The Pentagon War game

by Roger M. Wilcox
Originally begun on 27-December-1983

This webpage was last modified on 9-April-2002


Since the Pentagon War saw innumerable types of craft in use by each of the five systems, there is virtually no limit to the number of different spacecraft that can be produced in this game.  For game balance, each system that can be installed on a spacecraft has a cost in points which reflects both its monetary value and its utility.

Players should agree ahead of time how many points each of them gets to spend on the spacecraft they are goint to use in a given scenario or campaign.  2000 points could buy one monstrous size class IV superhulk or several small, but deadly, size class I gunspacecraft.


When built, a spacecraft must either be defined as being manned (requiring a living crew) or unmanned.  There is no point cost for either configuration, as both have advantages and drawbacks.

An unmanned spacecraft may not repair itself between scenarios, even if it has repair boxes on board, unless it is attached to a friendly manned spacecraft which was built so that it could attach itself to the unmanned one.  A manned spacecraft uses much more limited acceleration rules, since the crew can only tolerate a few G's.



Screens are the primary defense of spacecraft (and bases) in this game.  They are tremendous ionizing-magnetic fields produced by superconducting electromagnets and static generators located at key points around the spacecraft's hull.  Each "screen" box on board a spacecraft (or base) represents one screen generator.  A screen generator produces enough power to run itself at normal levels, causing it to create one unit of screening for the spacecraft for the entire turn.  (This screening may not be available at the start of a scenario due to low Alert Status (q.v.).  See below.)

If the spacecraft wishes to produce more screening than it has "screen" boxes, it may apply capacitor power to screen reinforcement.  Three units of power tallied to screen reinforcement increases the screen rating of the spacecraft by one.  No spacecraft may have more reinforcement than it has operating screens; that is, the output of the screen generators may not be "pushed" beyond twice the number of undestroyed "screen" boxes.  See also the "Combat" section, Taking Damage.

Sometimes, a scenario will begin without the screens being powered for the first turn.  In those cases, if you really need the screens on the first turn, they may be brought up to normal levels by tallying one (1) point of capacitor power to Screens on Turn 1 per screen box on the spacecraft that you wish to energize.

Screen generators cost 23 points per box.


Once your screens have been exceeded by enemy fire, it's nice to have something between yourself and the incoming megawatt-hours besides a flimsy hull.  Armor is thick (usually over a meter) steel, titanium, and boron-tungsten plating designed to absorb both heat and impact.

Each side of the spacecraft, except the #4 rear side if the spacecraft has engines, may be (and usually is) covered by armor.  Engines cannot be armor-plated since they need a lot of room for their thrust to get out.  For convenience, each side of a spacecraft is numbered 1 through 6, as though it were facing the "1" at the bottom of the hex map.  Each unit of armor must be specified as to which side it covers when it is bought.

The first box of Armor on any one side of a spacecraft costs 5 points; thereafter, any more Armor boxes on that side only cost 4 points apiece.  The higher first-box cost is because the outer surface of the armor is reflectorized against radiative weapons.


These are bought last, as they represent both "nonessential" interior space (crew quarters, maintenance access ways, empty space, etc.) and the general structure of the spacecraft itself.

After a spacecraft is bought, divide the total number of boxes on board it by 8 if it is manned, or by 16 if it is unmanned.  This is the number of hull boxes the spacecraft automatically has, which may be distributed between forward and aft hull as the owning player sees fit.

Additional hull boxes may be purchased for 2 points apiece.


Cargo bays are the areas where replacement ammunition and/or drones are stored.  Each cargo box may hold up to eight missiles, four drones, four acid gum reloads, or two charges of soft steel (soft steel is what's used to create liquid metal gun bolts).  Empty cargo bays, like empty drone bays, are marked with a dot.  Cargo may also be used for specific purposes as specified by the scenario.

Each cargo box costs 3 points.  Any weapons reloads (not drones) they contain are free, but must be written down in advance and may only be used between the scenarios of a campaign game.


