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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

A few years back (2015 to be exact), I was relatively excited by the seemingly increased industry interest in space combat gaming (both fighter scale and capital ship/fleet scale) that seemed to be happened. At the time, the two big games that were announced were Halo Fleet Battles by Spartan Games and Dropfleet Commander by Hawk Wargames. It was a difficult choice (especially since neither was actually out) but ultimately I chose Halo and invested in buying a couple of boxes and some extra gubbins. It didn't end well and Spartan Games itself imploded like a finnicky nuclear reactor maintained by Pakleds just a year or two later. DFC was sold to another company and seems to still have active support from a quick check but I just don't see much excitement from the outside looking in. Star Wars Armada was launched in that same year but honestly I never tried it as I wasn't actively going to conventions at that point anymore (my primary source of trying a wide range of new and old but new to me games); the few battle reports I watched explaining the rules didn't appeal to me personally and I haven't looked back into it since.

So... what's been happening over the past five years with space combat games? The news of a mostly HD release of Babylon 5 has thrown me headlong down a space combat hobby wormhole and I figured I'd try to get more acquainted with the subgenre. I'm a bit more interested in the fleet scale ones personally but I did enjoy X-wing 1e for years until it became space pokemon (gotta catch all them cards!) but couldn't get back into the 2nd edition for a variety of reasons. Is Xwing 2e still getting new fighters or are they in mostly the reprint/recolor/repackaging phase of the edition already? How is Armada doing? The BSG fighter game has come and gone with the company recently announcing it's discontinuation. SFB is still shambling along for the seemingly 40th+ year in a row with no change in sight and obviously FASA is still dead as a doornail except for the occasional fan ship (including my own!). Looking up Full Thrust, it seems like it's gotten an approved but not officially endorsed 2.5e in the form of a "Remixed" rulebook about a decade ago that I'll be taking a look at (and wasn't previously aware of). I did enjoy FT years ago and the miniatures agnostic rules and construction system might finally allow me to get more than a couple games use out of my painted Halo fleets. A Billion Stars has hit the youtube and dakka subforum circuit but from reading/watching that seems to be almost as much a fleet management game as it is space combat so not particularly up my alley. Have I missed any important or even niche systems? (specifically ones that allow you to use any miniatures?)

Since my previous thread on the subject (https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/646065.page), one exciting overall industry development is the mainstreaming of home resin 3d printing which can allow you to pretty much make whatever fleet you want in whatever numbers you want (printer maintenence and alcohol/resin supply notwithstanding) which, at least for me, re-emphasizes the desire for a generic/miniature agnostic ruleset. I think I now have more 3d models of ships on my harddrive than I do actual physical models of ships hoarded over 30 years of gaming!

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/03/01 21:05:40


 
   
Made in us
Battlefield Tourist




MN

Of course, Warcradle seem like they are somewhat interested in a Firestorm:Armada relaunch as they have just relaunched Dystopian Wars.

Other than that and A Billions Suns, the world seems to have moved on from Space Combat games for the moment.

I also think PrecinctOmega (Robey Jenkins) is working on something for his game line.

I still think there is a niche in the market, BUT as these trends go in waves it seems that space games have been replaced with wet navy games for the moment.

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Seattle, WA USA

Yeah, there's not a lot new in space gaming sadly. Firestorm Armada relaunch from Warcradle may happen sometime in early 2022 (it's in beta testing now). A Billion Suns is cool, but not a "space wargame" as much as it is more like Eve: The Miniatures Game. It is handy that you can use whatever models, tho.

