System: Full Thrust
Publisher: Ground Zero Games
Alien Zombies from the Planet Splaarg!!
by Nigel Phillips and Danial Bohea
Having been given a copy of Full Thrust Second Edition I started trying to convince my mainly Role-Playing friend to play. Whilst looking through the rules one of the complaints I heard was about the weapon systems and more specifically, their small numbers. Thinking to encourage them I started writing some rules for extra weapons to try and 'improve' this already brilliant game. Then, whilst hunting around in a cupboard, I found an old MB game called Defender which contained some rather boring plastic flying saucers. So I decided to write these rules, which will conveniently work for Aerotech as well.
Alien ships are, as everyone knows, circular, perpetually spinning, and look like saucers. Therefore they have no facing or firing arcs. Movement is handled as usual (ie. spending thrust points to alter velocity, as per the rules in FTII).
Turning for alien craft is unnecessary, as they have no facing. Because of this they can alter their course directly. Course changes are instantaneous and are done on the spot (see figure 1). The thrust point cost is shown alongside the desired course change. (A 30 degree course change costs 1 thrust point to execute, a 60 costs 1 point, 90 is 2 etc.). Alien ships can change their course at the start and/or in the middle of their movement (in any proportion) provided they have sufficient thrust points remaining. Please note that alien ships can spend all available thrust points on course changes, if so desired.
Steve Pugh -
Apart from the lack of facing and fire arcs these movement rules are quite similar to Advanced Drives presented in Fleet Book 2, although the ability to make all the course change at once gives them an edge over the Kra'Vak.
If using the vector movement system then the rules for Advanced Drives can be used as is.
Firing, Weapons and Equipment
In addition to Batteries, aliens can have PDAFs, ADAFs, Screens, Nova Cannons and the weapons below.
These are similar in usage to mines. These acid clouds simply stay where they are dropped causing any ship passing through them D6 damage. They have a radius of 3"
Alkaline clouds are also available. They are the same for all purposes except that they can be used to neutralise each other.
These can be fired out from the ship for a maximum of 12". After that they can be moved as fighters. They do not need movement orders and can attack in various ways. They come in a swarm of 5, and each leech, when attached to the hull of another ship, can to 1 damage per turn attached. Or they can choose to attack the systems and can knockout 1 random system for each 3 or more leeches remaining. (Drive takes 2 'hits' the first halves the thrust). They can only be destroyed by fighter or anti-fighter weaponry.
Paul Holden -
I suggest the swarm size is increased to 6 to match the standard fighter group size.
They have unlimited endurance but can only attack one ship.
The point of damage should be applied at the end of the turn after all other weapons fire.
Because of their small size a roll of 6 is required by anti-fighter weapons to kill a leech. In addition once attached to a ship they cannot be targeted by that ships point defence systems only by adjacent area defense sytems or fighters within 6". Optionally they may also be targeted by friendly Needle beams on other vessels as if they were a system on the ship. Rolls of 5 and 6 will kill one leech but also do one point of hull damage to the ship.
Damage Control Parties may attempt to remove leeches but on a failed roll that number of DCPs are killed by the leech.
Electro Leeches are not required to dogfight fighter screens (they are too small and fast).
A Nova Capsule is hurled away from the ship, and gets caught in a Tractor beam holding it there. The ship then begins to spin and the Nova Capsule spins with it. This creates and incredibly effective defensive shield against attacks. All incoming or outgoing weapons fire is destroyed, including fighters or leeches. Due to the high spinning speed of the ship, controlled flight is impossible. Any ship with an engaged nova disc can not spend any thrust points on normal moving, however the still may have velocity from their momentum and they can move by randon thrust. This can be obtained by rolling D12 or 2D6-1 and the ship must then follow this clock face heading, or the closest that the thrust rating will allow. Any incoming Nova Fire disrupts the tractor beam and the shield is lost. Engaging of this device must be mentioned in the movement orders. Any ship coming in base contact with the ship will have 20+D6 damage.
Paul Holden -
I suggest a 3" template is placed under the ship base and this is used for the contact damage rule.
