FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT B5W
This page lists a number of questions we've received about game play,
all arranged into the categories listed below. Simply click on one of these
items to jump to the appropriate topic.
Weapon Firing Modes
Ship Critical Hits
Sequence of Play
Fighters & Shuttles
Specifics on Ships
When a system exists at the beginning of the combat phase and is destroyed
by one weapon which strikes the target (say a thruster) do all subsequent rolls
which would hit that in the same combat turn become direct hits to the structure
on that side, or overkill hits (counting armor in both places) ?
- They hit the destroyed system which now only has half armour and then hit
the structure underneath which has no armour..
On subsequent turns if the system did not exist at the start of
turn are rolls which would hit it just applied to the structure instead?
- No, the same as above.
When you start taking damage, and you mark damage off a type of
system/weapon, etc., and do not destroy it, do you continue take damage off
that system until it is destroyed (assuming it's still in arc from later
shots), or can you spread damage around?
- You may spread the damage to other like systems from later shots,
keeping the damaged system operational. This is an advantage for larger ships
and those with more weapons attached to a particular structure block.
Suppose a G'Quan has had its port side structure blown off. If
shots come in from the port side, how is damage location resolved?
- If the structure has been destroyed in a previous turn, this would be resolved
as a Primary hit with half armour from the mangled mess still attached. During
the turn it is destroyed, however, you roll on the side chart first.
Is armor accounted for if it was another hit against structure on the same
- No, the armor has already been hit for this rake so the damage would
WEAPON FIRING MODES
How do you resolve damage from multiple raking weapons at
- Each weapon is done separately.
Is a weapon designed for a specific mode of fire able to be used in 'standard'
mode? E.g., the heavy laser on the Omega. It is 'a raking weapon that can be
fired in sustained mode'. Does this mean that it can ONLY fire in raking and
sustained or can it also do standard?
- It can only be fired in raking or sustained.
Can you start a scenario with a weapon in sustained mode?
When a sustained mode weapon is finished firing, it has to cool off for
at turn. Now, my dumb question: Can you use it's power elsewhere in the cool
down turn or is it lost?
- The weapon is cooling off, but no power is being applied to it (since it
isn't turned on), so that power is available for use elsewhere.
Can you use sustained and piercing modes at the same time?
Must weapon mode (piercing or sustained), other than defensive
offensive, be decided during declaration or when actually firing?
- Standard, raking, and piercing mode don't have to be announced during
fire declaration, but you must announce them when you are rolling to hit
(especially piercing mode, since your chance to hit is different). Sustained
mode doesn't have to be announced at all until the weapons fire step of the
sequence of play is completed (at which time it will be bloody obvious that
the weapon is still firing at the target, and hasn't turned off).
Is there any way to detect the arming mode of a ship's weapon?
Can you detect whether an EA ship has its interceptors
in anti-fighter rather than normal defensive mode short of waiting for it
to shoot or intercept?
- You can detect that a weapon is powered but not if it is ready to fire,
nor can you detect special arming (sustained, etc.) or firing modes (such
as those used by the interceptor).
In sustained mode fire, during the second turn's resolution, what's the
effect of armor if you hit the same system you hit during the first turn?
- The answer, which is sure to raise the stock of sustained mode significantly,
is this: Armor doesn't protect on the second turn if that system was hit on
the first turn! This is because what we are talking about is a CONTINUATION
of a single shot, not a whole new shot. For example, a neutron cannon hits
an Omega's front for 30 damage and rakes 10 points across a heavy laser and
the forward structure (marking 6 off the lasers and 14 off the structure after
subtracting armor). On the second turn the conditions for sustained mode are
taken care of, and the "second half" of the sustained fire automatically hits.
