Large Scale Fleet Battles for Traveller Games

Starmada Game at MilliniumCon

Starmada Game at MilliniumCon (see

One of the things our Traveller group at ShinnCon decided was that we wanted to eventually get into large scale, epic fleet battles. Classic Traveller (and related systems like Striker, Mayday, Azhanti High Lightning which deal with skirmish, on-ship or small ship-to-ship encounters) doesn’t seem to be well suited to this. Especially given we have 9 players! So I’ve been researching starship miniatures combat systems.

Ideal things I’m looking for (not sure I can get all these things in one system, but will try to get as many as I can):

  • Players can learn system in < 20 minutes — Given we have 9 players, and not everyone will take time to read rules off-line, we need it to be a quick-to-learn system.
  • Can scale to 20+ ships per side — Probably we’ll give each player 3-4 ships or something, and have some players play the part of the bad guy ships. With 9 players that could be 25-40 ships on the battlemat.
  • Fast and furious — I want us to play and wrap up in < 4 hours, so we can get some roleplaying in as well.
  • Adapts to multiple universes — I want to replay fleet combats in multiple settings (Traveller, Star Frontiers, Star Wars, etc.) and it would be nice if we could use the same rules for multiple settings.
  • Traveller compatibility — Would be cool if we used 2d6, and in general, if someone has done the homework to do a Traveller conversion.

With this in mind, I’ve narrowed it down to four systems:

1) Star Frontiers: Knight Hawks

Seem like nice rules. Not sure how well they convert to other settings, or scale to multiple players. Will definitely consider these though, as we’ll eventually be doing a Star Frontiers game after our Traveller run.


2) A Sky Full of Ships

Right now if I had to guess, this is the front-runner.


3) Starmada

Great production values.


4) Full Thrust / Power Projection Fleet

Great support and lots resources. It does seem to be a bit crunchier than the systems above though.


General Starship Miniatures Games Resources:


Space Mats:

Star Frontiers vs. Traveller Ship Sizes:

Great General Site:

Great Forums:

Fleet Size Recap:

If you want small to medium sized fleets (a dozen vessels per side or less), that’s where most games these days tend to sit. Full Thrust, Starmada, etc.

If you want larger fleets (about 20 or so per side, possibly up to 30), then A Sky Full of Ships seems to be a popular choice.

Complexity Recap:

Low – Starmada, Battlefleet Gothic, Firestorm Armada, A Sky Full of Ships
Mid – Full Thrust, Federation Commander, A Call to Arms, Colonial Battlefleet, Silent Death (fighter combat), Noble Armada
High – Star Fleet Battles, Saganami Island Tactic Simulator (Honorverse), B5 Wars, Starblazers Fleet Battles, Aerotech 2 (Battletech universe)

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