About this project
Thrilling Space Combat in the Traveller Universe!
The original "sandbox" science fiction universe, Traveller has kept hundreds of thousands of gamers entertained, their imaginations yearning for the next star over, warming up the jump drive, and seeing what new horizons have to offer.
Squadron Strike is the award-winning toolbox game of space combat, able to provide the detail of dedicated licensed games, while letting players design any weapon or any ship from any universe, all in 3D, with optional 2D exports.
What do you get when you combine them? The Third Imperium's Navy in three dimensions!
Squadron Strike: Traveller uses fully Newtonian movement, including displacement for constant thrust, something that has never appeared in a Traveller game. (To old Squadron Strike hands, Squadron Strike: Traveller uses "Mode 2" movement without fuel.)
The game has a play-through tutorial, that teaches the game over multiple scenarios, starting in 2D and eventually going to 3D. (3D movement has never been in Traveller space combat before. Squadron Strike makes it easy.)
The game focuses on the ships of the Fifth Frontier War. Each ship comes in a 2D and a 3D version. All of the ships also come with an extra variant in 3D.
Squadron Strike: Traveller is unabashedly a "big ships" Traveller implementation. The smallest ship it covers is 1000 dtons. It is NOT the game to break out for your PCs trying to pull a high-G slingshot maneuver in their Beowulf-class free trader to get the drop on a Gazelle-class escort. (However, see below!)
The ships are built in the Squadron Strike rules to replicate Traveller features. Squadron Strike's deep toolbox allows us to capture the feel of Traveller, while giving you the tactical depth and fun on-the-map play of Squadron Strike.
The Narrative of Battle
Shoals of missiles blot out the stars in the initial phases of a Traveller naval battle. Escorts shoot down missiles so bigger, more valuable ships can maneuver freely. Ships thrust and pivot to line up massive spinal weapons to get a killing strike. Sandcasters ablate beam damage, while meson guns can ignore armor while delivering devastatingly powerful strikes. Jump drives require significant fuel reserves, and multiple turns to warm up. Black globes render you temporarily invulnerable and unable to thrust or fire.
All of the classic Traveller systems are here, in enough detail to make squadron-on-squadron combat fun and engaging.
Even non-technological details, like Zhodani psionics and the "ten planetary radii" Jump limit are part of the game. On top of that, we have overviews of the history of the Third Imperium, focusing on Naval history, and essays on 3rd Imperium Naval Doctrine that have never been been seen before, including class histories and development foibles for every ship in the game.
RPG Implementation & Integration
We're working on the RPG-scale "small ships" product, and have class histories and an artist lined up to do illustrations. Squadron Strike: Traveller has playtest rules for using PC skill rolls to modify Squadron Strike mechanics. We need Squadron Strike: Traveller to succeed so we have a player base to rigorously test the RPG rules integration for "small ship" Traveller, and to tell us what needs to be more RPG-focused rather than minis game focused. Barring a design miracle, the RPG-scale book will have more than one solution for "what to do when the PCs ship gets shot at."
How Does It Play?
Squadron Strike is a maneuver-centric game of miniatures combat, with a sweet spot of two-to-five ships per player. A large fleet action is an event for an entire gaming club. You will always be looking ahead at where your ship and the enemy ship will be, trying to finesse the range or angle of incoming damage, while getting your gigantic spinal mount into arc to unleash hell.
Once you're fluid with the game, turns take six to ten minutes each, and complete games can be done in ten to fifteen turns. In playtest, we have had the "classic meson gun shot" happen more than once: sometimes, meson guns one-shot kill intact ships.
Squadron Strike can be played with miniatures in 2D, or in 3D with specialized bases. What it's played with out of the box are box miniatures and tilt blocks.
Box miniatures are die cut cardstock that fold into boxes, like so:
They get folded up like this:
As Kickstarter backer rewards, we offer box mini stiffeners.
If you put put weights inside, the stiffeners can contain them. The weights roll to the bottom of the box mini when they're in tilt blocks (like so).
And we show altitude with colored tiles. White is one altitude level, light blue is four, dark blue is sixteen and black is a minus sign.
The die cut box miniature sheets are a large part of what this Kickstarter is funding. We own the dies, it's just printing and die cutting fees.
What's in the Box?
