Tuesday, January 27, 2015



So far we've learned that players assign Admirals to Fronts who use their Command ratings to order commands to the forces under their control and while they move fleets and troops around on the board via Normalspace or Higherspace, what mechanic is used to regulate what players actually DO?

The answer is "Command Cards".

Command Cards are the means by which players take actions in the game. An "action" is anything that involves moving fleets, constructing things, making attacks, etc. Players select which Front Admiral to assign to a Front and this admiral has a rating that determines the maximum number of Commands that can be played on a turn by that Admiral.

Some Command Cards give the player the opportunity for two Front Admirals to move one Combat Fleet apiece, while some allow the player to construct stations, fleets, sensor grids, etc. Playing Command Cards is how the game is played and judicious use of these cards will help determine who wins.


The number of cards a player can keep in his hand is determined by the number of Star Bases on the game board. Star Bases represent Command & Control centers where Front Admirals and their staffs operate from. Each Star Base allows the player to hold three cards. Each Admiral has a Command rating or 1-4. So If a player has two Star Bases he can hold six cards in hand maximum and play 1,2,3 or 4 Command Cards on that turn. the Admiral's rating determines how many Commands can be given to that Admiral that turn. Think of Command cards as "Orders" from supreme command (the player) being passed down to subordinates. 
When the Command Card Deck has been entirely played-through it is re-shuffled and players can continue drawing from it.

In the next blog we will discuss combat mechanics...

Monday, January 26, 2015



 The Game Board & Movement

In the last blog segment I covered the Admirals and how they influence and control the play of the game. In this segment I'll be covering the nature of the game board - including terrain -  and movement.

The Board

 The board is actually eight 10"x16" heavy card stock mats placed adjacent to one another. This reduces cost significantly. The white lines you see on the board are the seams of these sections. the gaming board has red and blue on opposite edges that represent the starting areas or "controlled" area of the board by either faction. In most scenarios the Empire starts along the red edge while the Federation starts along the blue edge, but there are plenty of scenarios where forces from one of both sides are scattered on the board at start. In terms of supply, communication and reinforcements, the board edges determine where these things come from. The board is divided into three Fronts A, B & C  that stretch from the blue to the red edges. On both edges of each front is a Front Admiral card space where players place assigned Front Admirals. Three for each faction's front.
The board is a star field and a hexagon pattern overlaid upon it. The hex field is to control movement of fleets and troops and for placing space terrain and star systems.
When players move fleets across the game board they count hexes since each fleet has a movement allowance limit.


Fleets have a 2 to three hex movement limit each game turn. there are two ways for starship fleets to move: via Normalspace (with the 2-3 hex limit) and Higherspace using star gates which allow fleets to move instantly from one stargate to another location with or without a stargate.


Fleets have a movement range limit that's not arbitrary but based upon fuel consumption. Starships require deuterium gas to operate their engines. In order for starship fleets to move up to 2 or 3 hexes they need to refuel with this deuterium and there are two ways to acquire it. Ships can scoop it up from massive gas giant planets or from Depot Stations. Fleets cannot move if they cannot refuel at their destination. Only gas giants and depots can handle fleet refueling, not star bases or fleet docks. This makes star systems with gas giants and depots critical in moving star fleets and winning the game. Admirals can play certain cards that allow them to buy and build Depots but there aren't that many cards and they are only in hand a few times in a  game, so players need to not be profligate in constructing these stations. Also, they can be easily destroyed by enemy ships. Only gas giant planets cannot be destroyed. So most combat will occur along close star systems with gas giant planets.


The other way fleets move is through star gates. Players have admirals build star gates on star systems. This is where fleets enter and leave Higher space. However, fleets entering a star gate can attempt to leave Higherspace at any space hex but at a potential cost. The fleet can be damaged, destroyed and/or wind up off course and floating in open space and no way to be refueled. Star systems with star gates are valuable because star gates are so incredibly expensive to build. Those that exist must be protected - just as much as Depots.

So that's how movement is planned to be in the game. Next up, we'll describe the space terrain such as star systems, nebulae, etc. and how they affect game play.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


While we are getting BattleForce Saturn reviewed and Battle for Gallion's Reach: Fleets! polished into it's final, streamlined form, we are pushing ahead with the Star Fleet Admirals game concept.


 This is a game I've wanted to play for a very, very long time. I grew up on war games and love them, but so many of them are incredibly complex and time consuming., it is hard to find the time anymore to sit down, learn and play one. My favorite war games always involved strategy of some type but there were few, if any, science fiction-based strategy war games available that weren't so complicated and time-consuming that it took weeks to learn the rules and days to play one.

But lately, I have been playing newer war games designed to eliminate the complexity and time to play and still provide the enjoyment. One such game, Memoir 44, is especially fun with quite simple rules (that can be made more complex by after-market add-ons to the game) and relatively short playing times (2 hours max). That allows me to also have a life and still enjoy this particularly fun hobby. I wish there were more such games, but it seems that either they  are too complex or too ridiculously simple.

Memoir '44 game

When it comes to a war game, I want to be able to enjoy the flavor of leading armies into battle without so much detail that the "game" gets lost. Rules should not overpower the "game". I also wanted to play a strategy game that simulated interstellar warfare on a strategic level. Finding no such game on the market that had both qualities, I realized that if ever wanted to be able to play it, I'd better create it!!!



