Sunday, July 1, 2012

Starmada Ground Combat II: Nova Edition

Upon some reflection over the last couple of days, I'm actually starting to think that Starmada Nova might be a better fit for a ground combat game than Starmada Admiralty was.  I had some preliminary thoughts on Admiralty as ground some time ago (uh, over a year ago now.  Damn), but never got around to implementing it.  This last spring I picked up a copy of Wardogs and realized that it basically was Admiralty ground, but there were a lot of things in there that I really wasn't a fan of.  Melee was a big deal, there were rules for falling over, and the layout was poor and confusing.  It was pretty clearly fanbrew, and I never really got around to experimenting with it or writing a review about it.  I did kind of like what they did with the armor and damage system (they ditched S:AE's impact / shields mechanic for an interesting pseudo-ablative one), but I don't think it was quite enough for me.

But, along came Nova.  Ablative armor as standard makes for a very BattleTech damage model, especially if you use the Bank-Specific Damage rule to model weapon hits in more of the BattleTech mode.  Likewise, you could use Fragile Systems, with Shields for defenses, and low hull for units which more closely approximate the behavior of actual armored vehicles (namely that armor generally either stops the impact completely or is no use at all and you explode).  ECM could provide some means of handling target signature, especially if you permitted negative ECM scores that provided a bonus for people firing at you (which would permit designing 'large' units).  Overthrusters provide a nice, core Grumm Pivot mechanic, Flares could be used for smoke dispensers, seekers would make decent 'delayed landing' artillery strikes (with tractor beams as point-defense systems), the Expendable trait could be used for multi-tube rocket systems that are a pain to reload...  The structure of the bonuses and penalties to attacks mean that having cover from terrain apply a penalty to attacks is simple to adjudicate and resolve.  Basic Movement should more than cover the general case.

The main thing which doesn't convert well is fighters.  SNE fighters are too fast, even at their lowest available speed, to be useful as infantry (though shuttles might work...  ?).  Likewise, coming up with reasonable rules for infantry, aerospace craft, and VTOLs under the Nova core might be tricky.  Anything with alternate movement modes, really.

Anyways, might be fun to play around with.

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