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Recommend simple starship tactical combat game


The lazier of two evils
Validated User
I'm looking for a simple set of rules for tactical level starship combat. When I say simple, I mean short rulebook and not a lot of fiddly subsystems-I'm old and grouchy and don't have a lot of patience for long rules and minutiae. As a guideline, nothing over 20-30 pages (preferably half that) unless there are a lot of illustrations and large font. For reference, I tried Warcosm and found that too complicated for my liking :eek:.

Something like the original Starfire from Task Force Games, but something newer.


Registered User
Validated User
If your desire for something newer than Starfire is due to availability rather than some other factor, the original pocket version has just been re released on Wargames Vault:

An even simpler contender is Sky Full Of Ships. But it may be too simple, unless you want to fight a fairly large battle. Here's a link to the free version:

Best of all, IMO, there is the classic Full Thrust. Again, here's the free version:

For more info about other contenders, you should check out Starship Combat News:

The information pages there haven't been updated for a while, but the forum is active.

Good Luck!


Registered User
Validated User
I'll echo Full Thrust and Knight Hawks. When my group thought Traveller (Mongoose) was too fiddly for a many-ship battle, we shifted rules to KH, and it ran just fine.

Starfire is also pretty butt-simple.


Have Thought Will Travel
Validated User
If you found Warcosm too much, then most of the suggestions in this thread will be more complex than you's like. The best selections are probably

A Sky Full of Ships - pretty darn easy. I suggest cutting weapon ranges way down (say to 1/3 listed values) as the ones in the book pretty much preclude any maneuver on a standard table (apparently the creators play on HUGE tables where it's not a big deal).

Original Starfire I and II - as mentioned, now available on Wargame Vault

There's also a set of Quick Start Rules for the newer edition of the game. It's missing a bunch of stuff (ship construction), but it is a playable set of rules. I'm not sure where they moved them after the recent server issues, but when I find a link I'll post them.

Are you married to hexes and the like. The old Metagaming game Warp War has a fun tactical system that doesn't need a map to resolve. There's a free, fan-made, 35th anniversary edition available online that gives you everything you need for free.
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