Every group has their own method of tracking things at the table. I thought I’d start a series on how I, along with my group, have developed over time methods of tracking things in play. These tips are ever-evolving, and certainly could be improved by your input. My hope is that sharing these ideas will start a conversation, and perhaps inspire ways for your group to streamline play at your own table.
Today I’d like to talk about ways of representing Cover and Actions. We’ve tried different methods for representing Cover, including using Scrabble tiles and other tokens (some of which totally didn’t work out), but the method I’m settling on is shown below.
Many methods seem to clutter the board. The least obtrusive method I settled on is also quick to set-up. Using wooden Road tokens from Settlers of Catan (which I ordered from Spiel Pro, who has them, but The Game Crafter has them too, called Sticks there), each represents one Challenge Die of Cover. Each zone gets a number of Sticks equal to the Cover rating, as seen below. (We’ll see a space battle example with more complicated Cover types later.) The Sticks are small and unobtrusive, which I like.
What about the minis? As you can see, I use paper minis (from Wayne Peters’ Star Trek Miniature Maker) and card stands. I got these stands from Spiel Pro, as they seem the best type for my purposes, but there are other varieties of card stands available and in different colours. I prefer the translucent ones, again because they are unobtrusive.
When a character has taken their Turn and cannot act again that round, we turn them on their side like Lieutenant Commander Ivanovic, shown below. When a character suffers an Injury and is out of play, we lay them face-down as shown by the Romulan.
What if they had to Avoid an Injury, and haven’t gained back the ability to Avoid an Injury yet? In that case, we put a Disabled token (borrowed from Star Trek Attack Wing), as shown by poor Lieutenant (j.g.) Ch’Yonak below. (I’m toying with using a different colour base as an alternative.)
We found it also helpful to indicate uncontrolled characters in the Scene, such as Doctor Shu below, since they don’t get their own Actions. I’m settling on this method of propping up the paper mini, placing the base on the side but retaining the orientations above. And at the end of the Round, the minis that aren’t face-down are put back into upright position, so that we can again track who has acted.
In starship combat, there are more options, such as Dense Cover, Fragile Cover, and Volatile Cover. (These can be adapted for personal combat as well – see the possibilities here.) Also, NPC starships have a certain number of Actions usually based on Scale. Those are important to track.
A typical board looks like this (where I’m using a coaster to represent a planet):
As with personal combat, I use Sticks to indicate Cover ratings. A few other conventions are shown.
For Dense Cover, I put a Round token on top of the Sticks. The image below shows Dense Cover 2 in two zones. By putting the Cover rating under the Round token, it reminds the group that the Cover is denser than usual. (You can use a coin or other token instead.)
Fragile Cover is place on top of the Round tokens, and may reduce in rating if Effects are rolled. By putting them on top of the Round tokens, it reminds the group that it’s easy to remove Sticks, and reduce the Cover rating.
For Volatile Cover, I had ordered Lightning tokens alongside the Sticks (I mean, who can resist?). But any kind of token you have around will do. They can be put alongside or on top of the Sticks to show volatility. If we are sticking with shapes as a common language, I would recommend Triangular tokens to denote Volatile. Since I would likely not use Volatile and the option ‘Uncertain’ offered in the Complications article at the same time, I plan to use the Lightning tokens for Uncertain when I need it.
Taking further tokens from Star Trek Attack Wing, we use these oval Shield tokens next to the miniatures, one per Action that the ship still has in each Round. In the diagram below, the Romulan warbird has 6 Actions to take, which is equal to its Scale.
The diagram below shows the Warbird after it has performed five actions, so its action stack is only 1 deep.
Let us know if you have any tips from your table for tracking actions and cover for your fellow Star Trek gamers!