So a while back I was very interested in A) Learning to use TinkerCAD, especially since to me personally it’s far more intuitive than ZBrush or Autodesk for 3D modelling, and B) Making some sort of game that relies on 3D printed components, and would probably be less interesting or not work as well if it wasn’t 3D printed.
Out of that came Orion’s Gate, a starship battle game similar to Battle Fleet Gothic and Firestorm Armada, but also with tastes of Solar Starfire‘s damage system and ship design. I tried to design it so it would be fun and fast to play, have an interesting level of detail in both ship design and movement/combat tactics, and could sale well should players want to use the rules in a larger game.
Elements I liked and included in this game include Debric Clouds from Battle Fleet Gothic, where a damaged ship actually gains a sort of defensive barrier from the damage they suffered. The rest of BFG’s game system isn’t particularly to my tastes, but I do like the element of balance the debris clouds introduce.
The turning radius markers in Firestorm Armada are fun and help add a good element of planning into movement, and I wanted to keep that spirit in the form of the Drift Die as the movement markers would have been slightly awkward to use (And I think too many games ignore that Isaac Newton is the deadliest sonuvabitch in space). FS:A is a fantastic game, but from when I last played there’s not a particularly huge difference in weapons and power besides what damage at what range band, and the special weapons and abilities are somewhat scarce (Plus who knows what the ship creation rules look like now, if there are even any left).
Finally, Solar Starfire has a damage system that I’m absolutely in love with (As I gushed about in my Focal Length post), but the movement and combat systems feel somewhat tacked on for the former, and incomplete for the latter. I wanted to keep the spirit of that damage system with the removable Ship Components in Orion’s Gate, to enable fast ship creation and the ability to tell at a glance what a craft’s capabilities are like.
The game focuses on creating a unique ship from the array of components, the variety of which enables you to create a wide variety and roles of ships (Fast fighters, tough battleships, immobile torpedo platforms, carriers, etc). Players try to maneuver and hit the enemy with their weapons (Using a simple d6-based roll-and-keep system), avoiding firing through clouds of debris in order to further damage enemy ships. As ships are damaged, they lose Components, limiting their abilities and possibly making them more vulnerable to further damage.There are also rules for how Torpedoes are fired and move, and how the Fighter and Bomber wings maneuver and attack as well.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and if there are other aspects of capitol ship combat or other Components you think I should include in future expansions of the game.