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Reshuffled: 52 Pick Up


by Mendel Schmiedekamp
Aug 20,2002



The space combat game of faster than light travel and slower than light sensors.

The Setting:

It is 1017.83726 seconds A.B. (After Baryons), and space warfare has become really weird. About 20.2 gigaseconds ago researchers with the Herjekith Imperial Doctrine developed what was to be the last word in space combat, neutronium armor. By building their ships with even an exceedingly thin hull of pure neutrons the Doctrine ships became nigh unstoppable. There were a few minor problems, however. The ships were made so heavy by this hull that you couldn't bring two such ships too close to each other, or anything else of comparable size. This caused the ships to fall uncontrollably onto each other. Until but a few scant gigaseconds ago this was the only way to destroy such a ship. Then a great discovery was made, this time by the Yurity Free Implication. Negative energy particles when projected at a neutronium ship hull caused the neutronium to become hydrogen gas, leaving the ship in the middle of a new mini-star. Only one problem there, no sensor can detect the neutronium ships faster than light, and no one has ever found a way to fire negative energy particles slower than light.

The Game:

What you need:

  • A hex grid, preferably numbered.
  • Some tokens (I suggest dice, and you need dice for the 3D variant)
  • Paper, pens, and optionally pencils.

How to play:

  • Start each ship (represented by the dice) at least 3 hexes apart.
  • For each three hexes separating the ships each player records a move (see below). This number of moves is called the delay, and is always equal to one third of the distance separating the ships (round down). At the end of each turn each player must have as many moves recorded as the delay and may not alter them afterwards.
  • Each player makes their next move, as recorded. These moves happen simultaneously, so yes you can blow each other up at the same time.
  • Record moves as above, until one or both ships is destroyed.


Each move a ship travels by its velocity (a value from 0 to 3 in a hex direction). This means a ship with 2 velocity left moves two hexes left in a move. (Note: a velocity of 3 is the speed of light, so our ships are really traveling no faster than 2.99993412 velocity, which we will consider as 3 for our purposes.) Before each move you may accelerate or fire. If you fire, detonate a location on the hex grid as the target. If you accelerate you may change your velocity using three acceleration points a turn. You may change the value of your speed by 1, or turn the direction one hex facing for a number of acceleration points equal to the current velocity of the ship.


There are two ways for a ship to be destroyed in the game, first if you are in a detonated hex, when it is ignited, your ship becomes a star, end of story. If any two ships end up within two hexes of each other, they collide and become a black hole.

Additional Options

More ideas to hurt your brain with.

Ship Designs:

As the ships get larger, the generators can be made larger, allowing more shots to be made, but reducing the mobility of the ship.
  • Large: the default ship listed above.
  • Extra Large: Gain two acceleration points a move, and may expend one to fire. (i.e. can fire up to twice a move).
  • Extra Extra Large: Gain one acceleration point a move, or may fire up to three times.


Lots of things are lying around in space, including the debris of your foes.
  • Stars: Natural or just confirmed kill, getting too close is as risky as another ship, and with the same results.
  • Black Holes: Even worse, for each additional ship mass past the first add an extra hex of no man's land (minimum two ship's masses, so minimum radius of three hexes). In no man's land each move your velocity is 3 towards the Black Hole, and you cannot accelerate.
  • Planets and Smaller Bodies: Can't hurt you, and tend to orbit you if you get within a hex or so. And make a neat thump if you hit them.

3D Combat:

Warning this makes the game take much longer.

First each ship starts with a height indicator (using the die value). Each hex also gains an up and a down face. Turning into or out of either face costs double your current velocity, and may be spent over two consecutive turns. When you fire you must also select the height of the hex to be detonated. Vertical motion simply alters the height indicator, which is also measure in hexes, so, for example if you are one height and one horizontal hex away from a ship you both collide as normal.

Tournament Rules:

  • Each side has five ships (alter to taste).
  • All bouts are one on one.
  • After a win, the losing side if having any ships left adds one to an appropriate starting location. The winner must keep all moves already recorded.
  • After a tie, both sides add ships to valid starting locations and begin.
  • Which ever side is destroyed first loses. (Obviously)

a) You really think people would use years to measure time after the Solar System is gone?

52 Pick up Reshuffled is an outlet for readers of rpg.net to publish their games as columns. I encourage everyone to write a game. If you are interested I encourage you to contact me or to submit a game at cczernia@zianet.com. TQo0~^DҒt< ek&Ǿ$\۵ZFȃuwݝIŃU QYir2HR2.u3MFoعq]4#A`pP5(b& )b)ⰾp7(i<[-2gL#5[f g?*rVGf8*)s'+20ϟ̑F}KB<7wSL\gbvm9WiRބYŜvd y0'p2I_Fc2>#o A )VL[Qk?3`)<У[(*W.JH ?tXCt谙 X:@ \0w ~LqĤE-rFkYœj4q 5AQ6[AxG [>w|?( fХθY䝛$c=_qNĦoǸ>O_|&/_Mi7"宥CЧk0dӷLh;TmuCGU-!Ul{ h<\bQX.~"O2*yPcz!ŠGg

What do you think?

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Reshuffled: 52 Pick Up, edited by Chris Czerniak

52 Pick Up original run, by Gareth-Michael Skarka

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