Wednesday 9 May 2012

Heat & Energy Management: DVtG

Heat management was cool in Battletech, and the energy management was one of the only good things in the torturously detailed Star Fleet Battles rules.   Capacitor is a key element of EvE Online gameplay.
All amount to the same thing  - managing a resource that allows extra defences, shooting or thrust.

I don't want any excess record keeping and I think this rule should be strictly optional and in no way radically alter the 'vanilla' game mode.  Ships operate like normal but simply have the ability to 'overload' a system. 

Overloading - for when normal firepower isn't enough

Ships must pass a CQ test to overload. If they succeed they may:

(a) Add 50% (round up) to thrust
(b) Add 50% (round up) to firepower

(I could probably add (c) Add 50% to defence  but currently thrust can be used to give an evasion bonus which has the same effect)

Once they have done this the ship is classed as "Overloaded" until it has the status removed by cooling down/recharging.

 An Overloaded ship cannot be overloaded again until it has been cooled down to normal levels. 

An "Overloaded" ship may not use full thrust and firepower; if they do they must roll a CQ test*. If they pass they may continue as normal.
Emergency Shutdown
*If they fail the test they suffer an emergency shutdown and may not use thrust or energy weapons next turn.  They must pass a CQ test to over-ride the shutdown to evade or fire in reaction.

Cooling Down/Recharging
To recharge (or remove the overload counter) the ship must use under 50% firepower AND thrust (or use 0% of either thrust OR firepower) next turn.  If they then pass a CQ test they have cooled down to normal.

Direct Reactor Feed/Radiators Open
"Radiators Open" allows overloads to be recovered without any loss of mobility or firepower but increase the risk of damage (they are -2" range to be hit due to the large heat signature).

 Design Comment:
I think this system is fairly straightforward (normal/overload/shutdown) and allows ships to gamble firepower or mobility resources one turn with the trade-off in decreased efficiency in a later turn. Definitely a lot easier than the Battletech or SFB rules that's for sure - and players can take it or leave it as they desire. 


  1. To keep it simple,
    Have each ship produce X Reactor Points,

    Each Turn, the player Selects dice for the different areas power goes.


    As weapons are fired, they eat up X pips.
    When shields are turned on X pips
    When reinforcing a Shield X pips
    Moving and Emergency Turns and so on.

    No Pips no Power left.

    A little tracking, but quick and gives a tactical feel.
    Better for only a ship or 2 per person.

    For larger ships per side,
    Choose a card for each ship showing power settings. Or set of chits
    Green Normal
    Yellow Decreased
    Red Increased
    Blue OverLoad

    Even Power, Base Rules Apply

    Offense Increased
    Defense Normal
    Thrust Reduced

    Offense Overload
    Defense Reduced
    Thrust Reduced

    Reduced Systems function at 1/2 Effect.
    Increased Systems are 25% More powerful.
    Overloaded Systems are 50% more Powerful, but can strain and fail.

    One can Reduce any system to Increase another,
    Reducing Two systems will Overload the 3rd.

    So if Speed is needed, Overload it,and run light on all other systems.

    Rules will need to define where each system is powered, and weapon charts show the Normal, Overloaded and Reduced Damage.

    Shields will need to do the same, depending on how they are used.

    Should give a little more thought to how to use your ships.

    Send in a few heavy's with Overloaded shields hoping they catch the worst of it, with smaller ships on Weapon Overload?

    Do not show the cards until the end of the round perhaps, but some ideas to think about.

  2. Thanks for the ideas Lee.

    The first idea entails a bit more record keeping than I am comfortable with (I'm aiming for 12 or so ships per person and as you say it would be better for 1-2 ships per side)

    The normal/increased/overload adds more layers and is definitely more interesting than my post above. Again, it is tracking that would concern me. Currently the heat system uses only 1 marker (Overloaded). Using cards would allow more complexity without too much record keeping but I am not a fan of making players create their own cards etc to simply test out a game.

  3. Love the idea of rolling for overload status. This reduces the necessary record keeping to a small marker on (or just under) the stand of the starship miniature indicating it's overloaded status. Consider the concept stolen!

  4. Yeah. Battletech overload was cool but I detest record keeping...