Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS: Captain's Log #50
THE BIG NEWS this month is that Captain's Log #50 has shipped to consumers, and it's even better than we thought it would be last month!
Every department was created (by order of Marketing Jean) to have ZING! This issue is going to be remembered for a long time.
Fiction: The Day of the Dragon (how the Gorns entered the General War) is a story of political double-dealing, confrontation, and risk taking. A secret group of Federation conspirators worked overtime to create a conflict.
Space Spider: A new monster for SFB and FC with a full special rules article.
Star Fleet Battles: Platinum Victory, 12 Battlegroups, four scenarios, 12 new ships, the Zosman Empire for Omega with four ships (for a total of 16)
Federation Commander: Four new scenarios, four new ships from a new empire (Peladine).
Federation & Empire: The Romulan Civil War scenario inclucing pink cardstock playtest counters.
A Call to Arms: a new monster (Moray Eel) and four new ships (Klingon B-refit variants).
Starmada: The Andromedans including complete rules and four ships.
And lots more new stuff: Traveller preview, Carnivons for SFBF, Paravians for Anarchist, a scenario for Star Fleet Marines.
Even the supplemental file is the best ever, with six new SSDs for SFB!
Our website, www.StarFleetGames.com, continues to grow and improve. You are welcome to send us your requests, comments, and suggestions. Simone Pike, our graphics director, continues to update the website, do covers for the new products, shut down pirate websites, help out around the company, and learn more about the game business. One of our newest pages is for Starline 2500 where we display photos and 3d renders of the new starships.
Custom Decals for Starline ships
Tenneshington Decals continues to provide custom decals for all currently produced Federation Starline 2500 miniatures.
For more information or to download the order sheet, check them out at www.tenneshington.com. Or if you prefer, email Will McCammon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tony L. Thomas at: email@example.com.
Jupiter IV Decals is a source of decals for the 2400 line and will do custom decals as well as all official SFB names. In the near future Jupiter IV will move into the 2500 line and will work to get every listed name on the Starfleet registry completed in both scales.
Their website is: JupiterIvdecals.com
The Platinum Hat 2014 is finished! Paul Scott and Peter Bakija met in the final round, with Peter winning a hard-fought battle. Congratulations to Peter. Thanks to Stephen McCann who was the judge.
Rated Ace Tournament #44 is moving along smartly. Andy Vancil is in the final round. He will face the winner of the Bill Schoeller vs. Lee Graves game. Paul Scott is the judge.
NetKill Patrol's 2015 first quarter top three players are: Seth Shimansky, Joshua Driscol, and John Rigley. Richard Schirmer maintains the statistics that make this tournament possible
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
In Statesboro Georgia, there will be a Federation Commander demo at Galactic Comics and Games on Saturday April 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm. James Everett is the Ranger in charge.
Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander (and possibly A Call to Arms: Star Fleet) games and demos will be held at the Balticon Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland on May 22-25, 2015. Ranger Joseph Dorffner will be holding these in the gameroom.
All SFU games are welcome at StratCon, held in the Nashville, Tennessee area on June 20-27, 2015. While there will certainly be Federation & Empire, other games include Star Fleet Battle Force, Federation Commander, Star Fleet Battles, and A Call to Arms: Star Fleet. Stay tuned to their page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/151297821607520/
Star Fleet Battles games and demos will be held at the Shore Leave Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland on August 7-9, 2015. Ranger Joseph Dorffner will be holding these in the gameroom.
Star Fleet Battles to be at the 73rd WorldCon at Spokane WA, on August 17-22, 2015! Prices are still $190 per person, thru January 31, 2015. Only a few days to reserve your spot in this five-day science fiction and fantasy convention which holds the voting/nominations for the Hugos. Nominations for the Hugos continues until March 10, with voting starting sometime after that. Only members of the con that pay by January 31, are eligible to nominate Hugo Awards. The SFB Giant Sanctioned Official Tournament will be run for 64 or more players, of the 7k guests expected to attend in downtown Spokane WA, USA NA. An all-miniature tournament, it will be run eight games at a time, every four hours, during the hours of 9-9, to take care of the first few rounds, with finals Saturday or Sunday depending on turnout. All materials mostly provided by Ranger Harlan Haskell III. Bring pen and paper, everything else provided, for the tournament. Queries? Turtle test available starting Thursday evening, upon demand, with cards available.
