Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS: The unexpected
An ancient Hydran proverb states that "the best surprise is the unexpected" and that can also prove to be the worst surprise. Before even starting to explain, we should let you know that everybody at ADB, Inc., is fine and will be better soon, but the events below are why this issue is more than two weeks late.
Company President the chief designer Stephen V. Cole has routinely monitored his health for more than a decade, and when he detected something wrong (his blood pressure suddenly jumped to a higher level) he went to his doctor and asked what was going on. Three specialist doctors and a few expensive tests later, he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor the size of a tennis ball that was steadily destroying his left kidney. After a few more tests he was taken 400 miles to Dallas where the top expert surgeon in the US removed the kidney. This meant Steve losing over a month of work (even now he's back to spending only an hour or two a day at his desk), which meant that none of the projects mentioned in the last issue of Communique got finished. Steve's recovery was delayed by an attack of nausea and later the Hideous Coughing Plague, but he's getting more and more done every day he makes it to work and those projects will appear in January.
While Steve was in recovery, Jean Sexton was diagnosed with a problem women often have, resulting in surgery and extended recovery delayed by bouts with nausea and the Hideous Coughing Plague. Like Steve Cole, she should be back at full speed sometime in January and wants to thank all of the people who have sent their get well wishes.
The Hideous Coughing Plague also sent Steve Petrick, business manager Leanna Cole, and warehouse manager Mike Sparks home for several days. There were a few days just before Christmas that Wolf was the only one in the office, and he did his best to keep things going and ship orders. If you find a Milk Bone in your box then that means he thought you might be hungry!
See you all next year.
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:
Facebook Fan Pages
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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
The 2015 Platinum Hat is in progress and the games are running, some of which have already concluded.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
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.
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
Romulans should strongly consider building up their survey ships to the maximum of six. Some players believe that doing so is of limited value, as the Romulans enter the war late, and cannot even begin surveying in the off-map area until Coalition Turn #13 or so (taking into account that the on-map provinces must be surveyed first). Also, the Romulans could not build a base off map [they can in F&E2KX], which limits their ability to move ships into and out of the off-map area. Thus, while they do benefit from survey, the total number of survey points and subsequent Economic Points is limited relative to returns by maximizing survey for empires that enter the war early.
However, the Romulans will need all the Economic Points they can get as the war drags on, and the Romulans are in a unique position to maximize their survey capabilities relatively cheaply.
While the Klingons and Lyrans must build heavy cruisers for eight Economic Points, and then spend five Economic Points to convert them to survey ships (a total of thirteen Economic Points), the Romulans can build survey ships for as cheap as five and a half, net, Economic Points. How? Easily, by taking three WEs crippled in battle, bringing them back to the capital, and using a major conversion to convert them to PEs. The cost is reduced by one Economic Point while converting them during repair, but you must add one and a half Economic Points for the repair, hence the total of five and a half Economic Points. Be mindful that you can only make one such conversion per year.
So, to maximize Romulan survey capability, you will spend 5.5x3=16.5 Economic Points for three PEs, and nine Economic Points for three additional survey slots. Your total outlay is 25.5 Economic Points.
What is your return? Others have done the math and published the benefits of survey. Using similar mathematical analysis, you will earn on average an additional 72 Economic Points above what you would have earned over the course of the game had you only used the original three survey ships. So, your return is not quite 3:1, and your net gain is 46.5 Economic Points. While it might not seem worth the initial outlay of 25.5 Economic Points at a time you need them early in the war, those 72 Economic Points will be coming mostly at times when you need them even more; i.e., when you are operating at 50% income due to exhaustion. So, plan ahead.
This math assumes you started with four survey ships actually doing off-map survey on Turn #13 after surveying the on-map provinces on Turns #11 and #12, and then adding one survey ship per year for two years. That is just three survey ships that could also start off-map survey on Turn #13. This math also assumes effects of exhaustion, but ignores use of Prime Teams or high-risk survey.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO GO THERE
Do you hate it when the Klingons flank your clumsy Federation cruisers, only to hit you from the side where your photons cannot bear? Then it might be time to play games with the Klingon player's head.
