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Board and Movement mechanics for a science-fiction game

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LoopyWolf's picture
Joined: 12/18/2008

I'm looking for a different sort of board and movement mechanism for a science-fiction game.


  • The board does not impede player interaction too much

  • Movement on the board is not obvious, ie., situations arise where one player may see a move or path that another player might not

Game Context:
I am planning on having the following aspects in the game, which may be important to know:

  • Space boards will have 1 to 4 planet cards attached to them, so should not physically move on the table once placed

  • Space Events can be played which could alter the movement-rules for a particular board, such as an Asteroid Belt which prevents anyone from jumping into the sector

  • Each space-board may have a special rule on it, which may also affect movement

  • Different players will basically have the same movement rules (technology), tho it will be possible during the game to get more advantages in movement technology

I'm looking for discussion or ideas which may help me to find the solution, as it's bugging me. I have considered the following ways of doing this, which don't seem to be fully satisfactory:

  • A player can move any fleet into hyperspace/homeworld one on turn, and then back out of hyperspace on another, arriving at any point in the galaxy. I find this unsatisfactory unless it can take 1 turn, 2 turns, 3 turns to arrive at different points, and I've no idea how to make that word in a board-game.

  • Adjacency: Sectors are arranged orthogonally in a map, and you can move from sector to sector in any direction.

  • Tree or Path construction: The sectors each have vectors, and when placed down, they form a sort of tree, or the standard spacelanes one gets in a lot of sci-fi. I like this, but I feel it isolates most sectors and reduces interaction

  • Tree/Path/Grid where basic movement is by adjacency, and higher technologies like hyperspace and spacefold allow different movement rules, such as jump out/jump to (above), and wrapping edges, and so on

Any discussion or ideas may be helpful

Pastor_Mora's picture
Joined: 01/05/2010
I have something

It's my Space Rangers game board. I couldn't sell the idea to the publisher of the videogame, so you might as well use it if it fits you.

It's a galaxy board with five circular layers that spin around a central point. Yes, they spin. You haven't seen anything like this nowhere. Every turn the galaxy spins, so the relative position of one player to another changes. Moreover, the relative position of one sector to a player changes every turn. So, instead of drawing events to reshape the galaxy around you every turn, the spinning does that for you with some limited randomness.

I can't post it as it has copyright material (it's the videogame adaptation), but PM your email and I'll send it to you. Else, you can check a simplified version I used for my Spacewar! videogame adaptation here:

I think this takes the modular board randomness to a whole new level. Because the board is not just dynamic in the placement phase, but it keeps changing DURING the game.

Hope that helps. Keep thinking!

Arvin's picture
Joined: 05/29/2009
How about this...

I'm also making my own science-fiction boardgame (space genre).
I was inspired to do this when I played risk.

I once had trouble on how to connect territories (or sectors) on the map.
I'm still stuck at the moment If you would like we could share Ideas here.

My boardgame map would look something like this:

It's supposed to be a Galaxy. but divided in different sectors. where everyone could take adjacent sectors just like in risk.

drunknmunky's picture
Joined: 06/25/2010
why not take a note from

why not take a note from miniatures! have a set distance of say 3 inches that is one turn of travel in hyperspace, 1 inch in regular space. or if you are doing a variable board set up then maybe every ship has a fuel tank it can use once a turn and the number of fuel cells is how many board tiles it can move.

Joined: 11/05/2009
Warp drive rocks!

I like the idea of hyper or warp drive very much! Why don't you think it can be implemented in a board game?

The ship goes into hyperdrive during one turn end then appears somewhere in the galaxy during a following turn. Technology differences influence the time they spend in warp. If you are not sure when or where a ship will come out of warp it will add a very interesting mechanic to the game!

Image a player attacking a planet, and ships start to drop out of warp into orbit. The defending player concentrates all his power on that planet. The next ship that drops out of warp arrives at a different planet that is now unprotected and wipes it out...

I think the important thing is that the destination must be fixed before the ship goes into hyperspace, otherwise ships intended for one destination could be rerouted on the fly. So have destination tokens. The player chooses his destination and places the token with the ship's token on a warp track. Every turn the tokens are moved one space forward. When the ship reaches the space that corresponds to the time it has to spend in warp to reach a particular destination, the destination token is revealed and the ship is now placed on its destination solar system on the main game board... Surprise!

For instance: An Andromeda Frigate wants to travel from Naboo to Mars. It needs to spend 2 turns in warp to cross one sector. Naboo is 3 sectors from Mars. The travel time is 6 turns.
Turn one: The ship goes into warp and is taken off the main board and placed with the face down Mars token on the warp track.
Turns two to 5: the ship is moved one space on the warp track each turn.
Turn 6: The destination token is turned over to reveal the destination and the ship goes back to the main board.

So the opponent knows the ship is in warp. If it drops out of warp on the second turn it may stop at Atlantis... If it drops out of warp on the third turn, it may be heading for Capricorn, or should he worry about Mars?

My two cents' idea...

Joined: 05/21/2010
Exiting Hyperspace

The main problem with moving a fleet through hyperspace (according to authors who have thought a lot about the number crunching involved) is that while entering and moving in formation is easy, Exiting hyperspace, on the other hand - in any kind of battle-ready formation - is another problem entirely.
So one mechanic you might be interested in is Dispersal On Exit, "We're at battle stations, where the heck is my fleet???"
I imagine that a simple D6 should be enough to decide the fleets' ability to defend itself against a fixed planetary defence, but have no suggestion as to how it would work right now...

The delay also give the attacked player some time to scramble up any response force that may be available.

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