Star Fleet Universe News
BIG NEWS: THE LYRAN MASTER STARSHIP BOOK
The Lyran Master Starship Book is now available in PDF form.
"Cadets, how did the Lyrans produce their Lion dreadnought? Anyone beside Cadet Granger? Yes, Cadet Granger."
"Sir, it involved cutting a Tiger-class heavy cruiser in half and installing a new and larger center section. This allowed the Lyrans to produce new dreadnoughts faster and for less money than anyone else. The advantage led to the fall of the Kzintis and Hydrans."
"As usual, Cadet Granger is correct. The rest of you, study your Lyran Master Starship Book. It isn't a paperweight, you know."
The fifth volume in the long-anticipated Master Starship Book series is now available. It includes every Lyran ship in Star Fleet Battles, including X-ships, Y-ships, and R1 units that are specific to the Lyran Star Empire. Lyrans are interesting because some ships were assigned to particular duchies. (This book does not focus on ships from the Lyran Democratic Republic; those will be in their own book.)
Every ship is illustrated. All updates, corrections, and errata have been added. The ships are in order (regardless of the product they came from) with the enhanced format listing detailed information in a consistent manner. This book contains the descriptions of the ships, but not the SSDs.
This is available as a PDF from these sites:
We'll release it in print sometime in May 2017.
Our website, www.StarFleetGames.com, continues to grow and improve. You are welcome to send us your requests, comments, and suggestions. Simone Dale, 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.
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:
Our Battlegroups continue to grow and be active! Let's take a look at Klingon Saber Dance Academy, located in Plano, Texas. CO Eamon Wentzel reports that this group is active, regularly gaming Saturdays at Madness Games & Comics in Plano. Their games include Star Fleet Battles, Federation Commander, Star Fleet Marines, and Prime Directive. Check them out here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/battlegroup/battlegroup_KlingonSaber.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: email@example.com or Tony L. Thomas at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Rated Ace Tournament 47 is up and going with only one first round game left to be played and three second-round games finished! Bill Schoeller is the judge.
Stay tuned for more about the 2017 Platinum Hat Tournament.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
Ranger Harlan Haskell III reports that SFB was demoed at Game Storm 19 in Portland Oregon on March 30-April 2, 2017. Folks young and old enjoyed the games.
Battle Group Brevard is hosting another SFB game at HMGS-South's RECON May 4-7, 2017.They have put in a request to have the game on Friday evening 8pm-midnight. Please see the Historical Miniatures Gaming Societies website: http://www.hmgs-south.com/
On May 13, 2017 at the Proctor's Theatre in Schenectady, New York, ACTASF will be demoed. Rangers Mark Lurz and Tom Talasco are in charge.
Battle Group Galaxy M31 plans on holding a Federation Commander Demo Derby at Nashcon 2017 June 2, 2017 from 2 to 6 pm in the Franklin Marriott at Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee. http://www.nashcon.org/ It will be a frigate battle royal in miniature (Starline 2400)
Are you going to GenCon in August 2017? Make plans to play Star Fleet Battles with Randy Blair as the Ranger in charge. He'll be holding four demos there. August 17 at 11:00 am is Eastern Plight, August 18 at 11:00 am is Western Plight, August 19 at 10:00 am and again at 3:00 pm is Survivor! (each is stand-alone). GenCon is held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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 Family Time Games. 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.
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 Ranger Harlan Haskell III reports that the last gameday went well and folks enjoyed themselves.
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
One seldom-used rule in Planetary Operations is blockade running (other than when it is used for running Economic Points back and forth to the WYN Cluster). If you are defending your own territory, there may be a much better use for raiding ships: blockade running and remaining in a friendly hex.
By judicious use of both police ships and blockade-running ships (as you can only send one blockade runner to each province) it may be possible to cut off enemy ships, which are deep into your empire and far from their Main Supply Grid, prior to the Operational Movement supply check.
Although the cut-off enemy forces will have full their full combat potential for the Combat Phase (as they were in supply at the start of the turn), by cutting them off from supply you will prevent them from using extended Reaction Movement. This should make it easier for you to outmaneuver them.
