Sunday, March 25, 2012

Battle Report - Red Dog Miners

News Flash:  The Red Dog Miners declare Independence!  Read all about it at The Stronghold Rebuilt!  That is all.


Good report as always from the Kaptain.  Follow up questions were solid and will help to continue to clarify the language.



Friday, March 23, 2012

1.4 out to the testers


I just hit send to the play testers on version 1.4 of the rules.  Still a work in progress, but I hope we are getting closer.  Special thanks to those testers that have been active in the feed back.  We might not take 100%, but it is a 100% appreciated.  Keep it rolling.

Here are the big changes...

- Characters are out. Space saver will move to second book if we get one.
- Measuring - From the bridge/point on ship.
- Escort Support - Updated -escorts 1D6+CV vs. Missiles CV - Easier math/quicker play
- Overload - Now provides +2 to Attackers CV. I know it is better to decrease defender, but we couldn't get over the fluff that you overload your own.
- Capital vs. Escort - We took Kaptain Kobolds advise and have added 'Construction Points' that are just CV and Systems to determine the cut line between the classes. Total Points is still the cost to buy into your fleet.
- Doctrine: Assault Craft - Changed to first shot is a free overload.
- Flag Ship - Allows Squadron Orders
- Encrypted Comm Link - Bonus to escorts for Squadron Order.
- Scenarios added
Look forward to the feedback, especially on the scenarios.  

Steve and I sat down on Thursday and ran a game with most of the above changes or had outcomes that created those changes.

I'll try to get a full BatRep, but sufficient to say the Imperium force made the Insurgency question the validity of their actions.  Steve had a bunch of bad activation rolls that really limited his ships from being in the flight while the Assault doctrine went to town...  We had a real hard time measuring from the bridge.  We have been playing from day one with base measurements it was hard to break the habit.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Questions to the Testers (and anyone for that matter)

Here a quick set of questions I would love to get feedback on.

- Currently the Fleet Command Center provides a +1 to all Quality rolls while within a distance of 2L.  Should this be limited to Activation and Morale checks or retained for all Quality rolls?

- Overloaded Weapons - in the current write up, overload seems undervalued.  In test plays I would rather spend the extra action on an additional shot vice a -1CV to my target.  For example if we are both CV3, I would take two shots at 3 vs. 3 vice one shot at 3 vs. 2.  Am I off base?  Would you be tempted to use overload if it gave a +1 CV as well as a -1 CV to enemy?  In same example I would get either two shots at 3 vs. 3 or one shot at 4 vs. 2.  What do you think or do you have other ideas?

- Direct Fire Range - We have had confusion between the movement sticks distances and the the direct fire  ranges as they both use Short/Medium/Long but have different meanings.  We are considering making the weapon ranges: Point Blank (less then twice the weapons distance); Nominal (Between twice to four times the weapons distance); and Extreme (over four times the distance).  Would this help standardized the terminology and reduce confusion with new players?

- More Direct Fire - We have found that an experienced player with a missile heavy force can 'missile spam' pretty effectively and that direct fire sometimes get relegated to a secondary role.  Would changing the range band penalty help this?  Specifically, using the above terminology, change Point Blank from a +0 to a +1 CV to the attacker, change Nominal from -1 to +0 CV to the attacker, and change Extreme from -2 to a -1 CV.



Changes A Coming...

It looks like I was a bit over ambitious on my page count.  Some of the items we have been working on are going to be in a second book (assuming sales go OK to do a second book) or as free online bonus content or both.

For the play testers, I'm working on a version that has our page count down, but here are some of the changes to expect.
- Characters - While I love the concept and think it was a unique idea for a starship game, they are being pushed to book 2.  This saves us tons of pages and allows us to integrate them better into the campaign system which was already scheduled (in my mind) for book 2.
- Squadron Orders - Since they were character driven, they will be part of the new rules in book 2
- Templates - Will be moved to web site for free download when we publish
- Sample Fleets - We will try to keep four of the seven in the first book.  The others may show in the second or as an online based on space and timing.

