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:
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.