Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void Blasts Onto Kickstarter

July 31, 2020 by avernos

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Dragonstone Treasure is a new company from England launching their first game today via Kickstarter. Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void is a strategic ship to ship combat game for 2-4 players and I've had the pleasure of unboxing a prototype for the core game and sinking my teeth into its meaty goodness.

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Check Out Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void On Kickstarter

So I thought I'd take you through the game, the setting and my initial thoughts on what to expect from Deadflight. Hopefully, we will also be getting it under a camera for a playthrough in the next couple of weeks so you can see how it plays out first hand. But in the meantime read on.

So let's kick things off with the name, what exactly is a Deadflight? Well, put simply it's a reference to the illegal deactivation of your ship's transponder. In the year 3927, the various factions that vie for supremacy in the solar system often have to undertake covert or illicit activities and the Deadflight protocols are an open secret among the factions that ships go dark to complete their missions.

Terrestrial Planetary Alliance // Gas Giants Conglomerate

In doing so however they risk great embarrassment to their factions and risk the fragile peace accords that exist should they be captured, and so for Deadflight crews, there is no hope of ransom or rescue if they are overwhelmed they will become yet another ghost in the void.

Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void - Lore

The preview rule book is split broadly into three sections, the first tackles the background of the universe, followed by the rules and ending with missions including historical missions. The history isn't in-depth, in the preview rule book at least,  but there is a four-page timeline for the solar system plotting out key events and giving a very good primer for this hard sci-fi universe.

Starting with the colonisation of Mars in the mid 21st century and the expansion of humanity, the birth of sentient Artificial Intelligence in 2335 and cataclysms both natural and man-made, it sets the scene beautifully for the two main factions in the game and potential expansions and directions that Dragonstone may take the game in future. There is also a three page summary of the core factions and the rationale behind their view on the solar system.

T.P.N. Atlas Bomber Escorted By Cerebus Fighters

The Terrestrial Planetary Alliance are the original colonies, they have the oldest established civilisations and also the oldest fleets, but they make up for that being well trained and resourced.

Conversely, the Gas Giant Conglomerates made their bases on the moons of the gas giants, they're a corporate superpower that has some of the best technology and force the TPN to tread warily, but due to the massive distances between their bases due to planetary rotation they can find themselves isolated for long periods of time. There are some excellent videos if you are keen to know more on the Deadflight website here.

Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void - Gameplay

The game itself is played out on a grand scale. The first thing to do is to decide which of the three types of game you want to play first. Competitive Engagements are one-off games. Campaign games allow you to build your fleet carrier and follow their adventures through a separate campaign booklet which alas wasn't part of the preview prototype I received but sounds like it will probably be the most rewarding.

Finally, you can play Historical Simulations like the Kobayashi Maru from Star Trek you are put in the place of a famous captain with a predetermined mission and fleet and attempt to do better than your historical counterpart.

Damage Tracker & Module System

Once you've decided what to play you select your mission and build your fleet-carrier. This is the nuts and bolts and will engage players and keep them coming back again and again I feel. The fleet-carrier itself is too massive to be on the table and so instead, you have your dashboard that is essentially the bridge of your ship. you have access to eight modules, that you can fit your fleet to the mission with, be it additional shielding for your boarding torpedoes or a refinery for the salvaged ore you collect.

After that, you select your captain and smaller craft you also have four upgrade slots you can fill if you wish. Gameplay follows a five-phase turn with orders being issued via your Capt, XO or LT. The Captain gets two orders and will always issue them automatically, while the XO and Lt are attached to a specific module and have to roll. This means in a turn up half of your eight modules can be activated so you need to plan your course of action carefully.

A Veteran Captain May Be Worth His Points Many Times Over

After the orders have been issued the Fleet-Carriers can use any of their onboard arsenal against the other large carrier or smaller craft in the Nearspace Battlesphere. Moving onto the hex map between the Fleet-Carriers the fighters, bombers and salvage and mining craft activates in an attempt to complete or disrupt the mission.

T.P.N. Olympus Transport

The Mechanics are beautifully simple and because of the alternating activation, it means you can forget about difficult rules and just make sure you don't end up with the ships rear-facing some rail gun-carrying interceptors. Strategy and tactics come very much to the forefront of this game, from your initial build once the mission has been selected, through to carrying out your plan on the tabletop it will constantly engage you.

Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void - Missons

There is currently a training mission and ten full missions in the rule book, each gives a primary, secondary mission which is hidden from the opponent trying to disrupt the mission. If the primary is completed you have won, a secondary mission being completed is a draw, while a Fleet-Carrier being driven off is a loss. These are a lot of fun and when picking you randomly draw two cards and select your preferred and then build your fleet to carry out the task.

The prototype contained two fleets plus some space debris to populate the near-space battlesphere. These have been beautifully rendered by Mixstah and they have done a terrific job. With the nods towards six or more fleets, I can't wait to see what else comes down the pipeline for Deadflight. The artwork throughout the preview copy is amazing and the sculpts are beautiful, giving me a real Battlestar Galactica or Babylon 5 feel.

Check Out Deadflight: Ghosts In The Void On Kickstarter

I adore this style of management for the strategic game with the combination of ship-to-ship tactical combat while these two behemoths slug it out, it's live now and definitely worth a visit, I have high hopes for Deadflight: Ghosts in the Void.

What do you hear? Nothing but the rain...

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