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Attack Vector Tactical 2nd Edition Bundle
Publisher: Final Sword Productions
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/13/2013 18:49:51
I am a huge fan of Attack Vector: Tactical (AV:T) and have owned a hard copy of the original for a decade. I was delighted to see it made available in .pdf form recently and snapped up a copy as my board-game rules library is now stored on my tablet.

The game is the first (and in my opinion) best in the Ad Astra Games space combat stable which also includes the Saganami Island Tactical Simulator (spaceship combat in the universe of David Weber's of Honor Harrington) and Squadron Strike which takes the core of this game engine and applies it to cinematic space combat.

In Attack Vector: Tactical movement is fully 3D and fully Newtonian. Accelerations alter as reaction mass is shed and accelerations cause displacement (the most frequent omission in space combat games). Pivoting takes into account moments of inertia. Beam weapons, kinetics and missiles all have energy values for their launch, waste heat and damage. Damage is calculated from the direction the ship is hit, the weapon damage profile, the effect of ablative armour and the internal structure of the ship.

This amount of detail, and dare I say, realism, comes with a significant complexity overhead. However, the game design is very elegant and the game does most of the calculations for you. You really _can_ concentrate on flying the ship and making the best use of your weapons load-out. Turns take about 20 minutes (a bit less with experience) and a full game lasts 8 - 18 turns. It's a high-complexity war-game, but tremendously rewarding to those willing to take the plunge.

The bundle comes with the latest version of the rules (162 pages), several very detailed walk-through tutorials to learn the game, 15 ship types with two more downloadable from the Ad Astra website when you register your game, a fully developed setting (called "The Ten Worlds") with defined politics, economics and histories, including 15 historical scenarios in the form of key battles along with 3 campaigns and a further 9 "Hypothetical Scenarios". You can easily use it as an RPG setting, even incorporating the game for ship to ship combat within the RPG.

The main omission for this type of game is the lack of ship design rules - the process is basically far too complex. However, the large number of ship types and scenarios mean this has practically no impact on replayability (if you _really_ want ship design rules, check out Squadron Strike, which is simpler by a long chalk and the ship design still requires a vast spreadsheet in Excel with an array of options so bewildering it makes my head hurt. So much so, that I always use the pre-designed ships).

AV:T is heavily simulationist at its heart, re-creating the tactical decisions of real space combat on your table-top. If you're looking for swooping fighters and lumbering capital ships then you can safely move on to any number of 2D "space" combat games. If you really want to explore how Physics will determine the nature of ship to ship combat in space then this is the holy grail.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Attack Vector Tactical 2nd Edition Bundle
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Shuffler - Modern and Sci-Fi Map Creator
Publisher: Paper Make iT !
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/29/2010 18:27:33
Shuffler - beyond .pdf indeed.

I love miniatures maps. I have hundreds of .pdfs, but for each new game, I always seem to need a bespoke map. Creation using Inkscape has proved time-consuming (you have to create each object yourself) and the printout-scaling is always tricky. I have some commercial maps that are are layered .pdfs, allowing you to switch elements on and off, but what if you want that generator in the far corner of the room?

Now imagine a mapping program that consists of palettes of common floors, walls and objects that can be dragged onto a map-grid and snap into place (no alignment worries here!). Each element can be rotated, re-sized, distorted or deliberately mis-aligned if you like. Some can be re-coloured or have special behaviours (beds can be occupied or empty, floor tiles can be skewed to reveal a different floor-type underneath). Text can be added to any surface. You can easily create lighting effects, fog, or the distorting effect of looking through a liquid. Each plant and blood splatter is unique. Imagine being able to choose the appropriate miniature scale for your game with a simple slider and then printing onto either A4 or Letter 8.5" by 10", across several pages if necessary, or output to a png for use online or sharing by email.

Shuffler is that program. It is in constant development, with free updates forever and new sets of objects being added to DriveThruRPG all the time (you can even invest in a plug-in that allows you to create your own for a few quid extra - highly recommended). There is a comprehensive, language independent manual, but should you run into trouble, the designer is active on the forums, eager and responsive to feedback and generous in his support. Finally there is a growing community of enthusiasts sharing their work.

The basic elements included are real eye-candy and you can produce a bespoke, professional-looking map in minutes. If you've ever bought a map-tile set for your miniatures, you'd love this program. Furthermore, some of the "Maps" being produced are actually card-model nets, so if you're going 3D with your paper, Shuffler is on the cutting edge of that too.

Overall and awesome product for such a modest investment.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shuffler - Modern and Sci-Fi Map Creator
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