I’m headed up to Historicon on Wednesday. Alas, Nathan won’t be able to make it due to a snafu with his military obligations. It’s a shame, but that’s life sometimes.
We’ve got new cards printed, and these have backs with individual colors for ships – it makes it much easier to keep track of which set of cards belong to which ship (something we’d experienced confusion on during playtests), and we took it a step further and color-coordinated the card backs with vector tokens, thus negating the need for a spare vector token denoting which ship sheet belongs to which ship on the main board.
The rules have continued to undergo changes since our last revision, and this weekend I’ll find out if one of my longtime goals can be realized – if it’s possible to properly run the full rules set in a convention setting. We did this in early convention games, and I found that some rules weren’t intuitive or were too complex to be worth including (in particular warp and strike craft were the main offenders), so after that we decided to pare down the rules and run convention games that still followed the main rules set (nothing was simplified or changed, we just removed some of the ‘extra’ systems to keep the scenarios simpler).
These past few months our main revisions and work have been on these extra systems, so this year I’m running scenarios that use both the warp mechanics and strike craft, both of which have been refined and made more elegant than previous iterations, though both feel as though they’re in a very early incarnation and will almost certainly undergo further revisions. That said, I can now explain both mechanics to players in a few short sentences, and the processing time required for both hasn’t felt too long at all in playtests, so in their base form both warp and strike craft are looking more promising than they ever have. I’m especially proud of warp – we’ve decided to go with using cards there (which actually doesn’t increase the cards we need – we’ve used cards for ‘warp malfunction’ effects for a long time, but now the whole system is just that same card deck), and now the process is basically one of storing up cards face-down to charge your warp drive, and then flipping each one when you actually warp and deciding if that’s the one you want to use, or if you want to pass on that one and risk going deeper into the pile. Once chosen, you move the ship and then determine if anything bad happened afterwards, depending on the card.
With the effort to get the rules to a convention-friendly point, we also needed new convention scenarios, and we’ve got them.
Sundiver is probably my favorite. The two sides act as rival HMO corporations competing to rescue the civilians from a stricken Solar Observation vessel before it falls into a sun. The scenario features gravitational effects and a ‘hot zone’ (which the Sundiver is currently stuck in) which will cause fires on ships. The combination proved deadly in playtesting, and only one of my four ships made it out alive (not that Nathan helped any with that – I had one ship which had the worst luck with attempted warps, and as a result had creatures from the warp swarming all over it, and was very much on fire to boot. Despite all that, I had a chance to save the ship and rescue the few civilians that it had picked up, only to see Nathan shoot me in a charged reactor, causing me to warp into the sun. Thanks Nathan.)
The other is a guerrilla raid, where a light civilian force that’s seized an escort carrier attacks a numerically inferior / technologically superior military force in an attempt to capture another military ship for their rebellion. This one played out really well, with severe blows on both sides – the Rebels start off with a bang by having more long range firepower as well as a great attempt to board, but the military’s ships are no pushovers, and after a drawn-out fight I got my Cruiser (the Glaive) in range of his carrier and support vessel and it tore them to bits, but it was definitely an uphill battle fending off the swarms of fighters and missiles headed my way and repelling a boarding attempt before I could close the distance.
All in all, even though I need to run the games by myself (it’s always really helpful having a second GM), I’m looking forward to it. Here goes!