Space combat games definitely seem to come and go in waves, a lot like naval gaming. Which right now seems to be on an upswing wave with Kings of War: Armada, Black Seas, and others. Maybe we'll see space gaming get a bump in the next year or so?
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

I forgot about Firestorm Armada! Yeah, it always seemed kind of pointless to me that Spartan Games tried to develop/manage two completely different starship/fleet combat games at the same time.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/01 21:06:25


 
   
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I honestly think One Page Rules's "Warfleets FTL" might be the most satisfying game currently with active support, and it's getting good model support (1 fleet a month on their Patreon). As all OPR it's pretty casual tho and I think a play group needs conventions for ship building (like no rear weapons). It has a ship builder with LOADS of options and strikes a good balance between detail and speed. Don't quote me on actual balance tho.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/03/01 22:46:19


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 warboss wrote:
I forgot about Firestorm Armada! Yeah, it always seemed kind of pointless to me that Spartan Games tried to develop/manage two completely different starship/fleet combat games at the same time.
Spartan wasn't known for making great business decisions... they seemed to always be chasing the next project that they hoped would be the blockbuster that would rocket them into crazy profits (Halo especially was one of those). Turns out, that doesn't lend towards long term success of a company...

Anyway, curious to see what Warcradle does with Firestorm Armada (and hopefully eventually Planetfall). The beta rules they have up on their site right now did make some big changes (notably, shift from icky square bases to proper hex bases, which is what all starships should be on IMO), so there has been some gnashing of teeth from some folks, but really, FSA was kind of a crap game, though with nice models.

Eventually, if I win the lottery so I can quit my day job and work on designing games full time, I do have some ideas for a spaceship game. But, yeah...
   
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Abel





Washington State

This is the first time I've heard that Firestorm Armada is getting a second edition! Might have to check it out.

Drop Fleet Commander Second Edition was being worked on before the company Hawk Wargames got sold to TTCombat. They promise it's still coming, but... I had a lot of beef about the absurdly complicated fleet list building, and the fact that no matter what happened in space, including wiping your opponent's fleet off the map, if your opponent took the planets/space stations with troops, and you couldn't, you lost the game. Also, the space combat was awesome (and the brainchild of Andy Chambers of Battle Fleet Gothic fame), but the planetary assault rules were like this completely different sub-game with totally different rules. Even worse, besides nuking the planet, there was nothing your fleet could do to affect the planet assault phase besides drop more troops. I give them bonus points though for allowing players to tie in Drop Zone Commander with Drop Fleet, except the games would be so one sided due to the landing of troops... didn't mean for that to turn into a rant. Sorry. Just... some of the best fleet ships in a long time, and the space combat was just SO GOOD.

Dream Pod 9 is play testing Jovian Wars, their fleet based mecha game. Rules are free, some new stuff is rolling out. Could be the scratch for your itch. https://www.dp9.com/games/

The other games you mentioned... /shrug. Sucks that all the classics are just that- classic. Star Fleet Battles, Full Thrust. Space Combat has always seemed to be a Red Headed Step Child of the Table Top genere. I think X-Wing and it's sibling, Star Trek Attack Wing, both suffered from the same issue- they ran out of ships. So the game shifted from being about the ships to the cards. WizKids seems content to let STAW die, and FFG turned over X-Wing and Star Wars Armada to Atomic Mass Games, so we'll see what comes out of that.

I was kinda interested in Babylon 5 Fleet Wars. The rules are still floating out there and available, along with the models.

It all feels kinda moot right now anyways. Still can't really play games in person, and Table Top Simulator is just... bleh.



This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/02 03:27:55


Kara Sloan shoots through Time and Design Space for a Negative Play Experience  
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

 Tamwulf wrote:

Drop Fleet Commander Second Edition was being worked on before the company Hawk Wargames got sold to TTCombat. They promise it's still coming, but... I had a lot of beef about the absurdly complicated fleet list building, and the fact that no matter what happened in space, including wiping your opponent's fleet off the map, if your opponent took the planets/space stations with troops, and you couldn't, you lost the game. Also, the space combat was awesome (and the brainchild of Andy Chambers of Battle Fleet Gothic fame), but the planetary assault rules were like this completely different sub-game with totally different rules. Even worse, besides nuking the planet, there was nothing your fleet could do to affect the planet assault phase besides drop more troops. I give them bonus points though for allowing players to tie in Drop Zone Commander with Drop Fleet, except the games would be so one sided due to the landing of troops... didn't mean for that to turn into a rant. Sorry. Just... some of the best fleet ships in a long time, and the space combat was just SO GOOD.


