Thursday, 7 July 2016

Full Thrust Boxed Set

In Miniature Wargames with Battlegames, issue 399, I read that there is now a 25th Anniversary boxed set of Full Thrust.

Wow, 25 years?

I remember I first played Full Thrust back in 1992 at GenCon UK, which was then held in Camber Sands. It was a gaming mecca for me at the time, and I was discovering a lot of new games that were not available on the continent back then (pre-internet days for the masses, so the discerning gamer-geek had to cross the channel to get the good stuff). Full Thrust was one of the games I discovered, playing in one of the demo games. I bought a rulebook, and I have played countless games of Full Thrust since then.

I always admired the apparant simplicity of the rules, which allow for some clever manoeuvring your starship around the table. Especially the elegant rule of "half turn in the beginning, half turn in the middle" of your movement always seemed very clever to me. The damage system was an eye-opener for me as well.

I enthusiastically bought plastic Star Trek and Star Wars micromachines for my first games, and modeled asteroids and planets. Moving asteroids always were a favourite, since there was always a player who steered his ship right into one. Later on I upgraded to proper metal models, of which most are still in my collection.

However, as the games and the years progressed, I started to feel there was a certain "sameness" to all the games. Tactics revolved not so much around manoeuvre - once most players mastered the intricacies of writing down orders - but who did get to shoot first with what at what target. Given the ranges, many games became a straight shoot-out, which called for more complicated scenarios. I also bought the expansion More Thrust, but somehow I lost touch when the Fleet Books were published.

In our gaming group, we launched a few efforts of setting up Full Thrust story campaigns, but they always petered out after a two or three games at most. Although I guess those campaigns never officially stopped, so they can always be revived!

For a number of reasons, I didn't play many games of Full Thrust during the past 10 years or so, but perhaps I should revisit this old favourite. However, this is always dangerous. Actual gameplay when replaying fondly remembered games often is disappointment compared to the memories :-)

Here's a picture from one or our last Full Thrust games, in 2006.

Eddy Sterckx, Phil Dutré, Frank Vleugels, Koen Devroey, all playing Full THrust during a hot summernight in 2006.


  1. One option to make FT more tactically challenging is to switch from inches to cm for movement and shooting, using higher starting speeds.

    Of course, to make it look "right" you need to adjust the models you are using - frigate models become light cruisers, light cruisers become battle cruisers, battle cruisers become dreadnoughts...

    1. We've always considered the actual models representations, and the "real ship" being only a point-size thing located at the centre of the flying stand. However, you're right that when using smaller distances, models should be smaller as well, otherwise moving the models around (and when they come close to each other) becomes rather clunky.