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I remember going through an old board game I found in my parents attic when I was a child (early 2000s, however it's an old game, so it could easily have been released in the 80s) and I was hoping you could all help me.

It was a hex-based space combat game, where players designed their fleets to a set number of points (and a desired Tech Level) before play. This box set had little cardboard counters for the ships, although there was a leaflet inside for ordering little cast model ships in various styles.

The most unique part was how the ship was described. It consisted of a bunch of letters in a row, each one representing a single module. Damage would typically involve crossing out letters from left to right, although some weapons had different rules.

An example (off the top of my head):

SSSSAAAHHPdGGOIIII

This would represent a ship with 4 units of shields, 3 armour, some holds, Point Defence and other gubbins, and finally four Ion Engines. So this ship would lose its Shields and Armour first and would lose the engines last.

Finally, I remember there was an expansion pack that brought a new faction along with rules for fighter craft.

Does anyone know what this game is called?

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    Could you provide context to "when I was a child"? (e.g., what year or decade are we talking about?) – L. Scott Johnson Aug 13 '20 at 14:18
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Could this have been part of the Starfire series? Images show a hexagonal grid & ship counters and the description says:

A "word" makes up a ship. As damage is done between ships, letters are crossed off from left to right within the "word" until the ship is destroyed.

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    The review at boardgamegeek.com/thread/1101304/… provides even more corroboration: "Damage Allocation: Damage is applied by deleting systems from left to right, bypassing systems that the weapon doesn't affect. So if the the ship SAIGIRII takes 4 standard damage, it looks like this S-A-I-G-IRII having lost a shield (S), armour (A), ion engine (I) and gun (G)." – L. Scott Johnson Aug 13 '20 at 14:22
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    This definitely looks like it. Is the culture here to accept an answer immediately, or should I wait for 24 hours like some other SEs suggest? – Kyyshak Aug 13 '20 at 16:11
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    @Kyyshak: In the case of questions tagged as identify-this-game, I don't think there's much reason to hold out for additional, better answers. – Brian Aug 13 '20 at 19:00
  • Starfire II was the fighter expansion, and Starfire III: Empires was a campaign game with (if I remember correctly) randomly generated star systems and hyperspatial connections between them. – Russell Borogove Aug 14 '20 at 2:27

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