I didn't realize a second edition was coming for that. And, yeah, I can't help but think that the original DZC game both thematically and as a tie in for multitable play potentially might be the reason for the relative prominence of that part of the game.

Dream Pod 9 is play testing Jovian Chronicles, their fleet based mecha game. Rules are free, some new stuff is rolling out. Could be the scratch for your itch. https://www.dp9.com/games/


I can't believe I forgot this one when I have multiple editions of the space combat and rpg sitting in the basement. I actually like the old rules but haven't looked at all at the new ones. Are they based on the nublitz rules? How do they translate into space combat?

I was kinda interested in Babylon 5 Fleet Wars. The rules are still floating out there and available, along with the models.


I literally just dug out my fleet action books from storage just before logging in to check dakka one last time tonight. I've been going over the slightly newer (honestly not much has changed since the 90's) version of Full Thrust and converting B5 stuff into it kept popping into my head but I couldn't recall which ships were armed with what.


It all feels kinda moot right now anyways. Still can't really play games in person, and Table Top Simulator is just... bleh.


While I used a bit of whatever the board game version of Table Top Sim was around 10 years ago not long after x-wing 1e first came out (can't recall the name at the moment) but I've never tried TTS. From some youtube videos I've watched (mainly showing 40k games), it's obviously 3d so you'd think the gameplay would be relatively satisfying for a 2d space game that doesn't depend on terrain.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Valander wrote:
Spartan wasn't known for making great business decisions... they seemed to always be chasing the next project that they hoped would be the blockbuster that would rocket them into crazy profits (Halo especially was one of those). Turns out, that doesn't lend towards long term success of a company...


My only experience with the company was during the (short) Halo Fleet Battle era and it seemed like the same pattern kept playing over and over and over. The excitement about HFB lasted all of about 6 months and then the news of upcoming releases (and actual releases already revealed) just stopped dead... because they had moved onto hyping for the Halo Ground Wars game instead. Literally every new thread on their official forums was a complaint about the lack of info/support (not that you'd know as they were quickly pruned and eventually ghetto'ized into a single complaint allowed and heavily moderated "complaint" thread IIRC) for almost a year before we got something and then the releases were frankly crap. They 3d printed centerpiece $$$ models for both fleets and NEVER BOTHERED to clean up the obvious layer lines from the process before casting them traditionally in resin so every single model sent out looked like crap. By the end, I wasn't at all surprised that they were folding but I was still shocked at how badly they bungled the game. For long timers there, it didn't seem like a surprise as they said the same hype then forget because new hype pattern had been unfolding for Armada and Dystopian for years.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 lord_blackfang wrote:
I honestly think One Page Rules's "Warfleets FTL" might be the most satisfying game currently with active support, and it's getting good model support (1 fleet a month on their Patreon). As all OPR it's pretty casual tho and I think a play group needs conventions for ship building (like no rear weapons). It has a ship builder with LOADS of options and strikes a good balance between detail and speed. Don't quote me on actual balance tho.


Thanks. I'll take a look there as well. I looked at their stuff years ago when they just had one page 40k rules but they seem to have expanded since then as I wasn't aware of that.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/03/02 03:48:02


 
   
Made in no
Longtime Dakkanaut






For all thouse intrested to test the beta rules for 3rd edition FS: Armada, you can find them here; https://www.firestormarmada.com/
If you dont have models, you can can find 2d ship size templates to print and cut out there aswell.



