Game Design Continued…
How many different ship styles/types to include in the rules? Wow…that was a lot of thinking and discussions across a pretty large breadth of time. After all, there were so many varied types of real-world ships around the world. Ultimately, however, you have to be able to make a call and then ensure the rules and the package of the final Core Box supports that decision as much as possible.
Obviously if you’ve read the Lieutenant’s Manual you know there are Type 1 (Destroyers) and Type 2 (Light Cruisers) in the game. As future factions are released the names in parenthesis may tweak slightly, (Fast Cruiser), for example, but it’s still a Type 2 ship (i.e. a “flavor” name verses the hard code of the rules).
The Commander’s Manual contains rules for two more Ship Types: Type 3 (Armoured Cruisers) and Type 4 (Battleships). However, there’s only so many miniatures that can be included in the Core Box set. So while the rules for Armoured Cruisers are detailed, the miniatures for that size of ship do not appear in the box set and instead will be in the first supporting products released for the game line after the Core Box publishes.
So how do they differ? Well, one is size. While a Type 3 ships only occupies 3 hexes like the Type 2 ship (i.e. they’re both “cruisers”), the Type 4 ships occupies 4 hexes. Other differences are what you’d expect: in general, Structural Integrity higher, Starting MP lower, Breach Numbers higher, Enter Hexes Before Turn higher and so on.
The most significant differences are two fold, and both apply to the Type 4 (Battleship). First, the Type 4 Ships have 6 Locations on their Ship Cards: Fore-Port, Aft-Port, Fore-Starboard and Aft-Starboard added to the Bow and Stern. Second, due to the increase in size and the two side Locations, the firing arcs for the Type 4 ship are significantly more complex than those shown in the Lieutenant’s Manual, including a broadside firing arc. That’s a lot of firepower into either side…and toss in turrets (say what we have on the British HML Leviathan Type 4 Battleship), where you can turn the brutal double 12 IN Gun Batteries in the Bow to also fire into that broadside…and you better be prepared for a world of hurt if you didn’t manage to out-maneuver the Battleship.
In almost any game of this style I play I love “fast and agile”…it’s one of the reasons the Pontbriand is one of my favorite ships to date…but having torn several un-touched smaller ships in half with a broadside volley…exceedingly satisfying. And of course completely appropriate for the kings of the sky.
See ya next duty shift!