So what does that leave us for Book One?
18 pages of core rules
3 pages of space terrain
9 pages of ship construction items to include starship specials
10 pages of sample fleets (~2.5 pages per fleet)

I still need to squeeze in scenarios and my fear is we may end up dropping another two sets of fleets leaving only two samples.  Time will tell.

So what will go in Book Two (assuming things go well)?
- Characters
- Campaign System,
- Additional Sample Fleets (Maybe), 
- Specialty Fighters like Bombers and Interceptors
- Mine Fields
- Tractor Beams
- Boarding Parties
- Starbases
- Additional Special Rules

All that to give the testers a bit of fair warning on the next version headed your way by the weekend.  

I'll be putting up a few questions for the testers that I am hoping to have your input on.  Watch for those soon.

Thanks folks!


Edit: I saw I used the word soon four times in three sentences at the end.  Changed to look less like a dweeb.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Kaptain Does It Again

The Stronghold Rebuilt has Kaptain Kobold's latest play test.  Direct Link Here.

In a separate email I got a bunch of great questions which is what the play test is all about.

Thanks again for the help and may all your Sunday's be light on the chores! :)


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Must be the weekend! :)

Kingsleypark's Wargaming Menagerie has posted up his first play test report.  Very entertaining write up and I expect his son must be in his early twenties.  Insurgency Ship Ur Mom?   ;-)

Here is the direct link to the write up.  Plenty of good questions that Steve and I will have to work on.  I hope to have version 1.4 out next weekend for the testers.

Thanks much for the play.


Kaptain Kobold's Battle Report

The Kaptain has posted his first battle report.

Cruise on over to the Stronghold Rebuilt to check it out.  Not only does he play games, he makes his own cool ships too!

Nicely done Kaptain, Nicely done indeed.

To make it even better he emailed me a good nine solid questions to help clarify and re-point some items.

Enjoy the report, I know I did!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ship Creation Report

Hey folks,

Kaptain Kolbold down Australia has written up an absolutely great snap shot of the ship creation mechanism.

Check out his blog at The Stronghold Rebuilt.

He walks you through basic ship design in an easy to read post and provides his thoughts both good and bad on the mechanics.



Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New After Action Report!

Hey Gang,

Elohim in the UK has done a great battle report, a solid review of the mechanics, and provided a few question/learning points for Steve and I.

Follow the action at his blog, A-Historical Wargaming.  

Thanks again for the report and look forward to the next!

I'll post here the resolution on the Escort Support rules after Steve and I can get together.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Solo Report

Hello Everybody,

Our tester in France, Arsenus, had a chance to play a solo game on Sunday.  His blog and short report are at the link.

Thanks again Arsenus! Look forward to a bit more detail on the sides, turns, etc. when you get a chance.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Big Thanks!

I want to say thanks to the folks that dropped me a note to play test.  Great to have you on the team and I look forward to your feedback on the first home work assignment!

I'll gladly post your after action reports here or link to your own blog when you get it posted.

I have a series of questions I hope to ask but I'll wait until I get a batch of tests inbound.

Also, even though I was out ill last Thursday, Steve was able to run a test with some new guys.  Haven't gotten the feedback yet as Steve got sick...  Not related...  Honest!  When he is back on his feet I'll share any news.

Have a great week folks!


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Call for play testers

Steve and I have what we feel is the 90% for the core rules. The point balance is still a work in progress as are the specials.

To that end I really need to get more table time.  If you and your group have the time and interest to read and play the rules I could use the help.

The key is playing. I've got folks that like to read the rules but I must have more dice on the table.

Still interested?  Shoot me an email at



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Play Test Battle Report

Steve and I had a chance to play a game this week.  I wanted to share the battle report.

Steve was playing a Human Colony Fleet that consisted of a Hermes Battlesun at its center with a Bezerker Fleet Escort, an Atlas Frigate, and a Hades Destroyer in support.  Steve had the legendary admiral and captain, Commodore Husker and Captain Apollo both on the Hermes, with the character engineer and gunner on the Hades.

