Wednesday 9 October 2013

Full Thrust: How to blow up a planet


The Emperor has discovered the location of a secret Rebel base; it's on a jungle planet in the Draconis system.  At the same time, his latest terror weapon, the starship "Planetary Stabiliser", has just been completed.  He could test the new mega-ship and crush the rebellion mercilessly at the same time.  All his admiral has to do is sail up to Draconis IV and vaporise the planet!


There are limited local defences available on or near the planet.  In addition to that, the defenders are racing reinforcements to the Draconis system - but they will arrive piecemeal.


 Choose a points value for the battle (we used about 1300 NPV).  Then:
  • The attackers must use at least half their points to purchase a really big planet-busting ship (the "Planetary Stabiliser" or equivalent), plus any fighters or parasite ships desired.  The RBPBS must be fitted with a spinal-mount Nova Cannon, but it may use its remaining space for any systems desired - apart from a cloaking device!
    Any remaining points may be spent freely on ships to escort the RBPBS.
  • The defenders may use their fleet points freely to purchase any desired mixture of ships.  These will arrive piecemeal; some of them may not arrive at all.  Choosing a few large ships may result in not having much on the table at all (if the die rolls go badly), while taking a lot of small ships may leave the fleet open to defeat piecemeal.
  • As well as their fleet, the defenders may spend another 1/2 of the agreed points value on local, planetary defences.  This could be any mixture desired of star bases, ground bases, minefields and similar fixed assets, but no ships.  Note that bases may have hangars and therefore be able to launch fighters; this would be very traditional!


  • Place a planet towards one end of the board, near but not quite touching the edge.  The defender then positions all his/her planetary defences.
  • The attackers are placed at the opposite end of the table, ideally about 48" away from the planet.  Their initial speed is 10.
  • At the end of every turn, roll a separate d6 for each defending ship which has not yet arrived.  On a 5 or 6, place it immediately on a random part of a random table edge.  Speed is 12 initially, heading is at the owner's discretion.


  • To blow up the planet, the Planetary Stabiliser must fire its Nova Cannon.  However, there are some additional restrictions over the usual rules for this weapon because planets are more massive targets than usual.  For success:
    • The Planetary Stabiliser must be no closer to the planet than 6", else it would be destroyed itself in the explosion.
    • It must also be no further than 12" from the planet, because the cannon loses power with range.  Planet-busting needs a lot of power.
    • Also, the Planetary Stabiliser must be travelling at a speed of 4 or less at the time of firing, to give the weapon's technicians time to fine-tune it and to select the best aiming point.
  • If the planet is destroyed then the attackers win.
  • If the Planetary Stabiliser is destroyed, captured, driven off or rendered incapable of destroying the planet (for example, its Nova Cannon, manoeuvring engines or all fire controls are damaged beyond repair) then the defenders win.

Our Game

So, how did it play out for us?  Well, before the game even started properly, the Federation played a Traitor event card.  This enabled them to filch a potentially useful Reinforced Shields card from the Empire's set of cards.  Oddly, the Imperial admiral didn't seem too bothered by this.  Perhaps he simply expected treachery and was relieved that it wasn't worse!

In the first turn, both the Imperial fleet (the "Planetary Stabiliser" and her consort, the battleship "Goliath") launched TIE fighters.  A large group of X- and Y-wing fighters took off from their planetary bases in response.
Reinforcements started to arrive from the Federation fleet.  On the right, a lone destroyer appeared, whilst the unluckiest corvette in the galaxy (USS Zhukov) warped in on the left.  The TIE fighter group immediately pounced on her and attacked.  They were so confident of success that one squadron saved its ammunition and didn't even bother to make a firing pass.  The Zhukov managed to shoot down a single attacking fighter before being torn to shreds.

On the turn after this, vengeful X-wing heavy fighters pounced on the TIEs (the Y-wing bombers wisely stayed out of this fight!).  In an incredibly bloody melee, both sides rolled high and almost all the squadrons on both sides were destroyed.  Only 3 TIEs out of 23 and 4 X-wings out of 24 survived a single round.  One TIE managed to take out 4 X-wings all on its own with a succession of '6's (hmm, I wonder who was piloting that craft?)

