Starship Combat for Kids - Part I

Last month, the boy discovered my old  Babylon 5 miniatures and decided we should play some games.

His first foray was in placing  every ship he could find on either end of the table.  We then both took turns designating one of our ships and announcing which one of the others players ships it would destroy.  After the first game, he decided we needed to increase the complexity.  (I believe  this was primarily motivated by the discovery that he had given his father more ships than he had himself.)

In the second iteration, we were permitted to designate three ships to fire and their targets.  We then rolled one Battlelore die per ship, and he declared the outcome of the roll.  I would love to break this down for you, but the results varied wildly, here is my best guess:

  • Special:  Ship destroyed (larger ships would explode and destroy all adjacent ships.)
  • Flag/Sword:  Miss
  • Blue Helmet:  Ship to left destroyed
  • Red Helmet;  Ship to the fore destroyed
  • Green Helmet:  Ship to right destroyed

The game lacked maneuver, and he thought we should come up with a game where ships could move.  I decided we should use a hexboard, as that would make movement and targeting easier.  Years ago, his uncle  got me the game BattleCattle: the Card Game for Christmas.  The rules are quite simple.  Each player has an armed/armored cow in the arena.  You have 12 armor points per side, 6 hoof points and 5 body points.  Once you lose your hoof points or your body points you are out.  Your hand is made up of armor, evasion and attack cards.  The attack cards are targeted at a specific side with point values from 3 to 6.    The boy discovered the game when he was 4 and we simplified the rules so he could play with his mother and I.  (Armor cards block an entire shot, no tracking hoof points)  His interest was re-invigorated after his cousins came to visit over the Christmas holiday.  (Two older boys who are now addicted to this game and Munchkin as a result)  

Thus it was that I hit upon the idea of creating  a set of cards  for 2-4 starships slugging it out.  I decided to use Star Trek: The Original Series based on the following criteria:

  • Star Trek is awesome
  • No fighters, missiles to track or anything else to complicate the issue.
  • The ships are protected by shields, with relatively weak armor.
  • We will restrict the fighting to space and therefore do not need to worry about taking off shirts.
  • There are good guys and bad guys.  Period, no vagueness, no noble savage enemies.  Simple ROE:
    • Klingon:  Shoot
    • Romulan:  Shoot
    • Gorn:  Crush with Rock and/or homemade cannon
  • Star Trek is awesome

Thus I sat down with a pile of 5 x 7 cards and created a deck and ship cards.  First the ship cards:

There are probably some copyright issues with these, but I pulled the images from websites not connected with Paramount, FASA, Gene Rodenberry or frankly anyone related to the Star Trek Franchise or even Steve Jackson Games for that matter.  

As you can see the ships are divided into four quadrants with 12 shield points per side.  They have 9 engine points and a move of 5. The movement allowance includes turns within the hex as well as hexes moved.  There is no inertia rules as this is a game designed for a 6-7 year old to play with his Father....

To target a side the opposing player must have both a card that targets that side and be oriented on the board to strike that side.  Once you've taken 9 engine hits, you lose the ability to move/turn.  Once you've taken 5 hull hits, your ship is destroyed and the game comes to an end.

Next time:  The Cards


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