14/05/2021 at 12:30 #156317
Back in the early eighties, I was a student at Sheffield Polytechnic. I was more into gaming and modelling than my coursework so my stay in Sheffield only lasted one year. While in Sheffield, I joined Sheffield War Gaming Society. They met above the Robin Hood Hotel on the Wicker. One of the popular games at the time was Encounter One. This was a spaceships game with fleets of model spaceships battling across the table top.
Encounter One was written by Phil Brough and Malcolm Booth as Starfleet Studies. Both were members of Sheffield Wargame Society. The third edition was published by Tabletop Games with some ships produced by QT Miniatures. I have copies of the second and third editions of the rules, so they were popular enough and went through some evolution.
I saw a few big games of Encounter One played at Sheffield and they left quite an impression on me. I got a set of the rules, acquired a few model spaceships of my own and started designing my own ships. I never got to play Encounter One at Sheffield, but I brought the rules and my ships back to Hull where we played a few good games at Humberside Wargames Society.
One of the best things for me was seeing how ship and fleet designs evolved over several games. Players tried out different weapons and tactics and came up with counters to their opponents fleets.
The ship design system in E1 is relatively simple. You select weapons, defences, drives and other systems up to an agreed points total. The more equipment your ship has the bigger it is and the more Drives you need to move or turn it. The seven (and a half) different ‘Races’ in Encounter One, each have various advantages and special systems. It is a challenge to make the most of your fleet and minimise its disadvantages.
Turn Sequence and movement are straight forward. There are no written orders required. Ships align their shields, then move in sequence alternating between players moving one ship or squadron at a time. When all ships have moved attacks are carried out, once again alternating between players.
The combat system may look complex at first but it is easy to pick up. Beams always hit, but the damage they do is reduced by range, target mass, tactical factors and the target’s shields. Missiles have a chance of hitting (or missing) and may be stopped by point defence. If they hit they do one or two points of damage. Each point of damage takes out a Hull box or ship system. Hit location is random, it is possible to disable a ship with one hit if a vital system such as the Reactor, Bridge or Drive is struck.
There are rules for Morale, Fighters, Tractor Beams, Boarding Actions by Space Marines and the effects of Gravity in orbit around planets.
I may be a bit nostalgic, but I still like this game and going through the rules again just reinforce that opinion. I would like to play it again and see others playing it. To that end and with Malcolm Booth’s permission I have produced an updated set of Encounter One rules that you can download and try for yourself.
The new version of Encounter One 2021 edition can be downloaded from my Encounter One Resources page.
I have also added a ship design spreadsheet and a set of gif icons for ship systems. Articles, variants and further resources will be added through my blog.
If you do try it out, please let me know how you get on or if you have any questions.
Have fun and play nice!14/05/2021 at 12:36 #156318ThuseldParticipant14/05/2021 at 12:44 #156321
Encounter One has optional rules for 3D movement in the 3rd edition, but I did not include them in the 2021 edition as they added a level of complexity that was off putting and we were not aware of anyone ever using them. I may well include them as an article on my blog if there is any interest.
The rules for fighting around planets and the effects of gravity in orbit are rather more interesting (than 3D) to my mind and not often included in space ship games.
Have fun and play nice!14/05/2021 at 12:48 #156322ThuseldParticipant
I have downloaded it all. How large of a space do you need? I have a 3×4 dining room table. I genuinely don’t know why I don’t play space fleet games as the need for terrain is almost non existent. Just make some ships out of junk and play.14/05/2021 at 14:39 #156328Darkest Star GamesParticipant
Awesomeness! Thank you for putting these up, I am always up for checking out new-to-me space combat rules.
"I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."14/05/2021 at 14:42 #156329
You’re going to need a bigger table…
Or maybe not.
Encounter One uses ‘Metrals’ or M as units for movement and firing. They never specified what distance one Metral represents in space (I have my own ideas*) but they recommend one centimetre on the table top. Movement can be upto 50M in one turn. Any faster than 50M and you make an uncontrolled Hyper-space jump with unfortunate consequences. Firing range for most weapons is up to 200M, but tends to be most effective below 100M.
The rules recommend starting a game at 300 to 400M apart. Unless you have a ping-pong table or a clear floor space that may be awkward.
As we were playing at a games club, we could put two 6×4 tables together for a 6×8 table.
You could try changing the scale for example 2 Metral to 1 cm or 5 M to 1 inch.
* For Fighting Around Planets, I treat 1 Metral as a Megametre or 1,000km. This would allow me to put a scale model of the planet on the table. i.e. Earth Diameter = 12,756 km = 13M on the table; the Moon diameter = 3,475 km and orbits around 384,400 km so just about doable on a big table.
If you try this, measure orbit distances from the planet’s surface not its centre.
Have fun and play nice!10/06/2021 at 12:37 #157460
I have added some example ship designs to the Encounter One Resources site.
These include an Imperial Strike Cruiser and a few Novan raiders.
Have fun and play nice!23/04/2023 at 10:40 #185440
I have added further updates to my Encounter One resources site. Includes links to Spaceship miniatures, ship designs for Empire escorts and Novan raiders, and a couple of variants.
I am looking at a simplified D10 system for beam and shield resolution that should speed up play. This needs play testing before I post more about it.
Have fun and play nice!
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