Squadron Strike: Traveller will have three countersheets of box miniatures for the Traveller universe, covering Zhodani and Imperial ships, with a few Aslan for a variety of opponents. It will have a sixty-page book with ships ready to be photocopied and flown, a tutorial booklet to teach you the game, and a setting-and-scenario booklet covering the District 268 campaign at the opening of the Fifth Frontier War. It also has the rulebook, laminated play aids, plastic tilt blocks, stacking tiles and hex maps from the Squadron Strike boxed set. Aside from writing implements, everything you need to play is in the box.
What's in the Folio?
Squadron Strike: Traveller's folio product has all the Traveller-specific material (countersheets and booklets) packaged as a supplement for the Squadron Strike boxed set. If you already own Squadron Strike, this is the one to pick.
All printed products will be shipped via USPS Priority Mail. The appropriate shipping price has been added to each of the reward levels for Canada, US, European Union and Australian customers.
We want to bring the fun of space combat to the Newtonian universe of Traveller, and we feel that Squadron Strike: Traveller is the space combat game that Traveller fans have deserved for nearly forty years. With your help, we can bring it to market, and let players fully experience the deadly dance of maneuver that Traveller space combat should be.
Thanks to you glorious people, I've got to think about these while on the road, and away from my quotations files, so these will be a bit haphazard and conservative.
Stretch Goal 1: Countersheet #4 (AKA "Mike Was Right.") -- $6,500
SS Traveller was spec'd out to have three counter sheets - the mix of counters is shown on one of the FAQs, down below. Mike Llaneza, the Traveller line developer, really wanted four countersheets. I said adding the fourth countersheet would make the price too high for the boxed game. This stretch goal, if hit, would add a fourth countersheet with the following counters to the physical products, and will not change the asking price of any of the physical products, even the ones with box mini stiffeners.
P.F. Sloan #5
P.F. Sloan #6
Stretch Goal 2: New Traveller Minis -- $8,500
After looking over several suggestions, I've decided to put up minis in fleet boxes. We're putting out two "old" fleet boxes for people who don't have them, updating the minis counts to better match how ships get used in actual play. For people who already own the fleet boxes, there's a third fleet box that has nothing but the new minis, including the Gazelle close escort. And for the people who are very very generous, we have a "bundle of fleet boxes" which is all three fleet boxes combined, coupled with the other RPG-scale minis.
Stretch Goal 3: Upgraded Paper Maps -- $12,500
One of the cost-cutting decisions I made twelve years ago when printing Attack Vector was very basic hex maps, with black ink on white and blue paper. These maps are serviceable, and they work in all of our games. The Birds of Prey guys love their side of the blue maps with the small hexes.
However, they're not black, and they don't have a pretty starfield on them. If we hit this stretch goal, I'll be printing the maps you can download here and including them in the boxed sets for SS Traveller and all of my space games going forward. (If you already own one of my space game titles, there will be an opportunity to buy these maps via BackerKit.)
These new maps, for those who didn't immediately download the gigantic zipped PDF file on their phone, will make a 4'x6' play area, with 32 hexes of width by 36 hexes of height (this is two more hexes of width than the old maps). The hexes are numbered continuously over the entire area, and each half has the A-F rosette in the center, with the letters A and D color coded to match the AVID cards. The top map has a red nebular background and the bottom map has a blue nebular background, to offer a subtle reminder of which AVID cards to set up on which edge. Specially marked hexes will make scenario setups a bit easier.
Stretch Goal 4: AVID Stress Ball -- $21,000
When I demo the game at conventions, I have a stress ball that I've hand colored (badly) with the rings of the AVID on it. I've been told by everyone who's seen it that "Hey, you should totally sell those. I'd buy one. They make it immediately obvious what the AVID is."
Here are the art specs.
Risks and challenges
This is a project that uses techniques and components we use for the other Ad Astra boxed games. There is nothing in this that we have not successfully done before.
At the time we launched this Kickstarter, the setting-and-scenario booklet was edited, the tutorial booklet was in final edits, and the SSD booklet had been laid out. The countersheets have been laid out, and the folio cover and box wrap are laid out and ready to send to the printer.
On the first business day after this project reaches its funding goal, I'll send the print job to the printers to minimize the delay in shipping games to backers.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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