Because fuel consumption is basically a long-term concern, a fuel tank in this game is either "filled" or "empty," if it is not destroyed.  When purchased, all fuel tanks are assumed to be full. Spacecraft burn fuel very slowly in game terms; however, at least one non-empty fuel tank must be on board a spacecraft for its engines to work.  The importance of large amounts of fuel is limited only to multi-scenario campaign games.  Disengagement by acceleration, for instance, uses up one fuel unit (emptying one fuel tank).  If and when a fuel tank gets empty, it is marked with a dot.  Fuel tanks damaged by enemy weapons fire will not explode (spacecraft fuels combust only under precise conditions), but are automatically emptied.

Ramscoops are spacecraft that suck up interstellar hydrogen and use it for ionic/fusion fuel.  They do not need fuel tanks for most maneuvers.  However, building a ramscoop onto a spacecraft, which may only be done when the spacecraft is first constructed, costs an additional 33 points and raises its size class by one (I).

Magnascoop craft, such as the Solar System's "Mercury" series, are ramscoops which use a gigantic scoop-shaped magnetic field in place of a physical scoop.  These spacecraft do not have an increased size class.

The standard position for ramscoops (of either the standard or the magnascoop variety) is scoop-forward, with the engines to the rear.  Unlike normal spacecraft, ramscoops wishing to decelerate must accelerate by facing into their velocity component, rather than facing opposite it as non-ramscoops do.  They may decelerate facing opposite the component they wish to reduce, but they must have at least one non-empty fuel tank to do so.  In addition, accelerating from speed 0 requires a non-empty fuel tank, even on a ramscoop.

Fuel Tanks cost 3 points per box.  These are assumed to be fully loaded when bought, and may refilled at a space hangar for a cost of 1 point per box refilled.


A unit's Battle Capacitors are electrical storage cells which hold reserve power ready for instant use.  Each capacitor holds one unit of power, and is assumed to be fully charged at the beginning of a scenario.  When discharged, a capacitor may be marked with a dot to indicated that although it has no power, it is not destroyed (these are good targets to allocate "CAPACITOR" hits to).  Whether it is marked with a dot or not, the power the capacitor was used for must still be tallied on the proper line of the Capacitor Power Management Form, and the total capacitors discharged tally must still be updated.  Discharged capacitors which are not destroyed are automatically recharged at the beginning of any and all turns.

Capacitor power can be used the instant it is needed.  This is why capacitor power is required for powering secondary weapons and reinforcing screens.  Power stored in capacitors may be allocated to various systems at the beginning of the turn (such as ECM or maintainting a double-strength magnetic beam), but this instantly discharges the capacitor(s) involved.

Capacitors cost 7 points per box.


Point defense has already been thoroughly explained in the Combat section, so not much can be added here.

EXAMPLE: The Human-Centaurian ramscoop "Mercurand-leader" has seven point defense boxes and wants to fire this at the four drones and the one enemy spacecraft in its hex, electing to fire on the spacecraft last.  To successfully kill all of the drones, the Mercurand-leader player must roll: 5, 5, 5, and 4 (or less) on one 6-sided die. To score that point of damage on the spacecraft, he must roll 3 plus its size class or less (in this case, III or greater size class would mean an automatic hit).  At the beginning of the next impulse, his P.D. boxes may all again function (his P.D. rating is back up to 5).

Each point defense box costs 5 points.


This is the most essential thing in space combat; radar is that thing which locates the target accurately enough for the weapons to lock-on and fire at it at ranges measured in increments of 1500 kilometers.

Every spacecraft gets a radar box with the number "0" in it for free.  This box is the last one on the track and cannot be destroyed in combat.  Each additional radar box costs the number written in it in points.  No radar box may have a number higher than six or less than one (except the free "0" box), and all boxes must be arranged in descending numerical order.

Radar may be voluntarily turned on or off at the beginning of each turn.  Turning off radar voids your opportunity for Radar Lock-On that turn, however.


This is the system that allows a spacecraft to accelerate (change its two velocity components).  In order for a spacecraft to be moving at the start of a scenario, or start moving thereafter, it must have engines.  If a spacecraft is bought without engines, it is considered a non-mobile base and may have rear (#4) armor.

