Update #4

I think I figured out how to do color combos for damage instead of printing "half-hit," "hit," or "Critical Hit" on the cards. And it requires attackers have more choice in things, so that's a good thing!

Here's how it breaks down:

There are 4 categories for the ship parts; Basic and Tech (Main categories), and System and Tactical (subcategories). Each part has one Main and one Sub category (eg a Cannon is a Basic/Tactical), and there are 3 parts for each combination.

Also, there are 48 cards in the Damage Deck, with 4 colors equally divided to represent the part categories:

Purple (Basic),

Yellow (Tech),

Blue (System),

Red (Tactical).

This is all old stuff. The colors/categories already serve as combo-makers for some repair bonuses as a player amasses damage, to help them recover a liiiiittle bit.

The *new* stuff is this:

Whenever a player attacks, they declare a specific target part. For example, let's say it's a Cannon (Basic/Tactical).

The defender draws as many cards as required by the number of weapons.

A *Critical Hit* is scored when *both* categories of the target part are drawn: in this case, a Basic and a Tactical must be drawn. Such a hit would bypass Armor and disable the Cannon. Then the defender would pick one of the two damage cards to keep as permanent damage.

If there are leftover cards (or a critical was not landed), these are hits only if they are Main categories (Basic or Tech). Sub-category cards only land hits as part of Criticals.

This means for a regular Hit to land, there is about a 50% chance from the deck (depending of course on which cards have not yet been drawn). Same odds as before with the "Hit" and "half-hit" printed on the cards. When a regular ole Hit happens, the defender either discards a piece of armor or chooses a Basic or Tech part to disable, then keeps the card as permanent damage like before.

According to a nifty tool I found called the Deck-u-lator, there's ~13% chance of landing a targeted Critical hit with just two cards (not far from a d6 crit at ~17), ~29% at three cards, or ~45% at four cards.

Those odds sound pretty good to me. And quite a bit more refined than my pre-game post from before talking about 3-of-a-kinds and pairs and such. I have to playtest this properly, but I think it will work providing the Deck-u-lator's math is right. I wouldn't know. https://deckulator.appspot.com/

But the advantages of this system are:

1) it allows (in fact requires) the attacker to target a part directly, giving them more say in the results.

2) Critical Hits (although rare-ish) can happen until *most* of the cards are removed into players' damage pools. But since the max number that could be removed until someone wins is 12, that should work.

Right now, the only disadvantage I see is that a little ship with one cannon won't be able to land a Critical Hit, since that requires two cards. Hitting a bigger opponent's armor is the best they could hope for. But, with a little working of the EMP, the Tether, the Mines, and the asteroid, that could be worked around.