Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS:
A CALL TO ARMS - DELUXE EDITION
We have completed the Deluxe Edition of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Book-1.2 and it will appear on the PDF download sites in a day or two. Hard copies will be printed and sold to stores in May. We have also uploaded the final Basic Edition of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Book -1.2 Revision F. A few minor tweaks and fixes were made since we uploaded Revision E a year ago this month.
A Call to Arms is a fast-playing miniatures-based game system. (You can play it with counters but it's just not as much fun.) Designed to portray massive 12-vs.-12 fleet battles in a single evening, ACTA accomplishes this by several methods. Each turn has a single impulse, so a ship only moves and fires on a single impulse compared to 32 for Star Fleet Battles and eight for Federation Commander. There is no energy allocation, although the use of "special actions" produces much the same result. (If you do something that would really slow down your ship in SFB, that same event in ACTA requires a special power-drain action that slows down your ship. As ships can only use two special actions a turn, your ship in ACTA cannot use tractor beams, transporters, overloads, a high energy turn, and erratic maneuvers all at the same time. (Pick any two.) Since ACTA is designed for large fleets, you can have a couple of ships land Marines on the planet while another ship tractor beams the ambassador's shuttle and some other ships overload their torpedoes to launch a killing attack.
ACTA is more of a game than a simulation, focusing on the overall effect rather than the details of how that effect was created. Players alternate moving their ships one at a time (in inches, not hexes), so there is strategy involved in what ship moves first and where it goes. Players also alternate firing one ship at a time, and since ACTA minimizes record keeping it is possible for a ship to explode before it has a chance to fire that turn.
All in all, ACTA is a very different way to experience combat in the SFU and worth giving a try.
DOING VIDEOS OF THE SFU
A customer asked about posting "tutorial videos" for our games. We like it when people do that (and even give commendation medals) but you need to have us check the videos to make sure you aren't violating something somehow (or that you didn't make a rules error). Doing such videos to make money is not cool. Please drop us an email before you post the videos.
STAR FLEET'S LEGIONS EXPAND:
Each month we shine a spotlight on one of our battle groups. This month it is Battle Group Clifton Park. They are home ported in Clifton Park, NY. Mark Lurz, their commanding officer, reports they are active, not only playing games, but running demos. They last ran demos of ACTASF at Council of Five Nations in October and plan to do another set of demos there this coming fall. Catch up with them here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/battlegroup/battlegroup_CliftonPark.shtml
Do you have a battle group? Be sure to report your activities here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/battlegroup/report.shtml
Facebook Fan Pages
So join us on Facebook and get a fix of your favorite game there, too!
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 2015 Platinum Hat Tournament is well underway. The third round has only one game left to play. Our thanks to Fleet Captain Peter Bakija for keeping this tournament moving along.
Rated Ace Tournament 46 is just starting up. One game in the first round has been played and the frequently playing (but quite unlucky) BYE lost. Andy Vancil is the judge for this tournament.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
On March 5, 2016, Star Fleet Battles was played at Gnomecon at Coastal Georgia Center in Savannah, Georgia. Refiner's Fire was the scenario. Ranger Michael Baker reports fun was had.
On April 1-3, 2016, Star Fleet Battle Force was played multiple times at WhosYerCon 2016 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ranger Anthony Harding was in charge. His pictures show people enjoying themselves.
Star Fleet Battles will be played at least once at Recon in Orlando, Florida on April 29, 2015. The Ranger in charge will be Scott Bauman. For more about this con see: http://www.hmgs-south.com/
Chuck Strong announces free SFU Gaming at StratCon 2016 for those that need some face to face SFU gaming in their diet. This convention runs from June 18-25, 2016 in Richmond, Virginia. A ***FREE*** 1300SF secure conference room and reduced room rates at the Comfort Suites mean that there will be NO ATTENDANCE FEES to attend StratCon this year! There will be a $50 SNACK-O fund that entitles those who choose to participate full access to the SNACK-O bar for the entire week.
When making your reservation please ask for the StratCon rate coordinated by Dave Whiteside.
