08:12 AM
"Attack stations" seems to imply spaceships to me, so I'm working with that assumption.The assumption is false. Thanks for the rest of the post, though. Naval was the intention.