This time, 32 damage is scored and the hit locations turn out to be heavy
laser, pulse cannon, retro thruster, and structure, in that order. The first
10 points destroy one laser cannon (armor doesn't protect it since it was
hit by the first half of the sustained shot, and the rest would overkill to
structure, which also doesn't get armor protection for the same reason), destroy
a pulse cannon (which takes 10 damage to kill, including armor), score 7 damage
(after armor) on one thruster, and score 2 damage on the structure, which
isn't protected by armor since it too was hit in the first half of the attack.
If a weapon takes four turns to charge and the extra power is applied in
the first turn, but not available for the second turn, does normal recharge
start over at that point or does the first turn of super-charging count as double?
- Count the total number of effective turns charging, thus the weapon has
had 3 turns worth of power bythe end of the second turn.
Can EA Interceptors fire defensively against laser weapons?
Do multiple-barrel weapons like Twin Arrays get multiple interception rolls?
- No, this is calculated into the interception rating, both are assumed to
fire at the same target.
It is written nowhere, but is the powerful Neutron Cannon considered a "Laser"
weapon in the sense that it can't be defended against by anything.
What about the Fusion Beam?
- No, it is not considered a laser weapon.
If I set my weapons for defensive fire, but then don't use them
during the turn, do they still discharge?
Can you make a called shot at a destroyed system? In other words can you target
the twisted wreckage or the space where the system used to be?
- No. If it ain't there, you can't shoot it.
What happens if I call a shot with a raking weapon (or a large
number of other weapons) and the first volley destroys that system? Do the
remaining volleys hit structure automatically?
- Raking weapons cannot make called shots
If a ship takes a reactor critical (using the errata critical chart) but also
loses weapons sufficient to cover that loss, doesn't this make the critical pointless?
- No. The energy lost must be made up in "live" systems. Think of the
reactor as a huge grid spread throughout the ship with nodes at each system.
These nodes provide the power that system needs, and are destroyed with that
system. If the reactor takes a critical, the overall power to the entire
grid is reduced, necessitating the shutdown of systems to cover it. The jump
engine is a special case, as its power requirement is tied into the entire
overall production level of the grid.
SEQUENCE OF PLAY
When exactly does ramming take place?? This question came up last week during
a game where a flight of Starfuries were whittled down to2 fighters with a total
of 7 structure boxes left and wanted to ram a Primus. Of course the Primus player
wanted to shoot the fighters down before the ram and the Starfury player wanted
to complete the ram. Another question, do fighters attempting to ram get to shoot
- Ramming occurs at the end of the turn after firing.
In what order is weapons fire resolved? This can be very important
depending on the type of weapon and the state of the target.
- Resolve them in the order you fired them in. A commander should be able
to fire his weapons in the most effective manner. Of course, since you can
select the order in which weapons fire, this means you basically get to decide
the order yourself. There's no "weapons sequence of play."
Regarding the preceding item, must you decide
on the order during fire declaration? Or may you wait till actually
- You can wait until you are rolling. Otherwise that weapons fire
step gets too bogged down.
FIGHTERS & SHUTTLES
If a raking weapon fires at a flight of fighters what damage does it do?
- Full damage to one fighter
- A10 point rake to one fighter (assuming at least 10 points damage done)
- Hit several fighters randomly with raking fire ?
- Option 1, as the weapon does not traverse quickly enough to
If a pulsar mine can damage up to 18 fighters, can it fire at
one fighter 18 times?
- No, that's not what the rule means. It fires a burst of small mines into
an area, so it only gets one attack on any given fighter.
How do you determine the direction of damage from energy
- If the mine explodes to starboard, take damage to starboard. If it hits
your hex, take damage from a random direction
Question on energy mines...they effect everything in the hex, correct? So
a flight of fighters would all suffer the same amount of damage?
For capital ships, does the point cost include
the fighters or are the fighters sold separately?
- Armed fighters and shuttles (e.g., the Flyer) are sold seperately. Unarmed
shuttles, unless otherwise stated, come with the ship. Of course, there isn't
much use for them in battle except as a scenario target.