Comfort Suites at Virginia Center Commons
10601 Telegraph Road
Glen Allen, VA 23059
If you planning to attend, please notify Ryan Opel on ADB's BBS or send a message to ADB on its page on Facebook and we'll get it to Ryan. This is a wonderful opportunity to attend a national SFU event at low cost.
This event is open to ALL SFU related games and other non-SFU games with prior coordination and approval of the StratCon committee; just ask here.
Amarillo Design Bureau will be attending AMA-Con in Amarillo, Texas during July 23-24, 2016. Not only will we have a booth, but we will be running demos of Star Fleet Battle Force and Federation Commander. We are actively seeking people who want to help demo games there. Steve Cole will also be there and hosting "Meet with a Game Publisher" where you and he can discuss games, including those you might have in mind to produce yourself. ADB will also be giving away a challenged starship to anyone cosplaying in the Star Trek/Star Fleet Universe who stops by our booth and gets a photo taken with us. We are very excited about this! Help us spread the word! For more information on AMA-Con see: https://www.facebook.com/AmaCon2012/ or http://ama-con.amarillolibrary.org/
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 held regularly in Indianapolis, Indiana at Game Paradise. Anthony Harding is the contact person. For more information see: http://www.meetup.com/Star-Fleet-Battles-Indy/.
Star Fleet Battles games are played regularly in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday afternoons at the Soldiery. Lee Hanna is the contact person. This month's game will be on the 12th of March.
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
While most of Federation & Empire is based around predetermined values (economics, pin count, Combat Potential, etc.), there is some small room in the game for luck: rolling for damage in combat. What some may not realize is that one can minimize (or maximize!) the influence of luck upon your battles. The variance in damage that is dealt is due to rolling damage at a particular Battle Intensity Rating, but the amount of variance depends upon the Battle Intensity Rating itself. Look at the variation in damage one gets at a Battle Intensity Rating of 2 and a Battle Intensity Rating of 8. At a Battle Intensity Rating of 2, the damage varies between 15% to 27.5% while at a Battle Intensity Rating of 8; the damage varies between 30% to 42.5%. Look at what that actually means. At a low Battle Intensity Rating, you have the potential (you roll a 6, your opponent rolls a 1) for almost a 2-to-1 advantage in damage dealt while at a high Battle Intensity Rating you have (at best) a 40% advantage in damage dealt. To see how this works out, consider two fleets with identical combat potential and you are going to fight until you suffer 100 points of damage upon your fleet. Assuming amazing luck, fighting many rounds at low Battle Intensity Rating will net you 180 points of damage on your opponent's fleet while fighting a few rounds at high Battle Intensity Rating will net you only 140 points of damage on your opponent's fleet. As to how to make this work for you, if you feel that your luck is hot you might choose a low Battle Intensity Rating to let that luck have the most effect, while if the dice seem to have it in for you and yours, you should pick a high Battle Intensity Rating so as to mitigate the pain.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
DRAG THEM TO THEIR DOOM
Are you tired of the enemy avoiding your heavy weapons arc, especially when you are flying a Gorn dreadnought, Romulan Condor, or Kzinti heavy battlecruiser or dreadnought? Make sure the enemy ship just happens to come into your firing arc instead of floundering around trying to get a more agile enemy into your sights. How can you accomplish this?
Have another ship tractor your target and drag it into your heavy weapons firing arc! This, however, takes some advanced planning and positioning. You have to think a turn ahead to put the ship you need where you're going to need it, without the enemy realizing what you're doing.
Ideally you want a ship that is significantly larger than the ship to be dragged (e.g., a Federation heavy cruiser versus Klingon D7 or D5). During the dragging ship's activation, which should be after the target ship has moved, have it use the Engage Tractor Beam! special action. Next, end your ship's movement within two inches of the ship to be tractored.
The following turn, the tractored ship may roll to break the tractor when it is activated. It does this by making an opposed Crew Quality Check against the ship tractoring it. [See the rules for this procedure]. If the tractored ship fails to break free, it is meat on the table. Drag it in front of the ship that intends to fire at it or drag it to a point that the designated killer ship can get it into arc. Remember that you can only move if you have more starting damage points than the enemy ship, and you can only move up to six inches.
