Two Hour Wargaming strives to make games that they consider to be “immersive wargames.” What this term loosely means is that the games they produce are actually one part wargaming, one part RPG. There’s nothing at all wrong with this, and I really think it helps open their games up to a much wider audience by offering the thrill of wargaming combined with the ability of going outside the box with the normal actions you’d take in games such as this. That’s something we get from different RPGs out there right now.
Before 5150: Star Navy the only space combat wargame I’d ever played was Firestorm Armada. What separates the two is the fact that in Star Navy you build your own fleet from whatever ships you want to use, as long as they’re to scale. I’m especially excited about this because, using the system, I could basically recreate the entire Battlestar Galactica fleet and use it in a game if I wanted to, and who wouldn’t want to do that?
What’s It All About?
5150: Star Navy is Two Hour Wargaming’s first foray into the world of space combat. Not to be confused with 5150: Star Army, this game sees players piloting a large fleet of ships in space rather than planting troops’ boots on the ground in massive combat scenarios. The main idea of the game is simple: search the stars and eliminate any enemy in sight. Basically your goal is to protect your little part of space from any and all opposing forces that are attempting to run it through.
There are rules for building scenarios, and that’s where the RPG side of things kicks in. It’s really up to your imagination. Want to build a long-term campaign? You can do that. Have a giant idea for a space opera that would make a great campaign? Go for it. The ideas are really open, though you’ll be using the races, factions, and lists provided in the book.
One thing that makes this game great is its attention to detail. The rulebook covers ship-to-ship combat, fighter operations, and even boarding attempts. You can really spin the game right into any story you wish based on your own imagination.
At its core the 5150: Star Navy playing system is fun, but it can be complicated at times. It runs off of tables, using comparisons and such to get across points of damage, abilities, and much more. During some games one player will control the local planet, and the opposing player is trying assault that planet. One thing that’s missing here is the way to determine which player is which. You’d assume there would be some sort of table for that, but it looks as if a tiny bit of information was left out in an effort to get the game into players’ hands. On the same end, however, it isn’t too complicated to just figure a way yourself to settle these sorts of issues.
The game uses a pool of d6s in order to track things, much like other wargames on the market. The difference here, however is in the way you use these dice. Players will resolve things by passing dice, counting successes, using possibilities, and the normal adding of dice for a total. Each of these situations is explained in the rulebook.
When it comes to the actual ships, though you will need to use your own miniatures the book covers a variety of ship information. Players will have different classes of ships in their fleet, and each ship is built using points to purchase systems. These systems consist of things such as the ship’s bridge, engine, life support, hangars, weapons, and shields. When determining what ship you can add to your fleet you’ll build it by adding systems based off the point cost, and the total points you’re allowed will be determined by the class of the ship. It sounds complicated, but once you start building it becomes much easier.
Players will use the rulebook to pick a Faction, build their fleet, and then get straight to the table to play. This approach makes the game a lot of fun, and once you get past learning the concept of the game and actually assembling your fleet you’ll be playing in no time.
There was a lot of different details left out of this review, such as determining who goes first when playing, how to check if you scanned the enemies coming, how to roll on your guns versus their armor, and more, but that’s all information that you can get from the rulebook. 5150: Star Navy is a great game to play if you’re a huge space combat fan. With the ability to add in all sorts of customization to your ships and scenarios, the game does a great job of immersing the player – which is exactly what Two Hour Wargaming markets it doing. If you’re not into wargaming but love RPGs, this may be something that turns you on to a new genre of gaming, and you can grab a copy of the game on its official site. However, if you’re a wargamer that likes simple games that don’t have a lot of fluff this may not be something for you. I enjoyed having the ability to customize my fleet, and while there was a lot of comparing against tables the game comes out as a lot of fun. If you’re looking for something to spice up your wargaming shelf, this may be something to look into.