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Playing the Enemy

As the Enemy, you are in charge of everything. You must interpret rules and make rulings as well as controlling all enemies, neutrals, space anomalies, traps etc.

You will do fine as long as you remember that the point of Battlestations like all games is to have fun. These rules are here to create an artificial reality where starships whiz around in space and characters take bold actions to meet the challenges you put in front of them. The fun we are trying to provide is the excitement of heroic starship adventure.

Please don’t let these rules get in the way of your fun. If there is a rules question and the answer isn’t easy to find, make a snap judgment and look it up later. The difficulty to do just about anything is 8 for most stuff or 11 for hard stuff. If you get it confused, it won’t ruin the game as much as stopping the fun to search through the rulebook.

If a player wants to bluff that a toolkit he tosses down the hall is a grenade to buy some time, have him make a Diplomacy check and move on. Let the players have their fun. Use these rules to provide a framework and a jumping off point, not a cage. OR just tell them there aren’t rules for grenade bluffing and move along. Do whatever works for you and your game.

Since the players have clones, you can play your role as the Enemy as mean as you like. Even a total party kill can be fun (but I wouldn’t make a habit of it). Often in playtest, I’ll realize that something is wrong and make a change on the fly (one missile per phase would blast them! I’d better make it one per round.) Since everything in this book is perfectly playtested, you won’t ever have to modify anything.

Since there isn’t a font for sarcasm, I’ll have to explain that last sentence. With dozens of species, special abilities, and pieces of equipment, it is impossible for us to playtest every combination. Even the combinations we do test, tend to favor the tastes and rank of my local playtest group.

A mission that works fine at MD4 with 5 players at rank 3 might become a nightmare at MD 7 for 7 players at rank 5. You will have to use your judgment more often than I care to admit.

The tools you have at your disposal are these rules, missions, plot twists, and your wits. Use them wisely to create a balanced experience and then have fun with it.

As the Enemy, you do get to play to win. You also have to be a bit of a referee. Intentionally selecting plot twists such as “Sirens” that causes a stun check at the mission start and “Scurvy” that gives the heroes a +3 penalty on stun checks is the kind of sneaky cheap trick you should only pull on the Dutch when their regular Kiwi referee complains that they are beating him too easily.

Enemy Ship and Crew

Unless otherwise specified in the mission parameters, the enemy ship should be equal in size to that of the heroes and of a random registry. See page 284.

Enemy ships should be crewed by a single species with an even distribution of professions. There should be as many Enemy crew of that species as there are heroes. Fill out the extra spots with bots just as you would for heroes. See page 160 for crew generation.

Controlling Enemies

Obviously, being in charge of an entire enemy crew of 16 characters on a dreadnought can be daunting (more daunting with additional ships, installations or other factors). Try the following shortcuts to make life easier on the Enemy:

Track Enemy Damage with Polyhedral Dice

This game uses only six-sided dice. Using multi-sided dice from other games like 10 or 20 sided dice for damage markers means you’ll never accidentally pick up a hit point marker and roll it.

Resolve Enemy Actions During Character Actions When Possible

After the heroes have done as much as they are going to do to the enemy on a given phase, you can start in on enemy actions. That way you don’t have to wait until the heroes are completely done. Even if you can’t do anything yet, you can start planning your actions and figuring the difficulties during hero actions.

If it turns out the players do manage to fire a shot at the enemy ship, just backtrack your moves to the point where the heroes shot.

Enemy Actions

For enemy actions, go for 8 difficulty where you have a professional reroll as a rule of thumb. That means going for fewer scans, power, or turns if the difficulty is 9 or more and holding off firing weapons until the difficulty is 8 or less.

In general, tend to resolve enemy actions in the order of Engineering, Science, Combat and Piloting.

Use the following checklist as a reminder not a rule.

Enemy Action Checklist

  1. Not crashing the ship into an astral body
  2. Dealing with boarders
  3. Power pumping
  4. Scans
  5. Direct Weapons Fire
  6. Missile Launch
  7. Helm Actions

Enemies and Allies Skills

Enemy rank should be equal to the Mission Difficulty unless otherwise modified by mission parameters or Plot Twists.

Roll 2 dice and consult the following chart to determine the Enemy skill levels.

Find the rank (MD) of the enemies along the top row and cross reference to the die roll along the left column. The set of numbers given represents all enemy characters’ Athletics, Primary skill, and Secondary skill respectively. Thus, rolling a 7 for rank 6 enemies yields 4/8/1 giving them all 4 Athletics, 8 in Primary skill and 1 in all other skills. NPC’s of rank zero are fixed at 1/2/0.


Bots will be equipped with standard bot equipment. Roll on the chart to see the primary weapon for the non-bot enemies.

If a character has greater than 1 Athletics and can wear armor, it will. Roll on the equipment chart for one lower Athletics. i.e. A human with a 2 Athletics will have armor and roll on the 1 athletics equipment chart. Silicoids get a butt for their ranged weapon and a JetPack. Minutians roll on a chart based on half their Athletics (round down).

