A dogfighting experiment

Star Wars D6 Dogfighting with Hexflowers Take One

Intro

Whenever I run solo space combat in theater of the mind or map grid I found myself and the system lacking.
I could not beat myself doing anything more than rush to enemy while the enemy rushed to me, and perform bootlegger turns when we passed each other…hardly satisfying.
I need something else, to provide functionality, food for narrative, and a level of realism, and most of all enjoyable.

Purpose

The purpose of this experiment is to run dogfights in theater of the mind emulating a 3D environment.

Scope

Using the It came from above hex flower engine as a basis upon which to set a dogfighting framework.

Prerequisites

I’m using a success count system instead of standard D6 addition of dice vs target number.

Dice Definitions

Wild Die

The Wild Die succeeds on a 3+, explodes on a 6, and generates a mishap on a roll of 1.
All rolls except defense rolls, have a Wild Die, which replaces a Full Die. It is denoted as W.

Full Die

The Full Die is the most common die roll. It succeeds on 3+. It is denoted as F.

Note: Wild Dice and Full Dice together are denoted as D.

Half Die

The Half Die has half the success chance of a Full Die. It succeeds on 5+. It is denoted as +2 or H.

Quarter Die

The Quarter Die has a quarter chance of success of a Full Die. It succeeds on 6 only. It is denoted as +1 or Q.

Example

A character with 2D+2, rolls one Wild Die, one Full Die and one Half Die

Procedure

  1. Initialization phase. Roll Initiative. This has importance only in terms of ‘who shoots first’. Determine starting distance based on circumstances. In a standard dogfight where both combatants are aware of the imminent battle, a good starting distance is the lowest sensors Scan distance of the two crafts.
  2. Declaration phase. Declare actions. Multiple actions incur penalties according to game system. Each combatant chooses an opponent. Squadrons can be considered a single unit in terms of maneuver, led by the relative command skill of their commander.
  3. Piloting phase. Roll the piloting skill of each combatant, modified by their spacecraft’s maneuverability. Count each Piloting Success. Depending on the space ‘terrain’ (e.g. asteroids) you may need to assign one or more piloting dice to evading obstacles or risk a collision. The successes that remain can be used for evasion or orientation.
  4. Orientation phase. Roll 2d6 without wild die on the HFGE. If you wish you may spend Piloting Successes from step 2 to modify the orientation by one hex face per success spent.
    Attacking craft roll as Top Down attackers. Fleeing craft roll as Bottom Feeders.
  5. Movement phase. Roll the crafts movement dice (use 1ed or 2ed conversion). Deduct the results from the distance if the combatant has a front orientation, or add it if it has a rear orientation. Reduce the moved distance by a factor of two for each additional axis offset.
  6. Support actions phase. Running jammers, communications, shields, or whatever else.
  7. Gunnery phase. If the combatant has weapons facing in the direction of his orientation, then they can shoot if they declared so in the declaration phase. Shooting happens in the order of the initiative.
    Shooting difficulty is distance OR dodge (remaining piloting successes), whichever is greater.

Note: For the center hex (#19), the combatant is free to choose front or rear orientation.

Example #1

A-Wing vs TIE fighter, clear space, standard dogfight.

  1. Initialization phase.
    Starting distance: 40 space units.
    Initiative.
    A-Wing: 3D: 4
    TIE: 3D: 0

Turn 1.

  1. Declaration phase.
    A-Wing: -2D (Piloting, Shields, Gunnery).
    TIE: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).

  2. Piloting phase.
    A-Wing: 7D: 3.
    TIE: 5D+1: 6.

  3. Orientation phase.
    A-Wing: 9: 6 (Front right flank and above). Spend one Piloting Success to move to 4 (Front right flank and level).
    TIE: 7: 2 (Front and above).

  4. Movement phase.
    A-Wing: 6D: 22. One axis offset (right flank).
    TIE: 5D: 10. One axis offset (above).
    Distance: 40-22/2-10/2 = 24.

