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Radioactive Press: Asteroids


This is a starship combat game based on the simple premise that however asteroids there might be, there's always someone who'd prefer to steal yours than find one of his own. As well as the rules, each player needs a marker to identify his ship and a d10, while you'll also need markers for asteroids and a playing grid - a chessboard or similar does fine.

Before you begin, you need to design your ship. Interestingly, this is a dynamic process. All ships have a 'reactor' (type unspecified, from some old nuclear boiler to something that would make a Star Trek captain gawk... it doesn't matter) which outputs 16 points of power each round. You then allocate them to Thrusters (how far you can move), Piloting (how well you steer), Shields, and Weapon Systems. Your ship also has a standard 10 points of structure, i.e. how much damage you can sustain. Then you need to select what weapons systems you want to have - various sorts are available, each with a power cost, range and area of effect, as well as a set amount of damage that they'll do. They also have a purchase cost, and you have 100 points to spend. Spend 'em all - you can never be over-armed!!

Next, you need to set up the playing area, an asteroid field with at least 10 of the brutes in it. Now the fun starts, they don't stay still! Each round, a d10 is rolled for each one to decide which way it moves (never mind the laws of physics). A square containing an asteroid is blocked and cannot be fired through - so you can hide behind them. If you want to make things more exciting you can also have energy clouds, solar flares and wormholes cropping up; all randomly controlled by die rolls and having different effects.

So, to play. A simple turn-based system is used, players rolling each round for initiative to see who goes first. Then everyone decides how they will allocate power for that round, and asteroid movement is determined, and then each player takes his turn as determined by initiative. During your turn, there are several phases in which you can take specific actions - move, fire weapons and make repairs. Unless you want to play to the death, it's best to decide how many rounds your game will last before you begin. That's about it, although there are rules for how the weapons work, for starships hitting asteroids and for starships hitting other starships.

A nice simple yet elegant game suitable for an hour or two of banging those rocks together!

Return to Asteroids page.

Reviewed: 24 July 2009