Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Star Eagles Highlights Flexibility of Ganesha Games "Song of" Miniatures Rules

Ganesha Games recently launched a Kickstarter project for their upcoming space fighter miniatures combat game Star Eagles, and it looks like a winner. The game is designed by Damon Richardson and aims to be a quick to play and deep simulation of desperate starship dogfights in the deeps of space between the forces of ConStar and the S'Sekai. Watching the how to play video Damon put out to promote the project, one thing stand out very quickly. Like many Ganesha produced miniatures games, Star Eagles uses the very flexible Song of Blades and Heroes fantasy skirmish rules as its foundation.  Song designer Andrea Sfiligoi has already demonstrated the flexibility of the Song system in a variety of genres in his work for Osprey Publishing, but this is the first time that framework has been used for spacecraft battle simulation.

One of the key innovations of the Song system is how it simulates who has the "initiative" in combat situations. Damon's video highlights this innovation in the how to video, but it deserves highlighting that the system forces players to choose between being aggressive which may cause them to lose the initiative before they desire or to play more cautiously which may result in them not achieving as much as they'd like during their turns. It's a great way to reflect how certain strategic choices can affect later tactical decisions. This isn't to say that Damon's game is a reprint of Song, like most games that use that system as a foundation there are significant differences, rather this is mentioned to praise Damon for selecting a system that better emulates the chaos of a dogfight than a standard igo-ugo system would.

There are a couple of additional things worth mentioning with regard to Star Eagles. The first is that this is a project that demonstrates how exciting the times we live in with regard to gaming really are. While Kickstarter is used by bigger companies to mitigate risk by combining market research and capital for projects, and in my opinion this happens to often, this is a case where it is being used as it should be. This is a small company creating a product that could not otherwise be produced at the high level of quality they are planning, and by small I mean REALLY small since most game companies are small in any comparison with the corporate world. Addition to being  a small company, this is an international endeavor where the designer and the publisher are on different continents working together to create a product to be sold around the world. Damon Richardson, who was a fine Forgotten Realms DM in his youth, lives in Reno, NV while Andrea Sfiligoi of Ganesha Games is located in Italy. This is something I would not have imagined possible as a child, but is something that happens with relative frequency in the modern gaming market. Exciting times indeed.

Check out the Kickstarter and back it if the theme interests you.

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