As a final warning, be careful to not blow up the ship that was dragged, as the explosion can damage friendly ships - including the ship doing the tractoring. Also try to arrange your positioning so that the tractored ship cannot fire its heavy weapons at the ship that is tractoring it.
Developer's Note: This note was edited to reflect revised rules.
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
To be released in 2016
F&E Minor Empires, SKU 3214, price $TBA
A new Starmada book for both editions.
F&E Fighter Operations update 2016, SKU 3203
Federation Commander Reference Starship Book
Traveller Prime Directive Core Rulebook
New starships for the 2500 (1/3125) range including Klingon B10
New starships for the 2400 (1/3788) range including heavy war destroyers and the jumbo freighter.
PDF and EBOOK SALES:
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23
Bridge, Federation Large Auxiliary Carrier Galeron
in Orbit over Arcturia, August 18, Y180
"Chumlee!!!" Rick shouted. That was about as loud as Chumlee had ever heard Rick holler at him before. "What the BLEEP did you think you were doing?!"
Earlier that day, Chumlee had bought an Andromedan Tractor-Repulsor device for 13,000 credits from a guy who flew into Vegas in a shuttlecraft. The guy had presented the proper Star Fleet war-trophy documentation and had asked 20,000 credits for the unit. Rick and Big Hoss had been out of the shop. Chumlee thought he could make a good buy and help make up for previous mistakes. He had never heard of a T-R unit, but when he saw it actually work, he knew he just had to have it. They didn't have anything like it in the pawn shop. He didn't tell Rick or Big Hoss that the T-R unit had vibrated Big Hoss's hovercycle to pieces. Peaches was nice enough to help scrape up all the parts and call the cycle repair shop to come get it.
After a few seconds, Chumlee decided he'd better say something. Rick's face was as red as a security officer's shirt, and he had recently been put on high-blood-pressure meds. "I thought I was making a good deal," he replied sheepishly.
"Good deal?! Since when is buying a BLEEP-BLEEP enemy weapon a good deal?!" Rick was pacing back and forth around the Andromedan device. "Do you know what the BLEEP will happen if the cops find out we have this BLEEP-BLEEP thing?!" Chumlee cast a meek gaze down on the floor of the back room where he had brought the alien device on an anti-grav sled. "They'll probably fine us or maybe even revoke our BLEEP license to deal in off-world merchandise! I can't even imagine what the Old Man is going to say?!!"
"Maybe he'll give me a raise?" Chumlee replied weakly.
Roch Chartrand asks: A Starfish drone is en route to its primary target. Can it release its anti-drone at targets satisfying its programming before it reaches the primary target?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: No. Rule (FD15.211) requires you to set the target and the range from the target the anti-drones will be fired. Rule (FD15.212) says it fires the submunitions when it reaches the release point, i.e., has reached the range you set to the target you set and in an FA arc from the drone. And rule (FD15.213) provides that all of the anti-drones must be fired simultaneously.
Roch Chartrand asks: In Step 6A3, Swordfish, Starfish, and Stonefish drones commit to fire. Does this mean they fire in this step or fire in the 6D1 step?
ANSWER: See (FD11.21) (for Swordfish drones), (FD15.212) (for Starfish drones), and (FD17.21) (for Stonefish drones). While these drones commit to firing in Stage 6A3, all three of these drone types actually fire during the 6D2 Direct Fire Weapons stage. This does mean that intervening activities (such as a wild weasel launch) could render this fire undesirable or ineffective, but they will fire anyway in Step 6D2 if their firing conditions were met as of Step 6A3 of the same impulse.
Francois Lemay asks: A ship is at Speed Zero with two Speed-20 drones targeted on it at Range 1. The ship launches two Speed-20 drones to target the two incoming hostile drones. Next impulse, all four drones move. Do the ship's friendly drones hit the incoming hostile drones before they impact the ship?
ANSWER: Under (F2.53), the ship's drones intercept the hostile drones before they strike the ship.
Follow-Up Question: What if the ship were moving Speed 12 but not scheduled to move on the same impulse as the drones move. Does mutual impact occur then?