In order to accelerate (or decelerate) at a standard acceleration, a spacecraft must have at least as many operating engines (undestroyed engine boxes) as its size class.  Most spacecraft have more than this so that they can still maneuver even after the engines take a hit.

If a spacecraft has fewer engines than its size class but still has at least one engine, it may still accelerate, though it takes longer.  The Movement section of these rules outlines what must be done in this case.

On any impulse where any damage exceeds the screens and strikes the rear (#4) section of a spacecraft, the first damage point must be scored against an engine, if there are any engine boxes left.  All successive internal hits use the normal damage allocation procedure.  Since spacecraft have no rear armor, this is another good reason to buy more engines than you need.

A spacecraft may always rotate, no matter how few engines or how little fuel it has left (or doesn't have left).  Bases, on the other hand, can only rotate if their last 60° rotation occurred at least 4 impulses ago.

Unless the spacecraft is a ramscoop, at least one fuel tank on board must not be empty.  Otherwise, the engines will not work at all.

Engines cost 5 points per box.


Just as hull represents the external, superficial structure of a spacecraft, final damage represents the basic construction of the spacecraft itself.  When a spacecraft begins taking "final damage" hits, it's on its last leg and on the verge of collapse.  However, it may still have a few functional systems that can give one final crippling blow to the enemy; attacks from a spacecraft's death throes, in fact, have decided whole battles.  A few extra final damage boxes may be all the insurance your spacecraft needs to survive an otherwise fatal barrage.

Final damage, like hull, is bought after the rest of the spacecraft is built.  Divide the number of boxes on the spacecraft (except radar) by 30, and this is how many final damage boxes it gets for free.  The final damage track may be extended at a cost of 4 points per box.


Missiles are the offensive counterparts to point defense.  They are nuclear (usually thermonuclear) warheads mounted atop self-guided vehicles.  Each missile box aboard a unit holds one missile.  When this missile is launched, its box is "marked as destroyed" by putting a single slash through it.  Subsequent damage points received by the launching unit may not be inflicted on a marked-as-destroyed missile box, but the missile box hasn't actually been destroyed.  (This becomes important in the later scenarios of a multi-scenario campaign game.)

The basic missiles in this game cost 4 points per box.  They are speed 6, have a warhead strength of 12, and move 24 hexes (over 4 turns) before their fuel is exhausted.  One point of capacitor power tallied to "rail launch missile" at the instant of firing will launch a missile at speed 12.  This extra speed boost does not affect the 24-hex range limit (the missile will only last 2 turns if electromagnetically launched), the missile's warhead strength, or magnetic beams.

When a missile is launched, the owning player must define its target, although this does not have to be revealed.  The missile then "homes in" on its target, tracing the shortest dynamic path to it (within reason).

Missiles do not move like normal spacecraft.  Since they have no weapons and move at constant speed, there is no reason to keep track of their facings.  Therefore, the facing of the missile on the map is used to represent its heading.  It can change heading by 60° every impulse just as a spacecraft can change facing every impulse.

When a missile's fuel is exhausted, it may no longer turn (change heading) and will not strike its target even if it enters the target's hex.  Out-of-fuel missiles will drift at a constant speed until destroyed, or detonated by the owning player, or they are so far gone that no one needs to keep track of them anymore.

When a missile is destroyed, it explodes with a basic strength equal to half its warhead strength.  As stated in the explosion rules above, size class zero objects within range of this explosion must roll more than the strength of this explosion on two dice to survive.  (This may cause a "chain reaction" if several missiles are in the same hex.)

If a missile reaches the hex of its target, and the target does not stop the missile with point defense, then and only then does the target take the full damage of the missile's warhead.  It still gets to explode, though, so everything else in the target's hex still takes half the warhead damage.

Before the game begins, the players may agree on different characteristics for their missiles.  Naturally, better, stronger, faster missiles would cost more.  A speed 12, range 48 hexes, 24 warhead strength missile would cost much more than double.


These are small (size class 0), unmanned, usually spherical craft that carry one weapon each.  They act as small firepower platforms that boost a spacecraft's effectiveness at long range.  Each drone box aboard a unit contains one drone.  When drones are launched, their bays are marked with a dot.