I wanted seven things that the game must have:
1) Simplistic, straight-forward play and yet enough detail to keep it interesting.
2) Streamlined way of simulating command and control at the "Operational" level (as opposed to Grand Strategic or Tactical) scope of play (D-Day would be "operational" versus the entire war in Europe as Grand Strategic and individual tank battles as Tactical).
3) Abstracted and yet interesting ship and ground combat
4) An interesting and challenging movement/command/supply mechanic
5) Quick pacing
6) Plenty of options for strategy planning but with some randomness and simplicity involved.
7) A genuine "war game" without economics or technology research getting in the way. Just pure strategy.

In essence, I wanted a game I could feel was detailed and meaty but was in fact rather simple and streamlined. Something between RISK (simple) and World In Flames (incredibly complex) , for example.Rather than creating just another move-and-shoot war game, I wanted to force players to make tough choices and consider things like supply lines, defending critical assets, power projection within a battlefield, economy of force, and achieving a clear and narrow victory condition or set of conditions. It would have to be a 2-player game, as any more players would severely complicate play and extend play time.

In STARFLEET ADMIRALS, players take on the roles of Supreme Commanders for both sides with a pool of admirals under their command.


 The heart of the game is the unique command and control mechanic that involves actual admiral characters. All admirals start the game in different ranks and have two values that change with promotion to a higher rank - Command and Initiative. The board comes with three delineated sections or "fronts" that require an admiral to command anything in it. Admirals are also required to move and fight with Fleets. Fleet Admirals are always of a lower rank than Front Admirals. Front Admirals use their Command Rating, while Fleet Admirals use their Initiative Rating. So all admirals have only 2 values. This keep things simple.
Some admirals can advance through four ranks to the very top, but in many cases, their values change as they are advanced. Some are better are lower ranks and others shine at higher. Some are better suited to Fleet command while others are better in managing an entire Front. Each admiral has a specific name and a picture so that players get the bonus of immersion. Lower-ranked admirals cannot command higher-ranked ones, so sometimes players will have to settle for less-than-optimal admirals in front command so the better ones can lead a fleet, etc. Thus is the nature being a supreme commander. Just ask President Lincoln how tough an assignment that can be!
Fleets do not move without an admiral in command of the fleet. Nothing moves or is done in a Front without a Front Admiral in command. So admirals make the game actually "play". Admirals can also be killed or wounded if the fleet they were commanding is destroyed in battle, and while there may be up to 20 admiral on each side, there are only a few on each side that are really exceptional!
Players may also choose to demote an admiral, but doing so can cause a loss of victory points - reflecting the political consequences of demoting popular commanders!

Next blog I will cover the game board and movement mechanics! :-)

Friday, January 16, 2015


The game has been released for sale in January. We are sending it out to be reviewed by two game reviewers with good reputations. We are hoping for good reviews before we start approaching publishers.


The streamlined and simplified combat mechanic for Battle for Gallion's reach is about to undergo testing. If successful the revised game will go back on sale immediately. The new combat eliminated the many separate ship types and the complex and intricate star ship combat system into a simple fleet-based system with simple die rolls. Instead of Cruisers and Destroyers and Leviathans, we will now have BattleFleets, Invasion Fleets, Siege Fleets and Planet Killers. Each type has a specialty, cost value and strength value. Battle Fleets are the cheapest and most common and used solely for ship combat. Invasion Fleets are used primarily for planet invasion but can be used ion combat. In combat they are not as powerful as Battle Fleets but cost more to build. Troops are placed on Invasion Fleets for transport to planets being invaded. Siege Fleets are the most expensive. They are used to utterly wipe out anything on a planets surface including Planetary defenses and armies. They can be used in combat and are more powerful  in combat than both BattleFleets and Invasion Fleets. Finally Planet Killers are moon-sized starships capable of blowing a planet into dust. They are the most powerful ship in the game but the most costly.

This new streamlined system eliminates the clutter of the old system in favor of something more accessible and therefore more fun for a wider group of ages and interests. I believe that this new system will give Battle for Gallion's Reach a significant boost in promotion and sales to a wider customer base.


Next up will be the free Attack Wing Campaign system that players of the Whizkids' game Star Trek Attack Wing miniatures game can download for free and use to create cannon-historically accurate campaigns of many ships and useful for tournament play. the Campaign will come with PDF files that can be printed like the Campaign Map, and markers as well as the Campaign Book that will provide a list of campaigns taken directly from Star Trek cannon. Each campaign will list the ships to be used and the objectives of the campaign. Campaigns involve multiple star systems and ships over a large area of space.
The intent of the Attack Wing Campaign is to draw potential customers to Power Play Games website. The gamers that play Attack Wing are the very same gamers that would play our games. This will result in increased visibility and traffic to our site.


Another game immediately on the horizon is the war game Star Fleet Admirals. This game puts two players in command of a war effort between the Federation and the Empire. Players assign admirals to sectors and fleets and play Command Cards which allows the movement, combat and actions of the players forces, from star fleets to armies and spies.


Using the basic system of BATTLEFORCE SATURN, players re-enact historical battles between Rome's armies, barbarians and rebel legions. Each card represents a type of unit from Legions, to Cavalry, barbarian warbands, archers and slingers, catapults and bolt throwers, Persian and Hunnic cavalry archers and Carthaginian elephants. Players select an historical commander and place their armies on the table. Using Combat Cards they play attacks and parry defenses to win the vicious battles.