Why Make Strike Fleet Zero?

Where to start?

I wanted to take this time and explain why I decided to create a game.  A RTS styled, turn-based, tabletop strategy game…..In space.

In February 2014, I began to realize that there weren’t any decent RTS games I could bite into (or that i haven’t played to death).  Command & Conquer vanished, Evil Genius was gone, Simcity didn’t do it for me anymore, and the remaster of Homeworld would not come out for another year at this point, and even though no one seemed to like this one SNES title, I would sadly, never see Metal Marines ever again.

My options for tabletop strategy games were few, though top quality.  However, they were breaking my bank account.  So on a day like any other, on my way to work, I had an idea.  I thought, why don’t I make something that I would want to play?  Maybe I could even give my friends something new to play?  So I began to think of what I would want to see in a tabletop strategy game.  I put pen to paper.  Some random doodles came about,  some basic rules, some neat ideas, and BAM!  I had a vision.  Bases, space ships, nightmarish galaxy spanning type weaponry, construction yards, Armoured Terror Mechs, refineries, and an epic campaign system with an awesome tech tree!  Oh the spectacular joy!

Not just that, but through the excitement, I had a vision of humanity and it’s future would be!  And this became the story to Strike Fleet Zero!

Just Imagine,

A civilization, guided by three strange beings known as the Grand Dreamers, at the zenith of it’s Utopian state, destroys itself through it’s own hubris by attempting to evolve into gods.  With the successful transformation of one such young girl, earth is torn to pieces as she gains the power to witness hundreds of dimensions at once, however unable to control her power.  With but a thought, the laws of the universe reform.  Planets are no longer where they used to be.  Sense becomes nonsense. 

Humanity escapes Earth, but without the Grand Dreamers, and with resources running out, humanity falls into a state of barbarism.  This continued until groups were formed, and with their leaders, decided to split off and try to find a planet to restart on in their own image.  The three fleets separated, and over the course of thousands of years, began to rebuild.  However, the Grand Dreamers did not perish, but instead reach out across the cosmos, beaming visions of power and godhood to the humans spread out across the black sea, all pointing to one place that has the crystal necessary to achieve this power…

I began to work on a wide variety of concepts as to how the game would appear on the table.  Miniatures?  While cool, were extraordinarily expensive to manufacture for ones own bank account in the quantities that I wanted (but a great idea for the future!).  Perhaps a deck building card game?  Nah…

It then occurred to me as I looked at some of my prototypes.  And I said, “hey, Unit Tokens!”  I loved how little room they occupy compared to some of the other games out there.  Plus, they’ll be way less of an investment for younger players to get into the tabletop strategy genre.  Because I’m a huge collector at heart, I decided, it would also be fun if they came in random packs.  Players could even trade units with your friends if they were playing a particular faction.  But I also didn’t want people to be intimidated by having some massive, hard to acquire collection.  I wanted to keep it simple and small.  Perhaps 3-4 Factions, with a variety of Fighters, Bombers, Gunships, Destroyers, Cruisers, Carriers, Dreadnoughts, and Structures.  All of which would play a specific battlefield role.  Add a hint of upgrades, and a new level of customization would be born to allow players to fine-tune their style of play even more.

I envisioned two levels of play;

The Strategic Mode, and the Tactical Mode.

The Strategic Mode is where up to 8 players can build up their main bases, which would include refineries, tech centers, warp gates, armouries, construction yards, mech bays, psionic training centers for the pilots, crazy nightmarish missiles or fold artillery that can fire across massive areas of space against the opponents base!  Which is when you would move in your Strike Fleet and attempt to wipe that player’s faction out or take over their bases!  Between battles, your refineries would collect several types of resources which could be used to either build up your fleet, upgrade your forces with a Tech Tree, or expand your control over an area.  Veteranized Units you acquire during the tactical version of the game would be able to form deadly spearheads, and perform a whole slew of annoyances to the enemy commanders.  Once some of the larger Battleships and Destroyers come in, they can obliterate enemy forces at a safe distance with their super lasers and gravity weapons capable of creating miniaturized black holes!  Commanders would have access to some strategic abilities that can change the course of battles.  Some are simple such as sending in an awaiting fleet to support an advance, or simply cut all restraints and order an Armoured Terror Mech, piloted by the viciously divine Elysian Being to annihilate the entirety of the enemy Fleet!  Their power over the elements which form our universe are honed in and used against entire enemy fleets, all while they jump between capital ships and simply put their plasma blades through the bridge!  To have to face such a Godbeast, is beyond words….