Drones have the same velocity components (A and C) that spacecraft do.  When launched, their components must be within three (either way) of the spacecraft that launched them.  They may start with any facing, however.  After this point, they operate as individual spacecraft, each requiring its own separate Acceleration Record.

Each drone has one weapon which is defined when the drone bay (box) is bought.  The drone costs the cost of its weapon (see "secondary weapons," below); the drone bay adds 5 points to this price.  The drone may carry a laser, an electron cannon, a proton cannon, or point defense; it is assumed to have enough power on board to fire its weapon once per turn, and always starts with its weapons "warmed up" as needed.  For drones, point defense costs 6 points for a full 5-box rating; drones may not be purchased with point defense ratings other than 5 boxes.

Drones of all types can accelerate a maximum of twenty-four (24) times.  After that, they operate as though they had no engines, as they have run out of fuel.

If a drone-owning spacecraft fails its radar lock-on, all of its drones suffer the same penalty (firing ranges doubled, point defense boxes halved).

To land a drone aboard a friendly spacecraft, both must be in the same hex, and both velocity components must be within one of each other.  The spacecraft may also drag the drone on board with a magnetic beam.  No capacitor power needs to be allocated to the magnetic beam for this purpose.  When snagged by a magnetic beam, a friendly drone immediately attains the velocity components of its captor.  It will then move one hex closer to it on each impulse, in addition to the movements caused by its velocity components.  (Note that this may cause instantaneous speeds of greater than 12, but it does nothing to harm play balance).  When it enters the spacecraft's hex, it docks inside it, assuming an empty drone bay is available.  The dot is then erased from the bay, and the drone counter removed from the map.


The control systems of a spacecraft represent ths decision-making centers of its battle computer and/or its "command bridge."  While a unit may still fight without control systems, its ability to integrate and coordinate its combat decisions is impaired.

For variety, these come under two titles: Main control (MAIN CTRL) and auxiliary control (AUX CTRL).  Both are basically the same, for game purposes, and thus have the same point cost.

All spacecraft get one "main ctrl" box for free.  Extra control systems can be purchased for 4 points per box.

If a spacecraft has had all of its control systems destroyed, the following restrictions apply:

  1. The spacecraft may only rotate (change facing) either clockwise or counter-clockwise by one hexside per impulse; that is, it cannot rotate more than 60° at a time.
  2. The spacecraft may target its weapons on only one object per turn.
  3. All firing of direct-fire weapons must be done in a single impulse.
  4. The spacecraft may not use crash acceleration, magnetic beams (except to damage liquid metal gun bolts), ECM, or evasive maneuvering.


This is more of an ability than a system.  Having radar invisibility on board allows a spacecraft to project a strong, radar-absorbing ECM field about itself, preventing enemy craft from locking on to it with radar.  Since the spacecraft still reflects and refracts some light of higher frequencies, it can be (vaguely) located.

Radar invisibility is not represented by any boxes and cannot be destroyed in combat.  Operating radar invisibility costs five units of capacitor power times the size class of the spacecraft, which must be allocated at the start of the turn.  Non-mobile bases may not use radar invisibility after they have given away their position in a given scenario.

Any of the following will void radar invisibility for the rest of the turn: firing weapons; launching anything; or allocating power to radar, ECM, or ECCM.

Radar invisibility costs 15% of the cost of the rest of the spacecraft (or base).  Radar invisibility grants a vessel the following advantages:

  1. Radar invisible spacecraft start out each scenario undetected (see the Initial Detection rules of the Combat section).
  2. Nothing can achieve radar lock-on to a radar invisible spacecraft.
  3. If a missile or liquid metal gun bolt is targeted on a spacecraft before it goes radar invisible, and the spacecraft thereafter turns its radar invisibility on, the homing weapon will lose its tracking 2/3 of the time (i.e., on a roll of 1-4 or a 6- sided die), and cannot thereafter re-acquire it.


