This is what I submited upon playing 750 point and 1300 point games in 0.06. It would be nice have your feeback as well.:
Games were played on 750 points and then on 1300 points. We did not use rules for reserves nor customised weapons except generators, to be precise only the Shield generator was used.
Version played 0.06.
In general we have positive feeling about the game, below are my notes which I would like you to consider.
Cards + initiative
Cards are too situational and hit or miss – you must be lucky to have a card on hand the moment you can use it. We played them only few times and most of the rounds in all games we just discarded cards at the end of the turn to draw new ones in hope of getting more useful hand. For example conditions like “killing the ship by ramming” are way to situational. Bonuses like rerolling one dice (“reroll any dice”) are very weak when you look at the sheer number of dice you are usually rolling, one dice does not matter most of the time. Or conditions like “killing a unit of small ships” or “cripple a unit of mediums” take time to fulfil so if those cards are drawn at the beginning of the game then it is better to discard them. Or at least that was our obvious strategy.
That leads me to the fact that we did not study which “types” of cards have high numbers because … initiative is still very crucial from round two on so cards with high numbers were kept just for the purpose of winning the initiative. It happened to me that I draw only cards with low numbers the whole game so my opponent won initiative every, not happy moments at all.
To recap – with limited usage and initiative too important the whole card game was only about having the card with highest number possible to win the initiative, all other aspects were secondary.
Question: if you have two or more cards with the same victory condition – can you play all of them when the condition is fulfilled. For example after killing a unit of smalls can I play 2x card which gives me victory points for that and on top of that card which gives me a victory point for killing “any” unit?
Critical hits adding condition markers – it’s clumsy. Not only you have to keep in mind that some critical effects do that and some do not but, at least until you know the game well, you have to study the rules every time and flip pages to remind yourself what that particular condition means. And what is more – you just add two markers instead of one and only outcome is that the playing area is more cluttered. At one point we felt that there is the same amount of markers like in 2.0 edition.
There should be a marker or something to mark crippled models. With a lot medium models in 1300 point game you have two options: a) to stack all the damage next to the model and remember from what amount of damage the model is crippled = playing area is cluttered with more and more damage markers; b) make notes separately = bookkeeping and if you have all models painted in the same scheme than you have think about how to differentiate individual models in the squadron so you know which is which.
For attacker it’s an uphill struggle with risks involved while effects of boarding are nothing special. In general Attacker is using FRAY against CITADEL+DEFENSE. Every additional model in the unit except the first one does not add its FRAY but +2 dice to the pool. CITADEL stat is usually much higher than FRAY and you add defence dice as well. +1 dice for SRS is a joke and defender can have this bonus as well. So, attacker starts with LESS dice and needs to score at least 4 more successes than defender to do at least something useful. As his dice explode, he can of course hope for excellent rolls but where is strategy in that?
The most problematic part about the boarding is that CITADEL stat does not degenerate with damage; it stays the same high number through the whole game. In 2.0 boarding was (too) strong but its main beauty was that you could weaken the ship before you committed your men to the assault.
Other game mechanics
LOS – I think more examples are needed in this section but in general everything was clear. However, blocking something is not easy; you basically can see and shoot everything in range, with obscured condition weight in only here or there.
Turn limit and torpedo interaction – from Turn limit (3) on this MAR is useless. Sure, you can roll more than 3 ones in one roll but what chances you have for that? In our opinion this MAR is to complicated for the effect it can bring to the game. Usability during the game is poor.
Penalties like -1 to FRAY (or minus one dice in general) are worthless – usually you roll so many dice that having the rule of adding/subtracting one dice does not have an effect at all.
Generators – powering them up is not a good rule at all. First, generators are weak as due to linking mechanic more turrets is more dakka and that is what is handy every time, generators have limits. Second, you have cards and other means how to power them up so you can always have them up if you like. Third, if you have more generators in the fleet than it’s easy to lost track of which generators are up and which are not so one need to take notes = additional bookeping.
What was obvious is that all weapons are basically the same, there is no paper-stone-scissor mechanic in this part of the rules - more dakka is more dakka. For example firing with gunnery weaponry felt the same like firing with broadsides – differences were minor.
I like consistency in rules so I definitely do not like the fact that “heavy hit” is one success but “heavy counter” is two successes. Terminology should be consistent.
Then you factor in “double-obscured” rule with exploding dice giving only one “heavy hit” – is it necessary? I like the rule but when already in the rulebook it should be used more and not only in this one particular situation.
Unit balance – it needs to be worked on, some units felt under costed or over costed but I do not have any evidence as we did not play enough games to back up our feeling with some data. In general smalls felt too fragile. Flying models, as they do not get any cover, were targets from the turn one on 4x4’ table, especially flying smalls and mediums were taken down very quickly, immediately after someone focused on them.
Large models are fine, in close range they can deliver huge amount of dice so basically no matter what their target is, they always scored hits. I like their speed, however, smalls lost another important unique aspect of being much faster that large models. We definitely did not feel that flotilla of smalls can outmanoeuvre fleet consisting of large ships only.
This one little bit tricky – we kind of missed “WOW” situations which were in 2.0: the moments where lucky dice rolls completely change dynamic of the game. It is difficult to say why that is – probably it is because all ships have more HP in general but on the other hand you deal more damage as well. Most of the time you just add damage markers "without any immediate impact" or ship dies too quickly.
Length of the game – games took us to play similar amount of time like 2.0 edition. Small points game – 750 points – were nice and fluent but with only handful of ships. With 1300 points per side we played 3+ hours and the game was decided in turn 3, which exactly matches usual length of 2.0 games.