Gunboats – Silent Death Ship Builder v0.9.1

It’s been a while (a whole week) since the last update, but the time was well spent. Version 0.9.1 of the Silent Death Ship Builder brings some bigger ship classes to the fray, plus a few other niceties.

Check out the full list of changes:

  • Gunboats and freighters, in light, medium, and heavy classes. These ships get four separate damage tracks and damage reduction attributes. Note also that they can’t dodge torpedoes so be sure to build in enough countermeasures in case jamming fails.
  • Noted that Protobolters may fire two bolts at a single target in one turn.
  • Optimized damage track rendering to make the most computationally expensive part of the interface 3x as fast.
  • Added info and help text to the bottom of the page, made it hide the first time the template is changed, and gave it a toggle control.
  • Added a print stylesheet which hides the header, footer, construction stats and other design-related elements, and makes minor size changes to improve printed output. For those who like to print instead of using the clickable damage tracks this should make it easier to fit ship designs on a single page… though gunboats pose an additional challenge!

I’m still looking for suggestions on naming this application for the upcoming 1.0 version! Let me know in the comments if you have any ideas!

    mike Says:

    Can’t wait to try out gunboat and freighter battles!


    I have to say, freighters (and to some degree shuttles and scouts) are only in there because they’re offered in the rules, they’re certainly not as battle-worthy as gunboats (or fighters, respectively). That being said they could probably serve as part of a scenario, “protect the freighter and its valuable cargo,” if we want to branch out later.

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ll find a way to build many 300-400 (or more?) point ships now 🙂

    mike Says:

    Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a strategy for using them effectively? I wonder if they have more slots (possible weapon stacking) with less maneuvering and defensive potential?

    mike Says:

    Also, I wonder a lot…


    The main advantage I can see is that, compared to a gunboat of similar tonnage, freighters are significantly cheaper. Try going for the same drive or defensive value and you’ll see what I mean. Which also means that they don’t cost a ton to get very large damage tracks.

    However I think their suitability for combat is questionable: they have far fewer slots and fewer crew, so they’ll have a hard time packing the punch of a gunboat. Presumably this is because a substantial portion of their space is devoted to hauling cargo instead of mounting weapons.

    But it might be interesting to see if a lightly armed freighter could in fact be worth something in combat just by virtue of taking a beating like a gunboat but costing quite a bit less…

    mike Says:

    Heh, so it’s actually the opposite of what I said! I would say they’d be good front line damage soakers, but it’s far too easy to ignore one target (like the freighter) for others (accompanying fighters) seeing as how you can shoot through targets (iirc)?

    What I find interesting is that freighters get better drive costs than a gunboat? I can see defensive value, but not better drive than a similar-sized ship meant for combat.


    Their drive costs might possibly be explained as having more of their space allotment devoted to engines, as the truckers of space, but not the more expensive precision maneuvering thrusters fighters require for dogfights. Or it could just be one of those things that comes down to game balance.


    I should read more of the scenarios in the various books I have now, but one rough sketch of a scenario featuring freighters comes to mind:

    Make them the “flag” in capture the flag. I think in one of the books I don’t own yet there’s stuff about tractor beams, which would mean you could literally capture and tow an enemy freighter. But even without that the goal could be to destroy opposing freighter(s) before they destroy yours. Each team builds a freighter up to a certain total, which is a fraction of their overall points, and have that ship be like the team’s king on the chessboard.

    I think they’d make pretty good kings/flags/targets because they can take a lot of punishment but can’t carry a lot of weapons or go super fast so they’d be very dependent on their fighter and gunboat complement for defense.