Continued from part 1.
For the Orders phase, Nathan and Mark play three cards from each ship’s action hand onto each ship. We’ll see what cards they played in a moment. These action hands consist of seven cards – five of them are different actions (Defenses, Attack, Crew, Jump, and Thrust), and two of them are Repeat cards (Repeat slot 1 and Repeat slot 2). The repeat cards let you effectively play the same action twice, or even three times in a turn.
Many space combat games employ a system of phases where all ships move, then all ships fire, then all ships maybe perform damage control and so on. Silent Fury is different – a ship might do nothing but fire its weapons several times over the course of a turn, or it might not fire at all, instead focusing on its defenses, and with only three card slots no ship will perform every action on every turn.
Thematically, these cards are also Silent Fury’s power allocation rules. Rather than have a separate mechanic where you’d allocate more or less power to various ship systems, the cards handle everything – a ship that plays three ‘thrust’ actions is basically routing all power to its engines, and it will be able to adjust its velocity a good deal more than it would have with just one ‘thrust’ action, but it also won’t be firing any weapons this turn either.
The end result is that there are often more things that you would like to do with a ship than you are able to do, and you’ll have to decide what actions are most important for each ship on each turn.
All right – Nathan and Mark have played their cards, so the Orders phase is done. On to the Action Phase!
Both players flip the first card for every ship. One note – our cards are a version behind the rules and the new ones hadn’t arrived as of this playtest, so I’ll be posting the correct card images as we discuss them.
The number in the top-right of each card is its initiative number – lower cards execute first, so all of Mark’s defenses (Initiative 1) cards go before Nathan’s thrust (Initiative 5) cards.
Mark executes his Defenses cards now. Let’s have a look at that card:
When you execute an action card, you may choose ONE of the actions on it to execute. The defenses card has three actions, all designed to protect the ship – Evasive Maneuvers makes you harder to hit, Shields Up lets you raise or readjust your shields, and Harden Shields doubles your shield strength. To the right of each action there are reminders of the ship components that need to be operated to perform that action – on Evasive Maneuvers, you need to operate one engine, and if you can’t then you are unable to take that action.
Mark elects to take the ‘Shields Up’ action for each of his ships. This lets him place his shield cubes on whichever side of the ship’s armor hex he wants, and each shield cube adds 1 to the defense value of the hexside the shield is protecting. Let’s look at the Broadsword:
Mark raises shields on all three of his ships and we move on to Nathan’s Thrust actions.
Nathan is taking the Full Thrust action with all three ships. Let’s look at the Dragon and the Firebird.
Dragon’s ship sheet for reference – note that the Dragon has three engines. Here’s the Dragon’s thrust chart:
Those numbers are the number of engines you need to operate to move your ship to that hex (so if the Dragon were to lose two engines and just had one left it could operate, it could only move into the hex directly in front of it). Nathan operates three engines and chooses the top-right ‘3’ hex. He moves takes the vector token underneath with the ship, and leaves the trailing vector token where it is.
The Firebird makes the same move – while it only has two engines, its thrust chart lets it move to the same hex on only two engines.
The thrust chart lets us customize how maneuverable a given ship is, and also let us solve a design problem we had, namely that bigger ships simply had more engine components. By making larger ships need to use more engines to move the same distance as a smaller ship with fewer engines, we can reflect the fact that the larger ship requires more power to change the velocity of its larger mass.
The Raptor moves closer to the enemy.
Nathan can Rotate his ships for free after a Thrust action but he’s happy with their facing and elects to not do so.
The first action card for every ship has been resolved. Time to flip the second card.
‘Crew’ goes before ‘Thrust’ in initiative order, so Mark’s Crew card on the Pike resolves first. This is a strange card to play at this point – the Crew card lets you board other ships, rally disrupted crew and repair damage, but there are no ships in boarding range, and he has no disrupted crew to rally and no damage to repair. I ask Mark why he played the card and he said it was because he wasn’t planning to do anything with the ship on that card slot. Something Mark didn’t realize due to his lack of familiarity with the game is that you can always elect to take ‘no action’ instead of executing your played card, so you may as well always play something that could potentially be useful (a Thrust / repeat slot 2 combo would have served Mark better for his last two cards on the Pike).