With luck, it might be possible to keep the noose around the enemy ships (although enemy raids might break the noose, their being expended to do so will indirectly protect other of your assets from raids). You do need to be careful and not allow the enemy an opportunity to land a reserve fleet in a key area, thereby restoring supply to the forces you are attacking.
So as with anything else there are risks, but you might just turn that "narrow crack" in the enemy front into a wide open door, just waiting for your own ships to race through it!
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
TERRAIN IN A CALL TO ARMS: STAR FLEET
One of the more important things to master in games of A Call To Arms: Star Fleet is the correct use of terrain. Terrain can provide cover for your direct approaches and flanking moves, screen vulnerable initiative sinks from enemy fire, and reduce the likelihood of enemy ships being able to target you, never mind hit you.
Terrain can mean the difference between life and death for small or heavily damaged ships as those rocks and dust and other things completely block line of sight, protecting ships from enemy fire. Initiative sinks (small cheap ships bought to provide "ship count" and allow you to move more units late in the battle) benefit greatly from this, especially on a large table, as they can stay well away from enemy craft. (If the enemy blows those up, you lose the iniative benefits, so keep them out of range.)
Read through the sections on each type of terrain carefully and think about how your particular fleet can benefit from each type. While dust clouds disrupt a cloak, they can provide some protection for a ship reloading its torpedoes. Be aware of little things like the fact that a dust cloud reduces the Crew Quality of ships within it by one; this can mean some special orders are that much harder to use.
Take a moment or two to look at the asteroid field densities which dictate how easy or difficult it is too safely navigate the terrain. If playing with variable Crew Quality scores, it might be that a normally dangerous asteroid field is actually relatively safe. Powering through an asteroid field and putting yourself out of reach behind it (and safe from enemy fire) may be a tactic of last resort or merely a bold maneuver. While asteroid fields can be dangerous to enter, if you start the game within them, you gain the benefits without the risks.
When the table is set up, examine your deployment area carefully for advantages and your opponent's for the same. It may be that an asteroid field or dust cloud will dictate how ships and even fleets move in the game. The game can be won or at least heavily slanted in your favor at this point so important can terrain be in games.
Orbiting a planet rather than moving across it may alter how you can move your ships and perhaps catch your opponent off guard.
Lastly, Romulan players should be aware that the special six-inch move used when de-cloaking means that should you so wish you can "jump" terrain to put yourself on the other side, something that can spoil the day of an unwary opponent.
First look at Will McCammon's HF5 Klingon heavy war destroyer
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
To be released in 2017
A new Starmada book for both editions.
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, RIS Imperial Truth
"Sensor contact, Commander!"
"Size class?" Under cloak, detailed readings were impossible without giving away their position, but passive sensors could detect the presence and approximate size of a nearby ship. Clavius knew that he could rely on the other captains of his exceptionally trained squadron to follow procedure. They would follow his lead.
"Cruiser-sized, Commander. They are approaching the remains of the outpost."
"Weapons at the ready?"
"All lasers ready. Plasma torpedo on rolling delay, ready to fire at your command."
Clavius closed his eyes and concentrated. "Not just yet. Not just yet."
Bridge, USS Alfred the Great
"Magnification 12 on the outpost."
"Magnification 12, Sir."
A dark vision of burned and twisted metal entwined with asteroid rock filled the viewscreen. Something horrible and violent had happened here.
"Indeterminate. There is considerable plasmatic radiation, probably weapons residue, though not from any weapon I've seen before."
"Any atmosphere left?"
"An underground section of the base retains atmosphere and livable pressure. If there are survivors, they are probably there. The rest of the base is depressurized or open to space. I'm not picking up any personal beacons or survival shelters on the surface."
"Keep scanning for survivors, but don't neglect long-range sensors, either. I don't want any surprises."
"Transporter room, this is the Captain. Makarov, sections of the base still have atmosphere. Get down there and search for survivors. When you find them, I want to know what they know."
Winter coughed. Normally he'd call sickbay for a cough suppressant, but he didn't want to sidetrack the medical team, not with the possibility of casualties being beamed aboard. He could wait a few more minutes. Visually scanning the bridge, he noticed a change in Jiang's body language.