But more than that, I want people to envision what massive space battles would look and feel like.

This is where the commander’s skill will truly be put to the test.  The Tactical Mode is where the real action is.  Players will use points to build their fleets, and upgrade them as needed.  Abilities from Tech Trees will also be added, such as extra firepower, or cloaking!  Once a Strike Fleet engages another fleet or the defenses of an enemy base, a game with a focus on maneuvering and target priority will ensue.  The individual star ships are then used like a razor blade to cut up the enemy forces by use of Dog Fight action, overwhelming them with hot lead or capturing the enemy vessels!  As pilots become more desperate and gain some kills, they will veteranize and gain new abilities.  Depending on how badly the enemy force was defeated, the victor will gain their empire bonuses during the Strategic Mode of play and potentially even demoralize their opponent’s forces!

And thus the great search for artists began.  Problem is, you have to pay these people (Preposterous, I know)!  So while I began this as a hobby, and with the hundred ideas I had and could not agree upon, I decided that I could no longer afford the artists.  Sadly, I thought that this was the end of my idea.

But Strike Fleet Zero was beyond just me now (I may have lost my mind at this point).  I wanted to share this with not just the people around me, since it was slowly growing into something more interesting.

An incredible story for the game began to form, and I decided to focus on what I really wanted the units to look like since I had the fundamental rules down already.  So with some help, I slowly learned to draw.  A whole year went by, and I was finally done.

I looked at what other game designers were doing and noticed that kickstarter became popular.  So I thought, hey, why the heck not?  So without having anyone know about my project except for the people that playtested it, I launched the kickstarter campaign.  And boy did it crash…

But my zealously would not allow such a simple oversight.

So instead, I began to look at what I have created, and with my newly founded experience, I decided that I could make it even better.

I redid the story, the artwork, the game mechanics.

I began to take it out to the world and have even more people playtest it.  I had some great people suggest wonderful ideas that would surely enhance the experience.  And now I am just adding the final touches to the game while continuing to playtest with the community.

Everyday, I work tirelessly, making this a second full time job.  All because i believe I have something that people will really enjoy.

There is so much more to say about what I want to do with this game and the direction I want to take it in.  There are already plans that I’m working on doing once I have a bigger team.  My dream is to give players an immersive world.  One where they can command more than just space ships.  I want planetary sieges with ground battles, orbital bombardments on enemy planets, neutral factions of pirates and bounty hunters.  There is simply so much potential here!

The vision I have prepared for Strike Fleet Zero is going to blow your mind.


Max Ginzberg,


The Campaign!

The original intention for Strike Fleet Zero was to allow the players to forge their own bases and fleets, while battling eachother for supreme dominion of the ruined galaxy.  Whereas Strike Fleet Zero itself is played on a…shall we say, “Tactical Map”, the Campaign is played on a “Strategic Map”.  The Strategic map will show the individual players bases.  These can include Research Sites, Refineries, or a humble Fire Base.  Perhaps a hyper galactic artillery structure?  While all being solidly defended by a defensive perimeter of turrets.  The players will mine resources, which will allow them to expand their roaming fleets.  A tech tree will allow the player to upgrade their units, but be warned, while the transport carrying the upgrade is on route to the fleet for refurbishing, a clever commander may intercept it!  The goal is to always stay a step ahead…The campaign is set to play as a galactic domination scenario for up to 10 players.  Players may play solo, or team up and slowly conquer the galaxy together.

There are many ideas for the campaign right now, which so far, are getting good feedback.  I hope to have more details for you soon.


Tokens, the Variable Map System, and the Strategic Action Cards

Strike Fleet Zero utilizes several game tokens.  These are mostly there to help keep track of damage or whether a shield has been knocked out or to mark out your unit that just veteranized!