While the exhausted remnants of the fighter squadrons continued to dogfight and the Imperial flotilla plodded on doggedly towards the planet, more Federation ships arrived.  A destroyer and a frigate were placed to either side of the Imperial ships, but more significantly the light cruiser Los Angeles and the battlecruiser Invincible manoeuvred behind the Planetary Stabiliser.

The Y-wing bombers made an attack run on the larger enemy ship...

...but they were all shot down without causing any significant damage.  The smaller Federation ships were hammered mercilessly and even the Los Angeles misjudged its approach and ended up as target practice for the port batteries of the Stabiliser.  However, Invincible sat in a blind spot to the rear and began firing torpedo after torpedo into the bigger ship.

This was probably the Federation's finest moment.  Enough damage was caused on the Planetary Stabiliser to trigger a threshold check.  Even though each system would only be knocked out on a '6', the Nova Cannon was hit!  The Federation players were jubilant and immediately played a Plasma Fire event card on the big red craft as well, just to complicate things.

Sadly for the good guys, plentiful damage control parties on the Planetary Stabiliser managed to bring the Nova Cannon back on line and put out the fire immediately.

Now it was the Empire's turn to retaliate.  Although the Planetary Stabiliser couldn't fire on the pesky Federation battlecruiser (and had to console herself by swatting all the little Federation ships instead), her consort could!  The Goliath couldn't bring her full fire-power to bear to her flank, but she still did enough damage on Invincible to cause a threshold check on the Federation vessel.  To add insult to injury, the Empire also played a Design Flaw event card on Invincible: rolling a '6' would have resulted in her instant destruction.  The Federation breathed a collective sigh of relief when they rolled low on this test!

This wasn't the end of the Empire's nefarious plans, however.  At the start of the very next turn they played a Continuity Error event and rolled high (again!) for its effect.

Suddenly the Invincible found itself not behind, but right in front of the Imperial battleship!  The last 2 X-wing fighters attempted to distract Goliath, but didn't achieve any real damage.

 In desperation, the Federation revealed that they had smuggled some Tribbles onto the Planetary Stabiliser.

By now, more Federation cruisers were arriving.  Even as the crew of the pulverised Los Angeles abandoned ship, the Endeavour also approached from the rear, fast.  Sadly, before we could resolve any more attacks (or the Tribbles card), time ran out and we had to pack up.


Who won?  Both sides claimed a victory, of course!  I think that all the players enjoyed the game thoroughly (which is a victory in itself, of sorts!).  However, the Planetary Stabiliser had veered off course in a vain attempt to shake off Invincible.  She'd also taken damage to the Nova Cannon and although it was now repaired, I wouldn't wish to be the weapons technician who certified it as fit for heavy duty use!  On both counts, I think I'd give the Federation a marginal, if somewhat Pyrrhic, win.

Bonus points to any reader who knows the origin of the name Planetary Stabiliser, without Googling it first!


  1. Sounds like an amusing game.

    As for the Planetary Stabiliser: Dark Star?


    1. It was certainly fast and frantic, with half of the players new to Full Thrust!

      Dark Star? Nicely obscure, but wrong answer. Sorry.

  2. Nice game report. Those cards are ace

    1. Thanks, Simon. I was considerably disappointed that we didn't have time to find out how all those po-faced Imperial officers would react to a tribble infestation!

  3. "Planetary Stabiliser" is from SPI's "Freedom in the Galaxy", IIRC.

    1. I was going to say that too :)

    2. Too easy, I suppose? Yes, the Planetary Stabiliser is one of the 3 atrocity units from "Freedom in the Galaxy".

  4. Great aar as always and a very, very enjoyable read. It really is a shame that the game wasn't completely finished before time was called, but by default the Federation wins !
    I suspect thought that the Empire may have another go at another base.

    1. Again, thanks. I agree that the Planetary Stabiliser will be back, just as soon as the Imperial shipyards have overhauled the Nova Cannon and found some fresh fighter pilots. Oh, they'll also need to de-tribble the vessel...

  5. Enjoyable. I really must do more Fullthrust games. Packed full of ideas ands the cards as Simon (above) says are very nice.

    1. Yes you must, Clint! Play more Full Thrust and let us all know how it goes :-) .
      I think it helps greatly to have a decent scenario, though. It doesn't need to be complex; it just needs to give point to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl :-) .

  6. Good stuff. I like the attitude of the Imperial player, expecting treachery.

    1. I think he was relieved that the effect of the treachery was so limited!