Saturday, April 1, 2017

Adventures in Free Gaming: Federation Commander - First Missions

I love free games.  This week I got to play another free game that I downloaded off of the internet.  It is called Federation Commander - First Missions.  Federation Commander is a streamlined version of the Star Trek inspired wargame Star Fleet Battles.  Just like Star Fleet Battles, the game's publisher has posted a beginner version of the game online.  I have posted before about Star Fleet Battles.  My advice is to start with Federation Commander first.

Federation Commander: First Missions is a 34 page PDF that contains all of the rules, maps, and counters that you will need to play the game.  The rules include a Federation and Klingon ship and two scenarios.  The rules are a stripped-down version of the Federation Commander rules, as rules for drones and seeking weapons (missiles) are removed and some of the more complex movement rules are missing.  However, this does not diminish from the rich tactical experience that the game provides.

The game simulates space combat between a Klingon and Federation warship.  During the game you use energy to power your ship's movement and weapons.  The game reminds me of Car Wars in that you pick your speed and then that speed determines on which part of the turn you move.  The game is very tactical as maneuvering your ship correctly can mean life or death.  Weapons have certain firing arcs so you want to be in the right position to send your photon torpedoes down your enemy's throat.

The two ships fight it out.  These counters are actually from the Star Fleet Battles PDF.
Energy is the currency of the game.  Your ship produces energy from its warp engines.  Energy is used for movement, firing weapons, and reinforcing shields.  This will put you in situations where you will have to make tough choices, such as do you save energy for firing your weapons or do you use it to repair that damaged shield?  Also, if your engines take damage then you will produce less energy.

My Klingon Battlecruiser
This game makes me feel like I am a true spaceship captain.  I have to manage my ship while trying to outfox my opponent.  The PDF comes with two scenarios.  One is a ship vs. ship duel, which is what we played.  The other is a convoy scenario.  The PDF is easy to read and contains counters and a hex map that you will need to print out in order to play the game.  My only complaint is that the PDF has a decorative border running down the side of each page.  The border is a black strip with stars on it.  It may look nice but it eats up ink when printing, so I went to Kinko's to print out my copy.

My opponent shortly before being disintigrated
If you are into Star Trek or space combat then I would check this game out.  Also, if you think Star Fleet Battles seems too complex then try out Federation Commander first.

Federation Commander: First Missions