Lasers, electron cannons, and proton cannons all fit in this category.  They are direct-fire weapons which, with the exception of lasers, have a random chance of hitting or missing their target and a damage rating, both of which depend on range.  Since firing one requires a huge amount of energy to be dischanged in a fraction of a second, secondary weapons don't have any built-in power generators.  All firing power must come from capacitors at the instant of use.  Furthermore, since no secondary weapon can be fired more than once in a given turn, firing a secondary weapon entails writing down a dot in its SSD box and tallying Capacitor Power points on its line in the Power Management Form at the same time.

When bought, all secondary meapons must be defined as to which firing arcs (q.v.) they can fire into.  The listed cost for weapons assumes that they can fire in two 60° firing arcs, which are usually (but not necessarily) adjacent.  If you wish to have the weapon fire into more or fewer firing arcs, convert its cost as follows:

As always, fractions of a point are retained until the spacecraft is complete, and then rounded up or down, whichever benefits the builder more.


Lasers are the most useful weapons carried by spacecraft.  They are optically pumped high-energy pulsed lasers which are extremely accurate.  Thanks to vacuum and zero-gravity crystal growing, they are several times as efficient as their twentieth century counterparts; however, their maximum output is rather limited.

Each laser on board a spacecraft requires one point of capacitor power to fire, tallied at the instant of firing, and may only be fired once per turn.

Lasers cost 7 points per box (capable of firing into 2 firing arcs).


These weapons are far more limited than lasers, but on the average do slightly more damage.  Electron cannons fire a pulse of densely packed electrons at there target (not unlike ball lightning), thereby causing a severe electrical discharge when they hit.  Since they are not a continual "beam" like lasers, they either hit or miss their target completely.

Each electron cannon aboard a spacecraft requires one unit of capacitor power to fire, tallied at the instant of firing.  However, before an electron cannon may be fired, all electron cannons on board the craft must be "warmed up" (see proton cannons).

Electron cannons cost 8 points per two-arc box.


These function similarly to electron cannons, except they fire a cluster of protons (hydrogen ions/nuclei) at their target.  When this impacts, it ionizes whatever it touches and causes this to repel itself, thus ripping a large hole.  Since the protons repel themselves, the weapon becomes less effective with range, as does an electron cannon.

Two units of capacitor power, tallied at the instant of use, will fire one proton cannon once.  Neither proton cannons nor electron cannons can be fired more than once per turn.

Spacecraft will usually have all their weapons armed and ready at the beginning of most scenarios, but there are a few cases where their weapons will not be armed.  In these cases, before any proton or electron cannons may be fired, they must spend one entire turn "warming up."  Once warmed up, both weapon types stay warmed up, even if the owning spacecraft reverts back to Alert Status Zero (q.v.), unless neither type of weapon is fired for twenty (20) turns.

Proton cannons cost 11 points per (2-arc) box.


These are superconducting magnets specially ocused so that their fields extend unidirectionally and thus do not diminish with distance like normal magnets do.  They may attract (or repel) enemy spacecraft, and they may directly attack liquid metal gun bolts.  Although not strictly "weapons" (they are not designed to damage their target), they are included here because they must still score a "hit" on unwilling targets to be effective.

The basic hit number for magnetic beams, when used to attract or repel enemy spacecraft, is five (5).  This is subject to all size and range modifications for ordinary direct-fire weapons; however, it cannot operate beyond a range of two (2) hexes.  A hit is automatic if the target wishes to be attached to the magnetic-beaming craft (as with a friendly unit wishing to be towed or pushed).  If a hit is scored, the beam establishes a magnetic lock on its target (it has "attached" itself), and this attachment may be maintained indefinitely without the need to re-roll until the target goes out of range, the beam or the target is destroyed, or the owning player voluntarily cuts the beam.  If the beam misses its target, however, it may not attempt to attach itself again for the remainder of the turn (i.e. it may only "fire" once per turn, just like any other direct-fire weapon).