Unit and Module Tokens

The bread and butter of Strike Fleet Zero.  The Unit tokens (upper section) are your main fighting force.  They come with a variety of abilities and weapon systems so powerful, they have been dubbed Nightmare Systems by the pilots instead!  The green lines display the Nightmare’s Arc of Fire.  The Modules (lower section) are upgrades that can be purchased using the point system that players agree upon.  Modules are usually unit specific abilities.  However, with the right base of operations, these can be used to customize your units to an even finer degree, allowing the commanders to utilize their forces to their specifications.

The Variable Map Tile System

Strike Fleet Zero is played on a modular board.  Players have the option to play small skirmishes or expand the area for some epic fleet showdowns!

Initiative Tokens

The Initiative is the first of 4 Turn Phases in Strike Fleet Zero.  Players will roll off for the opportunity to move and attack first.  As commander, you also have the option of relinquishing focus of your unit’s movement speed, or accuracy.  This will allow you to add a bonus to your Initiative roll, and get that first round of shots off!

Asteroid Tokens

It is up to the commander to take advantage of every aspect of the battlefield to their advantage.  Asteroids are one such aspect, which roam the area of operations as double edged swords.  These can be used as cover, or as deadly shrapnel bombs when destroyed.

Force Fields

Force Fields come in two flavours to combat the 2 common styles of weapon fire that could be found on the battlefield.  First is the Mass Driver Type.  These will include solid ballistics such as bullets, or shells.  The second, is the Beam Type.  These are energy based weapons of varying wavelengths.  Fields are typically designed to sustain damage from one of these types of weapons, but rarely will one Field be able to handle both that you will find on a small ship.

Fired Token

During the 3rd of 4 game phases, the Fire Fight Phase is where you mark your target for extinction.  This is a rapid fire phase where both players alternate taking turns selecting a unit and firing at one another.  It is very important to make good decisions here as you may lose a unit before it even has a chance to shoot!  The Fired token is there to keep track of which units have already fired.

Damage Tokens

What can be said about the humble damage tokens?  umm…try not to have them used against you?…….Nailed it….

Veteran Tokens

As pilots become more focused, overconfident, or simply desperate, the motivation to push their skills to the limit becomes paramount.  Once a Unit destroys an enemy in either the Fire Fight Phase, or the Dog Fight Phase, they will veteranize.  This boosts their stats to new levels, making that unit even deadlier!

Strategic Action Cards

Commanders are always prepared with a variety of tricks up their sleeves beyond their ability to envision the timestream of a battle.  At a moments notice, the commander will bark an order, and bring heavy artillery down upon the enemy forces, or set off those X4 charges on the rigged asteroids, or even call for a heroic sacrifice, all for the glory of your Empire!

Class Introductions

Welcome Commander.  Here you will learn about the various strike forces at your disposal.  Each class has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, which you will need to exploit.


Fighters are lightly armed and armoured units used to decimate Bombers and defend against enemy Fighters.  Highly manoeuvrable, Fighters are outfitted to evade incoming fire, and are often times, superior dog fighters.









Carrying specialized equipment for their role, Bombers are used for penetrating armour and are devastating when used correctly.  Bombers may become overwhelmed and should be defended by Fighters, and Gunships.



Designed for front-line combat, Gunships perform a variety of roles on the battlefield. Equipped with heavier armour and shielding, these combatants are extremely capable in offensive, defensive and support roles.



Be they long term or temporary bases of operation, Structures are the backbone of any army. Providing a variety of support options, Structures are used to fine tune the overall strategy of the commander.


While these are just the basics, it is the commander’s duty to utilize their resources as efficiently as possible.


Chapter 1: The Nightmare Begins

A meteor streaked through the cosmos, launched from an unknowable point of origin; a seed among the vastness of the void. It was insignificant, a mote among the endless oceans of the stars. The meteor carried the most rare and precious substance in the universe: life. Pure and unadulterated life in the form of an Elysium crystal. It was the last of its kind, a leftover from the titanic forces that resulted in the creation of the universe. It was a part of reality and at the same time, not. For millions of years, it tumbled through space, until it was captured by the gravitational embrace of an unremarkable star, named Sol, and eventually collided with a small ball of molten rock orbiting the star, the third ball of molten rock out from the star, Earth. The meteor shattered on impact with the planetary surface, such was the velocity that the meteor was travelling at. An immense shockwave traversed the surface of the world, creating a tidal wave of molten lava unlike anything the world had or ever would know again. This tidal wave carried small pieces of the Elysium crystal everywhere around the world, and there, those pieces waited patiently for the right conditions for life to begin. The seeds were planted. The Elysium crystal is how life truly began on our world. It is also how life ended.