These have a max range of 24". ON a D6 roll of 3 or more it hits the target ship. The movement orders for 2 turns for a Escort/Cruiser, and 1 turn for Capital ships (1 turn for meteors) can now include orders to the retro rocket which will alter the hosts ships velocity/course by 1. These can also be launched onto meteors which can then be used to chase and collide with your opponents. Lovely!. These are treated as batteries for FIRECON purposes, and can only be used once per turn. The Retro symbol and a No. could be drawn on the ships hull to show how many Retro's are on it.
Paul Holden -
Here is a suggested alternative that also ties in with the new ship design rules for engines.
Retro rockets hit opposing ships with operating drives or bases on a D6 roll of 3 or more, they always hit meteors or other non-manouvering, non-shielded objects including ships whose main drives have failed.
Retro rockets should always operate for 2 turns. The amount of thrust applied depends on the mass of the retro rockets and the mass of the target ship. Because retro rockets only burn for 2 turns they are more efficient than a ships main drive. The thrust applied should be calculated as (RR mass X 40 / ship mass), this cannot exceed thrust 6.
If fired at meteors or when using the standard (cinematic) movement system then the ship which fired the RRs should write movement orders as standard for the thrust points up to half of which can be used for turning (round up).
If using the optional vetor movement system the retro rockets will always apply thrust away from the direction in which they were fired at the ship. e.g. if the target ship was hit by retro rockets in its AP arc the thrust will always be in the FS direction (relative to the facing of the ship) or if the ship was hit in the A arc the thrust will always be applied in the F direction.
These are (guess?) mines that attach to the hull of enemy ships by electromagnets and then proceed to use the ships power to 'power up'. After 5 turns of 'powering up' they explode causing D6+6 damage points. By shutting down your ship you can wait until the electro magnet runs out of power and it falls off. This process takes the same number of turns to drain as the mine had to gain power. The mine has a range of 5". A shutdown ship cannot fire its weapons or spend thrust points. This weapon can also be fired up to 8" to become a missile weapon.
Paul Holden -
The two ranges seems an unneccessary complication. I set the range as 6".
I suggest the following change to make life more 'interesting'. When the mine is fired the firer makes a secret note of how many turns the mine will wait before detonation (from 0 to 6). If 0 then the mine will detonate at the end of the current turn for 1D6 damage. If 1 or more the mine will wait that number of turns. Each turn the damage done by the mine will increase by 1. The mine can be shut down as per the above rules by shutting down the target ship's systems for 1 turn for each turn the mine has been attached (minimum of 1 turn).
The mines strong EM field makes them effectively immune to point defense systems.
I assume that a 'shutdown' ship has no operating shields or electronic warefare systems.
This ball can be launched up to 24" away from the ship to the side. The launching device keeps an infra red signal bouncing between the ship and the ball. Any ship or meteor passing between the ball and ship breaks the signal, sending the ball crashing onto it. This does 10D to the object intervening. This is a single use weapon. Please note that the Infraball is designed to give a meteor or intervening ship 'a bit of side spin' to avoid it crashing into the attacking ship. The target must then make a 2 part course change toward the attacking ship.
Paul Holden -
More damage than a Nova Cannon!
I suggest half the mass and points cost of the Wave Gun but 6D6 damage as only one target will be hit. I would also restrict the range to 12" because you are going to want to limit the number of ships that could activate the device.
This is the other problem with the weapon, how to tell what activates it? Any ships with active InfraBalls should be moved last in an order specified in the players movement orders. Asteroids etc. are moved first and any which cross the path of the Infraline will activate the device. All other ships are then moved and any which cross the Infraline should be marked. Now roll randomly among all ships which could have activated the device to see which ship is hit (this could include friendly ships depending on how you want to play things). Return the affected ship to where it crossed the Infraline and make the 2 point course adjustment. This could mean that it crosses additional Infralines or that it actually avoids a second infraline and is no longer a possible target for that device. Finally move any ship which had an active InfraBall (if you have decided that the device can affect friendly ships then move the ships in the order specified in the players movement orders, any active device on an unmoved ship will be activated by the first moving ship to cross its path!).
