Star Fury is the realization of a desire I’ve had for a couple of decades. I wanted to pit-fight different ships and races from different science fiction universes. What would a battle between BSG’s Cylons and SW’s Galactic Empire look like? How might STTOS’s Fesarius fare against a fleet of Klingon D6s?
I would never be able to afford the licensing to publish a game that had all the statistics for all of the possibilities, but I could publish a framework that would provide players the tools to explore the answers themselves. The resulting discussion forum banter concerning the proper design for some particular piece of hardware should be quite entertaining…
The exploration of various fictional universes revealed a number of abstraction models that compose the personality of that universe. Some of the major differences include the presence of fighters and carriers; low-tech, pulse-based energy weapons versus more advanced beam weapons; and fleets composed primarily of mid-sized cruisers versus epic-size monstrosities.
We used these and other factors to organize the material. Two distinct kits were necessary to properly isolate some of the significant technological distinctions. As we assembled the material for the two games, we found that we had to trim out much of it just to keep each kit the proper size. This left an entire book’s worth of tasty goodness out of either game. We grouped all of it into a third book that we could make available as an option, either in paper or digital format.
Star Fury is hardly the first science fiction fleet game. The only older title that provided most of what I was looking for was Task Force Games’ Starfire. Starfire’s ships had great personality and the ship design system was amazing. Starfire’s primary deficiency was the inability to handle larger fleets. The complexity of the damage allocation system limited each side to about six to eight ships as a practical upper limit. I realized that if I wanted to put up to two dozen ships on a side, I would need a simpler damage system.
Expressing the status of each system on a vessel in a fleet game seemed overkill. I boiled each ship down to a collection of basically five numbers at four damage levels. Two numbers expressed the unit’s capacity to damage targets, one number for defense, one to express non-kinetic capabilities, and one for maneuverability. Four damage levels seemed to be an absolute floor to keep vessels from melting too quickly under fire.
Originally, I was hoping to reduce each game to a rules booklet, a single page map, and a half counter sheet. In order to provide players with complete fleets, missiles, fighters, and status markers, several counter sheets are required. The ergonomics of a small map are challenging due to unit and marker congestion. The large map and counter volume require a box, and all of that together requires a higher price tag than my original plan entailed. But the total kit provides proportionately more value to players than the lower-calorie alternative.