Prev: Western Suburbs Open Day - Stargrunt Report Next: [OT] EFSB at Titan Games

Babylon 5 Wars Fleet Action review

From: "Tom.McCarthy" <Tom.McCarthy@c...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2000 10:07:13 -0400
Subject: Babylon 5 Wars Fleet Action review

I liked watching B5 on TV, so I've looked at Babylon 5 Wars, Earth Force
Sourcebook, and now Fleet Action as games both as competition to Full
and as sources of ideas.

Sadly, Fleet Action is the least professional or polished of these
The book suffers from a number of significant flaws such as:

Poor organization and complicated topics being discussed well in advance
key concepts like movement and fire.  Key concepts like how to read the
maneuvering characteristics of your ships are peppered through out the
pages of rules.  Notions like relative vs. absolute movement are poorly
explained or ambiguous.  Three dimensional diagrams explain things less 
effectively than simple 2 dimensional overhead views (and an over done
design really hinders rather than helps this product).

Many charts, like the command style chart or range modifiers chart, not
strain the eyes by being printed in yellow on bright green, but have
significant omissions.	Missing charts include a turn sequence list and
squadron control sheet (of which you'll need one or more copies per

Many times, the background text refers to ship classes or weapons
which are not among the ships published in the book.

Areas of the book obviously underwent rewrites, like page 24 which
refers to
pulses 4 and 5, though only 3 pulses exist in the current rules, or the
array example on page 51.

Key systems like the Earth Alliance interceptor systems are missing.

There are numerous typos through out the book, as well.

After all that, the author has some interesting ideas about what
a good game and he does a good job of creating tactical choices in
deployment and simulating fighter missions.  Unfortunately, it's hard
to get at them.  When I read Full Thrust, I felt I could play a game
immediately and without reference to the rule book.  With Fleet Action,
after two reads through, I should only have to refer to the rule book
say, every shot of every weapon for the first game, and soon diminishing
a few times a game.

For those who want to play the game, I can recommend the Agents of
web page which has the errata (which answered many of my questions) and
missing (critical) charts.  Still, it takes a lot of paper to play a
action, and the fleet 
building process is complicated.

Perhaps Matt Seidl or Mike Llaneza can explain when your 'Come About'
is reduced and relative vs. absolute movement to me sometin\me ?

Prev: Western Suburbs Open Day - Stargrunt Report Next: [OT] EFSB at Titan Games