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Stars and Steel - main rules
by Tim M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/07/2020 20:18:58

I've played this game a lot. Lots of fun for a not serious time.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stars and Steel - main rules
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Stars and Steel - main rules
by ben w. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/30/2020 20:00:32

The 16 page-pdf looks professional, clean, and engaging even though it is in black-and-white. There are plenty of clear tables, and there is enough stylish indulgences to break up the writing. I particularly like the triple bars on the top and bottom of each page, interrupted only by the page number at the bottom and three stars at the top. There is some impressive black-and-white imagery of space battles within, but there is also a comical image of two astronauts making hull repairs on page 10 that just doesn’t work for me; I like my games serious (minus the occasional WAAAGH), and that image inserts a little too much slapstick into my readthrough.

Content-wise, the rules are well thought out, though rigidly explained. It took me a couple rereads to understand the Modifier Points, and I didn’t fully understand their insistence that Battleships would be represented by BB, Cruisers by CC, and Destroyers by DD. Also, it is only near the end of the document that they explain that there is more than one type of each designation (4 of each—pretty good for a free game); the lateness of that description gave the game a more simplistic impression at first, but it is surprisingly complex for the small pdf. It also looks like it is pretty counter-heavy, though they do provide printouts that you can cut and use.

However, those quibbles are minimal when it comes to the elegance and efficiency of the rules. There are three different weapon types (artillery, missiles, and fighters), each with their own benefits and faults. The 16-ship spread makes for plenty of fleet variation, especially once you factor in the high-depth commander rules. The only thing I would enjoy more is separate fleet designs, though that would not fulfil this game’s goal as being able to suite any universe out there.

Despite the high number of ships that they recommend playing with, they have checks in place to prevent the lengthy squadron movement systems of games like Firestorm Armada. Having up to a hundred ships in a battle would be quite picturesque and would be great for simulating some of the epic battles of Star Trek DS9 or other franchises. Like its faction-omni-representation, it uses a measure for its game system that is interchangeable for people used to metric or imperial, and allows for small playing spaces.

I am rating it high because it appears to fulfill its design goals as a rules-lite system that has surprising depth. I HAVE NOT PLAYED IT YET, but it is one that I would like to try out.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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