Played a game of Starmada with Michael (12 going on 13 in a little over a week) and Zachary (10) last night. This was their first time with the game. It started out as a Klingon Armada game between Michael and I, but Zachary came down to the Man Cave and wanted in on the action. I didn't have any of the ships printed for the Kzinti so I grabbed some of the sample ships from the core rules for him. You'd think he'd be the one to lose not having any of the fancy bells and whistles, but in fact, he almost won! So, for ships, I had a C8 dreadnought, Michael had a Federation heavy cruiser (CA) and two frigates (FF), and Zachary had the sample battleship (BB) and a CA. We used the D1 (basic movement) optional rules to simplify things for them. Michael and I used Federation Commander counters for our vessels while Zachary got to use the NSL BB and an escort cruiser for his CA.
Michael had my usual luck with the dice, he just could roll a hit for anything. He kept going after Zachary's BB since it was over half his point wrapped up in it, but it's high shields deflected all but three points of damage from Michael. Zachary on the other hand, started out with insanely lucky rolls. He wiped out Michael's CA in the first turn and a FF in the second, putting Michael out of the game.
I knew that the difference between how KA faceted shields and regular shields worked wasn't going to work out well for me unless I could damage that BB some before closing the range. So for the first three turns I danced around at long range for my distruptors taking pot shots at Zachary then turned in once he turned to deal with me. I caused some minor damage this way, dropped his shields to four. What really helped was following two waves of drones when I closed the range. The first wave took out a bunch of weapons, the second knocked his shields to 1. After that it was just a matter of taking out the last few boxes of damage. Unfortunately my C8 did not come through this unscathed. The BB and CA opened a hole in my forward port shields, which (admittedly, with a little coaching from myself) Zachary exploited in turn 5 by maneuvering his CA into position just off my bow. At the end of turn 5 his BB was gone, meaning I'd accomplished the victory condition, but I only had 1 hull point remaining. If we had played the next turn or he had rolled one more odd number for damage, that C8 would've been gone.
It was fun teaching them how to play. They were having some problems with the plotted movement, but were starting to get the hang of it by the end. Next time though, if I mix 'regular' Starmada and Klingon Armada ships the KA ships will use the standard faceted shields rule rather than the KA version. Hopefully that will make them last a little longer. The only reason the C8 lasted long enough for a second turn of intense fire was that it had comparatively much more hull than the other ships, but it's shields were flimsy. I have a feeling I'm going to get several requests to play again today.