Nova Discs, Acid/Alkaline Clouds, ElectroMagnoMines, and Infraballs do not require FIRECONS.
|Weapon||No. of Uses||Mass||Points Cost||SSD Icon|
|Electro Leeches||1 (swarm)||7||17|
Please note that batteries for aliens cost the same as normal batteries with 2 fire arcs.
Suggested new costs (after Fleet Book 1)
|Weapon||No. of Uses||Mass||Points Cost|
|Electro Leeches||1 (swarm)||6||18|
|Retro Rockets||1||Varies||MASS x 2|
This is done exactly the same way as in Full Thrust II, except for the following exceptions. NORMAL DRIVES: Drives for Escort sized ships cost 1xships mass per 2 thrust factors. For Cruisers the cost is 1xmass for 1 thrust factor. For Captial ships the cost is 2xmass for 1 thrust factor.
This high drive cost is because of their specialised turning rules. Alien ships have a max thrust rating of 8, and can spend all of their thrust points on course changes.
Suggested new costs (after Fleet Book 1)
|System||No. of Uses||Mass||Points Cost|
|Main Drives||n/a||5% per thrust*||MASS x 4|
Escort and Cruiser class ships, whilst in flight can, if they end the turn with bases touching, at the same velocity and course, attempt to join together. (This process should not be attempted whilst a Nova Disc is active - Alien Zombie from the Planet Splaarg Soup). When attempting to join roll 1D6. On 2+ the join is successful. On a roll of 1 each ship inflicts 1 point of damage on the other. Unless a successful roll is made next turn (3,4,5,6 after a failed attempt) then a further damage point is done to each ship. If, after a failed docking attempt the ships wish to change their course/velocity another D6 is rolled. On a 5/6 the ships are at their new course/velocity and no damage occured. On a different roll both ships have reached their new course/velocity at a penalty of 3D each. This represents collision whilst making the change.
If the ships do not wish to stay docked then they can separate without the need for rolling. All docking/undocking attempts need to be mentioned in the movement orders.
The advantages of docking are these:
- an active Nova Disc or screen will protect both of the ships.
- the thrust points available are the average of the two ships thrust ratings.
- a ship with an ElectroMagnoMine attached can shutdown leaving the driving and warring to its partner.
- ships will last longer because a D2 (coin) is rolled to determine which ship is hit. This avoids 'picking on the small or weak' ships.
Note: Both ships need to be FTL capable to go to FTL unless using the Tugs + Tenders rules.
I assume that ships failing to dock must either continue to attempt to do so (3+ required) or make a course/velocity change (5+ required to do so safely).
- ...and an InfraBall should not target a docked companion.
- Or you could make a weighted average based on the MASS of the two ships (this would replace this 'advantage' with a calcualation to give a new status; larger ships could still potentially increase the thrust available to smaller companions).
- No change.
- You may want to change this to 1-2 v 3-6 on a D6 if the smaller ship is less than half the mass of the larger one.
- Damage control parties from either ship are available to both.
- PDAF/PDS systems on either ship protect both vessels.
- If the larger ship has an ECM system this can protect both ships.
- If you allow aliens to have Reflex fields then these will protect both vessels.
- If you allow aliens to have Cloaking fields then if the larger ship has a Cloaking field this can be used to Cloak both ships. However this places a strain on the Cloaking Field generators. After moving the docked ships roll a D6, add +1 if the smaller ship is more than half the mass of the larger one. On a (modified) roll of 5+ the generator fails and the ships are no longer cloaked. They can be targeted as normal in the FIRING phase but because its systems were set for Cloaking the ship mounting the Cloaking field cannot fire back. If you want to be really nasty then the Nav computers need time to readjust as well and so the docked ships cannot manouvre next turn unless the Cloaking field was supposed to come down anyway. In this case both ships should be allowed to fire on that next turn.
- Rearming - expendable munitions can be transferred between the two ships at the rate of 1 'shot' per type of system, i.e. two docked ships could potentially simultaneously transfer 1 Acid/Alkaline Cloud, I ElectroLeech swarm, 1 ElectroMagnoMine and 1 InfraBall. For the transfer to be allowed the receiving ship must have originally had that weapon system and used it i.e. the system requires reloading. Transfers cannot be made to damaged systems.