  5. Support actions phase.
    A-Wing: Shields: 1D+1: 3 successes, they choose Front, Rear and Right shields.

  6. Gunnery phase.
    A-Wing: 5D+2: 3/6: Miss.
    TIE: 5D: 5/4: Hit: Damage: 5D/3D+2: 1/1: Shields blown (-1D).

The A-Wing and TIE fighter target each other and approach at full speed. Each performs a large turn to try to get the advantage and they let off a burst of laser shots at each other. The TIE pilot manages to evade the A-Wing approaching from below and hits it from the right flank, blasting its shields.

Turn 2.

  1. Declaration phase.
    A-Wing: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).
    TIE: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery).

  2. Piloting phase.
    A-Wing: 8D: 6.
    TIE: 5D+1: 4.

  3. Orientation phase.
    A-Wing: 3: 19 (Front).
    TIE: 7: 12 (Rear and below). Spend 2 Piloting Successes to move to 3 (Front and below).

  4. Movement phase.
    A-Wing: 6D: 21. No axis offset.
    TIE: 5D: 22. One axis offset (below).
    Distance: 24-21-22/2 = -14. (14).

  5. Support actions phase.
    N/A.

  6. Gunnery phase.
    A-Wing: 6D+2: 4/4: Hit: Damage:
    5D/2D: 5/1: Destroyed.

Now the A-Wing pilot no longer is distracted by trying to activate the shields and focuses on the dogfight. He spirals the star fighter and gets on the TIE fighter’s tail, who has to perform a complete loop and rotation to get the A-wing back on his sights. Before he has a chance to open fire, a salvo from the A-Wing obliterates the TIE fighter.


Summary and Lessons learned:
The A-Wing with superior pilots and technology won the dogfight, but easily, they could have lost.
Now I’m not certain about the piloting success economy. I will be watching it closely.
One thing that needs changing is the shooting arcs. Right now if you have something in Front you can shoot it with Front Weapons even if it’s offset in two axes (e.g Front Right Flank and Below). I intend to change this depending on distance. On long range you can shoot with two axes offset. On medium range you can shoot with one axis offset and on short range you can shoot only on direct (no offset).
I would love to have narrative distance ranges and not be based on space units. It’s kind of weird how space combat ranges are implemented in RAW. I mean weapon ranges are impacting accuracy directly, as does fire control. Why have two different mechanics for the same thing? I have some thoughts in mind regarding this, regarding keeping only a maximum range per weapon type and have fixed penalties based on distance.
Another thought that came to mind is when you get a negative distance, which means one opponent passed over the other, maybe there’s a collision chance. Or maybe you could use some piloting successes to reduce the ship speed. Or maybe one could choose any speed rating between 1D and max speed. I’m still thinking about and will playtest some variants.
Finally I am still missing some narrative. I am thinking of implementing some maneuvers to be bought with piloting successes which will give specific effects.

Star Wars D6 Dogfighting with Hexflowers Take Two

Updated Rules:
1. Shooting arc is limited to axis offset. Long range can be offset by two additional axes, medium can be offset by one axis, and close is direct shots only. Turrets are an exception. They can shoot direct on all their relative axes. Common sense applies.
2. Distances are now
Close (1-7)
Short (8-15)
Medium (16-30)
Long (31-45)
Far (46-60)
Distant (61-75)
Extreme (76-100)
A weapon emplacement can shoot at the maximum distance range it has, but all suffer the same distance penalties. So, a Laser Cannon (max range 25, Medium) that shoots a target at Short range has the same chance to hit as a Missile (max range 15, Short).
3. Speed is rolled as successes counts. Every additional axis offset reduces the maximum dice by one step (Full to Half to Quarter). Piloting Succeses can be assigned to increase the dice rolled for speed. Approaching combatants reduce the distance by the number of successes, otherwise the distance is increased or decreased according to the differences.
Distance can’t be less than Close. If distance is greater than Extreme, then combat is over.
3. Initiative needs to be rerolled every Turn. Mainly for fun factor, and because dogfighting is more abstract than grid combat. You have advantage one turn, you lose it the next.

