Most of the Traveller starship combat we’ve ever done was “theater of the mind”-style descriptive. More recently, I’ve used Mayday rules a few times. I’ve never even tried the Starter Traveller band system, though I think it would probably work just fine.
In my early days, I really struggled with the vector system outlined in Book 2. I really wanted to be able to do it, but I didn’t quite get it. I remember even asking my dad to help me with it but he didn’t really get it, either. It took a long time for me to grok, and I think a huge issue I had was that lines 1 and 2 in the example–explained as 75mm and 25mm in length, respectively–were BOTH THE SAME LENGTH. As a kid, it never occurred to me that a book like that could have an error in it, and I assumed that I just plain didn’t understand something about what the rules meant. Also, the talk about the vector’s angle in degrees is not necessary and only added to my confusion.
When the lightbulb finally went on, I was able to figure it out…mostly. The 100mm per G length was too large for me (I didn’t have a gymnasium floor to play Traveller on) so I reduced that to 10mm. And I proceeded to fight out battles on paper with a pencil and a ruler, sometimes needing to tape another sheet on the edge, and watching a web of vectors grow.
Tonight, for probably the first time since the 1980s, I busted out a ruler and drew some vectors, thankful for a whiteboard. It all came back pretty quickly, and 30+ years has helped me figure out even quicker ways to lay them down. I think that the original vector system is a lot of fun, though I need to brush up on some of the combat rules. In play, I’d probably erase the previous vectors, but I wanted to watch the track grow and be able to make sure about what I was doing.
I probably should get a larger whiteboard. I’ve often contemplated putting a 4’x8′ sheet up on the wall of my study. Maybe this is the excuse I need.