Some folks in the Starfinder Facebook group were talking about trying to add Newton’s laws of motion to Starfinder Starship combat.
I’ve played like this, in the early 2000s I played in a Mobile Suit Gundam game using Mekton for rules, instead of Starfinder’s model where constant thrust equals constant velocity we used Newton’s first law of motion.
An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
In MSG our giant robots launched from starships using catapults that imparted a speed which we added to the robot’s thrusters and immediately had two turns worth of acceleration. If you turned off your thrusters you continued to move at that speed. If you engaged the enemy you probably had to slow down to turn and start building up speed again. There are a lot of giant U shaped turns and instead of 2 inch hexes we used 1 inch hexes in order to have lots of extra area for the increased movement.
So if you spend a turn speeding up, and you go the same speed the next turn, how do you know from one turn to the next how fast and where you’re going?
In some games people will lay down a marker for where you were, and lay down a marker where you’re going if nothing changes. Your forward and backward markers have to be different colors for obvious reasons, but they also need to be distinct from the markers used by everybody else on the board. Even if you only use two colors for forward and back, you might want numbered tokens for each color to make identifying the markers easier.
Scratch pad, in our MSG game we used a lot of scratch pads, tracking current velocity like hit points, adding more for acceleration, subtracting for deceleration. That largely works for tracking movement in the direction your ship is facing…
If you move to the left or right, you’re going to have a forward velocity and additional movement off that course, your scratchpad might have a hex drawn on it with blanks for numbers in each direction around the ship, ideally you’ll only ever be tracking movement in half those directions at one time, still it’s a lot of work.
In our MSG game we never accounted for spin, we assumed verniers on the robots countered any movement so facing changes were discrete and didn’t matter from round to round.
So if you launch a missile or a torpedo in Starfinder we already kind of need a token to track that object if it doesn’t reach its target in the round that it is launched. Playing with Sir Isaac Newton “the deadliest son-of-a-bitch in space”, we’ll probably need scratchpads or forward and backward markers for the missiles too. Every ship can launch 5 missiles per combat, per launcher.
Anybody else feel why Starfinder left Newton out of the CRB? Also, Newton has 3 laws of motion, this was just one. Hardcore space combat games can use all three.
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