I’m embracing the name unabashedly now, possibly just from some kind of linguistic Stockholm syndrome.
Whatever you call it, I played again last night, showing my cousing the ropes of the game, as well as trying out Vincent’s vector movement rules, and rules for fighter-bays. Briefly, it went pretty well. The Free Worlds Confederation raided a deep-space mining operation held by the Human Improvement League, and won a handy victory.
Fighters work like this: Draw three boxes next to the attachment on your note sheet for your fleet. When the ship activates, you can choose to launch fighters instead of shooting. You can scratch off one to three of the boxes, and roll that many d8s for your shooting, out to half direct fire range.
Essentially they’re like a whole bunch of one-shot rockets. In play, they lead to some cool choices – launch them all, and possibly waste some of them (since the best you can get is an eight, no matter how high you roll) or launch fewer, risking a low roll, and also risking losing the attachment before you fire them all. There’s also the choice between using them to crack open a tough target, or holding them for use when a ship makes itself vulnerable.
They worked pretty well. I can’t tell if they’re under or over-powered. They were very effective in the game, but generally only saw a single use.
The vector movement rules were elegant and effective, as expected. It did get a bit messy having vector markers cluttering up the table, but it was no worse than using a bunch of dice. Taking stations is a bit of a hassle, especially if they’re near the table edge. I think I will rule that stations have to be a minimum distance from the edge, to avoid ships having to slow right down to capture them.
It may sound odd for someone who writes a blog about a giant-robot game, but I find spaceships much more compelling, fiction wise, than I do robots. There’s something about the engagement of ships in space that I find really exciting, and I end up imagining and describing the details of each action as they happen in a way I don’t with regular Mechaton. Possibly I haven’t watched enough shows with mecha, but I find mecha combats quite hard to imagine, even as I enjoy the game.