I was playing the Qo'noS Empire with a Q-8 Assault Cruiser at the center with two Q-6 'Vort' Destroyers and a Q-5a 'Prey' Frigate in support.  My legendary characters were Admiral Chaang and Gunner Lur's on the Q-8, Captain K'mpeec and Engineer Klaav on the first Vort.  I also had a generic gunner and navigator on the second Vort and a Navigator and engineer on the Prey.

Before we even put down the figures we caught our next change.  The Qo'noS Empire sample fleet does not have any starships under 100 points.  I had 99 points which lead to the full complement of characters in a 750 point game.  I'll refine an escort to a basic ship to get a 'cheap' fill.

I lost the initiative roll, so I had to roll for terrain, which was  a standard planet and moon configuration and had to place them on the table.  Steve then got to choose the table edge he wished to deploy from.  I then deployed my forces on the other side, followed by Steve deploying his.

I was using the Klingon's on the right of the picture from ADB.  Steve was using Ninja Magic's Kikoku starships on the left.  Steve had first turn and he was pretty aggressive, but he could afford it.  Besides the basic Quality 3 on the Hermes he also had the Captain aboard that allowed a guaranteed one success.  The Hermes also has the Fleet Command Center which helped the other ships on activation as well.  This led to all his ships within 2 long distance of the Hermes testing on at least a Quality 3 and the Bezerker on a Quality 2.

Break Break - Activation and Quality Rolls - For those that have not played any of the 'Song of...' games, a figure attempts to activate on 1, 2, or 3 die.  Each result on the die that is equal to or above the figure's quality grants them an action.  So if I have a Quality 4 starship and roll a 6,4,3, I would get two actions to conduct.  Pretty easy.  The trick is that if you ever roll two or more failures on these activation rolls, your turn ends.  No other figures on your side get to activate.  In Void and Stars, the ships have to still conduct a full compulsory move to take in to account inertia, our only bow to physics in the game.  You can quickly see how a good quality is important, but points wise it gets expensive. In the write up below, what each starship attempted and got for actions is listed as (xD/xA) where 'D' is the number dice attempted and 'A' is the number of actions gained.  A (3D/2A) would mean three dice rolled for activation and 2 were successful.

Turn 1 - Steve
- Hermes (3D/3A) - After compulsory movement, Steve's aggressive play pays off.  He uses the superior quality of the ship to launch both fighter bays and a missile volley at the Vort that has the K'mpecc as the captain.
- Bezerker Escort (3D/2A) - Compulsory move, fires missiles and a long range shot at the same Vort, but misses.
- Atlas Frigate (1D/0A) - Since the Atlas had no successes it only gets its full compulsory move.
- Hades Destroyer (3D/3A) - Following Compulsory, the Hades launches its light fighters into a CAP, he then launches his missiles and shots at K'mpecc's Vort.  The shot hits from long range causing a minor hit on weapons (Weapon Damaged).

Turn Over

In Void and Stars all indirect markers such as missiles and fighters move in the turn over phase between players.  This effectively doubles their speed as they move between both players movements.  In this turn over Steve's missiles move the full long distance (180mm) while his fighters move a full medium distance (120mm).  Next four pictures show the end of the turn, a close up of my flee and Steve's fleet, and the end of the turn over.

My Turn 1

The Q-8 does not have the Fleet Combat Center (FCC) and has a Quality of 3.  I wanted to see how the fleet survived on its own or if it would become a de facto standard to a cruiser for a FCC.  The rest of the fleet had a Quality of 4.  This made me a lot less aggressive then Steve because I wanted to avoid a turn over.