Earth, The Grand Dreamers: Year 2164

Civilizations rise and fall. Abundance, greed, destruction; a long twisting spiral back through history and time. This was so when humans lived in tribes, this was so when humans began conquering land, and this did not change centuries later when humans began exploring space. Only now the great spiral threatened to come to an end, the human race would not survive the next plummet into self annihilation. The human race, united under the name of the Arc Dominion, had spread out among the Sol system, forming colonies as far away as the moons of Saturn. Space was to be the future of humankind—its next frontier and its only means of survival. But despite all mankind’s advances in technology, ultimately their own biology fell short. Humans were not designed to live in space. Their skeletal structures break down in zero-gravity, muscles weaken, eyes lose focus. Eventually without gravity, humans die in space. If mankind were to claim the stars as their birthright, they would need to adapt, to evolve. In this age of decadence and depravity, a handful of brave people dared to challenge the inexorable. Calling themselves the Grand Dreamers, a small group of scientists attempted experiments in genetic engineering and forced evolutionary techniques to create a human that could survive in zero-gravity. While the rest of mankind wallowed in self-indulgence and destroyed themselves, they worked tirelessly to plant the seeds of mankind’s survival. If people could not leave the Sol System and find new worlds to live on, they were doomed. The Sol system only had one world that could sustain life indefinitely, and that world was dying. For decades, the Grand Dreamers toiled to create an evolved being capable of living in space, but all their efforts fell short. They were on the verge of being disbanded. But it was then, at their darkest moment, that a ray of hope shone through. A shard of a crystalline substance was unearthed. Its variable, trans-dimensional structure astounded researchers, who knew they were dealing with something extra-terrestrial. But even more astounding was its capacity for sudden, spontaneous growth of life. Paper, after paper was published on the miraculous find. But mankind, too fixated on their own annihilation did not heed the researchers. Only the Grand Dreamers realized what had been unearthed: mankind’s salvation. They knew that the key to making their grand dreams come true lay in that incredible artifact. But they were prevented from experimenting with the Elysium crystal. In the decades since the Grand Dreamers’ inception, anti-genetic-engineering sentiment had been on the rise on Earth, Mars and elsewhere. The Grand Dreamers were discredited in the public eye; mad scientists involved in gruesome human experimentation. They would never be allowed near the Elysium crystal. But this did not mean that the crystal could not come to them. The Grand Dreamers knew that time was short and that they must accomplish their goal or watch all of mankind perish. There were no other options. They worked behind the scenes, ultimately employing the services of a band of savage mercenaries to infiltrate the research facility when all other approaches failed.

With the crystal in hand, the Grand Dreamers were able to continue their research. Their findings were astounding; the crystal could not only spontaneously generate life, it rendered existing life malleable. Genetics could be manipulated as easily as an artist mixed their paints on a canvas. The Grand Dreamers began to realize that they had the capacity to not only allow mankind to survive, but to excel. To evolve beyond humanity’s wildest dreams. To transcend. What followed was another decade of experimentation with the crystal. Of the failed experiments, this tale does not tell, suffice to say that there are some things that never should have been brought into existence that now wander our universe. Even with the aid of the Elysium crystal, progress was slow. The Grand Dreamers had long since abandoned their original plans to create a zero-gravity adaptable human. Their ambitions and greed had grown, the nobility of their original goals forgotten. They would settle for no less than godhood at this point. Their greed and ambition was to be the downfall of all. At last their experiments yielded fruit. A viable specimen was produced. It needed only to be exposed to the energy of the Elysium crystal one last time, and the Grand Dreamers’ vision would come to pass. But the universe had other plans, it would seem. The night before the Zero Event – the final Elysium infusion – was to begin, the anti-genetic-engineering factions finally succeeded in locating the Grand Dreamers’ facility. The details of those final moments are unclear, but it is believed that a protest demonstration devolved into a violent riot. The compound was broken into, the scientists all slaughtered where they stood. The rioters made their way through the labs like a tidal wave of destruction, coming at last to the Elysium Lab. The lab held a containment field, with the Elysium crystal safely ensconced within and a huge metal canister marked “P-0: Test Subject: ‘Saber’”. All else was quiet. Mindlessly the mob surged forward demolishing all they could. The crystal was thrown to the floor, lost in the carnage. The canister was overturned and smashed and nutrient liquid gushed from it along with a shrouded object. It was then that the crowd did stop, faces filled with shock and revulsion. The canister contained a young girl, name Saber.