Because the alien ships have small thrusters all round, rather than a single biggy at the back, they are much more susceptible to damage. At the thresholds there is an additional 1-in-6 chance of thruster damage, but this only reduces the thrust factor by 1.
When firing a Nova Cannon (Hooray) the ship must have stopped spinning the move before and declared the direction of Nova Cannon fire. Alternatively, the direction could be written on a piece of paper which is shown to the opposing player on the turn of firing.
An extra optional rule taught to me a Broadsword '92 is very good for both Alien and Human ships. This rule is basically, the ability to repair systems whilst in combat by crews fixing the system or, more probably considering the time scale, the FireCon finding an alternative power supply, initialising backup circuitry etc. This is done by shaking the same no. of D6s as the ship has functional FireCons. These dice can be allocated to different systems or all to the same system, and then rolled. Any roll of 6 means that that die's system is repaired and fully functional.
This adds greatly to the game, I would have found it very annoying if, after the attack on my ship by 6, yes 6 fighter groups this rule had not been invented because I still had about 10 damage points on my ship but no weapon with which to fire. Under this rule, the next turn I was able to repair one of my 'A' batteries and continue fighting.
Another bonus to this rule is that it is realistic in that you have some sort of backup systems, and that it does not become unrealistic, ie. continually repairing the same system, because more often than not you will be dead before the system needs repairing for a second time.
Another rule introduced to me at Broadsword was one of Fighter morale. This also adds more realism because normally ship crews will not allow the ship to ram other ships but fighter crew will gladly keep on fighting to the death. When a fighter group is about to attack a ship a D6 is rolled. If the number rolled is higher that the amount of fighters in the group then that group will not attack that turn.
Steve Pugh -
Both damage control parties and fighter morale were introduced in More Thrust with rules very similar to the above.
Alien ships will attempt a ram on a roll of 4 or more, but a lower roll means that the crew have mutinied from a vicious tyrant of a captain and will travel at full speed towards the nearest table edge and will attemp to join another alien clan, some of which have joined forces with pirate groups.
Meteors: The Slingshot Manoeuvre.
The model ships used in Full Thrust, if you remember, are vastly over size when compared to the scale of the table (An Attack Carrier would be about 1mm long). Therfore, assuming that the meteors used are to the same scale as the table, the meteors will have significant mass and gravity. This will increase the chances of collision and, if used properly, will enable you to use the Slingshot Manoeuvre.
In order to attempt this Manoeuvre the ship must be able to fly into the meteor, or a 2" area around it, with some thrust points remaining, for fine adjustments to the trajectory. If however, the ship is on course for meteor collision you must roll for collision before rolling for Slingshot. When rolling, you must first declare the clock face heading desired after the slingshot Manoeuvre.
|1||Fly past - ship missed or was unaffected by gravity. Continue on previous course and velocity.|
|2||Ships new course 2 points port of desired heading.|
|3||Ships new course 1 points port of desired heading.|
|4||Ships new course 1 points starboard of desired heading.|
|5||Ships new course 2 points starboard of desired heading.|
|6||Gravity stronger than expected/flew too close to meteor, ship crashed and destroyed.|
|Velocity||Velocity increment per clock point actually turned|
(Even I haven't managed to get a velocity over 40 yet, 34" personal record at time of writing)
A course change of 1-3 requires 1 thrust point for fine adjustments.
A course change of 4-6 requires 2 thrust point for fine adjustments.
A course change of 7-9 requires 3 thrust point for fine adjustments.
A course change of 10-12 requires 4 thrust point for fine adjustments.
Note: There is, of course, the possibility that the meteors are to the same scale as the ships rather than the table, which means that this rule is rubbish.
Ed Note: Full Thrust is a simple, flexible and highly popular game of starship combat which must rate as one of the all time Classic games. Full Thrust has won the Best SF Rules category every time the SFSFW Awards have been held. For further details regarding price and availability, send an SSAE to Ground Zero Games PO Box 337, Needham Market, Suffolk, IPA 8LN.
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