I finally got a few moments to work on converting some more of the ships from the old Space: 1889 game to the new Ubiquity version. We’ve already had a guest poster give his rules and reasoning behind his work, and now it’s my turn. The old Space: 1889 and the connected Sky Galleons of Mars boardgame were directed more at the old school minis and wargaming crowd. In fact, while I occasionally use minis to clarify certain battle scenes, Space: 1889 was the last game in which I would shift from roleplaying game to wargame when it was time for a fight.

Ubiquity really isn’t set up this style of play — not that you couldn’t find a way to combine the old school wargame with the more narrative-oriented play of the new game. To that end, my stats on the cloudships and aerial flyers of the Space: 1889 world will be more Ubiquity-directed, and may not satisfy the person looking for more “crunch” in their aerial antics over the sands of Mars; I direct those players to the link above.

So why are the stats what they are? Some are going to have similar complaints about the lack of uniqueness between the vessels. (Similar complaints were levied at Cortex, which could be made crunchy PDQ.) Here’s why the stats are what they are. Size — in Ubiquity, animals were lumped into size categories that were exponential. If you were a certain weight or size, you might jump to the next category, and at a certain point, it was assumed the Defense of the thing would be too great for you to do much harm. The ships are lumped into those size categories. Defense is usually just cribbed from similar vessels in the Secrets of the Surface World sourcebook, but a good rule of thumb would be assume the material (4 for wood, 6 for metal) and if armored, add half again (6 for wood, 9 for metal). The size of the vehicle is going to make it very easy to be hit, so Defense here is going to be based off the physical material.

Structure is pretty basic — what’s the material plus the size modifier. For instance a wood (4) ship of size 8 has a Structure of 12 as it’s base; a metal (6) one would be 14. To give a bit of variability, you could factor in armor, but what I’ve wound up doing is going with that base, then looking at the damage a vessel could take in Sky Galleons. An Aphid-class, for instance, has a total of 10 points for its hull, and 2 armor. I assumed the 14 and added 2 for the armor to get the Ubiquity version. A more massive ship that was still in the Size 8 category for physical size I rounded up a few points in the initial write-ups; Now I look at the armor and total structure. If it’s lower in the old rules, it gets boosted in the new; if it’s higher in the old rules, it gets that structure in the new rules (although a few places I’ve ignored that — like with the Warm Winds, which would have been stronger than an Iowa-class battleship.) I err on the weaker numbers in general on the assumption that liftwood vessels, as with all aircraft, have an inherent flaw…they lack support against gravity. Hit in the right place, do enough damage in the wrong place, and the superstructure can come apart, regardless of the overall damage taken. As any WWII combat pilot that got a wing shot off — the rest of plane might’ve looked great as it went into the ground like a f#$%ing dart.

I would suggest adding in the very low to very high altitude ceilings in your game. Divide the structure by the number of altitude zones, and assume that once that amount of structure is removed, the ship loses an altitude zone.

So here’s a few more Martian cloudships:

Sky Runner Medium Screw Galley

Wth five decks and a crew of 32, these screw galleys are usually out of the shipyards at Karkarham, but are found in service all over the Red Planet.

SIZE: 16   DEF: 4   STR: 20   SPD: 20   CEIL: VH   HAN: -2   CREW: ~32   COST: £25,600; WEAPONRY: 3 heavy guns (fore and wing mounted): Dmg: 8L   Rng: 250′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2

Endtime Medium War Galley

This is the mainstay of the Oenotrian sky navy, and has been turned out in large numbers. It is the smallest vessel to mount a lob gun, and the heavier weight gives it limited ceiling and a sluggish speed, and the focus on firepower disadvantages these ships with shorter range of fire than the human gunboats.

SIZE: 16   DEF: 4   STR: 20   SPD: 15   CEIL: H   HAN: -2   CREW: 45   COST: £31,500: WEAPONRY: Rod gun (fore) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; Lob Gun (amidships) — Dmg: 10L   Rng: 250′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; 2 heavy guns (wing-mounted) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 250′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2.

Skyfire Heavy War Galley

The Oenotrian Sky Navy has two of these brutes in service. The design is conservative — a typical double deck forecastle, a thin spine to the five decked aft hull. The screw requires 42 people just to operate at full efficiency, and it is heavily armed and has a ram-prow (see below.)

SIZE: 16   DEF: 6   STR: 22   SPD: 15   CEIL: H   HAN: -4   CREW: ~95   COST: £105,400; WEAPONRY: 4 Rod gun (2 fore, 2 aft, behind bulkhead) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; 2 Rouge gun (broadside, behind bulkheads) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 250′ Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 1; 8 heavy guns (broadside, behind bulkheads) — Dmg: 8L   Rng: 250′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 2; 10 tether mines — Dam: 12L   Rng: up to 500′   Rate: 1/2   Spd: S   Size: 1

Prow Ram: With a successful Pilot test, the Skyfire can do up to it’s DEF in damage to an opponent ship. With +1 success, the ship is stuck into the target and boarding can commence through a hatch in the ram, or from the main deck.