EN World, one of the largest communities of roleplaying gamers online, has posted a PDF of a draft tactical board game that seeks to model the exciting starship combat seen in popular movies and television shows.
The game — called SPACE FIGHT! — will eventually be sold as a full-color, softback book and as a PDF — and its creator is even offering employment to artists who can illustrate spaceships for the gamepieces.
“I started to design it because I, and a friend, have fond memories of starship combat games, but none do exactly what we want them to,” said Russell Morrissey, who runs EN Publishing. “That’s not to say they’re not great, or that some of them don’t do some of the things, but that we wanted something that did all of the things we wanted while — importantly — remaining easy to play.”
The goal, Morrissey said, is to recreate cinematic visuals such as X-Wings attacking a Star Destroyer’s shield generators or racing down the Death Star trench or the Millennium Falcon evading pursuers in an asteroid field in Star Wars, or Galactica launching her Vipers in Battlestar.
EN Publishing has produced more than 100 gaming products, from rulebooks to adventure scenarios, but this is Morrissey’s first foray into outer space.
“So far they’ve all been fantasy RPG related, so this is a great opportunity to stretch and try something different — a sci-fi board game,” he said. “We’re taking ideas such as exception-based stat blocks, and the infinite flexibility that they allow, from D&D 4E — this, instead of conforming to a rigid ship design system, lets us say ‘Hey, we want this ship to be able to X like it does in the movies.’ So let’s give it that ability!”
Morrissey said he envisages scenario-based expansions for SPACE FIGHT! such as “Destroy the Battlestation!” or “Escape Through the Asteroid Field!” Each will include a hex map, counters and new ships if necessary. “The exception-based rules design lets us do pretty much anything — for example, in the hypothetical battlestation scenario, we can have our ‘weak point’ which can only be attacked from a certain angle, which, if damaged sufficiently destroys the battlestation. The approach to that weak point can be protected by laser turrets which can attack and be attacked. That’s not something we’d put in the “core” rules, as it’s situation-specific.
The design goals for SPAGE FIGHT! are posted on the game’s official webpage:
- Cinematic, ease of use and speed of play
- No looking up charts during gameplay
- Starship counters are of different sizes on the hex grid
- Exception-based starship design allows for any ability without system constraint
- Starships range from tiny fighters to gargantuan space stations; fighter squadrons launched from capital ships
- Includes bombers and ground defences where appropriate, as well as AWACS-style support ships
- Able to model Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Babylon 5
- Hex maps can depict starscapes, landscapes, or the surface of battle stations such as the Death Star complete with operational laser turrets
- Contains trademarked starship names and designs as a reference tool for development; these will not be in the final version