- Prey Frigate (2D/1A) - Since I deployed the Prey and the second Vort on the far side of the planet, I needed the extra moves to make them a factor in the game.  Took advantage of the escort's ability to conduct a 45 degree turn both before and after movement to turn the Prey and start approaching the rest of the fleet.  After the compulsory move, I took a second move with my action.
- Vort 'B' Destroyer (2D/1A) - Again took the extra movement.  Trying to flank around the planet...
- K'mpecc's Vort Destroyer (3D/2A) - Since I had Captain K'mpeec aboard, I was able to ensure one success (Captain's base ability), so I gambled the Quality 4 on three dice. Luckily I had the Captain! K'mpeec did the compulsory move, conducted a damage control action to remove the 'Weapons Damaged' and launched a missile at the Hermes.
- Q-8 (3D/1A) - Only one action on the big guy...  Yuck!  This hurt a bit.  After the compulsory move, I took one shot with the big guns.  I should have targeted the Hermes, but for some reason I went to the Bezerker...  I don't know why.  The Q-8's Assault Doctrine gives it a big bonus on the first shot which negated any range penalty to the target.  I doubled Steve's roll and the result was a System Destroyed.

Break Break - Quick discussion on damage.  Like other 'Songs of' games you have different effects if your combat roll beats, doubles or triples your opponents combat roll. For Void and Stars if you beat the roll, it is minor hit (damage) that can be repaired, double is a serious hit (destroyed) that can not be repaired and triple is devastating hit that destroys the starship.  Damage can apply to either the ships combat value or its quality based on an even or odd number showing on the attacker's die.

Turn Over

All the missile and fighter makers move on the table.

Turn 2 - Steve

Bezerker (1D/0A) - Only a full compulsory move
Hermes (3D/3A) - Again the big guys gets 3 for 3.  I can't hold up on a 3:1 ratio!  Steve sends one fighter squadron off to CAP and one to attack.  He then launches another missile volley at Captain K'mpeec's Vort.
Atlas (2D/2A) - After it's compulsory movement, the Atlas uses the Escort Support rule to fire on my lone missile volley and hits it, removing it from play.  He then fires his own volley at poor K'mpeec.
Hades (3D/2A) - Compulsory move forward then fires missiles on the Prey and takes a direct fire shot scoring a weapon damaged.

Turn Over

On the turn over the missiles hit home.  K'mpeec's Vort takes four missile hits.  Indirect combat is pretty much the same as direct.  A starship takes a penalty to combat of a -1 for each volley after the first.  This represents the swarming effect of the native point defense systems.  As the Vort's Combat is a 4, he is actually rolling as a 1 due to all the missile hits.  Steve's missiles have a combat of 7, 5, 5, and 4.  Things don't look good at this point.  After all the combat rolls the damage ends up as a decisive hit (dead), 1 weapon damaged, 1 weapon destroyed, and 1 system damaged.  However, the Vort has a few special rules.  One is the Reinforced Armor that allows me to make a decisive hit from a missile to a serious.  This saves the Vort right away, as the decisive becomes a system destroyed (odd die roll).  Additionally the Vort has a Shield that I can be used to reduce one hit, one level.  I decide to use the shield on the weapon destroyed making it a weapon damaged.

Break Break - Cascading Damage Effects.  For Void and Stars we use a cascading damage system.  If I have two damages of the same type, you exchange them for a destroyed of that same kind.  For example a two weapon damaged would become a single weapon destroyed.  Two destroyed markers lead to either a Weapon Critical or a Crew Panic depending if it is a weapon or system respectively.

Given all the damage on the Vort and the cascading damage rules, K'mpecc is still alive, but has one each of system damaged, system destroyed, weapon damaged, and weapon destroyed.  This takes the poor Vort to a Combat 2 and a Quality of 6!

My Turn 2

Well that wasn't good...
K'mpeec's Vort (2D/1A) - I use the character engineer's ability to get an extra action so I end up with two total.  After compulsory move, I take two shots at the Atlas.  At this point, I'm hoping to snipe the little guys to force a morale test.  I hit once and cause a weapon's damaged.
Prey (1D/0A) - Stupid frigate.  Compulsory move only
Q-8 (3A/2A) - His slow compulsory keeps me plugging along, but not very fast.  He takes one shot at the Bezerker causing a weapon damaged.  Q-8 also fires his missiles at the Atlas.
Vort 'B' (3D/0A) - Really?  Compulsory move only. Grrr!

