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Starmada Unity Rulebook
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2020 08:38:34

Easily my favorite system for ship combat. It's easy to wrap your head around, easy to play, but offers a whole lot of customization options.

After the somewhat more abstract Nova Edition (too abstract for some), this Unity Edition is essentially a heavily revised version of the Admiralty Edition, reigning in many cheesy options from that version while streamlining the overall gameplay. Many things have been sped up, without sacrificing tactical depth. I especially like the way fighters are handled. Previous editions had fighter flights of different types take up different amount of hangar space. With Unity they always take up the same amount of space, but the flight itself might contain more or less fighters. This makes it a lot easier to tinker with a carrier ship's fighter loadout. Seekers (anything from homing missiles to attack drones) have been greatly expanded in this edition, now fully customizable like any other type of weapon.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Unity Rulebook
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Starmada: 2020 Rules Annex
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/09/2020 08:23:26

This Rules Annex, like the ones from previous editions, is filled to the brim with new ship system and optional rules. Also included are rules updates to the core rules themselves, the majority of which is centered about tweaking the construction rules for better balance (though nothing too wild as too completely invalidate older ship creations). This rules update has since been applied to the core book proper.

A good chunk of the book is dedicated to new movement system. Included are a very simplified inertialess system, a slightly simplified version of the default movement system, and a new vector-based movement system which is the most realistic of the bunch (or as realistic as you can get with 2D). Looks pretty fun, but can probably go a bit out of hand when there are too many ships around.

A fun new option introduced here are System Half-Hits, which result in a more even allocation of damage over a ship. Another huge new addition to the rules are the Customized Range Bands. Now every weapon can have its own custom range bands and a different weapon profile for each range band. This not only removes the need for the old range-based weapon traits, but also makes it much easier to accurately convert ship designs from other systems.

The one thing I didn't really like is the Point Defense System, which is pretty much the old Anti-Fighter Battery. I just prefer how Unity turned the AFB into a purely passive effect. Another odd thing is the lack of new rules for Fighters (outside of mentioning how other new rules and system interact with them). Though then again I'm pretty satisfied with the more streamlined approach to Fighters from the core book.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada: 2020 Rules Annex
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Starmada Core Rulebook
by Victor D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2020 10:26:36

This is the ruleset that introduced me to Starmada & it's a good set to start with. The printed book used to be available from Lulu but I wasn't able to find it & ended up settling for the pdf =(

Whilst some might not like the stark b/w art & 'lack' of colour in the rulebook, I think it suits the game and looks good - no distractions. The layout of the rules is very good, well organised and pretty logical. The games features ...

  1. Hex map play - but it can easily be converted to table top
  2. Game play uses d6 exlclusively - to-hit, defence (expressed as 'Shields') penetration, damage, it's all done on 1d6
  3. Pre-plotted inertial movement - this is a good thing, but the rules are little unclear and led to a friend & I disagreeing as to correct interpretation
  4. Ship record sheets are simple to understand and use - and look good printed cheaply in b/w
  5. If the basic rules are good, the optional rules are excellent and widen a players choices enormously - this is the bit where SM:AE exceeds most other similar space games
  6. Ship contruction rules are included which are thorough and flexible - and you can design your own weapon systems too (but see below for problems!)
  7. You can also 'build' your own Fighter squadrons using some inluded fighter construcytion rules - this was a nice touch (but it can cause real problems, see below)
  8. An Excel ship construction program was available from the MJ12 site - hard to get a copy unless you know someone with a copy already, I got a copy off a friend

OK - that's the good stuff. And it IS good ...

However, there are some problems ...

  1. It's not easy to design a ship withpout the Excel builder unless you're Einstein & can work out the basic Hull/SU equation of "Total Space Units = Hull1.3 x 100" - neither my friend or I were able to make this equation come to the totals given on the Hull size table on page 28
  2. The points value system as given works OK as long as you don't make your own designed weapons too complicated, but once you start to create more radical weapons the PV system quickly breaks down to the point where forces equally matched by PV aren't even remotely equal forces - it is possible to create weapons that can end a battle in 1 or 2 shots
  3. The fighters that can be created with the builder can be created VERY powerful and a min/max'ed carrier can carry more than a few of them - anyone who's played SFB & had their D7 overwhelmed by 4 Hydran Stinger II fighters will understand what I mean ...
  4. These two issues mean that game play really needs to be regulated by player self-restraint - if you're not playing with any limits then the game will provide plenty of space for those of us who are min/max'ers to flourish ...

Despite a few niggles, Starmada:AE is a good introduction to Starmada and a pretty nifty space war game in it's own right. The rules themselves are worth a 5 star, but the lack of builder availability means it's gonna be a 4 instead.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Core Rulebook
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ARES Expanded Rulebook
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2017 10:20:02

Just picked this up, and haven't read or played any other skirmish game rules that look as good as these. Only wish is that there was a more active community of players still contributing material for it.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
ARES Expanded Rulebook
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Starmada Unity Rulebook
by Jeffrey T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2017 13:17:17

Fantastic set of sci-fi ship combat rules. The game is not overly complex, but still supports a wide variety of customization for your ships as well as optional rules to suit your style. It's also very easy to create your own stats for whatever models you have. For example if you have a nice collection of Star Wars Armada ships! :)



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Unity Rulebook
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For The Masses
by Michael R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2016 17:54:00

Great set of rules playable,easy to learn and really enjoyable and I'm not a big Fantasy gamer more Historical. The rule's were recommended from another gamer on the Baccus Forum glad I took the chance and ordered them CUDOS to the authors!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
For The Masses
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Grand Fleets: Jutland Data Cards
by Joseph R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/30/2016 18:23:51

The color is nice, but the cards are bigger than the normal card size used in all the other MJ12 products (3rd ed). 2.5in high vs standard 2.1in bizcard size. This means they don't fit bizcard holders if you managed to get those. And these are only the BB,BC, and cruisers. So you are back to using the B&W smaller cards for the other smaller ships anyways. I just don't think theres a lot of value add here. I could add color to the standard cards using software.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Fleets: Jutland Data Cards
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Grand Fleets: Tsar & Emperor
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2016 15:35:48

An interesting supplement including several battles - real and near misses - from the Russo-Japanese war, the 1898 war between Spain and the US, and the war between Greece and the Ottoman empire before WWI.