Star Fleet Battles games are held weekly in Tempe Arizona each Friday at Game Depot from 2:00 -7:00 pm. Eric Phillips is the person to contact.
Star Fleet Battles games are played regularly in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday afternoons at the Soldiery. Lee Hanna is the contact person.
Games are held in Spokane, Washington on an irregular basis. Contact them to see if there's a game scheduled. They meet at The Gamer's Haven, 2114 N. Pines St., Suites 1 & 2, Spokane Valley, WA 99206, (509) 443-5992 http://www.thegamershaven.net/gamers_haven.php
COMMUNIQUE: The latest Communique brings you more Ship Cards, scenarios, and more news from the Star Fleet Universe! It can be downloaded from the Commander's Circle.
FC Forum Recent Posts
The Kzintis and Hydrans should go out of their way to have several police flagships in their capital once they are eventually attacked. Costing two economic points (531.31), these tiny ships give you a one electronic warfare point scout (and a Marine battalion if you need them to deter Marine invasion by the Coalition). You may freely place them in defense of any system where their one electronic warfare point will shift the balance for you, or their one Marine factor will help your defenses.
Of course you can only build one per year, so start early. Get odd numbers, of course, to maximize the number of them available in your "mobile" force.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
STACKING THE DECK
In A Call to Arms: Star Fleet some units have unique traits that benefit the fleet as a whole. Two examples of this are "Command +X" and "Scout." With later releases this list will continue to grow. If points permit, consider taking a second unit with the same special trait. Although usually you can only use one trait bonus at a time, having a spare unit in your fleet insures that if for some reason you lose one of these traits (e.g., your only scout blows up), you have a built-in backup to take over, preventing the loss of the advantage you have gained.
Throughout the month our graphics director places on the website various cards called Demotivationals. These are like postcards with an image and a phrase that is often used for humor. Here are the newest demotivationals since our last newsletter:
To see our previous Demotivationals click here.
Mini of the Month
Gorn Light Cruiser. Painting and photo by Bill Stec.
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
Traveller Prime Directive Core Rulebook
F&E Minor Empires, SKU 3214, price $TBA
A new Starmada book for both editions.
New starships for the 2500 (1/3125) range including Tholian PC, DD, CA, TK5, DN; Klingon B10; Orion BR, DW, BC, BCH, DN.
New starships for the 2400 (1/3788) range including heavy war destroyers and the jumbo freighter.
Tribbles vs. Klingons (assuming Kickstarter works!)
F&E Fighter Operations update 2014, SKU 3203
Federation Commander Reference Starship Book
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23
SFB Module R11 SSD Book (B/W)
Bridge, U.S.S. Colin Powell
Folomar surveyed the damage to his command center. The Bridge had been hit, but was still functional. Debris from blasted panels and control modules littered the floor. Smoke from a half-dozen wrecked displays curled through the air and toward the nearest air recirculation vents. It had been a near thing. If that thing had a few more seconds on our down shield . . .
As it was, they had just been able to sprint away from the thing. It had evidently expended a lot of energy in its attacks, and although it was still dogging their tracks, it had slowed considerably. Now they were far enough away from it for him to prioritize repairs and for his research teams to do their job.
He had ordered Jones and Joprin to collate the data and present him with options while he worked on getting the ship fit in case they had to go another round with the creature. Prouter was back in sickbay, hopefully cementing her status as a miracle worker. He himself was working at the engineering station, prioritizing damage-control efforts. He took a moment to order the communications team to start sending everything they had to the nearest two bases by subspace.
Damage reports continued to flow in from around the ship. Folomar shook his head at the sheer volume of the reports. The Powell and its galactic survey ship brethren had met and dealt with several other space "monsters" over the course of their careers, but this one hit particularly hard. If his ship had not been one of the new technology breed with its more advanced and powerful engines, stouter shields, and more flexible reserve power systems, it might very well have been destroyed.
"Warp power down 39 percent, Captain. Impulse and auxiliary warp reactors off line."
Alex Lyons asks: The rules state on several occasions that Tholian units opposing a casting unit cannot cross its web. How is it decided if the unit is allied or opposing?
