Hello faceless space fans! In this post I share all the ship builds I did for gaming Star Trek TNG using the Starmada Unity system. Federation and Klingon, and there are quite a lot of them. It's a monster post.
But First Back on Earth:
This Terrible blog is lucky enough to have some folks who routinely / foolishly read and comment on many posts that I write. Thank you. However, this post has a much more narrow focus and target audience that's best illustrated by this compelling Venn Diagram...
If you don't find yourself on this diagram then you can feel free to to skip this post. I won't hold it against it you. There's nothing here that will really interest you. So don't worry about it.
I mean I read ALL your dumb posts about Napoleonic wargames but you know, it's cool and whatever.
Now we leave earthly concerns behind and get back to space. Where the real action is.
Starmanda Unity Star Trek
When I wanted to start gaming some Star Trek star ship space combat I found some sites on the internet that helped guide the way. This is meant to be one of those sign posts in the internet to help guide others in the same direction. To give a starting off point. It should not be taken as cannon and I should not be mistaken for someone who knows what he is doing. It's just meant to be helpful. If you like, you can click the 'Star Trek' label over on the right (if your seeing the webpage version) to see more Star trek posts on how I got here. Ok, fine, you can just click HERE.
Designing Star Trek Ships was something of a laborious process. First I went to several websites to get the specs on these fictional ships most which vary slightly. Then I had to come up with a clever formula to convert things from universe terms to game stats; for example if a ship had 16 phaser banks then how many phasers should it have in the game? THEN I went along and categorized every type of warp engine and shield generator to cross reference the power output across different hulls and I"M JUST KIDDING I DID NONE OF THAT.
What I did do was start with a medium ship and designed that till it 'looked right' and did my best to scale up or down from there depending if the next ship was larger or smaller / more powerful or less powerful / a personal favorite or fleet filler. Something of an Endless Tinkering but not hard (especially with the dry dock spreadsheet) and in this way whole fleets started to take shape.
General Guiding Principles
All ships like to shoot straight ahead, but the Klingons doubled down on that principle.
Klingon ships are faster and more maneuverable than Federation ships (Klingons have a higher engine) because of above.
All Ships have some Screens that I call 'plot armor.' This is to represent that the first couple of times a ship gets hit you see the crew stumble around, a panel bursts into sparks, someone says "damage report!" and someone else says "damage to decks 3, 5, and 12 and shields weakening" but the ship is totally fine and working 100%. Some ships have more 'plot' than others, probably because they have a sex-ay main character or something.
I use the optional rules Free Form Turns and Graded Turns. A ship must move 2 hexes forward between turns (a side slip counts as going forward but after a side slip a ship must move forward) and some ships have tight turns and wide turns abilities. Small ships also have the Evasive optional rule which I paired down to "-2 to hit/be hit for double the Engine requirement."
I picture Star Trek kind like Sailing ships of the line (but in Spaaaaaaace) which is cool because the TV show was kinda like Hornblower (but in SPAAAAACE). So just like the sailing navy and the rating system, Star Ship ship classes across the fleets have their rough equivalents in the enemy. More on this later.
These ships are designed that a player would control 6-8 ships in mind.
There's more to say but one can ramble on. Everything else is mostly about preferences. Preferences that are mine and maybe not yours. that's one of the strengths of the rule set is that there are several dials that can be turned wherever one likes. For example: I tend to like the simplicity of shields being a protective egg of constant strength around a ship. It makes the game play faster because when Directional Shields are used then you have to worry about defensive arcs and then players always want to reinforce shields and etc..
Now lets present the ships from smallest to biggest.
FEDERATION OF PLANETS
|My complete Federation fleet.|
Known as The Grey Menance.
All saucer and rocket thingys.
The Saber class is the Federation escort ship. It's fast, it's maneuverable, and has a smattering of phasers. But it won't give any ship bigger than it any worries.
And other fun stuff: As I mentioned way before, I wanted the fleets to basically have rough equivalencies between them. For example a Klingon large ship is about the same points as a Federation large ship: a Klingon Vorcha class at 300 points is about the same as a Federation Ambassador class at 330.
You will see that across the fleets most of the ships in a given size are roughly within 30 points of each other. You will also see that every Klingon ship has a cloaking device because they all have it on the TV show and cloaking devices are part of the Klingon "Klingon-ness" and are just fun. However, none of the Klingon ships actually paid the points for having a cloaking device because cloaking devices are SUPER DAMN EXPENSIVE. CDs should be expensive because they are powerful. If included in the point cost each Klingon ship would be really expensive and therefore hard to balance for game play. So instead I hit upon this clever strategy that I will share with you now. because it's a blog and it's all about sharing. And telling me how clever I am in the comments.
First off, the Klingon ships pay for a tractor beam which I just renamed a cloaking device in the SSD so that the loss limits come out right. Second, I introduce a rule that Klingons CANNOT cloak all their ships at the same time, but can ONLY have a certain number cloaked at once. I say to players this is because Klingon battle doctrine is not about all the ships being cloaked and doing a mass ambush out of nowhere to an unsuspecting enemy nor is space combat about a big game of hide and go seek; those are things that Romulans would do. Everyone hates the Romulans.
Klingon doctrine dictates that honorable combat means that there's always uncloaked ships and its a matter of shifting targets / out smarting the enemy so that the enemy always knows it's under attack but does not know what to do because Klingons are better at combat. I made all that up but it sounds very Klingon right?