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Thread: Icon Starship combat

  1. #1
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    Icon Starship combat

    Does anyone have strong opinions on how starship combat plays out in the Icon system? It's the one system I haven't tried it in, having used FASA and Coda to resolve battles before. I may be looking at cracking open the Icon books again and it's the one element of the system i'm less familiar with.

  2. #2
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    I'd say it's a good system. It plays more similar to FASA than CODA. Keeping track of power expenditures and such, are essential, as with FASA. And I thought the system was a bit more deadly than CODA.

    Maybe we weren't playing it right, but it seemed that ships took damage a lot faster.

    Then again, in CODA they take damage more slowly than on the TV series (IMO).

    I'd say give it a try. ICON is definitely a fun system, and we play it every now and then. Especially to run TOS-era games; the ICON TOS Corebook is a work of art.

  3. #3
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    I use Icon almost exclusively. However, I do sometimes use Coda for some of the source material. The conversion are rather easy. I haven't played Starfleet Battles, so I can't comment, but I tend to convert the ships back and forth to a hybrid of FASA and Icon for the purposes of space combat.

  4. #4
    Starship combat seems a little mismatched for the system in Icon. It seems a little resource-heavy (managing power, etc.,). Has anyone tried running Icon with the Coda Starship combat? It seems a bit more cinematic.

  5. #5
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    Hey, everyone! New to the forum but I've played the Icon system on and off since the early 2000s. On the whole, I love the system and all its cool supplements.

    Starship combat, however, is sort of the holy grail of Star Trek rpgs, as far as I'm concerned. I've never really found an rpg system that captures the feel and conventions of Star Trek ship-to-ship and is fun and cinematic at the same time. I just don't see how allocating energy expenditures every round is fun. It just turns into a slog by the end. I brought this problem up with a friend who had a lot of experience with the Icon system a few months ago, and his advice with starship combat was to take it nice and slow so everyone is comfortable with the mechanics.

    But feeling slow is my biggest problem with starship combat encounters. I want it to feel fast and exciting and visceral.

    I recently started a new campaign with some players who are really enjoying the Icon system, but I've avoided starship combat in each of the first two sessions. I'm toying with the idea of using the Star Trek Attack Wing game for starship encounters. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Or any other advice on how to make ship-to-ship combat fun for everyone?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derf Evol View Post
    Hey, everyone! New to the forum but I've played the Icon system on and off since the early 2000s. On the whole, I love the system and all its cool supplements.

    Starship combat, however, is sort of the holy grail of Star Trek rpgs, as far as I'm concerned. I've never really found an rpg system that captures the feel and conventions of Star Trek ship-to-ship and is fun and cinematic at the same time. I just don't see how allocating energy expenditures every round is fun. It just turns into a slog by the end. I brought this problem up with a friend who had a lot of experience with the Icon system a few months ago, and his advice with starship combat was to take it nice and slow so everyone is comfortable with the mechanics.

    But feeling slow is my biggest problem with starship combat encounters. I want it to feel fast and exciting and visceral.

    I recently started a new campaign with some players who are really enjoying the Icon system, but I've avoided starship combat in each of the first two sessions. I'm toying with the idea of using the Star Trek Attack Wing game for starship encounters. Does anyone have any thoughts on that? Or any other advice on how to make ship-to-ship combat fun for everyone?
    Welcome to the forums

    My own attitude to any rules of any RPG is to just use the rulebook as a pile of suggestions and ideas; so if I'm better of throwing out numbers and base everything on guestimates, that is what I'll do (the "Free Kriegspiel" attitude).

    Do your players like the feeling of distributing energy and having a simulationistic approach to gaming, or do they want a fast game that just feel good enough?

    If the former, perhaps use tokens (glass beads, poker chips, dices, etc) they can push around as the available energy. Then at least the bookkeeping is faster.

    If the later, you can test by just going with what you feel plausible. The Engineer says he tries to squeeze out a bit extra energy from the engine, grab a number and let them roll for that. And so on.

  7. #7
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    Jul 2015
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    Thanks for the welcome! It never occurred to me to use physical counters for starship energy use, but I love the idea. That might simplify things and speed it up.

    And as a GM, I've always followed the philosophy that fun trumps story trumps rules. So I have no problem playing fast and loose with rules in the name of keeping everyone engaged and enjoying themselves.

    I also like the idea of using alternative objectives in starship combat aside from simply blowing all the bad guys up. Like maybe some of the bad guys find a way to beam aboard the heroes' ship during the fight, or the bad guys are trying to tractor a MacGuffin into a wormhole before the heroes can stop them. Has anyone else had luck with scenarios like that? Basically, I'd love any suggestions that make starship combat more dynamic than firing phasers and counting hp. Extra points if it gives every PC something interesting to do.

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