Even with destruction at hand, humanity could have saved itself. All they had to do was reach out and destroy the Grand Dreamers’ experiment. But they couldn’t move, so stunned were they at what the Grand Dreamers had wrought. They had heard that the Dreamers had been experimenting on humans, but never expected to be able to prove it. Horrified beyond measure, they watched as the girl, dying, now that she was no longer shielded by the canister, dragged herself instinctively across the floor with limbs that had never been used, leaving a trail of nutrient fluid behind her. With morbid fascination, the crowd parted way for her, as the apparition stopped and rose to her knees. In her hands, she clutched the Elysium crystal. A light began to flare from the shard as it reacted to the girl. It knew that its time had arrived at last after all the aeons of waiting. The room began filling with ether, the light was blinding and it wasn’t coming from the spent Elysium Crystal. The room began to tremble. The ethereal energy was growing and building, emanating from Saber herself! Following its nature, the Elysium crystal began to rapidly evolve the girl. With explosive force, the chamber holding Saber peeled apart like tissue paper, destroying the bemused protesters like an afterthought. As she grew and transformed, large white wings grew out from between her shoulders and unfurled wide. With one mighty beat, she shot out of the earth, tearing a hole through to the sky. The Grand Dreamers had succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They had not succeeded in ascending humanity to a new plane of existence. They had given birth to a Goddess. A mad Goddess with no concept of who, what, where or why she was. As her body, mind and consciousness continued to expand exponentially, Saber’s mad screams filled the air. It would be the last sound most of humanity ever heard, as cataclysm followed. A transformative shock-wave spread throughout the universe. Saber consumed, absorbed and created reality. Black holes erupted in galaxies yet unnamed, whole star systems ceased to exist and then others formed out of nothing. The new Goddess’ thoughts and fears were made manifest. The earth shook and quaked, the planet’s core churned and bubbled cracking long fissures through the mantle, bleeding molten rock.

And then, without warning, as suddenly as it began, it stopped.And then, without warning, as suddenly as it began, it stopped.
The occupants of the few surviving ships in orbit looked on in abject terror and awe as they beheld an incredible sight.
The earth, molten, rent and torn, crumbling into the void of space. Nothing on the planetary surface had survived the Goddess’ birth. The Goddess: kneeling in a pose of supplication, her luminous hands outstretched, holding Luna, the moon cupped almost lovingly, tenderly in her ethereal grasp. Saber’s eyes were closed, whether in slumber or meditation, none could say.
The Earth was dead.
A Goddess born.
And humanity’s existence was poised on the edge of a precipice.


Fearing that Saber would awaken and finish what she began, the survivors evacuated the Earth, heading for the other colonies in the Sol System. They watched with mournful sadness as their broken home grew smaller into the distance. Their new home of metal and glass felt all the colder, with the realization that they never again would feel grass, or breathe ocean air; their home was lost to them forever.
The convoy arrived at the Mars Colony, and were not welcomed with open arms. The Sol Aurelian Colonies, as they had been known, had long both feared and desired the demise of Earth. They did not yet understand what had happened, and were loathe to allow Earth refugees into their midst, when their own resources were so strained already.
The Colonies feared Earth’s inevitable demise, because it represented the only source of life-sustaining resources in the entire Solar System. Without it, the Colonies were forced to depend on artificial sources of food, air, water and shelter.
Humanity’s safety net had disappeared overnight.  The Sol Aurelian Colonies desired the demise of the Arc Dominion for the same reason. Knowing how dependent the Colonies were on them, the Arc Dominion had long established an oppressive dominance over the Colonies. The peoples of the Colonies toiled on far away worlds, sending riches and resources back to the ever-hungry Earth. In return, the Arc Dominion supplied them with scraps of resources that they needed to survive.

