So... there were two gatherings for Starmada last week, but I wasn't able to make it to either of them (finals and whatnot). Here's what I've heard through the grapevine:
Jared fielded a faceted-shields cloaking ship that got mauled by unexpected maneuvering, and a ship with a 1-ammo long-range area effect extra shield damage weapon that did a number on Matt in the opening round.
Matt tried a close-range fleet backed up by Tim's fighters, and did good damage, but got wiped out by enemy return fire. Also in one game, Tim and Eric managed to find a defensible corner back in some asteroid fields and destroy all of Jared and Tim's small craft, after which Tim and Jared conceded.
Tim experimented with strikers, to great effect, in addition to fielding more 250-point independent Extra Hull Damage superfighters.
Alex began a reduction in his heavy weapons in favor of more medium weapons (a trend that Matt's also been following.... interesting), and rolled a ton of evens on damage from Matt's fire.
We had two new players: Eric and Matt II. Don't know how they did, other than that Eric and Matt won in the Battle of the Asteroid Fields.
Now that finals are over (finally!), and summer is officially beginning, the constitution of the group's going to change a bit. Matt and Alex are both leaving for the summer, but Tim, Jared, Ethan, and I are all staying here, and we're looking into campaign systems. Ideally we'll be able to fit Alex and Matt into the campaign as well as perhaps less-frequent players. Options that have been discussed include:
- Simplest Campaign System - Sounds like a good time, and simple (and the resourcing mechanic is elegant). Main problem is that the initiative system kind of pushes for "everyone around the table all at once"; slightly harder with distant / digital players.
- Sovereign Stars - Very hexish... Tim and Matt kind of want to use the campaign to generate a plot around which to run a Traveller campaign at a later date, so SovStars' usage of a nice, big hexmap fits in there. It looks like victory might snowball, though, which would be bad, and that's a lot of hexes... also, the fact that individual ships aren't preserved between games is saddening.
- VBAM - Expensive and complicated, but really detailed. The turns would work OK, since each player can take whatever actions he wants on his own realm, and then everybody syncs at Combat, but it takes a lot of turns to get anything done. I don't think we're going to go with this one, but mention it for completeness.
- Battlefleet Gothic's campaign rules - it would take a little adaptation, but I think this is pretty close to optimal. It's got a nice map that could easily be converted to a hex grid for Traveller later, persistent ships, campaign turns only require two players present, weak snowballing (destroyed ships are 'regenerated' with low leaderships and no upgrades, systems held only provide repairs, rather than reinforcements, and ability to gain reinforcements grows pretty slowly), and Subplots look entertaining. However, some conversion work would be necessary... all of their refits, Leadership, flagships, crew skills, point values for Battles and Raids, scenario generation. Might be a fun project, actually; expect to see some draft conversion rules up soonish.