Talon Tuesday Issue #31: Talon 1000 – State of the Fleet (Part 1)

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release of the Talon 1000 expansion. Since Space Empires:4x Replicators is also releasing soon and there is crossover between the two development teams, Replicator articles will be featured as well.

Issue #31 Talon 1000 – State of the Fleet

Talon Tuesday Issue #21: How to Build a Warhead

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #21: How to Build a Warhead

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Missiles, perhaps, underwent the greatest number of changes during development in terms of mechanics. They are a Talon faction weapon and a mainstay of combat with a lot of character. We wanted an on-map tracking weapon, but we didn’t want it to be so complex it took away from the rest of combat and became a game unto itself. Initially, Missiles only took 2 hits to destroy and had a turn radius of 1. We were designing from a “realism” perspective at first with this. We wanted to be able to see Fighters make tight turns and dodge the missiles; and we wanted to be able to shoot them down.  This proved to be a real problem. First it was too easy to shoot down a missile as Patrick will explain below. Second it made Missiles way too easy to get inside of and really diminished their power. From a practical standpoint it harmed the streamlined nature of the game as we had separate damage counters for the Missiles and the Missile turning status was tracked by flipping the counter. Now, Missile damage status is tracked by the Missile counter itself with a really simple system described on the Play Aid Card below.  Patrick joined the team after we ditched the Missile turn radius but they still had a ways to go. I’ll let Patrick tell you the rest of the story.

Talon Tuesday Issue #19: The Newest Ship in the Fleet

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #19: The Newest Ship in the Fleet by K. Patrick “Shadowmeld” Barley

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One of the challenges we had to overcome in Talon was balancing fleet strength across the factions. We have several areas of fleet imbalance between Fighters, missiles and the Talon Dreadnaught, but as a whole the fleets needed to be able to field large or small forces that at least feel balanced. Through the first year of playtesting we started with a central ship the Heavy Cruiser (CA). Our first battery of play tests had us pitting three CAs against each other to test Talon tools versus Terran tools. It was this testing that rooted out the need to add afterburners and eventually lead to some Talon structural increases. Wave after wave after wave of Talon CAs clashed into their Terran counter parts, disruptors alight. Phasers and torpedoes fired back and as the dust settled, our win rates came closer and closer to even.

We then slowly folded more and more ships into the scenarios, first Scouts and Frigates, then Terran Light Cruisers and both factions’ Destroyers. The Talon Destroyers had us adding missiles for the first time, and while we were trying to weigh this unconventional weapon system it seems another issue flew under the radar. The Light Cruiser.

Talon Tuesday Issue #11: Needing Bigger Guns

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“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #11: Needing Bigger Guns

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There are three weapon types for each race in Talon. This symmetry of design seemed appropriate when we first started, but as we began defining fleet doctrine and ship design for each of the races, the three weapons became less and less symmetrical. In the beginning, we started with Phasers and Torpedoes on the Terran ships, and Disruptors and Missiles on the Talon ships. This idea, that each ship had a beam weapon and a projectile weapon, was a typical trope of most space combat games, but we felt that by ensuring the weapons felt different enough we could create something dynamic there. The third weapon for each race was a powerful cannon that did devastating damage to a target, but with restricted range brackets and powerful recharge times.

Talon Tuesday Issue #7: From Afterburners to Addicted

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Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 9.24.54 AM

“Talon Tuesdays” is an article series appearing on InsideGMT periodically on Tuesdays.  It features articles from the Talon development team regarding the game’s design, development and upcoming release.

Issue #7

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Jim’s Under the Hood segment will continue next week.  In the meantime, here’s an article about Talon afterburners, which was the brain child of our Lead Playtester and “Chief Tactical Officer”, K. Patrick Barley.


When I first learned about Talon, Bob was cracking open some plastic baggies with homemade counters in them and laying out his Space Empires board. I was excited by the concepts that make the game so unique, fleet level combat, micro-decision tactics and the glorious dry-erase markers. Bob and I eagerly got into it, and divided up six heavy cruiser tokes from each faction, leaving me with what might have turned out to be the most fated decision in Talon’s design history, “Terran or Talon, sir?”

I eagerly chose the Talon’s powerhouse weapons, high maneuverability and powerful forward shield array. I lined my fleet up in the right corner of the map and waited for Bob to take a similarly tight formation. Turns took off and I loved the six part Impulse breakdown, weapon charging mechanics and the inverse relationships of power to speed and speed to maneuverability. Then came the big moment, Impulse D of Round 2, I had reinforced my forward and flank side shields, moved my ships into a solid concave on Bob’s point ship and was eagerly waiting for Bob to move his ships into range three so I could get an alpha strike off before his ships got within weapons range. If I could cripple one of his three ships before they could even fire, I would be way ahead!

“I don’t get power this turn, but I’m going to use my battery to take the initiative,” Bob says confidently.

HE WHAT!?!?