Arion, Episode 21: Boarding Action

Posted: 6 July 2016 in Arioniad
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Continuing the simulation theme and exploring another part of the Fringe Space rules I haven’t tried, let’s take a look at the abstract boarding system. These are optional rules for use if you don’t want to play out the boarding action as a Confrontation encounter on the tabletop.

Let’s suppose that our simulated Navy cutter had won the dogfight in episode 20, reduced the Dolphin’s Thrust to zero, won the next round on the Dogfight table, and opted to board. This takes us from p. 52 to p. 86 where the Boarding table lives.

Let’s further suppose that both sides are at full Hull and bonus dice. First I check whether the Navy will use their bonus dice; on a roll of 6 on one die, they elect not to. Each captain now rolls (Rep + Hull) d6; Arion rolls (5 + 3) d6 = 66561315 for 3 successes, and the Navy get (3 + 4) d6 = 2312351 for 6 successes, plus an extra d6 for having a Cutter’s Marine Detachment (3 = +1 success), plus one success for being a military vessel. Total: Arion 3, Navy 8 – a fairly convincing win for the Navy.

(On average luck, Arion would have got 4 successes and the Navy 5 – still a win for the Navy but by a smaller margin.)

The Navy force the crew of the Dolphin to surrender, and we go to the Terms of Surrender table. Here we roll against the boarder’s Rep (3); 2d6 (usual) +1d6 (military boarders) -1d6 (crew resisted boarding) = 2d6 overall. A score of 11 = pass 2d6; as the Dolphin is not a military vessel, the boarders take all cargo and valuables, but leave the crew and passengers alive and allow them to leave with their ship.

AFTERMATH

Again, a simulation, so no increasing or decreasing Rep rolls.

REFLECTIONS

Again, a fast, simple set of rules, easy to use, and no requirement for figures or terrain.

Had I been playing to win, rather than to test out the rules, I would either have played this as a Confrontation, where Arion’s Rep and attributes would offer more of an advantage, or have burned bonus dice on the boarding table roll – two, I think, to offset the Navy’s statistical advantage, but with dice rolls like that it probably wouldn’t have helped.

Interestingly, if you think you are going to lose the boarding action, you are better off if the boarding captain has a high Rep – low Rep ones are more likely to panic and kill you all, there was a 25% chance of that in this example.

Next time, on the Arioniad: Back to the actual story…

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