If a magnetic beam is attached to another spacecraft (friendly or foe), it propels the spacecraft as though it were one Engine system pointing along the line-of-sight.  If a capacitor is discharged into the beam at the instant it is fired, or at the start of a turn where a magnetic lock has been previously established, the magnetic beam propels the target spacecraft as though it were two Engine systems pointing along the line-of-sight.  The effects of magnetic beam attachment in game terms are as follows:

  1. Figure out which armor the magnetic beam would have hit if it were a direct-fire weapon.
  2. Turn this armor number (1-6) into an absolute direction (A-F) based on the current facing of the target.  If armor #3 would have been hit on a target facing direction B, for instance, this translates into absolute direction D.
  3. If the player who owns the magnetic beam wishes to use it to attract the target, the target now accelerates as though it were actually facing the direction determined in step 2 and using one (or two) engines.  If a size class II target were magnetic-beamed, for instance, a capacitor-aided magnetic beam would be enough to make it accelerate normally (i.e. by 1/4 of a hex per turn per turn this impulse).  This acceleration is written down on the Acceleration Record in addition to any accelerating the target does under its own power.  It is written down during the acceleration phase, so a magnetic beam's effects will not start being felt until the impulse after the attachment was achieved.
  4. If, on the other hand, the player who owns the magnetic beam wishes to use it to repel the target, the target now accelerates as though it were facing opposite the direction in step 2 and using one or two engines as appropriate to the magnetic beam.
  5. This process is repeated for every impulse that the magnetic beam is attached to its target.

Several different magnetic beams may be attached to the same target.  If so, the number and doubling-status of them is totalled to determine the force applied to the target.  The initial attachment hit for each beam may be rolled separately, or they may all be rolled together in a "narrow salvo" where one die roll determines whether the whole group of beams hits or misses.

Bases, which are anchored, are assumed to have infinite mass as far as magnetic beams are concerned, and so are not affected by them.  To grab a missile, one-half unit of capatitor power must be tallied to each beam for every point of speed the missile has in excess of speed 2, including naturally fast designs of missiles but excluding rail launching.  Drones, although they are size class 0, are accelerated at Standard by a magnetic beam.

A magnetic beam target armed with its own magnetic beams may use them to reduce the effectiveness of an opposing spacecraft's attachment attempt.  Each beam used for "anti magnetic beaming" counters one beam used to "magnetic beam" the anti-magnetic beaming spacecraft (a capacitor-assisted beam counts as two), and if the difference is zero or less the target is unaffected.  Anti-Magnetic Beaming is automatic; it requires no dice roll to "hit".

Against liquid metal gun bolts, magnetic beams may be used exactly like proton cannons.  This costs one unit of capacitor power, which must be tallied on the "Fire Mag. Beam at LMGB" line at the instant of firing.  However, the same magnetic beam may never be used to both attack a liquid metal gun bolt and attempt an attachment to another unit in the same turn.

Each magnetic beam costs 7 points per box.


The three types of gun weapons were developed independently, and used exclusively, by three separate systems before and during the Pentagon war.  On a spacecraft's systems display (SSD), a single gun is represented by an entire track (row or column) of boxes.  In some cases, the presence of a gun on a spacecraft costs a specific amount of points, and each box costs more.  Unlike secondary weapons, guns do not require, and cannot use, power from capacitors.  (This is because acid gum guns don't need power, while the other two require more than one turn of continuous power to operate and get their power from built-in or nearby generators not shown on the SSD.

Regardless of type, all guns have a 120° field of fire, covering two adjacent firing arcs.  This is usually F2 (LF+RF), but can be different.


These were developed and are used by the Solar system.  The radiation gun is the last word in incoherent light technology, focusing a beam of both direct and derived electromagnetic radiation in a parabolic dish.  It is both accurate and extremely powerful.

A radiation gun requires two turns to charge up and fire.  This means the same radiation gun may never be fired on two consecutive turns, but may be fired on every other turn (or with any longer delay) if need be.

The first radiation gun box costs 18 points.  Subsequent boxes in the same radiation gun cost only 4 points.  All boxes in the radiation gun's track must be destroyed for the gun to cease functioning.


These were developed and are used by Barnard.  Acid gum guns fire a globule of a white, sticky, gummy substance saturated with perchloric acid, which clings to its target and slowly eats away at its hull.  Like electron or proton cannons, this weapon is hit-or-miss.

