Phased Movement & Defenisve Fire Rules for Space: 1889 Aerial Combat
A common complaint about Sky Galleons of Mars has been that with sequential movement it is difficult, if not impossible, to have anything like a fair or balanced game. To that end, a proposal to divide movement into phases is laid out, herein. During each phase of a turn, every ship expends a number of movement points depending on its set speed for the turn (editors note: initiative determination is handled normally). Additionally, at the end of each phase, each ship should be allowed to fire its guns, assuming that the gun fired has a target within its arc of fire, and within its range, AND the gun has not already reached its maximum rate of fire (ROF) for the turn.
Basically, any gun that hasn't fired yet, may shoot. For guns with a ROF more than 1, they can fire up to their rate of fire for the whole turn. OR, they can fire part of their allowed ROF and save some for later.
As an example, a 6pdr Hotchkiss Revolving Cannon (HRC) has an ROF of 3. If the HRC has a target in its firing arc at the end of phase one; it could fire 1, 2, or 3 rounds. If the gun fires 1 round, then it has 2 rounds left for the remaining two phases, assuming it has a target within its firing arc during the following phases. IF it fires 2 rounds, then it has 1 round left to use. IF it fires all three (max ROF) then it cannot fire for the remainder of the turn.
Defensive Fire: May take place at the end of any phase in which a ship was fired upon; assuming the defending vessel still has weapons with which to return fire, and the enemy vessel that fired upon them is within the firing arc, and range, of those weapons.
Naturally, these variants entail a little more bookkeeping for the players, however they should prove less cumbersome than trying to graft, and execute, a plotting and simultaneous move system onto Sky Galleons of Mars. In the end, initiative will still rule the day, but these modifications should provide some measure of balance for all players.
As with any rules, these variants are not written in stone. They are simply meant as guidelines, and the reader is free to modify them to suit their personal tastes.
|Speed||Phase 1||Phase 2||Phase 3|
Higher speeds, if needed, can be extrapolated by continuing the linear progression of the chart. The author, and the editor, welcome your comments, questions, and short speeches about these variants in the space below...—the editor.
by Albert Lowe ©2001; this variant originally appeared on Mr. Lowe's Space: 1889 website, and it is used here with his permission.