The rules for fixed jump gates, pg. 37, also gave us an indistinct
rule. If multiple ships are in range of a jump gate, and send different orders,
whose take precedence?
- If multiple players are competing to see who gets to command a jump gate,
the player who "owns" the gate gets first call. "Ownership" is usually obvious
or specified by the scenario. If no owner is clearly stated (or it is noted
as a totally neutral gate) then each competing player rolls off, highest roller
getting to make the call. Do NOT use initiative. For one thing, capital ships
would always lose out to HCVs or medium ships, which isn't realistic.
- Also, once an order is given, the gate can not be given a new order until
it completes the previous order. So you can't order it to close (or change
its commands at all - not even the player who gave the order can do this).
There are no armor ratings on bases. Is this an error?
- No. The armor is built into the boxes' ability to absorb less than
5 points of damage without actually being affected.
How is damage from a Mag Gun allocated to a Base?
- When the mag gun hits a base, determine which section is hit, then
consider that section the "side" which is being affected. Thus, if a mag
gun hits a Kraken section #4 for 52 damage, half of it (26 points) would
hid the structure, destroying 5 boxes, and the remaining 26 points would
be divided evenly among 13 systems, doing nothing.
Bases have reactors for each section. How do these work?
- Each section is self-contained for reactor power purposes. Thus, any critical
to a reactor will affect only that section, and a destroyed reactor will only
de-power that one section. The flip side to this is that, because each section
has its own power grid, power may not be transferred between sections.
Bases also seem to have multiple C&C systems. Does this mean
I can choose to use whichever one I wish (the one with the fewest critical
SPECIFICS ON SHIPS
Does anyone know what the capital letter on the Omegas' front section is for?
- No one really knows. Lots of people have theories, but they are all
and there's no official answer.
Does the Dargan reveal itself as such if it uses its ELINT
- Only if the ship it is emulating does not itself possess such abilities,
or has fewer sensor points than the Dargan is using for ELINT purposes.
Since the Dargan can "emulate" any other ship class, what happens
if it disguises itself as an HCV or medium ship? Does it get to roll initiative
at the faster rate, or is it automatically revealed as a fake? Can it voluntarily
move during the Commercial Ships step if it is emulating a freighter?
- It cannot move faster than a capital ship, so if it tried to disguise itself
as a heavy combat vessel, for example, its first maneuvers (as soon as play
started, but not during scenario setup) may reveal it as a Dargan. It may,
however, voluntarily move slower (i.e., with commercial vessels) if disguised
as a freighter.
What happens if the Dargan emulates a ship with different defense
- Use the ones listed for the Dargan, although this will require deception
on the part of the Centauri player. If any to-hit roll would hit the Dargan
but not the simulated ship (or hits the simulated ship but would not hit
a Dargan), he must reveal his vessel to be a Dargan at that point, and resolve
the weapon's chance to hit against the Dargan's ratings at and after that
point. This makes long-range sniping a good way to pick out a Dargan if the
player has selected a simulacrum with radically different defense ratings.
Are the Narn and Centauri cargo ships from Narn-Centauri War
considered "civilian ships" for purposes of initiative?
- No, these are military ships, and are considered capital ships for movement
I have heard the Black Omega Starfuries have a "stealth design."
- Black Omegas don't have stealth. they are ordinary Furies with cooler paint
jobs and telepaths for pilots...nothing more.
In War of Retribution, there are Endurance values listed for each
ship. What are those values for the Core Rules ships and the Ships of the
Month found on the web site?
- Omega: 6 months
- Hyperion: 3 months
- Nova: 2 months
- Olympus: 1 month
- Starfury: 10 hours
- Thunderbolt: 12 hours
- Sharlin: 8 months
- Tinashi: 6 months
- Nial: 36 hours
- Luxury Liner: 3 months
- Freighter: 2 months
- Battlewagon: 3 months
- Delta-V: 6 hours