"Something on the sensors, Jiang?"
"No, Sir. At least, I don't think so."
"Nothing on long-range scan, but there is, or was, an intermittent sensor anomaly about 40,000 kilometers ahead of us and slightly to starboard. I could barely read it for just a few seconds. It's gone now."
"I'm not a fan of intermittent anomalies, Jiang."
(Continue reading here)
Ask Admiral Vanaxilth
Randy Blair asks: Can the sole occupiers of a ground combat location (D15.1) split into groups that go to separate remote areas (D15.7) to avoid the affects of transporter artillery (E20.22)? For example, 100 boarding parties are at a ground combat location, and they want to split into four equal groups: one that stays at the ground combat location and three that go to their own separate remote areas ‹ or do those 75 go to a single remote area?
Kommodore Ketrick replies: Transporter artillery makes attacks against the units in all remote areas (E20.22) as a single pool on which casualties are scored. Transporter artillery and ground combat are very generic when playing SFB as the focus of the game is on ship-to-ship combat. You are, at this juncture, trying to force a more "tactical" feel to a generic system that is not intended for such. Rule (D15.0) does not allow suppressive fires, maneuver, or any other tactical options that anyone who has trained for ground combat understands, but is simply adding up the firepower value, rolling a die, and then removing casualties based on the number of damage points scored. There are some tactical decisions (trading damage points to kill something specific for example), but no specific ground combat options.
Randy Blair asks: Player A has 212 boarding parties at a ground combat location (D15.1). Player B transports, at the non-combat rate (G8.32), 70 boarding parties to a remote area (D15.7). How many of Player A's boarding parties are allowed to go on Search & Destroy missions (D15.74)?
Kommodore Ketrick replies: Under (D15.551) the arriving troops have no offensive potential and cannot even serve as casualties unless attacked by the Search & Destroy system. So Player A has to garrison the ground combat location [one boarding party per control station (D15.571)] and can send the other 209 (assuming three control stations needed to be garrisoned) out on search and destroy missions. Had the attacker beamed down only 35 boarding parties (to form a defense behind which he will then beam down other troops at the non-combat rate on future turns), Player A would only be able to use (35 x 3 = 105, 209 105 =) 104 of his boarding parties for search and destroy operations. Player A could divide the 104 boarding parties (or in the first case, the 209 boarding parties) into as many search and destroy parties as he wishes. In the former case, the 209 boarding parties would not suffer any casualties; in the latter case the 104 boarding parties would sustain some losses. Note that it is possible for the search and destroy missions to reach a point where they are not contacting anyone as any given Player B boarding party can only be involved in one action. Thus the 209 boarding parties divided into 21 search and destroy operations might encounter all 70 of the boarding parties before all 21 search teams had searched, so you need to divide them carefully into packages, perhaps just 10 groups of 20 boarding parties and one group of nine. Of course, some of the search and destroy parties may simply not find anyone.
Matthew Potter asks: A shuttle attempts to launch from the planet's surface (the planet has an atmosphere). Per (P2.4121), the shuttle leaves the surface on Impulse #32 regardless of when the shuttle attempted to launch. Per (J1.341) and (J1.342), a shuttle has a waiting period between launch and weapons fire/launch. When can the shuttle fire? Can a shuttle in atmospheric flight that is providing ground combat fire support (D15.131) be fired at outside of ground combat (D15.43)? Can a landed shuttle that is not participating in ground combat (perhaps because of no opposing units on the ground to fight with), but is attempting to climb (D15.43) [because of its proximity to the important bits of a ground combat location (D15.0)] be fired at by outside units? Can a shuttle that falls under (D15.43) fire at units outside of ground combat? Can a shuttle that is participating in ground combat fire at units outside of ground combat? Can a shuttle under (D14.43) be hit by transporter artillery?