Characters with hands and Athletics both of 3+ will have a shield (raising their target number by one) and roll on the chart for one Athletics lower.

Enemies can roll once for each column. Lazy Enemies (like I usually am) can roll once and just track it across the columns. Note that you might need to adjust so that each Scientist gets a MedKit. No crew will space without a MedKit. Swap a heavier weapon like an ion bore for a blaster and a MedKit as needed.

Hopefully, some enterprising battlestations programmer will build something to make this chart clickable somewhere to generate random enemies. You don’t often think that you want people to generate random enemies for you but this is where I am.


A rank 5 Zoallan crew (MD5). I roll an 9 for their skills making them 4/6/3. This gives them a hefty 4 Athletics and they have 3+ hands so they’ll get a shield and look on the 3 Athletics chart. On this chart I throw a 5 so they are armed with:

Ion bore, grenade, VibraKnife, grenade, Cybergyros, and their basic kit. This gives them each their basic kit (MedKit for Scientist and Marine, ToolKit for Engineer and JetPack for Pilot). They’ll carry the shield.

Enemy Skills Chart

2d6 MD0- MD1 MD2 MD3 MD4 MD5 MD6 MD7 MD8 MD9 MD10
2 1/2/0 1/2/1 1/3/1 2/5/1 2/4/4 4/5/3 4/5/4 4/8/2 1/8/5 2/8/7 3/9/8
3 1/2/0 1/2/1 1/2/2 2/3/3 1/6/3 1/7/3 3/7/3 3/9/1 4/7/5 4/9/6 3/9/9
4 1/2/0 1/2/1 2/3/1 1/5/2 1/5/4 3/6/3 3/6/4 2/6/5 3/8/5 3/8/7 4/9/8
5 1/2/0 1/3/0 1/4/1 3/4/2 4/6/1 4/7/1 1/9/1 3/7/4 2/7/6 4/8/7 4/9/9
6 1/2/0 1/3/0 1/3/2 1/4/3 3/6/2 2/5/4 3/8/2 4/9/1 4/9/4 2/9/7 5/9/7
7 1/2/0 1/3/0 2/4/1 3/5/1 3/5/3 2/8/1 4/8/1 4/7/4 4/8/5 3/8/8 5/9/8
8 1/2/0 1/3/0 2/3/2 1/6/1 2/6/3 2/7/3 1/7/4 1/7/5 2/9/5 4/8/8 5/9/9
9 1/2/0 2/2/0 1/4/2 2/5/2 3/7/1 4/6/3 2/9/1 2/9/3 4/7/6 5/8/7 6/9/6
10 1/2/0 2/2/0 1/5/1 2/4/3 3/4/4 2/6/4 2/8/3 4/6/5 3/8/6 4/9/7 6/9/7
11 1/2/0 2/2/0 3/4/1 2/6/1 2/7/2 4/7/2 2/7/4 3/8/4 1/9/6 5/8/8 6/9/8
12 1/2/0 2/2/0 2/4/2 3/5/2 4/6/2 2/8/2 4/6/4 3/7/5 3/9/6 2/9/8 6/9/9

Enemy Equipment

2 Sonic Beam + Kit + g Knife, Stun, Kit MedJack with 1 of each drug Kit + Kit
3 Needler + Kit Sword + ggg Skeletal Enhancement, Slug Machine Gun, Kit + Kit
4 Slug Gun + Kit Kit + 2 Flyntlocks + Emp grenade Cyberfoot+Pro Chip Kit + Kit
5 Ion bore + g VibraKnife+Kit + g Cybergyros Kit + Kit
6 Disintegrator + scope Phase Pick Cyberhand+Pro Chip Kit + Kit
7 Blaster + Kit + g Gun Butt, Kit + g Autonurse + Pro Chip + gg Kit + Kit
8 Laser +Kit Energy Blade + gg Set of skill chips + MagBoots Kit + Kit
9 Nerve Disruptor + Kit Plasma Dagger + Kit Cyberhook+Pro Chip Kit + Kit
10 Particle Gun + Kit Arc Laser + ggg Kit + Pro Chip + Satchel Charge Kit + Kit
11 Voltrex EMP pistol Skeletal Enhancement, Plasma Projector Kit + Kit
12 Plasma Pistol + gggg Lightning Rod + Kit Butt + Kit Kit + Kit

* g = grenade of Enemy’s choice

Enemy Kits

PROFESSION 1 KIT = 2 KIT = 3 KIT = 4 KIT = 5 KIT =
Marine VibraKnife MedKit JetPack EVA + WristComp Grenade Pack - 1 each of:
1. Frag
2. Energy
3. EMP
4. Stun
5. Fritzer
Scientist MedKit JetPack ToolKit EVA + WristComp
Engineer ToolKit JetPack MedKit EVA + WristComp
Pilot JetPack ToolKit MedKit EVA + WristComp
content/official/rules/playing_the_enemy.txt · Last modified: 2018/03/29 19:44 by lektu