To begin combat you must scan the structure or ship and choose the option to attack, alternatively to attack ships, you can choose the "Enter Combat" option from the tactical menu or "Join Combat" if a battle is underway. Only one battle takes place per sector, so if you choose to attack a ship while a battle is happening, you and your target will be placed in the battle on opposing teams.
Combat in TextSpaced uses a card-based system where a player creates a "battle deck" outside of combat for each ship type they own, up to a maximum of 18 cards. The deck will automatically include port cards when combat starts based on the ports currently equipped but additional cards can be added to customise the deck. Some of these cards are unique to certain ships and some are unlocked in relation to different skill levels or otherwise learnt or gained.
All ships and structures start with a default deck, with additional cards added to structure decks based on the level of the structure.
There are four types of card:
Reactive cards are cards that react to other incoming attack cards, such as counter-measures that block a missile.
Attack cards are cards that represent your weapons, and based on the fire rate of the weapon determines how many copies of that card are added to your deck (on top of the battle deck of 18 cards).
Defensive cards are cards that perform non-offensive functions, such as repairing your hull or cloaking if you have a cloaking module equipped.
Special cards are special actions including the special ability of the current ship.
The special ability of your ship takes four rounds to charge, and once charged is automatically added to your hand, provided your hand has space.
When the battle starts, each player is dealt 9 cards from the deck with are not attacking cards. During a battle, a player can only play a certain number of cards per round and can also only hold up to 9 cards before new cards are no longer drawn from the deck.
The number of cards playable per round is calculated as the number of ports on the ship, divided by two plus one. So a ship with 2 ports can play 2 cards per round - a ship with 4 ports could play 3 cards per round and a ship with 10 ports can play 6 cards per round. All structures with less the 100 attack can only play two cards per turn. Structures with 100 attack or more can play three cards per turn, with the exception of defence structures which can play four per turn.
All of the weapons on your ship will have corresponding attack cards which can be view under the 'Configure Weapons' menu. Each weapon will fire when its reload reaches zero, signified by the reload reading as 'ready', otherwise the number of turns until it's ready is shown. These attack cards are played when ready by default and fired at targets based on the firing mode (the default firing mode be the weakest opposing ship or structure in the battle), however you can change the firing mode or manually fire weapons if you prefer.
To change the firing mode, enter the 'Configure Weapons' menu and choose are firing mode, the modes available are:
- Fire At Will (fire at random targets)
- Hold Fire (do not play attack cards)
- Strongest (fire at the strongest structure or ship in the battle)
- Weakest (fire at the weakest structure or ship in the battle)
- Manual Targeting (fire all weapons at a declared target)
When selecting the 'Manual Targeting' option you will then be presented with targets to fire all weapons at, simply hit the select button under the target's portrait or description. You can also choose to target each weapon individually, to do this, select "Set Target" under the weapon portrait or description and select a target - repeating for each weapon you wish to manual target. For both of these targeting modes a new 'Clear Manual Targets' option will appear, selecting this will clear all of the manual targets you have set and restore the firing mode to 'weakest'.
The order of play is prescribed so that once every player has chosen their cards the round proceeds with a set order (RADS). This order being:
- Reactive cards + Attack cards
- Defensive cards
- Special cards
Players with the highest sub-light speed go first and the slowest last. The battle is over once the entire enemy team has been destroyed.
The SHIELD stats of a ship play an important role in combat, and should be understood as follows:
- Shield: Protects all other systems from damage (excluding special weapons)
- Hull: Your ship is destroyed when it reaches zero
- Internal Systems: Reduces the number of cards you can hold in your hand when damaged
- Engines: Governs your maximum sub-light speed
- Light drive: Reduces the chance of retreat and when reaching zero all retreat cards are removed from the deck
- Defences: Increases the damage you take overall as it decreases and when completely destroyed there is a chance a port is destroyed also, removing all of its cards from the hand and deck
In card-based combat, attack cards always hit their target unless stopped by a reactive card, which is why they are shown together in the round order. Attack cards are how you deal damage to an enemy ship or structure.
Attack cards represent weapons and all weapons have a type, a damage type and some even have special perks, which provide additional effects in combat. The weapon type has the biggest impact in combat as different types serve different roles, the weapon types are:
- Cannon: High damage but has a large amount of counter reactive cards
- Turret: Low damage but has a low amount of counter reactive cards
- Missile: Medium damage but has a medium amount of counter reactive cards
- Torpedo: High damage but has a large amount of counter reactive cards
- Broadsides: High damage but can only target ships with a speed of 150 or lower
- Artillery: Very high damage but can only target structures
The damage type of the weapon also plays a significant role, the damage types being:
- Kinetic, EM, Anti-Matter: No additional effects
- Shock: Has a chance of damaging a random system through shields
- Arc: Stacks damage against the shields and causes stacking damage to the shields based on the maximum shield output of the target
- Nuclear, Nuclear EMP: Stacks damage against all systems once the shields are down based on the maximum hull strength of the target. Once it reaches 100 ppm it knocks out the crew and forces a turn skip
- Biogenic: Once it reaches 100 ppm knocks out the crew and forces a turn skip (excluding Androids)
- Molten: Stacks damage against the hull based on the maximum hull strength of the target
Stack in this context refers to damage that increases with each subsequent hit.
When combat begins there will a pause while all players are connected and the battle is generated. Once the battle starts you will have 2 minutes to choose your cards before the next round begins. Options within combat include the following:
- Configure Weapons: Change the firing mode or set manual targets as described above
- Enable/Disable Auto-Play: Cards are played for you each round
- My Team: View the stats of your team
- Opposing Team: View the stats of the opposing team
- View Ship Special: View details about your ships special and when it will be ready.
- Choose Card: Choose a card to play from your hand when auto-play is disabled
If a player wishes to retreat from combat, they must first draw the retreat card and play it, if the auto-play option is enabled, the retreat card will be played when your shields are down and you have a severely damaged hull - providing of course there is a retreat card in your hand.
Card-based combat is extremely versatile as it allows a player to customise their deck as they wish but also very tactical, as battles are split into tiers and there are a plethora of effects that can be combined as well as chaining and complex reactions.
You can undertake combat training at any point by selecting the option from the command menu. Combat training is a simulation where you can perform a random scenario, or generate a custom scenario based on a few parameters. All the damage is simulated and your ship will be in its original condition once combat has ended or you end the simulation.
Combat training is the perfect way to master combat and refine your deck.