Kommodore Ketrick replies: A shuttle taking off from any kind of base (of any size), has to wait eight impulses from the announcement of launch to fire its phaser (or other direct-fire weapon), and 16 impulses to launch a drone or other seeking weapon. I know there are some players who think that all of the fighters at a small fighter ground base can simply open fire and not bother to take off, but it is not the case. While there is no "roof" over the fighters (other than the base's shield), there is a ready rack to service that fighter, which includes fuel lines and other things that do not react well to sudden shock or extreme heat. There is no chain reaction, but firing from that location would destroy the ready rack and the fighter on that pad. Outside of ground combat, shuttles and fighters landed on a planetary surface can fire at units "flying above them" whether in the atmosphere or in space. So if the shuttle is not involved in ground combat, even if landed on a planetary surface, it can fire.
Shuttles (including fighters) involved in ground combat cannot be fired at by units in space, and this includes shuttles in remote areas (D15.713). [Neither can ships be fired at (D15.532) if they are under ground assault.] By (D15.44) a fighter can be used in both "ground combat" and "space combat" in a given turn, so a fighter in atmospheric flight (or a ship for that matter) could be fired on without affecting ground combat.
A landed shuttle could be engaged normally if there is no ground combat (even one landed in a known ground combat location, as indeed a ship can). If there is ground combat at that location, then it cannot be fired at. No rule prevents the shuttle (or fighter) or a ship from firing from a ground combat location as long as it is not involved in ground combat. This means that the players must have established that there is going to be ground combat (literally before the scenario begins) and there is thus a ground combat location with something both players want. If there is not going to be ground combat (the attacking player simply wants to destroy the defender's units), then there is no "ground combat location" where a shuttle can hide. This is scenario dependent. Rule (D15.0) only comes into play if there is going to be ground combat. If there is not going to be ground combat, then (P2.0) is the rule you operate under, and it does not provide for shuttles to hide in a ground combat location. If there is going to be ground combat, then all players know where the ground combat locations are. The shuttle can land there to avoid attack by the other side (by being involved in ground combat) because neither side wants to accidentally destroy whatever valuable infrastructure they are fighting for.
Rule (D15.43) is specific to shuttles and does not allow a shuttle involved in ground combat to engage units not involved in ground combat, while (D15.44) is specific to fighters and does. So a shuttle in ground combat cannot shoot at units not engaged in ground combat at that location.
Shuttles engaged in ground combat cannot be specifically targeted by transporter artillery; rule (E20.23) only allows for specifically targeting such shuttles (or fighters) landed at bases. Shuttles can be used to resolve casualty damage points generated by (E20.212).
(End of Admiral Vanaxilth)
FREEZE! PUT YOUR HANDS UP!
Q: Under rule (312.233), a Klingon stasis ship is trying to freeze ships in an enemy battle force consisting of CVL+CLE+EFF CVL+CLE+EFF (six ships). The freeze attempt on the first carrier group resulted in random targeting, and on the second group it succeeded. For random selection, which ships are eligible for selection by the Klingon player? Rule (312.233) says the original target cannot be selected. Rule (312.271) says only the smallest unfrozen escort can be selected by the attacker for random targeting. Does this mean that the CLE of the second carrier group is the only eligible unit for random targeting?
A: Under (312.202), if the result is a randomly selected ship, the procedure in (312.232) is resolved immediately. Under (312.233), neither player can select the original target of that attempt or a ship already frozen by a previous attempt. This trumps all further random selection procedures. Since the SFG player can only select one eligible ship from each carrier group (the smallest unfrozen ship ‹ one of which was the original target) he is left with only the smallest unfrozen ship of the other carrier group. The SFG player would use all three of his random numbers on the other, non-frozen escort (barring an optional fighter or PF selection). The defender can then only select one CLE from each group and one of those CLEs will have two numbers.
Q: Under (312.232) is the Klingon player forced to assign numbers for fighter factors if there are fewer than three eligible ships that can be assigned numbers for random selection?
A: The SFG player is never required to select enemy fighters or PFs as SFG random target nominees even if there are limited numbers of eligible ship targets.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean, What can you tell me about Prime Directive in Captain's Log #52?
