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Attack Vector: Tactical

Entry updated 8 May 2019. Tagged: Game.

Cardboard models-based Wargame (2004). Ad Astra Games. Designed by Ken Burnside, Eric Finley, Tony Valle.

Attack Vector is a rare example of a game which, like Battlefleet Mars (1977) and Independence War: The Starship Simulator (1997), approaches space combat in a physically realistic way. Newtonian mechanics and accurate analyses of such details as heat loss from life support systems are used throughout. The only exceptions to the game's careful simulation of reality occur when scientific accuracy would seriously interfere with the fiction. Thus, as in much Military SF, Faster Than Light drives exist as part of a technology not much more sophisticated than that of the present day, and operate without creating Time Paradoxes (see Relativity). The game's design is ingenious and well thought out, employing a far more intuitive solution to the problem of depicting three dimensions in a Wargame than the somewhat difficult to visualize approach taken in Battlefleet Mars. Spacecraft models are placed on stacks of blocks which indicate their height above or below the hexagonal grid map, with additional blocks used to specify tilt, and precalculated tables and a device somewhat resembling a three-dimensional slide rule are used to simplify the mathematics involved in computing acceleration and velocity changes. The optional setting included with the game, the "Ten Worlds", is similarly realistic in tone. In a future reminiscent of 2300 AD (1987), humanity's interstellar colonies have been isolated by the unexplained disappearance of Earth, and are sliding from a multipolar cold war into a limited hot one as the remnants of the twenty-third century's Great Powers squabble over failing client colonies. Attack Vector is a game of considerable tactical depth which, while still somewhat complex and time consuming to play, depicts physically realistic combat in three-dimensional space better than any Wargame before it; its degree of scientific accuracy is greater than that of much written sf dealing with the same subject.

Related works: A second edition was published in 2011. [NT]


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