Additional Rules:

  1. Squadrons are lead by a squad leader. The leader uses the Command skill. Multiple action penalties apply normally. The Command difficulty is as per the skill. Any successfully commanded squaddies benefit from the combined action bonus dice to their piloting skills.
    The command test is rolled at the start of the piloting phase.
  2. Passive (Non-dogfighting) targets must roll 2d6 so that their targeter can identify their approach (for shield coverage, speed and distance, etc). The targeter can opt to spend their own piloting successes to change their target’s orientation (they pilot their craft in a way to get a specific approach).
    An example would be a squadron of TIE Bombers heading for a Corellian Corvette that are intercepted by A-Wings. If the TIE Bombers opt to continue towards the corvette, then they are considered passive targets for the A-Wings in terms of orientation. Their speed and dodge values on their dogfighting against the corvette is used against the A-Wings normally.
  3. Formations. Squadrons can fly in formations deducting 1D from Piloting and Speed, and rolling as one the speed and orientation.

Example #2

I’ll implement all the rules here, it’s going to be a complicated fight.

2 Y-Wings are heading after a Lambda-class shuttle carrying a Rebel traitor. The shuttle runs on skeleton crew. 2 TIE Fighters are escorting the shuttle. Each squadron has a leader with a command of 4D.

  1. Initialization phase.
    Starting distance: Long.

Turn 1.
Rebels: Initiative: 0
Imperials: Initiative: 0
Concurrent events.

  1. Declaration phase.
    Y-Wing Leader: -2D (Command, Shields, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    Y-Wing Wingman -1D (Shields, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery)
    TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
    Lambda Shuttle: -2D (Skeleton, Piloting), Bottom Feeder

  2. Piloting phase.
    Y-Wing Command: 1/2: Failure.
    TIE Command: 1/2: Failure.
    Y-Wing L: 3D+2: 3.
    Y-Wing W: 4D+2: 4.
    TIE L: 4D: 3.
    TIE W: 4D+1: 3.
    Lambda: 3D: 3.

  3. Orientation phase.
    Y-Wings: 11: 4 (Front right flank and level).
    TIEs: 6: 2 (Front & Above).
    Lambda: 10: 13 (Back left flank and level).
    Y-Wing Passive vs TIE: 8: 4 (Front right flank and level).

  4. Movement phase.
    Y-Wings will add 2 to speed.
    Y-Wings: 4D+2: Halved: 1.
    TIEs: 4D: Halved: 2.
    Lambda: 2D+2: Halved: 2.
    Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    Distances of Y-Wings to Lambda: Far.

  5. Support phase.
    Y-Wing L: Shields: 1D: 1: Front shields.
    Y-Wing W: Shields: 2D: 1: Front shields.

  6. Gunnery Phase.
    TIEs are too close to get a clear shot.
    Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE: 7D+1: 3/5: Miss.
    Y-Wing W Turret shoots at TIE: 7D+1: 3/5: Miss.

Turn 2.
Rebels: Initiative: 3
Imperials: Initiative: 1

  1. Declaration phase.
    Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Command, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    Y-Wing Wingman -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery)
    TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)
    Lambda Shuttle: -3D (Skeleton, Shields, Piloting), Bottom Feeder

  2. Piloting phase.
    Y-Wing Command: 2/2: Success.
    TIE Command: 1/2: Failure.
    Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
    Y-Wing W: 5D+2: 4.
    TIE L: 4D: 2.
    TIE W: 4D+1: 7.
    Lambda: 3D: 3.

  3. Orientation phase.
    Y-Wings: 11: 9 (Back right flank and below). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
    TIEs: 5: 6 (Front right flank and below). They spend 2 to move to 1 (Front and level).
    Lambda: 9: 14 (Back left flank and above).
    Y-Wing Passive vs TIE: 10: 9 (Back right flank and below).

  4. Movement phase.
    Y-Wings spend 1 to increase speed.
    Y-Wings: 4D+2: 4: vs TIE Quartered: 1.
    TIEs: 5D: 3.
    Lambda: 2D+2: Quartered: 0.
    Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.
    Distances of Y-Wings to Lambda: Close.

