I don't want a 4X space game, I want a 2X space game

I was reading the EVE thread, and the comment that actual space combat in that game is boring struck a nerve.

The generic “HULL POINTS” and “ARMOR POINTS” and “SHIELD POINTS” just isn’t exciting. There’s more strategy in the old Great Naval Battles series than in any space game I’ve ever seen, and that’s just a few ships beating on each other.

Firing arcs, shield arcs, sensor arcs, all that stuff would make space battles actually tactical in nature by adding more things to worry about than target choice and engagement range.

Add a strategic layer – you don’t get to pick your empire, you’re the First Space Lord, charged by the Grand Poobah of the Tomchick Ascendency to take the money given to you by the Crown and create a Navy that will serve in peace, war, and the times inbetween.

Massie’s “Dreadnought” and “Castles of Steel”, in space. You get to deal with stupid civilian governments, not enough funds, too many responsibilities, and the sense that if you lose the 20 capital ships of the Fleet, all is lost. Environmental Reclaimators needed on Random Colony Planet 2121? GET OUT OF MY OFFICE I’VE GOT A DAMN FLEET TO RUN.

But noooo… we keep having space games where you press the fire button until the bar goes to 0, then the enemy explode, and then we get to micromanage buying malls for ungrateful civilians.

Boring.

So what you want is something like David Weber’s Honorverse, in a fleet tacsim?

That would be sexy.

Hmm… yeah… I could go for that.

Well, there’s a boardgame version, at least for the tactical part. I imagine you could come up with some sort of campaign system to match without too much trouble.

This reminds me of travellers 'trillion credit squadron". A p&P RPG where you designed spaceships to create some big ass warfleet, more for the fun of designing the ships themselves than actually fighting with them. I thought it was pretty cool.

A political layer makes everything better.

I think you need to take at least a quick look at Sword of the Stars. http://www.quartertothree.com/game-talk/showthread.php?t=36149

It’s not the exact game you wish for, but in tactical combat sensor ranges matter, there are firing arcs and sometimes even shield arcs (deflectors).

Battlefleet Gothic with a campaign system? Hell yes.

If you want tactical space combat, play a tactical space combat game, like Freespace.

Is there a game like this?

I’ve been looking for a meaty non-WW2-era turn based game for a while now and this sounds awesome.

I’ve never heard Freespace referred to as a tactical game before, interesting.

Imperium Galactica?

I’d say more self-evident than interesting. All military conflict is either strategic or tactical. Freespace’s strategic layer exists only in the form of a scripted plot, leaving the actual gameplay with the tactical layer. QED.

And as anyone who’s finished either Freespace game will tell you, you cannot finish some of the more elaborate missions without a healthy dose of tactical thinking.

I think the assumption behind “2X” is that it would involve controlling all the ships on your side at once, not scooting around in a space sim.

Isn’t that more or less what the Starfleet Command games were about? Does anyone still play them, 5+ years later?

Cool. If you’re going to go all tactical, there’s the problem of managing the vast distances of space. How to contain your fleet (each ship kilometers away from each other) on your moniter, all the while understanding where the enemy is. Not to mention the crazy speeds they’d all be moving at, if you’re presuming ships can get around between planets in better time than they can now. Maybe you can have things abstracted into different windows, one window with your blips, another with the enemy’s, another with a damage/systems view, etc. But having a gaggle of ships slowly advancing into an enemy formation on the same screen doesn’t sound right if you’re going to play up the complexity of space combat.

Anyway, however you do it I’d play it. The economics and diplomacy of space conquest interest me not at all.

I recently replayed Starfleet Command 2, I never did buy 3 though. Mianly due to critism that is was dumbed down. I now regret that as the game is going for like $80 at amazon. bleh. I would love to play this one now…

Well, the FS games do give you full control over everything that’s not a capital ship. You can easily end up coordinating the activities of over a dozen fighters and bombers.

SFC3 sucked relative to SFC1 and 2, very dumbed down. I wonder who is buying SFC3 for $80? Trek collectors? I’m not aware of any big community mod making SFC3 better…most of the best mods were for 1 and 2.

I loved SFC2, and need to reinstall it. Deep deep depth of tactical combat. In addition to firing arcs and shield arcs, you had to allocate energy between movement/weapons/shields/other stuff, a wide variety of weapon types (short/long range, slow/fast recharge, high/low energy usage), electronic warfare, transporters to send in the marines, discrete damage to specific subsystems abd damage control parties, mines, carriers and fighters, etc etc. Only things I did not like was the limit of 3 ships per player, and the fact most online players played at the fastest game speeds where it played more like a RTS because you simply did not have time for the deeper tactics.

It did not have a real strategic level, however. It had a quasi-strategic level, but it really functioned as a random scenario generator.

It’s funny, but for me SFC paralleled the board game development of SFB (Starfleet Battles), 15 or 20 years before or whatever it was.

I thought SFC 1 was fun (but buggy as hell), SFC 2 was lame, and SFC 3 was lamer still so far as I could tell, though I hardly played it at all.

Furthermore, just as the board game people did with SFB, the races became more and more unbalanced with each release. How bad is it when you have a romulan moving at speed 31 while powering up overloaded plasma torpedoes, and the equivalent federation cruiser can’t move half that fast with nothing overloaded at all?

Anyhow, I think that any even vaguely realistic space combat (which Star Trek definitely is not) would be very dull to play as a game. Distances are just too great in space – greater proportionally than speeds in most plausible settings. It’s bad enough in modern air combat where stand-off missiles are fired at dots on the screen and you never actually see enemy planes. For me WW I flight sims are the only ones that are at all fun to play, because they are slow enough and close enough range to really see what is going on.

So why not just make a decent wooden ships game instead? David Weber has gone to a great deal of trouble to come up with space combat system and interstellar society that vaguely parallels the naval situation at the turn of the 18th century, why not just use that period directly? I have to admit, I haven’t actually seen a decent wooden ships game yet, though. The most realistic sailing combat game I’ve played was actually “sail” for unix, a rip-off of the board game Wooden Ships and Iron Men using high res 24x80 character graphics…