So, on to the Thrust cards. These all go on the same initiative (5), and both sides have played them, so the tie is resolved by the Initiative chip. Since Mark has it, he will execute his thrusts first.
These ships could move farther, but Mark says he is wary of ‘going too fast in this game’ and doesn’t want to overshoot the Cyclops. This is an entirely reasonable concern – I’ve seen many newbies underestimate how much velocity their ships can build up and end up overshooting their objectives, and I did it plenty myself while developing the game. Even an experienced player like Nathan can fall victim to speed and circumstance – in our last playtest of Nemesis Day, one of his ships slammed into the planet when I sent a small raiding party on board and prevented him from using his reactor to save himself. In this scenario however, there is some level of urgency in getting to the Cyclops, and if Mark takes too long then Vandar may be able to board the ship and get her underway before JHI arrives.
Nathan now executes his Thrusts, which must now be maneuver actions since he took the focused ‘Full Thrust’ action with all his ships earlier. Maneuver lets you adjust your trailing vector token by 1 hex, which will affect where you drift.
What is Nathan doing? The Raptor carries two weapons, a low-power autocannon with a max range of five hexes and a high-power disruptor with a max range of two – he was both in range and in the weapon arc to shoot the autocannon weapon at the Broadsword and he might have done damage, but it’s not a great shot due to being at long range and the Broadsword’s comparatively high defenses. Nathan could have played an attack card to fire his weapon, but he’s got other plans – this maneuver both takes that weapon out of arc and exposes the Raptor’s weaker armor to the Broadsword, but he’s taking a risk now to set something up for next turn.
All second cards executed, the players turn over the final card of turn 1.
Nathan’s Defense cards activate first. On the Dragon he uses it to raise his shields (he has all of one) and increases his front defense to 4. On the Raptor he takes Evasive Maneuvers – this means that all attacks that hit the ship are re-rolled, and on a size 4 ship that’s a very effective way to not be hit.
Next the Attack cards resolve, and since Mark still has the initiative his attacks resolve first. The Pike has a range 6 weapon and the nearest enemy ship is 10 hexes away, so the Pike is out of range. The Broadsword on the other hand…
Time to lock weapons and go through the attack rules!
The Attack card has two actions – you can either operate all your weapons (a focused action, so you can only do it once), or you can operate one weapon (which is repeatable, so you can do it every time you play or repeat the attack card). This is the only Attack card in Mark’s set so he will shoot all his weapons.
First we’ll check to see if the target (the Raptor) is in the weapon arc. The weapon arcs are those triangles printed directly on the weapon components – you can see the Scatter Cannon has a more generous arc than the Meteor cannon.
So we’re in arc for both weapons. Are we in range? Note there are two range numbers in the ‘RNG’ column separated by a slash – this is the weapon’s short / long range. If you are within short range, you get to roll d12s as your accuracy dice, making you more likely to hit. If you are at long range your accuracy dice are d20s.
The Raptor is 4 hexes away, so we’re at long range for the Meteor cannon – we’ll be rolling d20s. The accuracy value of the weapon is 2, so we’ll be rolling two of them.
Now we figure out the Impact dice by comparing the weapon’s power (POW) against the target’s defense. The weapon’s power is 4. To determine the target’s defense, we first need to figure out which side of the target is being attacked.
In the Raptor’s case however, it doesn’t matter. Both the rear and the rear-right armor value is 1 and it has no shields to increase that value, so the target’s defense is 1.
Since the attack’s power of 4 is double (it’s more but doubling is the best you can do) the defense of 1, the attack will roll three black Impact dice. We’re using custom dice for this game but there are rules for using regular d6s and converting their rolls into 0, 1 or 2 points.
Finally, you need red Effect dice as well. The weapon chart has two pictured for the Meteor cannon, so we roll two.