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Willing Inquisitorial Excruciator





Philadelphia

I'll just add some more into the "classic" file, that you can probably find online or second hand, that I have enjoyed:

Battlefleet Gothic still banging around, and a lot of 3d printers have picked up the style

Mongoose's A Call to Arms series: I have A Call to Arms: Star Fleet (Star Trek) and A Call to Arms: Noble Armada (both had model lines, and Star Trek is easily found, and Noble Armada could use any ships, really)

And there is A Call to Arms: Babylon 5, which lots of people like, but I never picked up. I don't know if that's the same as the B5 system referenced above.

Starship! Which is an old spiral bound game that incorporates 3d into space combat. Haven't tried it, but it looked interesting.

I liked the A Call to Arms mechanics, with differing, scaling criticals, and ships that were more than 8 or 12 hit points with being crippled after half damage (Gothic, which is not to say I don't love Gothic, its my go to). It was a little more tracking on a ship to ship basis (primarily for the capital ships), but not overly cumbersome for a little better immersion and survivability.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/03/02 14:35:33


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MN

I think Wily Games came out with a game called "Starfighters" that is based off their popular Fistful of Lead game mechanics? It has room for x-wing style dogfight and I think there are rules for capital ship combat as well, but I am not 100% on that.


I totally forgot about Jovian Chronicles since it has been in Beta sooooo long. However, they did have paper templates you could use to try the rules. I got it all set-up to play and then..... never did. Life got in the way, and that was like 18 months ago?

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Abel





Washington State

Oh, there was the very short lived Battlestar Galactica:Starship Battles from Ares games. I say short lived because it came out in 2019 (I saw it at Gencon 2018 while in beta), and Ares Games didn't renew the game license in Decemeber, 2020. Fantastic pre-painted models! The combat system was a bit complicated, but represented the show very well. It was a welcome change from X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing.

Kara Sloan shoots through Time and Design Space for a Negative Play Experience  
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut




 FrozenDwarf wrote:
For all thouse intrested to test the beta rules for 3rd edition FS: Armada, you can find them here; https://www.firestormarmada.com/
If you dont have models, you can can find 2d ship size templates to print and cut out there aswell.



Have they fixed the "ships never die until they are covered in 30 status tokens" issue? I've taken a look at the beta rules, and while some ideas are neat, a lot of it is being different for the sake of it in my opinion, and I've got low confidence in the rules along the lines they were developing.

Anyway, it does seem it's a bit of a quiet/dead space for spaceship gaming right now. DFC is just putting on quietly, but it'll be always hampered by the fact that the most important part of the game is not played with spaceships but ground forces chits.
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

 Tamwulf wrote:
Oh, there was the very short lived Battlestar Galactica:Starship Battles from Ares games. I say short lived because it came out in 2019 (I saw it at Gencon 2018 while in beta), and Ares Games didn't renew the game license in Decemeber, 2020. Fantastic pre-painted models! The combat system was a bit complicated, but represented the show very well. It was a welcome change from X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing.


I never played it but I think I remember it having an (optional?) third dimension to the tabletop combat that sounded interesting and different from the other offerings. It's one of those game mechanic holy grails that I don't think has been properly found yet for my tastes but maybe they got it right.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





For any interested, and I know its a niche group but Star Trek attack wing isn't dead yet. It was just in a heavy delay from production hell. If you can find them they are putting out stock of pretty cost effective faction packs for ready to play fleets.

Just this month they released the long awaited Dominion Cardassian union faction pack and the Vulcans which also have some bleed over to Federation.

Month or two ago they released a stand alone campaign game called Alliance for dominion war scenarios action, a leveling system etc. With the Federation stuff being playable mostly in the core Attack wing game.

The core rules have changed a bit but nothing drastic just got a bit more balanced and stream lined in case anyone was still interested in this game new stuff has come out recently and is still coming out. With the Federation and Klingon faction packs out this May if the schedule holds and it seems to be all good currently.
   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

I used to be interested in STAW but I was discouraged that they stopped coming out with new ship sculpts. Even a new edition about two years ago (?) was followed up with more repaints. The recent Dominion War box seems to be generating some excitement though despite being more repaints but I haven't delved into why specifically. Are the scenarios that good or is the community just that hungry for releases?
   
