Akira contemplated his situation. It was not good. He’d been caught unawares transporting his cargo, and the pirate Uki had almost finished him off. Hiding in the asteroid field had helped, but Uki had caught up to him and her deadly guns were ripping him to shreds. In addition, if Uki’s missiles struck home, he’d probably be dead. Akira’s Anti-Missile Drones were in the air, but Uki’s fighters were ready to launch, and that would take care of that defence. Akira had a couple of cards up his sleeve though. He had a virus that would allow him to steal a missile or drones, and his own guns could offer some defence. If he could survive the missiles, it was just a matter of evading the worst of Uki’s guns one more time, limping along to the Dark Cluster and jumping away. Simple, really.
Welcome to Fusion: Space Combat, the game of starship combat in the 23rd century. In this two-player game, each player takes on the role of a special pilot that ‘fuses’ their intelligence with an immense spaceship and issues commands to their craft. You and your opponent go head to head, attempting to destroy each other or racing to deliver minerals to powerful conglomerates, all the while avoiding pitfalls such as asteroids, gravity wells and electric storms.
All the cards presently have placeholder artwork, and the entire graphic design is being redone. The final cards will definitely have awesome artwork!
The fundamental mechanic of Fusion: Space Combat is playing command cards. Each action you want your starship to perform is represented in the game as a command card. Command cards allow you to enhance your skill-set, attack your opponent, defend against your opponent’s attacks, and hinder your opponent’s activities at every opportunity.
Have you got the Time?
Each command takes a certain amount of time to play, designated by the number at the top right of each card. Each player has a total amount of Command Time available to them each turn, shown by the Command Time attribute on their starship mat.
The total of the time for all the commands a player wants to play in a turn cannot exceed their available Command Time. For example, a player with an available Command Time of 8 could play the LOCK ON command with a time value of 3, and BOMBARD with a time value of 5.
Time on the Board
The board has time positions along the bottom of it, on both players’ sides. As cards are played, they are placed under the board with their time attribute underneath the time positions at which they will execute.
Playing a command is done in two steps – placing and execution. Commands are firstly placed against the time position at which they will execute. Then whichever command that has not yet executed and is planned at the lowest time, executes, and actually performs its actions.
What? Just show me!
To show how this works in a bit more detail, let’s work through an example:
The red player is playing with Akira as his pilot, while the blue player has Uki. Badly damaged, Akira needs to repair his ship, but is also hoping to transmit a virus to delay his opponent. Uki on the other hand is not able to bombard with her guns this turn, so wants to see what more damage her missiles can do, and launch her fighters to take out Akira’s Anti-Missile Drones that he launched his previous turn. Both players have 8 time available to them for this turn.
At the start of each turn, both players place their first command, starting with the First Player, in this case Uki. The commands are placed against the time positions on the board. After the First Player places their first command, their opponent does the same thing.
- Uki (blue) is the First Player, and places her FIRE MISSILE command at time position 4.
- Akira (red) places his Repair command at time position 3
- The player with their last card at the lowest time executes their card first. Since Akira’s REPAIR command is at 3 compared to Uki’s FIRE MISSILE at 4, Akira will execute his REPAIR first.
- What the commands do in detail is a lesson for another post. Here we’ll just summarise their effect. Akira’s REPAIR restores Hull and removes critical damage cards. After executing his REPAIR, he must place his next command or pass. Second and subsequent cards are placed at their designated time value from the last card. He places his TRANSMIT VIRUS 3 time after his latest command, at the 6th time position.
Uki executes her FIRE MISSILE command, firing an EMP and Lance Missile, ready to do their damage after the Command Phase. She then has a choice – she wants to launch her fighters, but if she does that she won’t be able to use her ANTIVIRUS to stop Akira’s viruses. She decides that with everything else she wants to do, she won’t have time next turn to launch the fighters, so plans her LAUNCH DRONES to execute at time position 8.
- Akira’s TRANSMIT VIRUS executes next. Uki groans with dismay when Akira reveals the “Space Hack” virus, which can steal a missile or drones. Akira compounds the pain with his next command – GUN DEFENCES – executing at time 8, which can destroy missiles and drones.
- Both players have their next command at time 8. When both players have their command at the same time, the First Player executes their command first. In this case, it is is Uki, and her Fighters launch into space. The timing was important – if Akira had been First Player, his GUN DEFENCES would have executed before Uki’s LAUNCH DRONES, and he would have had no drones to destroy.
- With no more time available, Uki passes.
- Akira’s GUN DEFENCES execute, then he too passes.
The ACTION Phase would resolve next. Akira’s viruses would take effect; Uki’s fighters (if any were left) would attack Akira’s AMDs; Akira’s remaining AMDs would attempt to take out Uki’s missiles; then finally Uki’s missiles (again if any were left) would strike.
It’s All About Timing
As you can see, each player has a limited amount of time available to them, and their commands use up that time. You also saw that the relative timing of Uki’s LAUNCH DRONES and Akira’s GUN DEFENCES was important.
Many commands can affect later commands, and some commands specifically counter their opponent’s commands, so the order in which they are played is crucial.
In the next article on Fusion’s mechanics, we’ll explore ways in which players can increase their own available time for the turn, and reduce their opponent’s, and the effect this can have on commands.
In later articles we’ll cover what specific command cards do, and the various weapons and techniques Fusion pilots have at their disposal to despatch and confound their opponents.
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