Mark rolls all the dice for the attack together – 2d20 accuracy dice, three black Impact dice, and two red Effect dice.
So that didn’t work, how about the Scatter cannon? It’s also in arc and in long range (it has no short range but its long range is also 6), it has 3 accuracy so we’ll roll 3d20 this time, it has power 4 vs. defense 1 so we get 3 Impact dice, and it rolls two Effect dice.
That concludes the Broadsword’s attack and the Raptor survives unscathed.
One thing to note here is that Nathan played his cards well and had his Evasive Maneuvers go off at the same time as Mark’s Attack card, so even if that first attack had done damage, the re-roll likely would have caused it to miss anyway. Now, back in the Orders phase Mark played Defense, Thrust, Attack with the Broadsword, but he didn’t have to play those cards in that order – he could have played Thrust, Attack, Defense, and his Attack card would have gone off on Nathan’s ship while he was Maneuvering and thus would have been more likely to cause damage. In addition, he had an extra hex of Thrust available to him and could have gotten into short range with the Meteor cannon by using it, which would have let him roll d12s for the Meteor Cannon’s accuracy dice. He chose not to due to his concern about building up too much velocity.
Nathan’s Attack from the Firebird goes now, and it’s also out of range of enemy ships – he played it on the off chance that one of Mark’s ships jumped into range.
Finally, Mark’s ‘Crew’ action on the Stiletto goes – another ‘didn’t want to do anything with the ship’ play. As a newer player we did discuss the merits (or lack thereof) of these crew cards and I offered him a chance to change his cards, but he decided to soldier on and live with his mistakes. This one will cost him.
You might have been wondering what those trailing vector tokens are for. We wanted ships to have inertia in the game and feature ‘objects in motion remain in motion’ newtonian movement, and those tokens effectively keep track of a ship’s velocity, including changes in velocity as you thrust and maneuver each ship.
During the drift phase we have a few ‘every turn’ maintenance tasks, such as maintaining shields – every ship can currently operate all their shield generators so no shield drop this turn.
Now ships drift according to their vector tokens. Here’s the Pike’s drift.
Note that the direction in which you drift is entirely dependent on where the vector tokens are located and completely independent of your ship’s current facing – even though the Raptor has turned to face north-west, it’s still drifting south.
This is the price of Mark’s mistake with the crew card on the Stiletto earlier – had he instead played, for example, a repeated Thrust card, he could have maneuvered to slow down on the third action card of turn 1. The Raptor was busy evading and couldn’t have matched the maneuver – the Stiletto would have drifted into the hex south-east of its current position, completely out of the Raptor’s weapon arcs and poised to ream it in the rear as the Raptor slid in front of it. Now however, he’s in the same hex as a ship with a weapon specially made for same-hex attacks.
All ships have drifted and this concludes turn 1.
I discuss the state of the game with the players. Nathan is feeling good at this point – he says his main target for the Raptor’s attack run was the Broadsword but he’ll happily settle for a great attack on the Stiletto, and his other ships are all set to board the Cyclops.
Mark on the other hand is very concerned – he’s worried about the Stiletto (he’s got both his Battlesuits on there and he’s going to need them in the Cyclops fight) and seems alarmed that Nathan’s ships are already able to board the Cyclops. He has to get on board too, and fast.
We spent a little time discussing Mark’s options for the Stiletto.
He could play an attack of his own and fight it out – the problem being that with Nathan able to seize the initiative, Nathan will attack first – plus Nathan has two weapons on his ship to Mark’s one, and Nathan can better afford the loss of the lightly crewed Raptor than Mark could afford losing all the crew he’s put on the Stiletto.
Sometimes you can Thrust out of a bad situation, but Nathan’s rotation on the approach made this a bad idea – the Raptor is facing the same way as the Stiletto and the Stiletto can only go forward, so he’d stay in the Raptor’s weapon arcs. Mark is also concerned with his overall velocity and if he does thrust now he will overshoot the Cyclops.
He could Jump, which would mean he’d have to take one action’s worth of fire from the Raptor along with putting a dangerous Field Disruption card on the ship, but after that he’d be out of the hex.
