Boarding Torpedoes and randomness

Written by Ron Saikowski, December 7th, 2017

Can I just start with saying I despise randomness in games. Right, wrap your head around that little gem… considering that it’s a big part of all the games we play. Let me explain a little better.

I hate randomness for the sake of randomness or because a game designer didn’t know how or was too lazy to solve a problem in the game so they resorted to making the outcome of a particular situation random. That’s what I hate. It’s not randomness in general, it’s laziness more than anything else that results in randomness.

Now I know there are instances where a random outcome is the preferred way to solve the problem at hand. In my experience though, those are few and far between.

If I’m playing a game and happen upon something that’s solved by a “random” solution that doesn‘t fit the way it should in the game, I go hunting for a better way to solve it. I’m not saying my solution is better every time, but I feel like having game solutions that are implemented with a purpose make for a far better game than those that use randomness as a “Get out of Jail Free” card.

If I can figure out a better solution on my own, in my basement, on a Friday night after stuffing my face full of pizza and drinking while arguing over who the best Space Marine chapter is with my friends... I would think a professional game designer could have done the same thing had they tried hard enough and left me with more time to debate the finer points of deep dish pizza vs. thin crust.

All that being said… I absolutely love the randomness of boarding torpedoes in Space Hulk. I know, I said I hate randomness, but this is different… I swear.

In this case, the randomness of the boarding torpedo landing spot is not actually random. It’s the perfect way to simulate the effect of firing an over sized missile from one barely operational ancient spaceship somewhere into the hull of another no longer operational derelict spaceship with no steering mechanism. You're really just hoping to hit the thing in the first place despite the fact you probably have absolutely no idea where you should be aiming to begin with.

And we all know how well “hoping” works in Space Hulk. It’s like saying, “Hey fellas, I sure hope we don’t run into any Genestealers on this overly infested derelict space hulk.”

Given the opportunity to start by deploying my squad in a boarding torpedo, I’ll take it every time. Not for the randomness, but because it’s the perfect game mechanic to describe boarding a derelict space hulk by torpedo.


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IMAGE: Wikipedia. View from WWII Landing craft, the original boarding torpedo.
KEYWORDS: Space Hulk, boarding torpedo, Terminator, deployment


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