As a component of our recent Full Thrust obsession, Inire bought a copy of Power Projection from Warehouse 23. It’s a ship-combat game set in the Traveller universe, and based on the Full Thrust rules.

The thing I really like about Power Projection is its refinement of the vector movement system introduced in Fleet Book 1. Instead of tracking the velocity of each ship with, say, a little arrow counter (for direction) and a die (for magnitude), it uses a “future position” counter to track the endpoint of the velocity vector. Underneath the ship mini at the beginning of each turn is a “current position” counter. After movement orders are written, and it’s time to move the ships, each mini is placed on the future position counter, and then moved according to its orders for the turn. Then a line is drawn from current position to mini, extended past it a like distance, and the future position counter placed there.

This means first and foremost that there’s no bookkeeping to track current speed. And the error introduced by nudging the future position counter is much less than nudging a direction counter next to the ship would be. It also means that – as seems fitting in a setting where computer-aided targetting would likely be the rule – the other players have a better idea of where each ship is going to be next turn. This is information they’d theoretically have already, but makes it more clear to all concerned what’s going on.

The other changes I’m not so hot about. Weapons and shields come in more flavors than they do in basic Full Thrust, but have much less variation in terms of rules. All of the beam weapons come in regular and enhanced varieties (mining lasers being an exception), and differ mainly in terms of range. There are also several kinds of missle (including bomb-pumped lasers warheads), and “sandcasters,” which are sort of like smokescreens of reflective particles.

All non-missile weapons use the same to-hit/damage chart. Range, shielding, and other modifiers shift the row of the chart used, and the necessary roll on a d6 to do damage; it’s similar to the way screens in Full Thrust work, but generalized. Shields are really just modifiers. Different flavors of shield affect certain weapons more than others, but most ships seem to mount some of each. Frankly, I’m not all that wild about all of the modifiers, and the need for the chart. I’m sure it gets faster with more play, but it just feels off, somehow.

There are definitely elements of Power Projection that I’m thinking of adapting back into Full Thrust – the movement refinements, sandcasters, and perhaps bomb-pumped laser missles – but on the whole, I think I prefer the simplicity of the original.