1.10.2013

An idea for space-based wargaming: the suicide run

First Galaxei Ibrahim Maxwell gritted his teeth as the series of explosions rocked the Elysium and strained his body against the restraints of his command chair. Only his space suit saved his skin from bruises. Not that it mattered as the overhead lights flickered and the chatter from the various stations around the bridge increased as each called out status and damage reports.

"Port and starboard laser batteries down! Missile batteries Ten through Fifteen also down." Reported the assistant tactical officer, his superior having blown her voice out an hour earlier. "We've lost shields on starboard, port is about to follow, and forward shields are down forty percent."

"Engineering reports substantial casualties to damage control crews. The last explosion opened a whole deck to space." The voice of the lieutenant's working the engineering/damage control station was cracking, but from a different type of strain. "They also report severe breaching of the hull."

Then came another explosion, this one dwarfing the three prior. This time, the strain was too much and one of the restrains snapped. The lights went out this time and were replaced by dimmer emergency ones. The chatter reached a new height of frantic.

The next voice was of his XO, Second Galaxei Arianna Grey. "Ib, we've got to get out of here while we still have ship to withdraw in."

Maxwell said nothing and stared at his tactical overlays on the array of monitors around his chair. The damage assessments were worse than what he was hearing. The hull was swiss cheese and the frame was red lined in places. Worse, the FTL propulsion was history, making retreat futile. On the other hand, he had alternatives...

"No." He replied.

"What, sir?"

"No, we are not retreating. It would be pointless, Ari." He said, gesturing at the displays. "Even if the FTL still worked, the Elysium would never survive in its condition. And I doubt our "friends" out there are in the prisoner taking business."

Grey nodded, never taking her eyes off the displays. The Anvar were ill-disposed to take on prisoners and even less to treating them anywhere approaching galactic standards. This war was turning shitty.

"We do have an alternative, however." There was a grim resolution in First Galaxei's eyes as his XO tore her eyes from the screens and locked them with his. And she knew.

"That battlecruiser is awfully close and the enemy seems to have made an terrible tactical error putting those destroyers so close to it." She said with a savage grin.

"Agreed. Now let's show them the error of their ways and remove a battlecruiser from future equations." Maxwell responded with a grin just as menacing. Turning away, he started calling out orders, his voice amplified by the command and control system to carry over the noise of the bridge.

"Flight control, lay in a direct course for that BC, don't skimp on the speed! Tactical, redirect power from aft to forward shields. Throw every ounce of offensive power we have at the enemy ship! Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to make sure that NO ONE, especially those Anvar bastards forget the Elysium!"
The idea popped into my head tonight: What if instead of watching one of your ships being blown to smithereens with no consequences for the enemy ships, a player could get a measure of revenge by dealing one final blow? The idea is that if a ship survives an attack, but is otherwise doomed, you can attempt to have the ship perform a suicide attack. The player could only target an enemy ship that is close to it (let's say one of two hex squares), then has to roll a dice to initiate the attempt. If the roll fails, suffers some kind of engine or nav trouble. If successful, however, the ship then automatically starts moving towards the targeted ship at its current best speed. It also loses all future turns, since its not likely to survive. The opposing player automatically gets a free turn to either evade or try and destroy the kamikaze vessel.

If evasion is successful, the stricken ship continues moving on its present course for several hex squares before coming to a stop. If the opposing player fails to evade or destroy the oncoming ship, it plows right into theirs in most cases, both go boom. For the sake of fairness and balance, the suicide run option can only be used once per ship and only if the ship has suffered more than 50% damage. Maybe 60% to be safe. Additionally, if a ship fails in its run, maybe it has to do a morale check or something?

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'm thinking of calling this the "Today is a Good Day to Die!" Rule, and the player who uses it has to say that line in their best Worf voice. Eh? Eh?

2 comments:

  1. I'd allow it, but only if the ship was really damaged--like 80% or more, and had lost FTL and at least one other major system (like life support or sensors). Definitely have some kind of morale check (easier for Klingon-types to pass than the in-game equivalent of, say, Ferengi). If the suicide run is successful, both attacker and target are destroyed. If unsuccessful, just the attacker is destroyed (the target ship evaded and poured all its weapons into the suicide ship as it flew by).

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    1. Excellent suggestions! I was also thinking about some sort of "area of effect" type situation where there's a chance ships close to the two ships might suffer collateral damage, like chunks of the destroyed ships hitting them with varying degrees of damage from none to severe. The ships would have to be really close to be affected.

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