Turn Over

Steve's fighters are finally in range and redirect to the frigate, swarming the poor escort.  The hits cascade up to a Crew Panic and a system destroyed.  Crew Panic inflicts a 2 point penalty to Quality while System Destroyed inflicts a 1 point.  That leaves the Prey at a Quality 7 which is an automatic 'Jump to Warp' condition.  The Prey engages the FTL engines flees to warp speed.

My missile from the Q-8 impacts the Atlas.  The roll is a triple value and the Atlas has no specials to help out and is destroyed.

The K'mpeec's Vort takes another missile hit with the damage rolling up to a Weapon Critical that halves the Combat of the starship.

Steve's turn 3

Hermes (3D/3A) - Steve' rolled poorly with a pair of 1's on the die.  However he was able to use 'Huskers' special, Belay My Last, to re-roll once per game.  The Hermes does a wash repeat with 2 fighters and a missile volley.
Hades (3D/3A) - He pulls up towards the Q-8 and unloads.  2 shots with 1 hit on system damage and a miss.  He uses the gunner's ability to fire again for free but misses. Missile volley is also unleashed at close range.
Bezerker (3D/2A) - The Bezerker does an extra move to turn around the Q-8 and fires a missile from close range at the rear of the big cruiser.

Turn Over

K'mpeec's Vort takes on a few fighters and a missile battery that leads to cascading damage to destroy the starship.
Q-8 is swarmed by multiple missiles that limits high Combat 6.  He ends up taking a weapon damage and three system damaged that between shields and roll ups becomes a weapon damaged and a system damaged.

Break Break - Morale - The game has a few morale check points.  One is when you loose 50% or more of your starships.  Like I just did.  Morale is taken at the end of your own turn or a turn over.  Morale checks are quality checks on three dice.  1 failure gives the ship a system damage, 2 failures is a system destroyed, 3 failures is flee to warp speed.

Morale checks!  The Q-8 rolls three dice and fails on two dice.  Using the Admiral special rule I can try a re-roll and get two failures again.  That gives the Q-8 another System Damage that cascades to a Crew Panic.  Crew Panic is -2 Quality and another morale check.  Another roll causes three failures and the Q-8 warps away.  The Vort 'B', all on his own must also check.  And as is typical for him all game he fails all three and warps away.

Game Over.

Not exactly the results I had hoped for, but Steve played his force 100% on target and got some great rolls to help out.  My rolls...  Not so much...

Game Mechanics we found a few rough edges we plan to test and fix.
- Morale system will likely be modified to only a single test per turn to prevent the compounding tests that tore my fleet apart.
- Squadron Activation - We are going to tinker with the concept of squadron activation as a kin to the group activation from the other 'Songs of' games.  This may help the poor quality fleets stand up bit better to higher quality ones.
- Doctrine: Carrier - We might have made this too strong...  Needs more testing in the long run.
- Fleet Command Center - May be under pointed

I was slow, heavy armor, lower quality, but much bigger guns.  I should have focused on shooting the Hermes as the carrier has pumping out the most dangerous missiles and fighters and was providing the Quality bump for activation to the escorts.   Splitting my force also hampered me as a 1/4 of the fleet never engaged.

Look forward to any comments


Good Morning!

I will be using this space to inform folks of the progress of the Void and Stars miniature game that Steve and I are developing for Ganesha Games.  Based on the Song of Blades and Heroes mechanics, Void and Stars takes them into the realm of starship combat.

The game is focused on what I call the 'Task Force' level with each player controlling one to two capital ships and supporting escorts.  In addition the rules allow for characters such as Admirals, Captains, Gunners, Navigators, and Engineers to be included.  These characters add a little difference in abilities to what are standard starship classes.

Void and Stars does not support any one miniature manufacture and you are encouraged to use your favorites.  Because of that you able to create your own fleets based on any science fiction setting you enjoy using the (eventually) on-line ship builder and these rules.

If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a note here or at