After a few quick tests to check if I understood the rules well (especially the rules about sensor range and dogfighting), I went on to run my first game of 5150 Fighter Command. I used MapTool to play the battle, which went smoothly. I also created a basic "framework" for future 5150 Fighter Command games.
[rant mode on]
I cannot say I was impressed by the public release of the Mote VTT. The project owners admitted they changed plans outlined in their crowdfunding campaign and are now focused on implementing a virtual tabletop service. I understand that software projects are prone to miscalculations that increase budget, leading to delays or reductions in scope. The fact remains that Mote does not show any immediate improvements over MapTool. With the recent facelift of the RPTools site and the codebase being available on GitHub, I would recommend MapTool over Mote to anyone interested.
[rant mode off]
My first game used a single flight of two light fighters of the Planetary Defense Force, on patrol looking for pirates. I added three Possible Enemy Forces (PEFs) and ruled that only one of them would become a flight of pirate light fighters. Simple and safe but, hey, that was my first full battle.
"Simple and safe," right? The topmost PEF turned out to be the flight of 3 pirate fighters. They closed in and triggered an In Sight test. My fighters launched Fire & Forget missiles, damaging the guns of one of the pirates. However, the pirate leader's countermeasures avoided the missile impact, and it entered a dogfight against my Star. Unloading its rockets and mass driver cannons, it damaged the ship's communication systems. My Star reacted, also dogfighting and firing his two railguns -- but they caused no damage. The pirate leader activated again (all the action so far happened during the movement phase of the turn) and hit my Star's ship again on the comm systems, causing it to explode, however he ejected safely [thanks to the "larger than life" advantage]. Anyway, after this, the battle was over for me.
There is a lot going on within a 5150 Fighter Command game. The turn structure has a bunch of changes from other Two Hour Wargames titles. Although those changes make sense for a starship game, they take some time to get used to. The dogfighting system is really cool, making even very "small" games like the one I played interesting.
I still have to try some games involving capital ships along with fighters, but at least I have already made some tests with two and three-hex long ships in MapTool.
That is all for now. Given the many different ship and weapon attributes (not to mention two distinct ship classes, fighters and capital vessels) the quick reference on this game is quite extensive. Still, the basic procedures (for movements and attacks) have remained simple. With a few more games, I expect to be able to set up and play some scenarios quickly.