It has been a while since I have done a review so to get back into the swing of things here is, A Call to Arms: Star Fleet (miniature star trekking battles).
Produced by Mongoose Publishing, it is as you can probably gather based on big space ships shooting each other.
Its star trek universe a pretty rich format to use. Go watch the TV series/film or read the books etc. For those born under a rock the good people at MP also include in the rulebook a brief history of the factions they have miniatures for (which is handy for those that have only dealt with the screen versions of the universe).
So not only do we get some rules for pretending to be Kirk (he was the best remember) we also get to try our hand at several other ship types.
And they all look awesome below is some pics to whet the appetite and I hope you like the look I know I do.
First thoughts very well presented as a hardback A4 book which weighs in at over 130 pages now these pages are a mixture of black and white text, with B&W diagrams but with some colour pictures also thrown in.
It is very nicely laid-out and it is certainly a breeze to read through, so with all those pages what is the break down into sections look like;
- 9 pages for the basic rules
- 11 pages for more advanced rules
- 3 pages for campaign suggestions
- 15 pages for scenarios
- 27 pages for some fluff
- 71 pages for the fleet (army) lists
Now onto the rules themselves, first its worth mentioning pre-measuring is allowed (which makes sense) although due to various ships being so different you do it from the stem of the stand which makes things a level playing field and is seen in many flying/spaceship based games so nothing earth moving!
So moving on now to the characteristics for the miniatures you will be using.
Characteristics – No major surprises as you will see.
- Ship name – Every ship needs a name (I always liked Bert)
- Class – Really how big and how many guns 😉
- Turn – See below
- Shields – Number of shields
- Damage – 2 numbers here which are explained below
- Marines – Used for boarding actions
- Craft – does the ship carry shuttles
- Traits – Any specific rules available to the ship
- Weapons – Will let you guess that one
Turn phases – Next up the phases of a game turn which covers 4 phases in which all ships on both sides take part in before moving onto the next phase, so expect to plan ahead in a reactive sort of way.
Initiative – Roll 2D6 to see who has it 😉 You also move any compulsory moves needed here.
Movement – That’s right you get everyone to move first this is an interesting choice as it’s about being reactive and/or clever with your moves as shots that where on a second a go are no longer there by the end of the phase. Very simple method of portraying the constant movement of ships in space.
Attack – The fun bit 😉
End – Clean up phase before starting new turn.
Mechanism – Now for the actually mechanisms within the game you will encounter.
Moving – This is done as a maximum of 12”, while the turn stat (mentioned above) is the number of inches you need to move before turning so bigger ships need to travel further. While some ships may have the SM stat which means you can move any amount of times.
It is worth mentioning that you cannot end your movement on top of another ship but that is just common sense (hopefully).
Shooting – The attack mechanism is pretty straight forward, each weapon has an AD rating which corresponds to number of dice you roll. You then hit on a 4+ with every 6 ignoring any shields and is classed as a critical hit which means you have also hit something important such as Dilithium chamber or impulse drive or weapons etc..
Nice table that has extra effects and damage associated with each type of critical hit and multiples of them
Speaking of shields the shield stat is number of dice you roll to stop the above damage.
- 1 – Ignores damage
- 2-5 – -1 damage to ship
- 6 – as above but you roll on a systems table.
Damage – All ships have 2 numbers correspond to when the ship becomes crippled and then destroyed. If crippled the ship can only move a max 6inches and can only fire one weapon a turn.
Stricken ships are those reduced to zero damage points they are considered destroyed. However, first you will roll a D6 (+1 from damage over the zero result) to see if you can explode the ship and cause damage to others close by.
Other more advance stuff you could use includes;
Special actions which are done during the movement phase, these can either be auto-active or require a crew quality check (roll a D6 add crew quality value and see if you beat the number needed). While some will have a power drain which has an in-game effect on the ship. Think boosting shields, all power to engines etc..
Special traits add another layer interest for the player these include things such as science labs and of course cloaking devices 🙂 Even more advance rules which are more related to missions being played include Tractor beams and using planets as gravitational sling shots 😀
Scenarios there are plenty of them 🙂 with 10 standard ones which will feel very similar to any wargamer out there! But there are also 5 Tactical Challenges which are slightly more one-sided (backs against the wall) harder/advance scenarios for those fancying the challenge.
What you get for your money
As I have mentioned earlier, unusually for some of the smaller companies we get a hard-back book which looks amazing and is well printer (and presented). For the pretty standard price for a rulebook (around the £20 mark) you are getting a decent deal so overall I am pretty happy to recommend ACTA:SF on a pocket to pleasure ratio…
Final thoughts on ACTA: Star fleet;
Pros – Its Star Trek without the landing parties! It is a quick game to pick up and is pretty enjoyable
Cons – Its Star Trek without the landing parties! The amount of traits you can play with means you could drown in the detail for such a simple mechanic!
Overall – I would recommend giving this a go just for the Star Trek tie-in, but if you dont have a spaceship game to call your own, the Call to Arms mechanic is certainly one to think about as it is one of the better ones I have seen out there and is pretty well written!
And finally just because 😀