He could pull the Evade maneuver that Nathan did, but he’d still be in the same hex and it would be less reliable against repeated d12 accuracy attacks. Even so, one valid option would be to repeat evasions and dodge fire like crazy while the nearby Pike or Broadsword tries to shoot the Raptor. One major downside is that if he does nothing but evade, he won’t end up adjacent to the Cyclops – he’d have to risk at least a Maneuver attempt in there somewhere.
We also look at Mark’s other ships and discuss how he can get them to the Cyclops at the end of this turn’s drift. The Pike can do it with a simple thrust forward, the Broadsword’s trajectory on the other hand is taking it somewhat off course but it could still make it with a Maneuver / Full Thrust combination somewhere in its card set.
The Raptor’s attack resolves first (Had Mark played an attack with one of his other ships, Nathan later commented that he would have been hard pressed to Seize the Initiative here to make sure his attack struck first – he’s not evading this time, so allowing Mark’s attack to go first could knock out one of his weapons before he gets to use it, but since there’s no other attacks there’s no need to do so. The Broadsword’s weapons were out of arc at this point, but the Pike did have a long range shot).
The Raptor carries two weapons – an auto cannon with relatively low power and a high-powered, short-range disruptor. At a range of 0, both weapons are at short range.
When firing at a target in the same hex, things get nasty – for one, all weapon arcs include the hex you are in, so you get to fire everything you’ve got. For another, the attacker gets to choose which side of the ship he hits (thematically you’re close enough to target weaker areas of the ship). The Stiletto has better overall armor than the Raptor, but it’s direct rear armor is only 1, and that’s the side Nathan will attack. The Fenris Autocannon gets 3d12 accuracy dice, three impact dice (power 2 vs. defense 1), and two Effect dice. The Vibration Disruptor also gets 3d12 accuracy dice, three impact dice (power 6 vs. defense 1), and also sports a full three effect dice.
Considering what could have happened, the Stiletto got off…. lightly.
Nathan’s crew cards resolve now and he boards the Cyclops with both ships. All the ships in this scenario have Assault Lances, with a short range of 1 hex and a long range of 2, so if you can get adjacent to a ship your boarders get to roll d12 accuracy dice rather than d20s at 2 hexes.
When you board another ship, you gather up all the crew you are boarding with (send as many as you like) and roll one accuracy die per crewman (you can split them into crew types and roll them in groups.) If you miss the crew are disrupted, but that won’t be an issue this time – since the Cyclops is a size 12 ship, you can’t miss at close range. As with weapon attacks, the accuracy die result corresponds to the component you land in.
But first, the scenario states that when the Cyclops is first boarded, a pair of feral aliens are revealed on board. I roll their position now.
Melee combat is resolved with the Impact dice – you get one die per crewman you have in the melee, and a Marine or a Battlesuit gives you a +1 to the roll result. The aliens are treated as marines in this scenario. I roll for the aliens since I’m not otherwise playing.
In component 6 I’m facing a marine and a spacer – I get one die and Nathan gets two. We both manage to roll 0 points, +1 each since we both have a ‘marine’, and the result is a tie. On a tie, you disrupt 1 crew from each side (and roll again if both sides are still around), so my alien and one of Nathan’s crew (he chooses the spacer) disrupt. A disrupted alien is killed, so that’s one down. In component 7 I’m against an engineer and a spacer – we get the same dice as last time, but Nathan won’t get the +1 bonus he got last time. It doesn’t matter though – I roll 0 points again and Nathan rolls 2 points, beating me 2-1 after my +1. If you lose a melee the entire losing side is disrupted (and in the alien’s case, killed). That’s all she wrote for the aliens…
Nathan has left a few crew back on his other ships to keep them in the action. You can technically run a whole ship with just one crew, but doing so makes you very vulnerable.
The Stiletto’s Jump is up next.