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I think the scenarios are good and if WK keep up dropping that style, could be a pretty juicy campaign. The repaints I get are a bummer but they are better looking than they were which was off putting for some when I started way back in the beginning.

As well the ships and upgrades are much better balanced with one another and actually have some fluff and crunch baked in now as opposed to just a bunch of fluff with little use but for a few.

I'd say maybe give it a look at if you were interested. WK is abysmal for keeping things in stock but there is life there yet if they keep it chugging along.
   
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Not new, but my most played Space Combat game is still Silent Death. I have A Billion Suns, X-Wing and Star Trek, but they all sit on the shelf for Silent Death.
My wife's a lover of everything Star Trek, but she'd rather play Silent Death than Star Trek.

I guess it's still available as a download: https://www.wargamevault.com/product/156598/Silent-Death-The-Next-Millennium
As are the 12 core plastic ships all on one sprue for £2.99: https://em4miniatures.com/products/spacecraft?variant=31783107231862
The website is still going strong and selling all the previous ships in the store, although it's a pain for me as it's US based: https://silent-death.mx/store/

Spoiler:

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Great paintjob on those tiny fighters, I've only ever seen them in the bare gunmetal plastic.

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Longtime Dakkanaut





Hey space combat is cool in any variation. Nice looking space ships there.
   
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Fixture of Dakka





West Michigan, deep in Whitebread, USA

 lord_blackfang wrote:
I honestly think One Page Rules's "Warfleets FTL" might be the most satisfying game currently with active support, and it's getting good model support (1 fleet a month on their Patreon). As all OPR it's pretty casual tho and I think a play group needs conventions for ship building (like no rear weapons). It has a ship builder with LOADS of options and strikes a good balance between detail and speed. Don't quote me on actual balance tho.


I've been meaning to get some plays in of Warfleets, using my Star Wars Armada stuff.



"By this point I'm convinced 100% that every single race in the 40k universe have somehow tapped into the ork ability to just have their tech work because they think it should."  
   
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Jojo_Monkey_Boy




Lehi, UT, USA

I have a space combat game in development, named Quantum Rebellion. It includes rules for customizing ships and squadrons. Send me a PM if you'd like a copy to look over, or join the facebook group (Quantum Rebellion) where it can be downloaded.

   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

 Valander wrote:
 warboss wrote:
I forgot about Firestorm Armada! Yeah, it always seemed kind of pointless to me that Spartan Games tried to develop/manage two completely different starship/fleet combat games at the same time.
Spartan wasn't known for making great business decisions... they seemed to always be chasing the next project that they hoped would be the blockbuster that would rocket them into crazy profits (Halo especially was one of those). Turns out, that doesn't lend towards long term success of a company...

Anyway, curious to see what Warcradle does with Firestorm Armada (and hopefully eventually Planetfall). The beta rules they have up on their site right now did make some big changes (notably, shift from icky square bases to proper hex bases, which is what all starships should be on IMO), so there has been some gnashing of teeth from some folks, but really, FSA was kind of a crap game, though with nice models.

Eventually, if I win the lottery so I can quit my day job and work on designing games full time, I do have some ideas for a spaceship game. But, yeah...


Spartan was also apparently operating on very narrow margins which may have been a major contributing factor to their demis. Their stuff was surprising cheap for the quality, it turns out there was probably a reason for that. I came across some info a few weeks ago, I forget the exact numbers but the entire company was operating on revenues of somewhere between $600-900k/year and they had something like 1600 SKUs IIRC - not a particularly great product to profit ratio.

And there is A Call to Arms: Babylon 5, which lots of people like, but I never picked up. I don't know if that's the same as the B5 system referenced above.