ANSWER: Rule (F2.53) still applies. The drones will be intercepted before hitting the ship.
Eric Phillips asks: If I buy a ship in Y170, do I have to pay for the rack upgrades to medium from slow (0.5 points per rack)?
ANSWER: In a scenario where forces are purchased with BPV, yes, you do. In a scenario where the forces are specified, the drone speeds should also be specified, and they are included in your force. Of course, you would have to pay for speed upgrades on any extra drones you buy as Commander's Options.
David Zimdars asks: The BPV of a ship, even a ship in service after the general availability of medium speed drones, only includes slow-speed drones and you must add the speed upgrade costs to the gross adjusted combat/economic BPV, right?
ANSWER: That is correct.
Follow-up Question: Suppose a ship has four type-B drone racks for 24 spaces of drones. Rule (FD2.31) states that all drone racks come standard with type I-S drones. To upgrade to medium speed the cost is 24 drones x 0.5=12 for 24 type-IM drones (reloads are free). Suppose I want to swap the 24 type-IS base drones with 12 type-IVS drones. This is a free swap. If I recall correctly, type-I and type-IV are general availability. Is there any limitation on the percentage of heavy drones?
ANSWER: Type-IV drones are general availability. You can fill your racks with 100% type-IV drones if you wish.
Follow-up Question: Suppose I must upgrade them to type-IVM. Now I have only 12 drones. Is the cost now only 12 drones x 0.5=6 points? OR do I do the swap after speed upgrades and pay for the 24 type-IM drones first (for 12 points)? If I just had empty racks and paid the drone construction costs, the first way, six points seems correct.
ANSWER: Swap costs are based on slow speed (at least for non-X drones). Apply speed upgrades after doing the swap. Six points is the correct cost.
Garth L. Getgen asks: A Federation type-G drone rack can be loaded with type-IV double-space drones, yes?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Well, to be clear, it is not a "Federation type-G drone rack," it is just a "type-G drone rack" as it is also used by some Kzinti and Klingon carrier escorts (and some other ships) and can be taken in Orion option mounts. Beyond that, yes, it can handle any type of non-X drone. Thus it can be loaded with and launch type-I (up to four drones can be loaded in the rack), type-II (up to four drones can be loaded in the rack), type-III (up to four drones can be loaded, unless they are type-IIIXX in which case up to two can be loaded), type-IV (up to two drones can be loaded in the rack), type-V (up to two drones can be loaded in the rack), type-VI (up to eight drones can be loaded in the rack), or ADDs (up to eight ADDs can be loaded in the rack). It cannot be loaded with type-VII, type-VIII, or type-IX drones (well . . . it could, but it could not launch them). Beyond that, the rack can hold four total spaces at one time, and any combination of the allowed drones can be loaded in the rack. Thus a load of a type-IIIXX, type-I, type-VI, and an ADD is perfectly legal (assuming you had the drone percentages to allow such a loading). As with any drone rack it is the owning player's choice which of the drones is launched on a given impulse of a turn, and not within a quarter turn of the rack having launched a drone on a previous turn.
Garth L. Getgen asks: Type-VI "dogfight" drones and anti-drones are the same size (give or take), but they are not the same critter, correct?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Correct. An anti-drone is a direct-fire weapon (an "E" series rule) and a type-VI drone is a seeking weapon (an "F" series rule). The type-G drone rack can launch one (1) type-VI drone in a given turn (it does not have the type-VI launch rate of a type-E drone rack). If the type-G drone rack does not launch any drones in a given turn, it can fire from zero to eight anti-drones as if it were an anti-drone rack (assuming it has anti-drones loaded). It cannot do both in the same turn (launch a drone and fire an anti-drone), and the quarter-turn delay applies (fire as an anti-drone in the last eight impulses in the previous turn delays when you can launch a drone in the current turn). Note that firing an anti-drone in the last eight impulses of a previous turn does not delay the use of the type-G drone rack (or an anti-drone rack) from firing an anti-drone in the start of a subsequent turn. Anti-drones have no firing delays.