Indeed, the Sol Aurelian Colonies were eager for Earth to cease to be a power in the Solar System. But the Colony leaders had counted on a slow demise, many centuries from now, not…this. A massive power vacuum emerged followed by a system-wide civil war, as faction battled faction for control of the remaining resources in the Colonies. Over the next century, humanity devolved from an organized civilization into barbarism. Their survival hung by a frayed thread. And still Saber slept on, dreaming unknowable dreams.

The Path to Survival

Not all of humanity degenerated into madness and savagery. There were a few that rose above such carnal behaviour and kept their eyes on the larger picture; the survival of mankind. The Arc Dominion’s researchers had been on the verge of solving the problem of faster-than-light travel, when Saber awakened. The research facilities and most of the scientists involved in the project had been destroyed along with Earth. But not all. The Celestial Arc Project’s head scientist, one Alia Fynix had been aboard the ships that left the devastated Earth for the Mars Colony. Realizing that she now held the only hope for humanity in her hands, Alia worked secretly with elements of the Mars Colony government to recreate her original research. Though she would never live to see the Celestial Arc Project completed, her descendants eventually succeeded in developing the Path-Fold drive that would finally grant humanity access to the stars. The timing was fortuitous; for decades, strange phenomenon had been recorded with increasing intensity and frequency in the Sol System. Distortions of reality were becoming more frequent, particularly the closer one ventured to Earth’s remains. Even the star, Sol, was beginning to develop instabilities. All resources were devoted to creating a large convoy of Path-Fold capable Colony Ships – their destination: anywhere but the Sol System. With them, they brought all their history, science, bio-samples, as well as any technology they could. Anything that couldn’t be carried including technology and bio-matter was mapped and added to a vast database to be recreated later once they were safe.Mankind had finally reached the stars, leaving the smoldering ashes of their cradle behind them. But the long voyage through space began to split the remnants of humanity. And in their desperation, a war began that humanity could not control…


Strategic Level Gaming, Proudly Presents, Strike Fleet Zero

Humanity is in the midst of a Galactic Civil War.  Military forces of unimaginable might clash for supreme control over the galaxy.  It is a time of desperate struggles for survival, and the birth of legends.  As Marshall of the remnants of your civilization, you are all that stands between victory…and extinction.  Your entire nation will be depending on your tactical skill, ruthlessness and guile to bring glory to the fleet, victory to your civilization and peace to your enemies.

Strike Fleet Zero is a two-player, fast paced, combat wargame, where you use your fleet to secure victory though tactical, and strategic mastery.

After 4 years and many revisions, the turn-based tabletop strategy game, Strike Fleet Zero is reborn.  Stand behind one of three star civilizations, each with their own culture, ambition, and combat styles.

The Sol Aurelian:

The Enigmatic Nomads.  During the exodus from Earth, and after the devastating civil war for resources, many of the scientists and pacifists decided to join the Sol Aurelian Fleet of ships.  Over the millennia, they have developed a technology that allows them to draw out resources from a planet while remaining in orbit above it.  They are currently the only group of people trying to recreate the star maps and find old Earth.


The Arc Dominion:

The Expansionist Experts:  During the separation from the other fleets during the Exodus, the super-industrious, and remnants of the outdated military, decided that their method of survival was more realistic and split off in search of a new home world.  After thousands of years, they found a planet capable of sustaining them just before they lost all hope and were lost to the void.  Quickly, a monarchy rose and they discovered how to terraform some of the nearby planets and moons in their cluster.  This allowed them to spread out their empire, and become quite resource abundant.


The Tor Phaet:

During the Exodus, the remainder of the population, disagreeing with the newly named Sol Aurelian or Arc Dominion factions, decided to test their fate and go their own way.  However, a year into their journey, the Sol Aurelian received one final faint SOS transmission before all contact was lost.