  5. Support phase.
    Lambda: Shields: 1D: 1: Rear Shields.

  6. Gunnery Phase.
    Y-Wing L Turret shoots at Lambda: 7D+1: 6/3: Hit: 4D/4D: 3/2: 2 Controls Ionized.
    Y-Wing W Turret shoots at Lambda: 7D+1: 4/3: Hit: 4D/4D: 3/1: 3 Controls Ionized. Ship Disabled.
    Y-Wing W Lasers shoot at Lambda: 5D+1: 2/3: Miss.
    TIE L shoots at Y-Wing L: 4D: 2/1: Hit: 5D/4D: 4/3: Lightly Damaged: Ship Loses 1D speed.
    TIE W shoots at Y-Wing W: 5D: 3/1: Hit: 5D/4D: 4/0: Destroyed

Turn 3.
Rebels: Initiative: 1
Imperials: Initiative: 2

  1. Declaration phase.
    Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    TIE Leader: -2D (Command, Piloting, Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    TIE Wingman: -1D (Piloting, Gunnery)

  2. Piloting phase.
    TIE Command: 2/2: Success.
    Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.
    TIE L: 5D: 2.
    TIE W: 5D+1: 2.

  3. Orientation phase.
    Y-Wing L: 8: 5 (Front right flank and above). They spend 2 to move to 19 (Front and level).
    TIEs: 7: 2 (Front and above).

  4. Movement phase.
    Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 0.
    TIEs: 4D: 3.
    Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.

  5. Support phase.
    N/A.

  6. Gunnery Phase.
    TIEs are too close and offset and can’t shoot.
    Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 4/2: Hit: 4D/2D: 3/2: 2 Controls Ionized.
    Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE W: 5D+1: 3/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 4/1: Severely Damaged: Structural Damage, will disintegrate in 1D rounds.

Turn 4.
Rebels: Initiative: 3
Imperials: Initiative: 3

  1. Declaration phase.
    Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    TIE Leader: Controls Ionized for 4 rounds.

  2. Piloting phase.
    Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 4.

  3. Orientation phase.
    Y-Wing L: 12: 10 (Rear and level). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
    TIEs: 8: 18 (Front left flank and below).

  4. Movement phase.
    Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 1.
    TIE: 4D: 2.
    Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.

  5. Support phase.
    N/A.

  6. Gunnery Phase.
    Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 6/1: Hit: 4D/2D: 1/0: 2 Controls Ionized.
    Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE L: 5D+1: 5/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 3/1: Heavily Damaged: -2D Moves.

Turn 5.
Rebels: Initiative: 3
Imperials: Initiative: 2

  1. Declaration phase.
    Y-Wing Leader: -1D (Gunnery, Piloting), Co-Pilot: – (Gunnery), Top Down Attacker
    TIE Leader: Controls Ionized for 7 rounds.

  2. Piloting phase.
    Y-Wing L: 5D+2: 6.

  3. Orientation phase.
    Y-Wing L: 6: 3 (Front and above). They spend 3 to move to 1 (Front and level).
    TIEs: 9: 3 (Front and below).

  4. Movement phase.
    Y-Wing L: 2D+2: 0.
    TIE: 5D: 3.
    Distances of Y-Wings to TIEs: Close.

  5. Support phase.
    N/A.

  6. Gunnery Phase.
    Y-Wing L Turret shoots at TIE L: 7D+1: 7/1: Hit: 4D/2D: 2/0: 3 Controls Ionized: ship is disabled.
    Y-Wing L Lasers shoot at TIE L: 5D+1: 5/1: Hit: 5D/2D: 1/2: No damage


Summary and Lessons learned: Initially I thought I overdid it. Too complicated. But then it struck me. I run a combat with 5 spacecrafts in 3 groups!
I mean this would have taken me ages to work out otherwise.
Okay at certain points it felt too wargamey, and maybe I need to take a look at 1ed starship combat rules. Maybe there’s something that would speed things up.
Overall I’m quite content with the results for now, and will keep that in mind for my next Star Wars D6 game.