Different, from B5 Wars/Fleet Action, its the most recent iteration of the space combat license for that setting, and what spawned the other two A Call to Arms games you listed (as well as Victory at Sea). Great game, it was also what pulled me into the B5 franchise as I had never watched it prior to playing the game.

WizKids seems content to let STAW die


Not entirely true, the games very much alive but they are somewhat re-aligning how they market/distribute/sell the game to make it more newbie friendly and it might take a while for that process to bare fruit. As someone else said theres been some production issues involved, and I believe theres been some internal team trouble as well, iirc the WK employee who primarily managed the Attack Wing product line left the company and they haven't been able to replace him with someone with the same passion/understanding. I also know some behind the scenes stuff that I can't talk about, which has me speculating about something else that may be in the works - but I can't talk about it and it might not have anything to do with Star Trek/Attack Wing anyway.

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SoCal

Have there been any new or upcoming STAW ships in the last year?

   
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New Jersey, State of Perfection

I believe its just been rereleases/faction packs. I know stuff is being worked on, but I don't know what that stuff is.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/04/13 01:08:36


This ain't no pansy GW Armor, son - Digital Sculpting Plog, Now with Heavy Weapon Platforms!
Sympathy for the Devil, or: The Project Log from Hell

Ma55ter_fett wrote:It reads like the ramblings of a Nigerian lobotomized Shakespeare typed into a cellphone with a very aggressive autocomplete function.
 
   
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Longtime Dakkanaut






A little spin-off from DropZone was released during the winter: Flightwing Commander, basicly a mini game for the fighterplane models in the Dropzone model range.
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0965/1274/files/Flightwing_Commander_Rules.pdf?v=1608124024
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0965/1274/files/Stat_Cards.pdf?v=1608135262

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Courageous Space Marine Captain





SoCal

I hope to play that next time I get to game with my nephews. Dropzone has some really fun fighter minis.

   
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Decrepit Dakkanaut





Glorious Nation of U.S.S.A!

Cool. I think that's a good idea for them. I long ago bought some of their fighter minis for fighter counters in Heavy Gear and they're quite nice models. I was very impressed with their casting.
   
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Fixture of Dakka






 warboss wrote:
 Tamwulf wrote:

I was kinda interested in Babylon 5 Fleet Wars. The rules are still floating out there and available, along with the models.


I literally just dug out my fleet action books from storage just before logging in to check dakka one last time tonight. I've been going over the slightly newer (honestly not much has changed since the 90's) version of Full Thrust and converting B5 stuff into it kept popping into my head but I couldn't recall which ships were armed with what.


Are you aware of the Full Thrust-based ship combat rules in the Bablyon Project RPG Earth Force Supplement? Probably hard to get hold of now, a quarter of a century later but it's kinda done the work for you, at least for the "real" B5 ships that were part of the show. I recall that it introduced a couple of new systems that might have made it into some of the playtest rules on Star-Ranger.com - multiple thrust icons rather than a single drive, and a system icon that acted as a central capacitor/battery for multople beam systems. The big fore and aft lasers on the EA destroyers used that.

I never really bothered worrying about 3d movement - it's not as important in space combat as in air combat, as the altitude/speed playoff isn't there. I've tried it a couple of times using the old Jovian Combat RPG rules and the complexity didn't seem to be worth the effort. Leave that for TIE Fighter or Homeworld, I think.

If you want to get really into the weeds, there's Atack Vector: Tactical from Ad Astra Games. it does rather chuck you into the deep end when it comes to 3D movement, thrust/heading/vector tracking and whatnot, but when I played it it took a surprisingly short time to go from "Right, so I add two dots to this box, so I move from this hex to that one and then my final movement angle is that way..." to "OK, so I'l pivot up and thrust to pass over your ship, and rotate so my starboard laser can fire as I bear on your engines ..."
   
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State of Jefferson

Played my second game of "Battleship Galaxies" (Hasbro or AH) recently. Pretty good IMO.
   
 
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