A: I am excited because Prime Directive got more pages than usual and the story had a nice backstory that could serve as an inspiration for an adventure. The meaty parts include a system survey of Yeney'vn, a rather unpleasant species located in Federation space. There's also an expanded article on the Rovillians of the Inter-Stellar Concordium.
Send questions to Jean at marketing@StarFleetGames.com and she will answer as soon as she can.
(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".
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 MonthPATROL CORVETTE AND 40-STRENGTH WEB
Since a Tholian patrol corvette does not have web generators, many players think it cannot provide support for a web. This is both correct and incorrect. The patrol corvette cannot directly provide power to the web, but it can indirectly make the web more effective.
When an enemy ship becomes stuck in a web that it can escape from, a patrol corvette can apply a tractor beam to that ship. This immediately lowers the enemy ship's base speed by one level. That's up to eight movement points that the ship can no longer use. Additionally, the ship must expend more power to accelerate.
With a single point of power (assuming no auction), the patrol corvette has effectively increased the web strength by as much as eight points in that hex. If the web strength is at the maximum of 32 points, the patrol corvette has given the web an effective strength of 40! This allows the rest of the Tholian ships to use power for other things such as firing at the enemy ship. Furthermore, if the enemy ship tries to fight the tractor beam, that will use up precious power. Escaping web requires a lot of power. If the enemy ship wins the auction and escapes the web, it is likely to have little to no power left. If the enemy ship is in a 25 or higher strength web hex, it will be impossible for the enemy ship to break free (a tractored ship's maximum speed is 16+1).
Let's look at an example using a Federation heavy cruiser. Assume the Federation heavy cruiser is at Baseline Speed 16 and hits a web with strength 16. The Federation heavy cruiser will break free after eight impulses. However, if a patrol corvette were to tractor the Federation heavy cruiser, things quickly change. We will assume the patrol corvette used a tractor after the Federation heavy cruiser was stuck for two impulses.
The Federation heavy cruiser has at most 24 points of power at this point. It is likely that the Federation heavy cruiser was powering photon torpedoes, and this reduces it to a maximum of 16 points of power. Against Tholians behind webs, it is also likely the Federation heavy cruiser was using evasive maneuvers to defend against the Tholian phaser fire. That leaves the Federation heavy cruiser with only 10 points of power, and evasive maneuvers are terminated by the web.
If the patrol corvette succeeds with the tractor, the Federation heavy cruiser is immediately reduced to Baseline Speed 8. It has used four movement points so far and needs 12 more movement points to break free. The reduced speed from the tractor only gives the Federation heavy cruiser six more movement points. In order to get the additional six movement points, the Federation heavy cruiser must accelerate every impulse with a move cost of 1.25 for a total cost of 7.5 power. If the Federation heavy cruiser does nothing else, it breaks free from the web with 2.5 points of power left over. If the Federation heavy cruiser used power prior to hitting the web, the situation will be even worse. In the meantime, the other Tholian ships are probably using their power in ways the Federation heavy cruiser will not like.
You could use another ship to do this same thing, but the patrol corvette without web generators is an easier trade off (or sacrifice if the enemy decides to fire). You can focus the patrol corvette on this task while the ships with web generators can focus on the other tasks you are trying to accomplish.
Drogues can provide considerable self-defense or even offensive capability to what is often the weakest ship in the fleet - the scout. Because they do not blind sensor channels, heavy weapons drogues are the ideal firepower supplement to scouts, especially plasma-armed scouts. Instead of having to protect your scout from flanking enemy ships, a scout can use drogue-mounted plasma-F torpedoes for self-defense. The flanking ship may suddenly find itself on the defensive.
The scout's plasma-F torpedoes can also be used to finish off a damaged enemy ship that is not worth detaching a ship from the line for, or just as a surprise to throw off your opponent's planning.
Drone-armed and phaser-armed drogues can be used as well, of course, but the low firepower of the phaser drogues, and the fact that drone-armed scouts can already use drones without blinding themselves, makes the difference in capability less pronounced for these ships.
(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:
Facebook Highlight of the Month
Some great games of SFB last Friday night at STAGS! Fed ships taking on a Klingon and Kizinti ship the Klingons had captured!