Simplest Fun Ship Combat System



  • A Battleship (tm Milton-Bradley) game.
  • Dice
  • A reference screen for sensor scans. On this screen are listed power production for power plants, hull mass, etc. Enumerate each item. List sensor accuracy.
  • Ship data computed for this system. (sensor range, power rating, number of combat-fuel-rounds)
  • Assumptions:

    The combat will happen at fairly close ranges, while ships are on the same flight path and the same speed. This might seem unlikely but in fact unless the combat is close to a planetary surface this is how it would happen most of the time. The referee can't see the position of the player's ships, wether they're cheating or not. It's assumed that they're not cheating. If however the referee finds out that they have been cheating, there is always the rogue 0.1C meteorite that can come in handy to destroy the player's ship. This system doesn't work well with too many starships so keep it for ship-to-ship battles.

    We assume that 1 square on the battleship map = 1 hex of space.


    First the referee places his ship/ships on the lower board - don't use the ships from the battleship game, they would be way too big! :) Use a red marker pin. The referee also tells the players where to place their ship on their own lower board.


    Each ship can move a number of squares equal to their maneuver drive every round. Move all the ships now. The movement doesn't add up from round to round. Note: If you move out of the board area, things can happen:

      1. If you're close to a planet, you've escaped.
      2. If not, and your ship is slower than the pursuing ship, re-start the combat in a different position.
      3. Otherwise, survival depends on the state of your fuel tanks.

    Sensor Scans:

    Each ship gets as many sensor scans as each sensor has range squares. (longer range sensors can sift thru more data each turn). Scans can be done anywhere on the board within range of the ship (i.e. if you have planetary range, it's only 1 square away). Whenever you do a scan in a square 8-ADJASCENT to an ennemy ship, you get some sensor data on them. If you scan the precise square they are in, you get a sensor lock.

    To determine sensor data, the referee looks at the actual line for the ship data on the sensor table. Substract (or add, flip a dice to decide) the distance in squares between the ships. Tell the players what the sensor says (power output, mass or whatever depending on the sensor). Mark the scans as a white marker on the upper board and the locks as a red marker.

    Weapon Fire:

    Substract the number of weapon groups from the number of scans you've done. Chose the remaining weapons to fire. Substract the number of ennemy defenses against these weapons from your fired weapons. The remaning number is the number of HITS you have SCORED. Use the weapon UPP (or whatever depending on your system) to determine the damage you've done. (Say for example add the UPP to the dice roll on the damage table or whatever). Go back to the movement phase. If a ship moves, all locks on it are lost.


  • To improve player participation, let the sensor officer pick where the scans go. Let the weapons officer pick which groups to fire. Etc etc.
  • A variant would be to use both the lower and upper board to make this a 3-D combat. Just use the lower board for the (x,z) coordinates and the upper board for the (x,y) coordinates or whatever.
  • I like this combat system because it gives move of the feeling of a submarine battle (not knowing precisely what the ennemy is for a while) and it's fast (unless you have a gazillion scans)!

  • Comments/Improvements are welcome, just mail me!