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Silent Death - My New Obsession

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 11:32 AM by kolakoski

Well met!

chas recently picked up a copy of Silent Death Next Millennium, a miniatures game released in 1995, which I had never heard of. I'm shocked, shocked, that it is so little known, as it is wonderfully elegant. With Taeblewalker, we played it last night, and had a blast!

From a review in BoardGameGeek:

Silent Death: The Next Millennium is the second edition of the Silent Death game published by Iron Crown Enterprises in 1995. This edition was written by Matt Forbeck.

Silent Death is one of my favorite games of all time. I have always had a blast playing this game.

The boxed set includes a 168 page rule book, scenario pack, tables and ship display pack, 48 plastic fighters (4 each of 12 types) and stands, 248 miniatures of missiles, torpedoes and asteroids, dice and maps.

The size of the rule book may seem overwhelming but the actual rules take up less than 40 pages. The rest cover the universe background, ship displays, and a ship construction system.

Silent Death is a fast playing, easy to learn game of fighter combat. Ships range from small one man fighters to large multi-crewed gunboats.

To begin play each player selects ships and crew. The game comes with 26 different ship displays but only 12 have miniatures in the box. Metal miniatures for the other ships can be purchased separately. Crew ratings range from 1 to 10. Pilots have two skills: piloting and gunnery, while Gunners have just the gunnery skill. The total skill levels of all crew are added to the value of the fighter.

The sequence of play has five steps:

1. Launch Warheads. In this phase you launch missiles and torpedoes. Missiles have a range of ten hexes and require a lock-on roll, but they automatically reach their target. Torpedoes have a longer range but move on the map before they reach their target and can be stopped before reaching their target.

2. Movement. Both sides now determine their initiative. Each side rolls a D10 and adds in their highest piloting skill. The highest total wins the initiative. The player who lost initiative moves one ship using some or all of its movement points. The winner now moves one ship. Movement alternates between each side until all ships have the opportunity to move. Ships typically have 12 to 19 movement points. Each hex entered costs 1 point, turning costs 3 points, sideslips cost 2. During this phase torpedoes move immediately after their targets.

3. Torpedo Results. First any torpedoes that reached their target are dealt with. Ships can either use point defense guns to try and shoot down the torpedoes or they can try to dodge them. Any torpedoes not eliminated damage the target. Torpedoes do between 1D12 and 5D12 damage each. Finally, ships can attempt to eliminate any torpedoes that have not reached their target by using decoys or jamming.

4. Cannon Fire. Now your pilots and gunner can fire their weapons at enemy ships. Fire is not simultaneous. First gunners fire in skill order (highest to lowest), then pilots fire in skill order. The method for resolving fire is my favorite mechanism in the game. Each player rolls 3 dice to determine if they hit and how much damage was done. The first 2 dice are determined by the weapon (either 2D6 or 2D; the third dice depends on the skill of the crewman and range from 1D4 to 1D10. The sum of the three dice (plus any modifiers) has to equal the defensive value of the target. If a hit is scored the damage rating is applied to the same dice roll. Weaponís damage ratings are typically: low, medium, high, or all. If the rating is low use the lowest of the three dice, medium uses the middle die, high uses the highest and all uses the total of all three.

5. Missile Results. Now all missiles fired at the beginning of the turn reach their targets. Ships can use their point defense guns against the missiles unless they used them against torpedoes earlier in the turn. The missiles roll 1D6 per missile to hit (missiles are fired in volleys of 5 or 10). Damage is equal to the number of missiles in the volley plus the highest die roll. So a volley of ten would do 28 points of damage if three 6ís were rolled.

Damage to fighters is simple to resolve. Each display has a series of boxes which are checked off in order. Some boxes have symbols indicating damage to engines, weapons, armor, or critical hits. Critical hits are resolved by rolling two dice and consulting the chart on the ship display. These range from minor annoyances to crew death or ship explosions.

In summary I highly recommend this game to anyone interested in a fast playing easy to learn space combat system.

We are playing again next Wednesday (9/12), and invite anyone in the area to join us. The rulebook, containing the rules and ship displays, may be downloaded for free here. This and all the expansions and supplemental materials, including a tactics manual, can be found here.

Total Comments 1


kolakoski's Avatar

Forces for 9/12 Practice

Well met!

For those familiar with the game (and those who wish to play on 9/12 or will be playing on 9/19), tentative Forces for our 9/19 game day (if only 2 players, only 2 groups will be fielded; 4 players, only 4 groups):

Side A
Group 1.
Pharsii II 10/7/7/7, Talon 8/8.
Group 2. Deathwind 10/7/7, 4 Blizzards - all 5/5.
Group 3. 2 Night Hawks, 2 Thunderbirds - all 7/7.

Side B
Group 1. Glaive 10/7/7, 2 Darts - both 7/7.
Group 2. Salamander 10/7/7, 2 Teal Hawks - both 5/7.
Group 3. 4 Hellbenders - all 9/9.

Numbers indicate Skill levels for the Pilot (Pilot/Gunnery) of each ship, and Gunner(s) Gunnery Skill, for ships that have them. For example, the Pharsii II's Pilot has a Pilot Skill of 10 and a Gunnery Skill of 7, and each of it's 2 Gunners has a Gunnery Skill of 7. Similar to Heroscape, ships and skills are worth points. Each group above is worth 200 points.

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 03:27 PM by kolakoski kolakoski is offline
Updated September 7th, 2018 at 10:49 AM by kolakoski
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