Gameday First Play – Talon
“If you are in a spaceship that is travelling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?”
~ Steven Wright
Long hampered by cost and beset by international problems, real space exploration did not seem possible for humanity. Amazing technological breakthroughs would change all of that in the year 2112. The invention of the Near Faster Than Light (NFTL) drive would make it possible for large ships to move easily in and out of a planet’s gravity well, and to travel quickly within the confines of a solar system. Ten years later, the perfecting of Faster Than Light (FTL) drive would turn the galaxy into an open canvas. United by a common purpose, the newly formed Terran Confederation began to paint their picture.
Expansion led to colonies, research stations, and even more technological discoveries, but it also led to the realisation that they were not alone. Although no sentient alien species had been encountered, long range scanners had picked up the distinctive signatures of FTL drives. Sentient races must exist… and they must be space faring. Terran expansion stopped.
Not knowing what to expect, a period of consolidation followed which emphasised defensive technologies and fleet building. First contact was made by the people of Earth with this unknown race in 2227. Over time, they would eventually call these other-worlders the Talon. It was a shortening of the alien sounds that made up their name but it was also oddly prophetic-the Talon Empire swooped in very much like a raptor upon the fledgling Terran Confederation.
This is a space battle game where you fight until only one side is left, as it should be!
The ships are hex tiles that you can write on to update their stats (genius!), show which weapons are ready to fire and which shields are available etc…
It’s very simple…
On your turn you spend 1 power per ship that has one. (more on how you know if a ship has power or not later) Power can be used to add a shield to one of the 4 sides, recharge a depleted weapon etc
It can also be used to try and change initiative to determine which player goes first in a round which I never did, but I lost so….
After Power is Movement… A ship MUST move and they move forward 1 space. They can turn, but depending on their turn radius they may be stuck moving forward a number of spaces before they can turn again. (Power can be used in the previous phase to reduce this number)
You can also use Power in the previous step to make the ship go sideways rather than just forward.
To see if a ship has any Power or if it can move, you check the Impulse Track…
Each section of the track is labelled A to F and has between one and six of the numbers 1 to 6.
Only ships with a Power rating matching the a number in the current phase gets power, only one with a matching movement value can move… Simple.
After Power and Movement is shooting! You can always shoot regardless of the Impulse Track as long as you have charged weapons and have a target in range.
Each ship has different weapons which cause different amounts of damage depending on the range, but also a die roll. Some may deal one damage if a 1 is rolled on a D6 and other may only hit on a 4+ but deal a bit more damage.
For each damage, remove a shield on the relevant side of the ship then start damaging the ship itself… If it takes too much damage, remove it from the board.
After Phase F, you have a step where you charge your weapons a little faster than usual. You can also change the Power Curve of your ship, adjusting the stats on the tile and changing which phases the ship has Power and Movement as well as it’s turn ratio.
Wipe out your opponents to win.
It gives the feel of a Skirmish game without overly complicated rules, massive costs for minis of the need for a large play area. The play area scrolls so if you hit the end of the board, just move everything a few spaces in the same direction. Also, it all fits in a standard board game box…
LOADS of stuff in the box! We only played 4 tiles v 3 tiles using just 3 classes of ship each and there are LOADS in the box. Some tiles show multiple smaller ships rather than one large ship like you see in Star Wars Armada (Again, without the cost)
Having dice does gives the game a bit of luck and if you want to know why that’s a positive, well, it’s because I view luck as thematic. For example, when a ship takes a certain amount of damage you roll on a table to see what happened. I rolled a double 6 and boom!, ship destroyed. Must have hit a power core or weapon hold or something… right?
Not only are the ships different, the two ‘armies’ have different ships. I had batteries that I could use when I didn’t have Power which I could charge using Power on a turn when I had it and didn’t need it. My opponent had Boosters, similar thing but for movement.
The cost may be reduced, but it doesn’t look as impressive as miniature games. I have a decent D&D Attack Wing collection and I would much prefer to play that with Dragons and Giants looming over the board… (But I can’t transport it anywhere! :))
It’s a dudes on a map game, and I suck at them 🙂
A decent game system, now, where is my fantasy version of it? 🙂