Bulkington Wargaming Club
An Introduction to Full Thrust

Link to us : go.to/Wargaming


by Peter Houston

Here at the BWC, you may have noticed that we mainly play Games Workshop games, this is due to the fact that they are the only ones available in our area.

Being an older gamer I remember a time before GW dominated the Sci-Fi / Fantasy market, and as such I wanted to introduce other games to the club members.

I had heard of Full Thrust by Ground Zero Games (it's been around since 1991), and I had seen the miniatures, but had never played the game. So when I saw them at a wargame Convention (Colours, in Reading) I decided to take the plunge and I (along with my brother) bought the Full Thrust rules and the two Fleet Books.

On the way back from Reading I learnt the rules, they are so simple it only took me about half an hour. Then the other week I played my first game. I will try to give an overview of the game mechanics and my impression of how it plays.

Each player designs their own fleet to a set point value, my first game against Chris Proctor used two fleets each 1000pts and consisting of six ships each.

Each ship has a System Status Display - SSD (left) which which gives details (in icon form) of the weapons, thrust rating, defenses, hull integrity etc. At first glance these look complicated, but they are very simple to pick up.

This example shows (from the top) that it has two beam weapons (lasers, phasers, whatever) one at Class 1 firing in all six fire arcs and one at Class 2 that can only fire 180° to the front.
Next is a torpedo Tube which is front firing.
The next icon shows that the ship has a level 1 screen, these protect against beam weapons.
Next is a single Fire Control system which means the ship can only fire its weapons at one ship per turn.
Next is the Anti Fighter Defence system, and the Area Defence Fire Control, these are used to target enemy fighters and missiles.
Next down shows the Hull Damage Track, the circles are armour which are lost first, and the boxes represent the hull strength, when all boxes are crossed off the ship is destroyed.
Finally the last set of icons show that the ship has an FTL Drive (Faster Than Light) and a Thust Rating of 4, the final three icons represent the Command Centre, Life Support and Power Centre (these can be knocked out during battle, as can any other system)

All ships can move along twelve courses, this is done using the 'clock-face' method. At the start of the game the players decide which side of the table represents 12 o'clock.

Each player starts noting down the course their ships start on and starting velocity. Example if 12 is at the top edge (as you look at it) a Course of 3 Velocity 8 would mean they would be heading to the right at 8 MU per turn. (MU = Movement Units, as the playing area can vary greatly the players can decide what MU to use; inches, centimeters Feet, whatever works best)

Each game turn all players write orders for each of their ships, these are simply a turn order, how many points around the clock face they want to turn, and a velocity change up or down. Ships can change speed by upto their current Thrust Rating (4 in the above example) and change course by upto half it's Thrust Rating. So our ship could be given the following orders "P2 + 4" which means it would turn to Port (left) two points (maximimum) and increase its speed by 4. There is no "maximum" speed a ship can go, but you have to be careful or they could end up off the table.

Movement is simultaneous with all players moving their ships as directed by their orders. Combat is carried out on a ship by ship basis, alternating players starting with the player that won an initiative roll taken at the beginning of each turn.

Combat is simplicity itself, for example beam weapons roll a number of dice (D6) depending on it's class and the range to the target. 1-3 is a miss, 4-5 does 1 damage and a 6 does 2 damage and is re-rolled. As every 6 is re-rolled it is possible to take out a ship with one shot, if your lucky. Screens reduce the damage caused by beams.

As the ship takes damage it has the possibility of losing it's systems, this risk is increased as the ship additional damage.

That about sums up the game, there are more advanced rules including astroids, sensors, etc. The simple game mechanics means it is not the most accurate space simulation, but you will manage to get in to combat very quickly and you could possibly have more than one game a night.

Ground Zero Games produce a nice range of over 160 ships to accompany the game, including some nice alien ships. However the rules specifically state that you can use any models you want and even gives details of other manufacturers.

The rules include a very good ship design system, which will allow you to create your own ships. The Fleet Books have additional rules and also many ready made fleets for use with their range of miniatures, and tie in with the games optional background setting. You don't need the Fleet Books but the updated rules and the ready made ships make them worth buying.

All in all Full Thrust is a very fast and enjoyable game and as it only cost £6 for the Rules, £8 for each of the Fleet Books (We got the lot for £20 at Colours) it is well worth a look, especially if you already have some ship miniatures like BFG.

Ground Zero Games
PO Box 337,
Needham Market,
IP6 8LN.

Bifrost 2000
See GZG at Bifrost 2000
as well as Full Thust participation games

An online catalogue is avalable at

The GZG Meta-FAQ is available at

 Other Articles 
I have produced my own version of the Turn/Fire Arc Template used in the game as well as a complete set of Ship Record Charts, they are avalable here

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