ANSWER: The scenario rules would dictate which side various forces are on in this civil war. In a historical battle, all Tholians would be on the same side, but in a tournament duel, a scenario portraying a conjectural Tholian civil war, or a simulator battle where an Orion has a web caster, etc., you could have web-using units on different sides.
Follow-up question: My group plays pickup games that do not include scenario restrictions, so in an instance where anyone can work together based on their own discretion, when are allied Tholians determined?
ANSWER: It comes down to your scenario rules. If different players have Tholians (Archaeo- or Neo-), you have to decide whether they are the same team or different teams that just happen to be working together. If they are considered different teams, even if they are working together under some kind of alliance, then they would have web on different frequencies.
(End of Admiral Vanaxilth)
Mike Kenyon asks: Rule (G10.552) says ships in a web can use a wild weasel. Rule (J2.131) then goes on to state that the maneuver rate must be four or less to use the wild weasel. Maneuver rate is not affected by a web. Can a ship going greater than four use a wild weasel when stuck in a web? It would seem that (G10.552) was designed as an enabling rule, but does not provide an explicit exemption.
ANSWER: Rule (G10.552) means that you can use a wild weasel while in a web, but, as you noted, maneuver rate is not affected by web. Therefore, if your ship is moving faster than Speed 4, it cannot use a wild weasel, even if held by the web.
David Zimdars asks: Suppose a ship which may breakdown is forced to do a high energy turn to avoid impacting a breakdown-strength web. The ship breaks down, tumbles, and strikes the web. Does it roll for breakdown again (at worse odds)? If it suffers a second breakdown during its first breakdown, is the period extended? Since it is tumbling, does it roll again? If on the second tumble roll, it does not tumble, does it stop? If not, when does the first tumbling stop?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Tumbling stops when it hits the web (G10.591) and the fact that the ship was tumbling does not further increase the damage. The ship would roll for breakdown again (and if it did breakdown would suffer the damage effects of the breakdown), but would not roll for tumbling (as it cannot tumble in web). The roll for a breakdown would be worse because the previous breakdown reduced its breakdown rating. The period for recovery would count from the last breakdown, i.e., from the second breakdown if there were one, from the first if there were no second breakdown.
Matthew Potter asks: Can a Tholian ship with a web generator be a web spinner (G10.24)? Particularly, can a ship be laying web (moving away from an anchoring ship as it goes) and have the anchoring ship pay the energy cost?
ANSWER: It does not appear that (G10.24) enables ships to be web spinners in this manner. The ship would have to pay for any zero-strength web it creates.
Q: When the Tholians enter the war voluntarily, per (604.15) and (604.151), do they enter the war halfway through the turn (which would be at the beginning of the Alliance turn) or at the beginning of the turn (so that they can react and use reserve fleets during the Coalition turn)?
A: The Tholians cannot enter the General War prior to their phase of Turn #22 unless they are attacked earlier; see additional provisions under (503.3).
Q: Does the Hydran special supply tug (509.1O) as specified in (509.5) provide an exception to being able to move when it cannot trace a line of supply to Hydran controlled space? Rule (509.51) specifies a limited number of ship turns of supply available to be used when it and any accompanying Hydran ships are out of supply.
A: Yes. The Hydran supply tug, as long as it has supply-turns left, can supply itself and other ships stacked with it. Once it hits zero supply-turns, it no longer functions and has to be resupplied itself to function.
Q: I was able to move a Romulan ship into the Orion Enclave at hex 3012 and immediately declared internment to force the Orions to go neutral. The Federation had two police cruisers (one at each planet 2811 and 2812) which he reacted to my ship (instead of leaving the now neutral territory) and attacked my ship. As I read (503.511), is this not "reconquering"?
A: As soon the Romulan entered Orion space and activated neutrality the Federation ships have to leave. You cannot react to a ship that is activating neutrality (503.511).
Q: Do convoys building a colony (446.12) still act as a supply point?
A: No, this is similar to (412.24) NO DOUBLE DUTY: Because a tug cannot perform two missions at the same time, a tug which is setting up a mobile base cannot simultaneously function as a supply point. The same applies for building colonies.
Q: Does a convoy have to be on a Strategic Movement Node under (414.3) to be moved strategically?
A: Yes, it does. Although, unlike ships, the convoy unit is a redirection of surplus freighters to an area, the ships being released back into civilian use and the naval staff to form the new convoy need to be at a Strategic Movement Node to form the new convoy (which is, essentially, moving a convoy).
