I'd like to post the following answer to GURPS 4E Space Combat - Hexes and Distance

but in the time it took me to write it, it got closed.

One-yard hexes are for man-to-man combat, usually in close quarters. It's awesome for brawls, combat with hand weapons (swords, spears), and close-range shootouts (in buildings with relatively small rooms). So I'd only use that scale with fighters if they are parked - or if they're flying over a combat, in which case they're pretty much be a several-hex-wide streak moving across the whole map in one turn.

For fast-moving vehicles, yes, you want to use another scale. And space fighters are very fast. The minimum scale you might consider using for space fighter dogfights would probably have each hex be at least slightly larger than the size of the largest fighter - I'd use maybe 25 yards minimum, but probably more.

I'm a little concerned from an accuracy point of view with the 100 MGLT to 55 yards/s conversion. 55 yards/s = 50 m/s = 180 km/hour = 111 miles/hour, so that's about as fast as a decent car can go on an open highway. A World War I biplane can manage twice as fast. I'd think space fighters would be faster still, and outside an atmosphere, would be unlimited and acceleration would be what would matter.

You can try to build your own hex-based simulation of starfighter combat in GURPS using the existing rules. They do have rules for momentum and turning radius and to-hit modifiers for relative speed/range and so on. However you still have a lot of work to do to have it come out well, and your first tries may have errors or gameplay problems. If I were to do that, I'd look at how many seconds I wanted per turn, too, and watch (and time) the dogfights in the first Star Wars film for inspiration. I'd notice that there are several seconds of maneuvering trying to get an opportunity to fire, and that a lot of what determines who gets to fire and where the ships are relative to each other is based on the pilots' ability to notice and keep track of where everyone is, including communicating with each other to alert and coordinate actions. It's very much not a case of everyone seeing where everything is, and making decisions for each second. Also it's not about one fighter moving 300 yards and then another fighter moving 300 yards - they tend to chase each other, so the movement is actually the difference between the two, with a contest of skill and vehicle properties determining whether one pilot gets to line up a shot, or the other gets away, or a wingman gets on the tail of the guy going after him.

One option is to use some of the existing GURPS rules for more abstract space combat, which don't even use maps. Before 4th edition, GURPS Space included an abstract space combat system. GURPS Spaceships is the space combat system for GURPS Space 4e (which doesn't include one), which is mapless but a hex system is in the works. GURPS Lensman or Compendium II have 3e versions of a Space Opera combat system which is abstract but pretty good and more geared for Star Wars dramatic dogfights than simulation.

Another option is to integrate some other dogfight game, making a conversion system from GURPS to that game. For example, you could try using the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, though its scale is... interesting, but it comes at the problem of designing a Star Wars space combat game from the low-resolution side, which could at least be interesting.

If I were to do this, I'd probably look at all of the above, and pick the parts I liked. I'd probably use a combination where the character/strategy based system in 3e Lensman/Compendium-II is used, but results in corresponding movements on a 3D hex map to keep track of where things are, even if just in general terms. I might also be wanting to include larger ships which dwarf the fighters, so the hex scale might be closer to the size of a Star Destroyer, and fighters move into the same hex to do Lensman-style dogfight combat.

There are tons of choices - it depends on what you and your players want.

If you want help and ideas and open-ended discussion on modelling such things in GURPS, the best place for it is probably the GURPS forums.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the question in question isn't [closed], it's [on hold]. My understanding is that the distinction is precisely intended not to say "you may not ask that here," but rather "we're not quite sure what you're asking and want to take a moment to get it right. (Before crowding the airwaves to not-your-question.)" Of course, I don't know enough (anything) about GURPS so can't comment on whether the OP is unclear. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 3 '16 at 21:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, posting this then linking to it in a comment to the original question as a way of providing an answer to a held question strikes me as a bad-faith undermining of SE's mechanisms. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 3 '16 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm trying to be helpful, and possibly to allow the hour or so of work I did to be useful to the asker. It's no fun having the question be open, take time to answer it, and then not be allowed to save or share the answer because in the meantime someone put it on hold. Also, as a very experienced GURPS GM, this question seems very appropriate and natural for a new GURPS GM, and I think my answer is a good answer. GURPS is a very wide-open system where GM's often build their own sets of rules, so it's totally appropriate and understandable to me. \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Jan 3 '16 at 21:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Naively, I think your last comment, from "as a very experienced GURPS GM..." onward would be an excellent comment on the original post. Perhaps that, along with a link to your answer here as a testament to the utility of the question would garner reopen votes? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Jan 3 '16 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do not link this to the question in an end run around the close. I deleted the link here from there and will delete this question if it becomes a problem again. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 3 '16 at 21:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ All right, the OP edited, I reopened, see if your answer is on point and post away if so. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 7 '16 at 3:21

No. Help the question get clarified and reopened, then answers can be posted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ My enthusiasm and energy are used up, and since I'm frustrated with how the questions I find most interesting on this subsite almost always get closed due to such policies, I really don't have any to try to convince someone else to fit those policies. \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Jan 3 '16 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Then wait a couple hours, and likely someone else will. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Jan 3 '16 at 21:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Thanks for that information. Ya they are clearly doing something with an odd scale mix. I think my answer applies to a good general question which hasn't been asked. I suppose I could ask it. Oh well. \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Jan 3 '16 at 23:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dronz I converted that comment into an answer with more details and then deleted the comment on you, sorry! Yes, they might be doing something odd with mixed scales, but also possibly just confused about how they're supposed to be doing ship combat in the homebrew rules they've downloaded. Having looked up the rules they're using I've become less sure what their problem is, rather than (as I expected) gaining insights that would clear it up. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 4 '16 at 0:01

It does need clarification first.

Your answer above has some details that reassures me that closing was the right choice, as it has a number of mismatches with the fan rules they're using. You're currently benefiting from it being held for clarifications before posting, as it would possibly draw downvotes.

Based on those same investigations I am fairly sure that answers would be greatly improved in usefulness to the question asker if they would clarify the situation they're asking about. For example, the fan rules they are using say not to put ships on maps, so why they have a TIE Fighter on the map will reveal important details about what the heck they're trying to accomplish that is critical to giving them an answer that usefully addresses what the heck they're trying to accomplish. There is evidently important information missing, even if it's only information that reveals their precise confusion.

That energy isn't a waste though. Your work so far is saved in the text box by the site, so it will still be there when it unholds, ready to revise to take into account any new information.

It might be reassuring to consider, too, that if they don't even bother returning to fix their question, then your work wouldn't have ever been seen by them to even partially help. The hold thus incidentally ensures that the asker cares enough about the question to actually read any answers that come in, so the wait is somewhat beneficial for everyone.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah. Though I think in general their question boils down to "help new GURPS GM trying to figure out how to play star wars" and the answer to that is probably to point such people to the various existing rules systems that can be used, which isn't terribly obvious to newcomers or sometimes even experienced GURPS players, since there have been so many different books and versions published over the nearly 30 years the system has been around. GURPS Spaceships has a section specifically about figuring out what time and distance scales to use, etc. \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Jan 4 '16 at 0:18

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