Garth L. Getgen asks: The last reload of the type-G drone rack must be eight anti-drone rounds. There is no option to replace those anti-drone rounds with type-VI drones, true?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Correct. That second (third after the Y175 refit) reload is always anti-drones; there is no option to replace them with some other type of drone. Not even if you intend to patrol on the Romulan and Gorn borders, empires that do not have drones. They do have fighters and you might run into an Orion with drone racks even there.
WHEN CAN I GO TO WAR, DADDY?
Q: I can't find anything mentioning when the Federation 5th Fleet is released. Sure, it has a detachment of most of the fleet that can leave when the Klingons attack, but the last few ships are stuck in an unreleased status apparently until the end of time.
A: On Turn #10 Spring Y173 or later, it is released if the Romulans enter Federation territory or adjacent neutral zones. It would also be released if the Gorns attack the Federation.
Q: If the Romulans don't attack the Federation on Turn #10 and the Gorns go to limited war, is a declaration of war or an attack on the Tholians the same as declaring war on the Federation?
A: No. The only thing attacking the Tholians at this time will do is put the Federation on a limited war status which they will already be at. The Kzinti and Gorns will be able to send expeditionary fleets to Tholian space to assist the Tholians.
Q: If the Romulans don't attack the Federation on Turn #10 (603.5) and the Gorns go to limited war, what about capturing of neutral zones?
A: The capture by the coalition of any neutral zones adjacent to the Federation or Gorns is a declaration of war against the respective empire.
Q: If the Romulans don't attack the Federation on Turn #10 and the Gorns go to limited war (603.5), is an attack on an adjacent minor planet (e.g., 3912) an attack on the Federation?
A: Yes it is.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean,
What can you tell me about the schedule for Traveller Prime Directive?
A: It appears that Mongoose's rulebook is being printed now. Give our author a month to digest it (Jean will be working on the next Captain's Log during that time) and then we should see regular progress made.
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 MonthTURN INTO THE WIND
A carrier that wishes to recover a fighter will need to ensure that it moves no more than two hexes in that impulse, so if moving at a Baseline Speed of 24 an obvious solution is to use a deceleration for the energy cost of one hex of movement. There is, however, an alternative that may well be preferable under certain circumstances.
If the carrier's escort (or any nearby friendly ship) tractors the carrier, this will lower the number of hexes moved to allow a fighter landing. This has the benefits of not costing the carrier itself any additional energy and allowing fighters to be recovered over several impulses without having to pay for deceleration for each such impulse. Obviously, the higher the move cost of the carrier and the more fighters to be recovered in one turn, the greater the energy saving. While the carrier is prevented from firing at other ships while tractored by a friendly ship, this may be a worthwhile price to pay for being able to use high speed before and after the recovery impulses. Of course all the ships of the fleet could do this by pairing up and keeping in formation.
If the fighters are trying to catch up with the carrier, the advantage of this method can be even greater. For example, an escort and carrier of the same size and with the same energy devoted to movement will not move at all while tractored (barring accelerations and decelerations). This allows returning fighters to rapidly gain ground without the carrier having to change its course (which may be tactically undesirable) or spending a lot of energy for decelerations.
When planning to recover fighters take a moment to consider whether one energy point spent tractoring the carrier will save energy while allowing a higher baseline speed and keeping maneuver options open for later in the turn.
Andromedan commando ships, the Diamondback and Rattler, can land on planets to unload boarding parties quickly. This is necessary for the Andromedans who have relatively few transporters and no shuttles. However, conventional landings are time-consuming and can leave the commando ship vulnerable to fire from the defenders. The Diamondback and Rattler are both satellite ships, so they can be carried in a mothership's hangar like any other satellite ship. This means a mothership can carry a commando ship to within five hexes of the planetary surface and then transport the commando ship straight down to the ground using rule (G19.416). The troopship will be protected by the mothership's power absorber panels on the approach, and the defenders will never get a chance to fire directly at the commando ship before it reaches the surface.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
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.
Facebook Highlight of the Month
Mini of the Month
Eric Drumm painted this Orion pirate fleet. It includes a DN -- enough to make any raid scary!