Full Thrust

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Cover of the "Light" rules published in UK

Full Thrust is a tabletop sci-fi ship-to-ship battle game. It really shines for fleet-vs-fleet action, and having a nice balance between crunch and game.

It was originally started by Ground Zero Games, who sold spaceship miniatures. Jon Tuffley got this idea in his head to give away a game for playing with the miniatures, so he sat at his desk and got to work. He found that the rules and ideas he produces were a bit too much to throw in as a freebie pamphlet with each purchase of minis and models, so GZG decided to publish it as a separate product, thinking it might boost sales of their main line.


Full Thrust has been translated into many languages, has its own splatbooks, and fluff. GZG has even been giving away the *.pdf files for free (pfft, as if neckbeards ever BUY books).

  • Full Thrust (1991) - first edition Can't find it anymore, but who cares.
  • Full Thrust: 2nd Ed (1992) - where it really starts
  • Full Thrust: More Thrust - expansion book, but most of it is obsoleted by the Fleet books
  • Full Thrust Fleet Book 1 - rules for vector (realistic zero-gee 2D) movement and more fluff.
  • Full Thrust Fleet Book 2 - FILTHY XENO SCUM!!!1!!!one!!!
  • Full Thrust Light (UK Edition) - a stripped-to-the-basics version that introduces the most important core rules of the game.

The rules from the 1992 rulebook + the two fleet books are considered the canonical rules, called "2.5 edition." Edition 3.0 has been promised for a long time. The "Light" rules published in UK and Germany are supposed to be a teaser.

There's been adaptations from other settings into Full Thrust as well:

  • The Babylon Project: Earthforce Sourcebook - Babylon 5, written by Jon Tuffley himself
  • Power Projection: Fleet - Traveller rules licensed by the BITS
  • Power Projection: Escort - the 'lite' version of the "Fleet" book above.
  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
A Full Thrust fleet from the intro booklet

/tg/'s opinion[edit]

Too simple for the hardcore grognards. Some feel it's too much like sail ships on water, some pooh-pooh the movement rules in space (either overlooking the vector movement rules, or wanting true 3D movement). The mathfags will point out that the point-buy system can be abused horribly by min-maxing your fleet into something monstrous.

... but everyone agrees that set-up and play is fast, and still has that essential sci-fi feel. What it may sacrifice in realism it gains in dropping the need for a spreadsheet for each ship. Sure, you can abuse the ship design rules but if you do that you're a dick and you're not playing the game properly - its a game of toy spaceships, not Kasparov vs. Deeper Blue! You get continuous and pulse beam weapons, missiles, fighters, power management, and you can field dozens of ships to a side without more than an index card for each craft.


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The game's history unrolls from 2000, describing confederations of nations on Earth, and inter-faction fighting turning the world into a shitstorm.

Major Factions[edit]

Who owns what within 15 parsecs of Sol/Earth.
  • EC - European Confederation. No longer exists,
  • NAC — The "New Anglian Confederation" is the British Empire IN SPAAAAAAAAACE! They speak English, home planet named "Albion," Royal Navy feel, they have a King.
  • NSL — The "Neu Swabian League" is the German Empire IN SPAAAAAAAACE! Think of a mix of the 19th century Prussians and Soviet East Germany feel -- no Nazis here. They speak German and their navy is known as the Kriegsraumflotte. Home planet is "Neu Salzburg."
  • FSE — The "Federal Stats Europa" is the rest of Europe that didn't shack up with England or Germany. They got a democracy, speak French, and their navy is L'Astromarine des FSE.
  • ESU — The "Eurasian Solar Union" are the commies. Russians, Chinese, and their client states in glorious people's republic. Their Navy is called the Voyenno-Kosmicheskiy Flot in Russian and Taikong Jiann Dwee in Chinese. Their homeworld is "Nova Moskva."

Minor Factions[edit]

Not official Full Thrust models BUT THEY SHOULD BE
  • Indonesian Commonwealth
  • Islamic Federation (seemed like a great idea when originally conceived, but now in slightly bad taste :-P)
  • Free Cal-Tex - California and Texas put their differences aside and left the USA. Who woulda thunk?
  • Pan-African Union
  • League of Latin American Republics
  • New Swabian Union
  • Japan
  • New Israel
  • Oceanic Union
  • Romanov Hegemony
  • Royal Dutch Commonwealth - stoners in spaaace
  • Saeed Khaliphate
  • Switzerland

Xeno Factions[edit]

  • Kra'Vak — (translates as "People of the Sorrow Killer"). Bipedal lizard-bugs, use a language that humans can't really speak or understand, so humans tend to fail Diplomacy checks. What makes it worse is Kra'Vak have multiple stages of puberty during their life where they flip genders and behaviors -- the placid matronly woman you dealt with last month is now an aggressive teenager bent on conquest before the next life-stage will have him settling down to bear children. Kra'vak technology is about the same level as humans, but they have more trust for mass-throwing ship weapons such as railguns and missiles, and they also lack shield technology.
  • Sa'Vasku — Very long-lived jellyfish, they've seen younger races rise and fall. Their galactic politics are very conservative, and they seem to fear change. They make for bizarre allies, willing to take whichever side of a battle will result in the weakest victor. The proliferation of humans scares the bejeezus out of them, but at least they seem to treat each human faction as a separate entity rather than trying to undermine humanity as a whole. Sa'Vasku technology is biosynthetic: their spaceships are living creatures they inhabit just like the tapeworm in your colon. The ships have beam-organs and missile-spore ejectors.
  • Phalon — oxy-breathers, bilateral symmetry, but too many joints in their limbs, bone-plates in their skin and flat triangle heads with a three-part eye. Most of their military are the sterile third gender. Phalon technology is also bio-synthetic, but rather than breeding vehicles, they construct ships out of metal and fleshy bits -- their spaceships look like big snails. Phalons can speak human language, and their psychology is similar enough to translate abstract concepts, but Phalons have nothing that resembles human morality.