Q: When, exactly, during the Sequence of Play, is the Imperial War Reserve activated? Is it on the turn the Klingons attack the Federation and is also at war with the Hydrans and Kzintis? See above question for why it matters with respect to diplomatic income.
A: War status with another empire is checked when the player empire is determining the total number of economic points available to the empire. This is in Phase 1C. So, in a normal game with the Klingons going to war with the Federation on Turn #7, the IWR would be available for activation on Turn #7 during the Production Phase (2B). The Klingons have already decided to go to war so that's fair.
Q: Can crippled ships use cloaks?
A: No, see (203.83) which says so. Crippled ships cannot use cloaks during evasion or operational movement.
Q: Can an operational base, moving in conjunction with friendly ships, enter a hex containing an enemy or neutral planet?
A: No, it cannot. See (453.21).
Q: The rules for Four Powers War (607.34) lists several Kzinti SC units. What are they?
A: Scout frigates with a deceptive designation so they can sneak past the Klingons.
Q: The scenario timeline says that the Tholians drop to 75% economy on Turn #26. Does that assume they entered the war (historically) on Turn #18?
A: Yes, it does. If they enter the war later, they drop to 75% economic output the same number of turns later.
Q: Rule (509.0) says that an LTT might be 1/2 or 2/3 of a tug, depending on the mission, and cannot do some missions at all. Likeways, a theater transport is 1/3 of a tug for those missions it can perform. Is that wording intended to allow me to assemble whatever combination of tugs, LTTs, and theater transports that are convenient to perform the task I need accomplished? For example, can an LTT and two theater transports build a colony?
A: In specific cases where three theater transports may be used to perform a mission, one LTT may be substituted for one of the three theater transports. This does not necessarily mean the reverse is true; one cannot argue that any number of theate transports can be substituted for an LTT or TG unless specifically allowed by the rules.
Q: What is the repair capability of a BSX?
A: This is listed in (420.42) in F&E 2010 as 4. That chart lists all of the existing bases.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean, Any news on the Traveller Prime Directive book?
A: We did run a preview of careers for Klingons in Captain's Log #50. Unfortunately, until the time that the rulebook situation is firmed up, we cannot proceed.
You can read more of our blogs here: http://federationcommander.blogspot.com/
Send questions to Jean at design@StarFleetGames.com and SVC will decide which one Jean will answer next.
(End of Ask Aunt Jean )
Cool Stuff on the Website
In this section we will provide links to various web pages and items that we think you will find "cool".
We have also uploaded new Xander wallpapers to our Wallpapers section on the website.
We have new images of our game Star Fleet Marines posted on our BBS topic page.
STAR FLEET ALERTS
These are the press releases we send to the wholesalers, retailers, and media. You can get on the mailing list for them by asking Marketing@StarFleetGames.com to add you to the list. (Obviously, they are free.) They are uploaded to the Star Fleet Alert page
FC Tactic of the MonthA BRIEF LOOK AT SUICIDE SHUTTLES
Suicide shuttles present an interesting tactic. To be useful, the suicide shuttle must pose a credible threat.
Once it poses a threat, it has multiple uses. Suicide shuttles can be used to influence an opponent's movement to your advantage, or they can be used to simply absorb the enemy's firepower. Any resources used against the shuttles will not be available for use against your ships.
If your enemy has the resources available, suicide shuttles are not impossible to deal with. Suicide shuttles can be shot down, or grabbed by a tractor beam. They move at speed 8, so they are easily outrun by most ships. If at a baseline speed of zero or 8, accelerating at key moments may buy time. One other limitation is that a ship can only launch one shuttle per impulse.
Let's look at what makes a good target for a suicide shuttle. Here are a few possibilities; no doubt there are others.
1. An enemy coming at you, usually chasing you, but coming at you from the front is possible if you are going slowly enough (so the suicide shuttle can get ahead of you). The point is that speed doesn't matter if the enemy is getting closer anyway.
2. An enemy that has broken down or performed emergency deceleration.
3. An enemy held or slowed down by a tractor beam. This is probably a difficult maneuver to pull off, but not necessarily impossible. While this is a whole other tactics paper, one point is that this is yet another reason you don't want to be (or stay) tractored.
