Hull Check Math

Posted by on Sep 30, 2016 in Uncategorized | 3 comments

I’ve always been good with math.  This has been a great problem for me because I ended up not learning math.  I can add numbers in my head and do well on multiple choice tests so I didn’t really need to learn how to do higher math.  I could picture it in my head and know that the answer wasn’t A or B and C just didn’t make sense.

Anyhow, I ended up not learning calculus and regret it to this day so when I have to do something that requires math for a game, I go through agony.

It turns out game design isn’t multiple choice.  I end up hunting and pecking and finding something that works until I can figure out something better.

The original Battlestations hull check chart was just such an animal and it has worked unchanged for 15 years.  I liked it.  I realized, however that I wanted it to ramp up to the interesting zone earlier and that the window at the top end was too short.  I just started playing around with some arithmetic progressions and got the chart below.

Your damage is on the left (I love summations) with the hull check required on the right.  Add your ship size to your hull checks.  This makes the new size 3 ship (what had been size 5) roughly equivalent but starts the checks earlier and makes it longer on the top end.

So now, you just have to roll higher than the summation number of your damage on a ship size check.  I’ll test it.

Damage Size Check
1 2
3 3
6 4
10 5
15 6
21 7
28 8
36 9
45 10
55 11
66 12
78 13
91 14
105 15
120 16
136 17
153 18
171 19
190 20
210 21
231 22


  1. So it’ll be a static chart with a bonus to the hull check roll for ship size? Interesting. I always felt personal combat favored NPCs, while ship to ship favored the players because they could luck hull checks (a perspective which may be skewed because, you know. Engineer). I wonder how this will change that? Or the effects of a plink-centered strategy.

  2. My main goal was to dial up the excitement early and prolong it a little later. Jumping by a static amount means the early checks are too easy for too long and there is a short window between, the hull checks are interesting and Kaboom! The fact that the math led me to the best solution makes me feel smart (at least until I playtest it).

  3. In our group we just changed all the 3+ and 4+ checks to 5+ checks. It doesn’t dramatically skew the current rules, but it does make the checks feel like they matter much earlier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *