$1 Downloads: High-Space Battlemap Set 1: Firelight Scout Ship

Posted: 27 February 2013 in Reviews

Here’s 52 pages of deck-map goodness for you; a High-Space expansion from Storyweaver.

CONTENTS AND FORMAT

It’s difficult to separate those two in a map product. What you get:

Firelight Scout Ship: One-page overview map showing the whole ship; one-page High-Space character sheet for it; one-page layout (presented as a security scan of the vessel) showing how the map tiles fit together to form the ship; 38 map tiles, 8” x 8”. The Firelight is roughly the size and shape of a Klingon Bird of Prey from the Star Trek universe. There are 14 bunks, suggesting to me that crew size in High-Space is roughly 2 people x Displacement die type. Looking at the character sheet, I’d say the a player crew would need 9-12 acquisition points to own this baby; with a typical party of 3-5 PCs, they would need to be Seasoned or Veteran.

Dominus-class Smuggling Vessel: General overview and layout, one page each; 4 map tiles. At 75 feet long, this is more like something Novice PCs would operate; judging by the workstations, there are three crew positions – pilot, gunner and errm, something else. However, there appears to be just the one single bed. Maybe it’s a stack of bunks. Maybe they’re hot-bunking. Maybe… No, let’s not go there, there might be kids watching.

Cirrus, Trigger and Banchie Fighters: One map tile each – these craft are small enough to fit on one tile.

All the tiles are nicely drawn and laid out, and make good use of colour as I’ve come to expect from the makers, Storyweaver.

SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT

The main reason I got this product was to validate my assumptions about starship design using the High-Space Fleet Manual, as I already have more ship deckplans than I ever expect to use. I don’t begrudge the $1 spent on this because I really got a lot for my dollar; but I think there should be an example ship in the Fleet Manual. Also, I would have liked to see character sheets for the other ships in the pack. Maybe Storyweaver could post them on their website as design examples?

The Firelight is about 80 inches long when laid out. I would have preferred something I could fit on my dining table, which is smaller than the regulation 72 inch wargaming table. I could either print it reduced to fit 15mm minis, or use the overview map for general movement and only switch to tiles for specific areas during combat – maybe that’s how it was intended to be used.

General comment for tile-based products: 8” x 8” is better than the apparent standard for tiles of 6” x 6”, but it still means I’m wasting about a third of each sheet of paper. How about 10” x 8” tiles? For a starship deckplan, they’re not geomorphic, they only fit together one way around. I would ask for 11” x 8”, but I realise that the USA doesn’t use A4 paper – that’s a rant for another time, or maybe not.

This might also address my final point: A number of the tiles have very little on them. Main Deck #04, for example, has about 6 squares worth of map on a 64-square tile. In that particular case, those 6 squares aren’t stuff you need for the map anyway, so no harm done.

CONCLUSIONS

These are a nice set of starship tiles, and I like seeing several ships in a pack. Basically what we have here, I think, is a PC smuggling ship and a government fighter-carrier that might engage them; or maybe those roles would be reversed. The price is extremely competitive. I have no regrets here, but the main benefit I have from my purchase is confirmation that my ship design assumptions were correct, and that could have been addressed by different wording in the Fleet Manual.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5.

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Comments
  1. raikenclw says:

    I think I’ll buy these, too. As you say, you can’t hardly beat the price! Just a thought about the smuggling ship: maybe it’s intended for just one crewperson. The original ship may have had more accommodations, but a later loner owner converted these to other uses.

    • andyslack says:

      You’re right; I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s definitely possible. I can’t find anything in High-Space that says ships need a crew at all, in fact, other than it looks like there has to be at least one Wild Card aboard (presumably that can be waived for NPC-crewed ships). So the lone inhabitant could just be a passenger. Or the prisoner of an insane Wild Card Starship with a particularly nasty Residual Personality Hindrance.

      [That last one is going in the pile of entertaining encounters for future use…]

      • raikenclw says:

        Ah. Life as a Starship’s Pet Human . . . reminds me of a few false-utopia Asimov stories . . . [eek!]

        Me, I like biological starship crews, even in settings where sapient starships exist. I just can’t see other biologicals (the ones living on the planets below) ever being completely comfortable with leaving what are potentially gigaton-range bombs solely in the control of robots. Of course, that attitude doesn’t make a lot of sense. Biologicals often go crazy and blow themselves up on purpose, taking a chunk of the neighborhood along with them. But then I figure this prejudice against total machine control isn’t really a rational one, anyway. And of course it means that the PCs always have jobs.

      • raikenclw says:

        Just had a thought: maybe they *don’t* mean to waive the Wild Card requirement, even for NPC ships. Maybe you have to be a Wild Card in order to pilot High Space ships. Hey! Maybe they also read your old “The Chosen” post! 🙂

        Ah! That explains the lone-occupant smuggling ship, in the same pack as their experienced PC group ship: the [Wild Card] pilot of the smuggling ship is the Bad Guy the PC’s are chasing!

      • andyslack says:

        That would certainly be in line with the focus on Wild Cards in The Lantern setting book!

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