Jump has two actions – one lets you jump the ship and move it 3 hexes, and it also stops the ship (we found this was a newbie-friendly option to handle ships that were careening away from the battle). That tactical versatility comes at a price – you also draw a face-down field disruption card (most of which are Very Bad), and if your reactor takes damage while you have that card, you then flip it and do whatever it says.
The other action lets you get rid of that card. All it costs you is the time it takes, but in these battles time is a precious resource…
If the situation on the Cyclops weren’t so urgent and this were a straight space battle, the better jump would be to get behind the Raptor, further away from Nathan’s ships and out of the Raptors weapon arcs, but Mark will lose the scenario if he doesn’t contest control of the the Cyclops soon.
Attacks go first – attacks are not simultaneous in Silent Fury, so if you get your weapon destroyed first then you won’t be able to use it. Nathan feels enough is at stake here to Seize the Initiative.
The Raptor played repeated attacks in the hope that the Stiletto would do something other than Jump away and still be around to beat on, but luckily it’s positioned so it still has valid attack options.
When to seize the initiative is a big decision in Silent Fury – for one, it’s not always a good thing to have. It means your actions go before your opponents actions, but for actions like Thrust it’s generally better to go second. For another, now that you have it, your opponent can seize it back whenever they want – and go first when it’s really important. Deciding whether to seize or not when two ships are set to attack each other is a big deal, obtaining an advantage now in exchange for conceding that advantage to your opponent later.
Now Nathan’s attack actions resolve before Mark’s.
The Raptor is up first.
The Raptor already used a Full Salvo and fired all its weapons, so on this repeated attack it can only operate one weapon, leaving a choice between a short range autocannon shot at the Stiletto or a long-range Vibration Disruptor shot at the Broadsword. Both attacks would roll two impact dice (Power 2 vs. Defense 2 against the Stiletto, you get two impact dice if you match or exceed the defense, and Power 6 vs. Defense 4 for the front of the Broadsword – the Broadsword’s shield comes into play here, its defense would be 3 without it and the Vibration Disruptor would get 3 impact dice if that were the case.)
Despite being the smaller ship, being at close range makes the Stiletto the easier target, but it’s close – d12s vs size 4 have a better hit rate than d20s at size 6, but just barely – we’re talking a 33% chance versus 30%.
The deciding factor for Nathan is that the Broadsword is about to shoot him. If he can knock out a weapon, that’s less incoming fire the Raptor would need to take. He attacks the Broadsword – and misses. None of the accuracy dice roll below a 12.
The Dragon attacks now.
It has the next step up in the Disruptor line, the Gamma Disruptor – same range of 0 / 2, but the power has gone from 6 to 8 – the most powerful weapon in this scenario. Though the Stiletto has it’s shielded front turned towards the Dragon, it isn’t enough – Power 8 vs. Defense 4 gets you three impact dice.
The reactor is technically hit twice by the attack (since two accuracy dice were both a ‘4’). Damage in Silent Fury doesn’t stack, you just use the worst damage type a component is affected by, so another ‘destroyed’ result doesn’t do anything further to the reactor. If there had been two or more Field Disruption cards on the ship however, we would resolve one card for each hit.
Things are not looking good for the Stiletto.
The Dragon isn’t done – it’s still got a Talon laser to fire. At power 3 it’s not the scariest weapon, but it’s got good range at 4 / 7.
Nathan could elect to shoot the Stiletto again – if he nails that last component and disrupts all the crew, the whole ship would surrender – but he would have to hit that specific component, and at power 3 vs. defense 4 he’s only getting one impact die.
One of the unique aspects of Silent Fury’s damage system is that a ship that’s badly beaten up becomes more difficult to damage, because damage doesn’t stack – if half your target’s components are destroyed, then another result of ‘destroyed’ or lesser damage on those components doesn’t effectively damage the target further. This means that there comes a point where it’s better to not concentrate your fire and instead attack a relatively undamaged ship, because every component you could hit would actually suffer damage.
Nathan decides that the Stiletto is basically done for and not worth shooting again. Even though it’s a long range attack instead of a short range one for the Stiletto, he shoots at the Broadsword instead (Still power 3 vs defense 4, thanks to Mark’s spread shields from turn 1) – scoring one point on his single impact die for light damage, and ironically hitting the ‘2’ component, the Broadsword’s scatter cannon.
