The Galactic Patrol - A DIY 3D printed Starship Dogfight Tabletop game

For the last few weeks, I have been working on-and-off on a new DIY tabletop game I’m calling The Galactic Patrol. I’m using models designed by Arian Croft, and licensed under a CC-BY-SA licence. Eventually, I’ll probably start using models of my own (Reach Out if you want to help with that!), but I’ll be keeping the CC-BY-SA license because I like it.

Galactic Patrol.jpg

Arian’s models include a full, playable ruleset which is pretty fun, but it results in a game that requires a lot of additional pieces and prep. There are tiles (which take a LONG time to print, and have a tendency to slide durring play), cards for the various ship stats, and fairly complex movement and combat rules.

My ruleset simplifies the prep work, removes the tiles, and makes the game a little more pick-up-and-play. I’ll go in to some more details about the rules bellow, if you’re interested in trying them out. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, and things may change.

If you’d like to play The Galactic Patrol and you don’t have a 3D printer, I will carry a starter kit in my online store. The kit features all the peices required for game play, a complete rulebook, and a comicbook set in the Galactic Patrol universe. (It’s not available yet, but I should have it posted soon. Sign up for my newsletter for more info!)

I’m finishing up the official rulebook this weekend, and then sending it off for layout. I’ll post some pictures when I get them back from the printer next week. In the meantime, here is a quick summary of the rules.

The Rules:


Setup is pretty simple!

First, define the edges of your playing space, and make sure they are clearly marked. I prefer to play across a table sized surface, but the game works well at sizes from 8.5 x 11 up. The larger your play surface, the easier it is to involve more people in the game.

Second, distribute the ships, and the dice. Each player should get the same number of ships (3 for a quick match, 6 for a standard match, there is no upper bound and larger matches can involve as many ships as you’d like.) Eache player should also get two six or eight sided die.

Third, devide the play area in to equal portions and have each player distribute their ships throughout their side of the play area.

Finally, roll two six or eight sided dice to determine who goes first. Highest number wins. In the event of a tie, re-roll.

Basic Gameplay

At this point, the game begins. Thankfully, Gameplay is pretty straightforward too. Each turn is divided in to two main steps, Movement and Attack. Movement and Attack can happen in any order, and a player is not required to do both (or either) each turn. Once a player has finished their movement and attack, and any evasive action has been resolved, play passes to the next player.

1. Movement:

At the base of each ship is a length of twine, with several colored segments. In a standard game, each segment is three inches long. The first segment represents the distance the ship can move in one turn, if it is also going to fire. The second segment represents the maxium distance the ship can move in one turn (without combat.) The second and third segments are also used in combat (more on that later)

On your turn, select one of your ships. If you would like to move it, you can move it up to it’s maximum move distance in a straight line. If you would also like to engage in combat, you can move it half of it’s maximum move distance and engage in combat at any point (more on this later.) You may also choose not to move any ships.

Ships may only move in straight lines. They may not move through other ships (except in the event of “Ramming” covered later.) They may not move off the edge of the play area.

2. Combat:

Combat in The Galactic Patrol is carried out much like movement. The second segment on your length of twine indicates the distance your ship can fire on turns when it has also (or will also) make a movement. The third segment represents the distance your ship can fire on turns when it has not/will not make a movement.

To engage in combat, first use the twine to ensure that there is an enemy ship in range of your attack. Then the attacking and defending players each roll one of their two dice.


  • The attacker rolls higher than the defender, the attack succeeds. Proceed to “Attack Suceeds”
  • The defender rolls higher than the attacker, the attack misses. Proceed to “Attack Misses”
  • There is a tie, one or both ships is damaged in the attack, proceed to “Malfunction”

Combat Resolution

Attack Succeeds Now the attacker and defender each role their second die. If the attacker’s die is higher, the ship is destroyed. If the defender’s die is higher, the ship is damaged. A damaged ship has it’s move and attack segments reduced by one.

Ships that are damaged twice are disabled, and can no longer move. They are still able to attack up to one segment away.

In the event of a tie, re-roll.

Attack Misses Now the attacker and defender each role their second die. If the defender’s die is higher, they are able to roll for a counter attack, or take evasive action. If the attacker’s die is higher, combat ends with no damage to either side.

In the event of a tie, re-roll.

Malfunction Now the attacker and defender each role their second die. In the event of a second tie, both ships are destroyed (if this would end the game, the game is considered a draw.) If the defender has a higher roll, the attackers ship is damaged (but not destroyed.) If the attacker has a higher roll, the defending ship is disabled (but not destroyed.)

If a ship that would be damaged by a malfunction has already suffered damage, there is no additional penalty, and it remains in Damaged state.

Misc rules

Damaged if your ship is damaged, it can only move or attack and cannot do both in one turn. It’s max move distance is one segment, and max attack distance is two segments.

Disabled a disabled ship cannot move. It can fire up to one segment.

Evasive Action you may move up to two segments, or attack up to three segments. This does not count as your turn, and occurs durring your opponents turn. Damaged or disabled ships cannot take evasive action.

Ramming If you are within move distance of another ship, you can attempt to ram them. To determine if you are successful, both players roll two dice. If the rammer has a higher total, the ram is successful. If the stationary ship has the higher total, they are able to take evasive action.

A successful ramming results in damage to both ships. If one ship was already damaged, it becomes disabled. If one ship was already disabled it is destroyed.

Capture the Flag

Capture the flag games follow the same rules as regular games with a few exceptions. 1) Durring setup, a “flag” is placed in the middle on the arena. 2) No ship can be placed so that it could capture the flag on it’s openning move. 3) Each player specifies a Starbase at one edge of the playfield.

To capture the flag, simply pass your ship through it. If your ship is disabled or destroyed while in posession of the flag, the flag is placed in to open space no further than one segment away from your ship.

A damaged ship that returns to the starbase is repaired.

Win Conditions

Play continues in this fashion util one of the following conditions has been met:

  • All opponents ships have been destroyed
  • All opponents ships have been disabled, and the remaining player has at least two undamaged ships
  • The flag is captured, and returned to base (in the event of a CTF match.)

As a dumb sidebar, I’d like to point out that the rules of games cannot be copyrighted in the US. and that the CC-BY-SA license I refer to above applies only to the design and presentation. (The 3D models, the illustrations, the text of the rule book (but not the rules themselves.), etc.) It is an odd situation in US law, and likely responsible for plenty of headaches.

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Check out the other stuff I do: Analog Revolution, Space Age Ideas, Of Many Trades. If you want to help me keep making stuff, check out the rewards available from my Patreon.

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Written on April 14, 2017