However you should know that just as the first supplement finishes its period before Jutland, this one mentions but does not have any scenarios for Tsushima.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Fleets: Tsar & Emperor
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Grand Fleets: Tsar & Emperor
by Brad G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2016 19:36:59

Grand Fleets: Tsar & Emperor- Well up to the standards of the previously released volumes and it includes a good bit of history also. Very glad to have it!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Fleets: King & Kaiser
by Ian W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/11/2015 14:50:16

Six scenarios from the start of World War One, most with 'what if' variants, a couple of optional tweaks to the main ruleset, a simple campaign system, plus a pile of data cards for ships of the Royal Navy, German navy and Austria-Hungary.

Note the timescale in the description: 1914-1915. This means Jutland isn't included and will doubtless be in another supplement.

I got it when it was a 'deal of the day' and I'm very happy. Had I paid full price, I might well have been not so enthusiastic.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Fleets: King & Kaiser
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Grand Admiral: Castles of Steel
by Tim W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/12/2014 23:21:01

This is my go-to game for WWI fleet scale naval games. This game is by no means a rivet counter - but has enough meat in it to really feel like you are controlling fleets in WWI. The card activation system makes each game unpredictable which adds to the suspense. Gameplay is relatively quick with squadron sized battles taking about half an hour to major fleet actions taking a few hours.

You will need dice (lots of d6's) and a standard deck of cards to play this game. You'll also need some time and access to a colour printer and a good pair of scissors to prepare all the counters you need to play.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Grand Admiral: Castles of Steel
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Starmada Nova Rulebook
by Hamilton R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/31/2014 05:53:21

Layout -- POOR. Boring layout, limited art that is pristine but not interesting or inspiring. There are not many pictures depicting space battles, neither inside the ship nor outside in space! The cover of the book is EXCELLENT, whoever designed the cover showed that s/he actually gave a d++n about what s/he was doing. It needs more art, and more-interesting art, something that will inspire me to play this game.

Text -- GOOD. Excellent for a tech manual, but not inspiring. The text does an excellent job for what it is supposed to do, but nothing more.

Game Play -- POOR. Mechanics are good, but there are absolutely no diagrams for spaceship design! It's all text and numbers, there are no layouts that might inspire what ships look like.

I don't know of any other games like this; this was my first purchase for miniatures spaceship battle. I am sorely disappointed: the cover sold me on the game, but I should have suspected something was not entirely right when I found there is no sample to review the PDF before paying 11.30 for this. I feel somewhat robbed; I hope I can salvage this space game (no pun intended).



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Nova Rulebook
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ARES Expanded Rulebook
by Sam H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2013 02:51:43

ARES is a great and complete set of fantasy rules for 15mm or 28mm. One purchase gets you everything, and there are additional rules, errata, and expansions available free from the publisher's website.

If you want a set of fantasy or historical rules that has more crunch and a lot less randomness than Song of Blades and Heroes, this is what you want! Uses several sizes of dice and requires some mental arithmetic, so it's a good basis for building kid's number skills.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
ARES Expanded Rulebook
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Starmada Nova Rulebook
by Alexander O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2012 21:10:54

This edition of Starmada has all the strengths of prior editions:

(a) a sort of elegance in the ruleset that allows for deep tactical options, while retaining a clarity of statement and explanation. Plus, the guiding rule of simple, but not simplistic, rules is still very much evident;

(b) the ability to not only custom-build your own ships, but also the options to custom-build your ruleset with Advanced Rules and Alternate Movement Systems in order to reflect the type of starship combat reality you want to emulate

(c) really clean and functional ship displays to help you keep track of your ship capabilities and damage;

(d) my favorite -- the default movement rules that reflect the inertia rules in space without having to keep track of two or three Delta V values for each ship.

I like the improvement in the diagrams, particularly the firing arcs. They go a long way to clarifying rules without lengthy discussions. I like the retention of clear examples for each rule. And I like the amount of fleet lists available to get a game going right away!



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starmada Nova Rulebook
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Starmada Nova Rulebook
by Thomas H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/06/2012 15:04:03

Having played a few games of Starmada Admiralty Ed. with my group I jumped at the chance to get a review copy of the new edition. Everything we griped about from AE sems to be fixed; the more over-the-top weapon options have been dialled back, movement has been streamlined somewhat at the expense of simultaneous movement being made an optional rule, and seeker alpha strikes seem to have been addressed. Smaller ships can be given escort traits to help them protect the bigger ones too, makimg them more visble. Personally I like that damage rules have taken a leaf from Full Thrust's book - direct system damage is out and threshold rolls are in at 1/3 and 2/3 damage - and weapon rolls have been simplified down to a single roll and a save for shields.

It still feels like Starmada, the customisation is very much present still despite the rules streamlining, but much of the exploitable features have been fixed. Games of AE, for us at least, degenerated into "big ships with super devastating weapons" and the new rules go a long way to address this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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