The Pike and Broadsword get to attack the Raptor, and the Accuracy dice giveth and the Impact dice taketh away – despite having three impact dice on three separate shots, he only managed to score light damage twice.
Mark operated a Lightly Damaged component (the scatter cannon) when he made his attacks, so after making that attack he makes a damage roll on his own scatter cannon. Fortunately his bad luck applies universally – he rolled no damage so the Scatter Cannon remained lightly damaged.
Attacks are done, crew actions are up – Mark had one played on the Stiletto, and Nathan had one automatically assigned on the Cyclops when he boarded it. Here’s where Nathan seizing the initiative for the Attack card concedes an advantage to Mark – the Stiletto is going to use its crew action to board the Cyclops. Since Nathan has the initiative, his crew action on the Cyclops will resolve before that boarding action. If the initiative had been left with Mark, then Mark’s crew would board first, and Nathan’s crew would have them on board and get to react to where they landed and start fighting them immediately.
So far we’ve just seen crew boarding actions – the ‘normal’ thing you do with the crew card moves them around the ship and you either shoot or repair damage.
The poor, stricken Stiletto’s crew action is next. This will be a boarding action, which also begins with a Rally roll.
Mark decides that the Stiletto is done for and the Cyclops is all that matters – he abandons the Stiletto and sends all her crew over with his boarding action.
We have one more second card to resolve – the Firebird’s jump.
The Firebird attacks the Broadsword first, only rolling one impact die (Power 3 v def 4) but it is within short range. The first attack causes light damage to component 4, which is promptly overwritten by the second shot:
Mark’s return fire at the Raptor craps out again – good accuracy and no damage. He’s racked up a lot of 1 in 8 shots, and not in his favor.
He also decides to take a shot at the Cyclops from the Pike at long range – his rationale being that there are plenty of spaces he could hit the ship that would hurt Nathan’s crew, and just one component that would hurt his own crew. He misses.
Mark is not happy with the dice, and I can hardly blame him – statistically the Raptor should be hurting at this point (if not destroyed – consider it’s the same size as the Stiletto with worse armor and has had about 3x the attacks rolled against it by now), but anyone who plays games knows the dice can do these things to you.
It’s time for Crew actions on the Cyclops – maybe things will go better! Mark is only holding a single component and seizes the initiative – Mark goes first.
Move 3 crew!
Mark’s first inclination was to charge everyone in, but I advised him that since all crew can be disrupted by a hard enough hit that it was dangerous to do so – your troops are more powerful if you send more of them into a melee, but that also makes them more vulnerable to shooting, and Nathan will be able to get a flanking shot on his crew action. Mark decided to hold one Battlesuit back in the engine.
3 crew shoot (or repair, but nobody’s bothering with that now)!
This is the first crew shooting in the game, and it actually works just like ship weapons fire except you shoot into specific components – you always get one effect die, and you get one Impact die per corridor that you shoot the same component from. Mark is only able to shoot into the medbay from one corridor so he gets one impact die, plus a bonus point from the Battlesuit (they give a bonus to both melee and shooting).
Nathan’s crew action on the Cyclops sees him rally the engineer (he scored 1 point) – the spacer dies. He places the rallied Engineer in the medbay and moves the Marine down from the Reactor to flank Mark’s battlesuit. He can fire down two corridors and thus gets two impact dice for the shot, scoring 1 point – light damage, disrupt 1 (Mark chooses the spacer).
The 3-crew limit on movement and shooting means that this situation isn’t hopeless for Mark. He may be outnumbered, but in terms of offensive capability both sides are nearly equivalent if Mark can get some crew rallied and still be able to use 3 crew on his turn.
The Broadsword can only operate one of its shield generators (the other is powered down and inoperable), so one of its shields drops.
We’ve gotten though pretty much all the detailed rules explanations we’re likely to see, so I think part 3 will take us through to the conclusion of the game.