Tim and I found ourselves with a random weeknight free, so we got together for a game of Full Thrust. A couple months ago Tim picked up a fleet of Cold Navy ships at an auction, and this was his first outing with his newly painted fleets. They ended up being two separate factions: the brown/yellow asteroid pirates and the green/blue...somethings. Yeah, we haven't done much with the backstory yet.
I managed to come up with names for my fleet of blue-and-gray ships — all Scandinavian names from various cultures throughout history. I have this idea that they're a quasi-Germanic far-future federation that's exploring the stars, etc. I definitely had a lot of fun saying stuff like "OK, the Rensselaer is going to open up with its laser batteries while the Gothenburg II tries a torpedo run."
Tim had been on a planet-making bender over the last couple of weeks...he literally showed up with a dozen painted planets, so we put about half of them on the table and came up with a quick scenario: the invasion of an alien solar system. Our two fleets would compete to land ground forces on the planets in an attempt to conquer and subjugate them. To land a strike team, a ship (any ship, we said) had to enter orbit around the planet and spend a turn orbiting it to drop sufficient troops and supplies. We came up with some fast-and-dirty rules to accomplish this, based around the Full Thrust framework, and then went at it.
My kitchen table is large and square, but it's only 5x3, whereas my space hex mat is 6x4. So we were playing on a slightly smaller area than our previous game. In retrospect, we could have compensated by changing all measurements from inches to centimeters, but we realized that midway through the game. Oh well — it just meant that our two fleets crashed together one or two turns ahead of schedule.
Tim sent his smaller ships to the planets nearest his side of the table, and I did the same on my side. Our largest battleships all converged on each other in an attempt to engage and destroy the most dangerous ships in the opposing fleets. Thus there developed a huge scrum between battleships in the center of the table, with little support ships flitting around on the fringes, landing troops and supplies in the middle of a huge firefight.
This proved to be my undoing. I was doing fine at mauling his big ships, but I had trouble getting my smaller ships into orbit to land strike teams. In the end, both of our fleets were hurting badly — note the raging inferno engulfing the bridge of the battleship Ostrogoth in the pic below — but he had claimed a decisive victory by occupying 4 planets to my 2.
Interestingly, one of those planets was occupied by one of his strike teams and one of mine. Full Thrust dovetails nicely with Dirtside and Stargrunt, two other sci-fi games published by Ground Zero Games, so it's possible that we could play out the fight between the two landing parties at a later date using either of those two other systems. Both include rules for orbital bombardment, which could definitely be interesting considering we both had ships in the vicinity of the planet when the game ended...