4. My favorite is the wounded vessel that cannot get away. Crippled vessels can be a nuisance with their one or two surviving weapons plinking away at long range. Plus, they are a hazard to navigation and must be destroyed!
5. In a multi-ship engagement, launch suicide shuttles at a stationary or slow-moving cripple. If the enemy does not detach forces to help the cripple, you'll kill it. If he detaches forces from the main battle group to chase down shuttles, you will have weakened his main group even further.
6. Enemy ships that have fired all of their phasers, or have no power remaining to shoot or tractor a shuttle. Sometimes it's worth waiting until he has expended his weapons, then get in some extra damage with a suicide shuttle. Power remaining will be the great limiter in this instance.
7. Bases and (in certain scenarios) key freighters.
Next, how big of a warhead should you use? An 18-point suicide shuttle launched at you is a threat that must be dealt with. But what about multiple suicide shuttles? What if, instead of one 18-point shuttle chasing you, there were two shuttles with 9-point warheads, or three 6-point warhead shuttles, etc. Multiple shuttles (possibly launched by multiple ships) would make for a more complex problem. If you include a few drones in the mix, the problem gets bigger.
A shuttle with a three-point warhead might not be considered worth the firepower required to shoot it down. One point of power would be used to cause three damage points, and you won't have used up a weapon mount. Not a bad exchange. To shoot it down will require two phaser-3s and one point of power, but that represents 6-8 points of damage that won't be striking you.
Experience will dictate how useful suicide shuttles become, and the best ways to use them. In the fleet scale, they will require a significant amount of firepower to destroy when compared to the squadron scale, but there will be half as many. These are just some initial ideas and are at least worth trying in the right situation. The only real test is combat.
The Andromedan spatial distorter refit of the displacement device was featured in Module C3A: The Andromedan Threat File [Rule (CG7.0)]. It could be used (if it existed) to stop an enemy unit from moving or changing facing for a few critical impulses or to stop a friendly Andromedan unit from moving when it does not wish to. This could allow an Andromedan player to set up a shot on a weak shield, hold a target still while a T-bomb arms, or stop a plasma torpedo just long enough for its warhead to lose strength, or just cause the target to lose a couple of hexes of movement.
The spatial distorter works by "elevating" the target above the map as if it were in a temporal elevator (G31.0). The unit then descends one level per impulse until it returns to the same level as everything else on the map. Until the affected unit descends to Level Zero, it is affected by rule (G31.2221) which states, in part: "Movement on the part of the unit is ignored, and any Movement Points are lost . . ." It is also unable to turn (including by high energy turn). The other effect is that the true range between the target and every other unit on the map is increased by rule (G31.23). Therefore, the best time to fire a spatial distorter can be just before the target will move several impulses in a row. That gives the best chance of the target losing movement.
Example: An Andromedan Python with the spatial distorter refit is in a duel with a Klingon D5. The Python knocked down the D5's #5 shield with his last battle pass, but the wily Klingon has been able to keep the Python from getting a clear shot through the down shield with his (now reloaded) tractor-repulsor beams.
The D5 is moving at Speed 20, and on Impulse #18 the Python's captain notes that the D5 is scheduled to move twice in the next two impulses. He also notes that if the D5 did not move for those two impulses, he could bring weapons to bear on the D5's down shield. He fires the spatial distorter at a range of 10 and rolls a "1," elevating the D5 five levels. This was actually more than the Andromedan captain was hoping for, because the D5's true range is increased by five, which will make the Python's weapons less useful when it is time to fire.
On Impulses #19 and #20, the Python also moves and the D5 descends two levels in the temporal elevator shaft (to level three). The Python's maneuver has taken it to Range 8 to the D5, but three is added to the Range making it Range 11. (If the Andromedan captain had rolled a "3," the D5 would have been elevated exactly two levels and would be at Level Zero on this impulse, putting it in a better range bracket for the Python's weapons.)
The Andromedan captain decides that a long shot on a down shield is better than a short shot on a strong shield, and fires.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
We're really excited here at ADB! Bruce Graw rode in (literally) and we've had a grand time talking with him. Bruce casts our minis for us and is the creator of the Omega empires. We were really pleased to show him the Zosmans that will appear in Captain's Log #50. He seemed pleased by the work that Steven Petrick and Gary Carney had done.