An acid gum gun may be fired up to once per turn (subject to the usual 3-impulses-between-firings delay).  Each time it's fired, one box on that acid gum gun track is marked as though it were destroyed (i.e. with a single slash through it), since it only has a limited number of rounds.  If the acid gum gun has no undestroyed boxes left, it cannot be fired for the remainder of the scenario.  In multi-scenario campaigns, however, all acid gum gun boxes that were not destroyed by being hit may be reloaded, assuming the spacecraft has enough reloads in cargo storage.

When acid gum strikes its target, it does two (2) points of damage, which may be absorbed by the screens.  On the next three consecutive impulses, it does an additional 2 damage points (per impulse), ignoring screens as the gum has stuck to the spacecraft's hull.  This results in a grand total of eight damage points spread out over four impulses, only the first two of which may be countered by screens.  Armor is still applied against all acid gum damage, though.

The first acid gum gun box costs 10 points.  Subsequent boxes on the same track cost only 5 points each.


These were developed and are used by Alpha-Centauri.  A liquid metal gun fires a gigantic bar of white-hot molten steel at its target which homes in by magnetic-attractive guidance.  When first launched it is super-heated beyond its own vaporization point and is only a liquid thanks to its magnetic bottle.  If it reaches its target soonafter it causes severe damage when it strikes; but the liquid metal cools off as rapidly as its magnetic cohesion deteriorates, so it becomes less effective with range.  With the exception of hyper bombs (see optional rules), liquid metal guns are the most powerful weapons in the game.

A liquid metal gun, like a radiation gun, requires two turns of preparation to arm.  It cannot be fired on a turn immediately after a turn it was fired on.  It also can never be fired at a target at range zero.  When fired, a liquid metal gun bolt counter is placed atop the firing spacecraft (facing = heading = direction of target), and two liquid metal gun boxes in that gun's track are marked as destroyed.  If there are not two undestroyed boxes available, the weapon cannot fire.  Note that, like acid gum guns, truly destroyed boxes cannot be reloaded until they are repaired, but boxes "marked as destroyed" may be reloaded between scenarios of a campaign game by supplies from the cargo holds.

Liquid metal gun bolts have a speed of 12 and home in on their target just as missiles do.  They have a maximum endurance of 12 impulses, or one turn.  When they reach the hex of their target, they impact into it (without the target getting to counterfire) and deliver their tremendous damage.

The target must be in the gun's firing arc when the bolt is launched.  The initial facing/heading of the bolt is one in which its target is in what would be the bolt's F2 arc.

Only proton cannons, or magnetic beams fired as proton cannons, can fire on liquid metal gun bolts to reduce their effectiveness.  For this purpose, liquid metal gun bolts are considered size class I.  For every two points of proton cannon damage scored against the bolt, its damage strength is reduced by 1 when (and if) it reaches its target.  If the damage a bolt would do is ever reduced to zero or more points (due to range, proton cannon erosion, or both), the bolt and its counter are removed from play.

Since liquid metal guns must be bought in groups of two boxes, the first pair of boxes costs 39 points.  Subsequent box pairs in the same gun cost 15 points.


When two or more spacecraft are built, they may be defined as attachable.  This is especially useful for fighters and fighter carriers.  This ability costs no points.

Two things must be defined when the combining craft are built: the relative facing the two spacecraft have when attached, and the firing arc of each spacecraft which is blocked by the link.  If you wanted spacecraft XYZ to combine with spacecraft ABC so that spacecraft ABC was to spacecraft XYZ's left, facing the opposite direction, you would define the relative facing of the two spacecraft to be 180° and the blocked arcs to be XYZ's L arc and ABC's L arc.  If you wanted spacecraft ABC to face the same direction as spacecraft XYZ, but still be to XYZ's left, then the relative facing would be 0° and the blocked firing arcs would be XYZ's L arc and ABC's R arc.

If any spacecraft in a combination is manned, the between-scenario repair capability of this spacecraft (its Repair boxes (q.v.)) may be shared among all the spacecraft in the combination.  This is the only way that unmanned spacecraft may be repaired.  Fuel and cargo/reloads from any connected spacecraft may also be transferred to any spacecraft connected to it between scenarios.

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