Keep some small ships, preferably three battle frigates or war destroyers, to the rear and one side of your cruiser line. Normally you would move your small ships first, saving your cruisers until they can line up a photon target. Instead try moving a cruiser or two into an exposed position for the Klingon to flank them. Make sure the ships you sent use the Boost Energy to Shields! special action.
It is possible the Klingons will sense a trap, and move more small ships first to force you to commit your small ships before moving his cruisers. In this case you have a choice. You can have your small ships stay together, use the Overload! special action, and move them closer to the cruiser line but stagger their fore arcs (say 12 o'clock, 10 o'clock, and 9 o'clock). If the Klingon tries to flank anyway, he takes some overloaded photons or he stays out of the small ships' forward arcs. This is called "area denial." Or you might send your small ships off to the side in a J-turn hoping to get behind some unsuspecting Klingon, but this is somewhat risky, as he may just turn and beat up your small ships instead of the cruisers.
If the Klingon is unwary, he may take the bait and try to flank your cruisers at close range. If he is within 12" of your small ships, use the Overload! special action and move up on his flank and let him have it. Three battle frigates/war destroyers with overloads can kill a typical Klingon cruiser easily, or can cripple a heavy battlecruiser.
Sometimes the threat of overloaded photons can encourage the Klingon to change his movement plans to avoid an obvious trap. Or you can set up a trap and plan to take advantage of him seeing it and reacting to it. At the least it has him reacting to your moves, which is never a bad thing.
Mini of the Month
Eric Drumm writes: Here's my Orion Heavy Cruiser named "JAWS."
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
To be released in 2015
F&E Minor Empires, SKU 3214, price $TBA
A new Starmada book for both editions.
F&E Fighter Operations update 2015, SKU 3203
Federation Commander Reference Starship Book
To be released in 2016
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.
Tribbles vs. Klingons (assuming Kickstarter works!)
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23
The single enemy phaser hit them even as Norris's six weapons replied back. They were doing more damage than they were taking, but the sheer size of their opponent made the strange duel's outcome hang in serious doubt. Harris had debated taking the G-racks offline to reload, but felt the risk of multiple incoming drones was too serious. He growled in frustration when the next cycle's weapons only came up with direct-fire types. It was encouraging to see large chunks of what otherwise looked like any normal asteroid being blown off, but the thing was so blasted big!
Giles blinked twice as he continued his periodic reports on the enemy's constantly changing weaponry. Was that a mauler he saw taking shape? Fortunately it was out of arc to them, but he wondered again where this foe had learned these things. "That would be so amazing, if it wasn't trying to kill us!" he muttered to himself.
"Photons almost ready, Sir," stated his weapons officer, "but the power needed to keep firing the phasers means I can only give you partial overloads this shot."
"Understood, I know you will do your best."
Gary Carney asks: In (OR5.03), the Vari are allowed to use their control spaces as labs, removing the need for dedicated lab boxes on any of their ships. If a Vari captain uses a given set of control spaces as lab boxes, do these spaces still function normally as bridge (or aux, emer, or flag) boxes, or do they operate solely as lab boxes if so tasked? (I.e., is lab use in addition to or instead of their normal use?) For example, a Vari Wing Cruiser has two bridge and two aux boxes. If the Vari captain decides to use three of these boxes as labs, does the ship still count as having four active control spaces, or does it temporarily go down to just the one (and thus increase the risk of becoming uncontrolled)?
ANSWER: Rule (G4.31) specifies that when a ship uses a control space as a lab (which for other empires can only be done with one control space), that control space still functions as a control space. The cruiser would still have four control spaces.
Follow-up Question: So, would that also mean that if the Vari are flying a captured ship, they would be able to use all of the non-native hull's control spaces as labs, too?
ANSWER: Yes, this is a function of Vari training and software. Note that if the Vari converted such a captured ship to their own technology, the lab spaces would probably be deleted in favor of something else. Just what will have to wait on a future "Brothers of the Anarchist" article.
Alex Lyons asks: Integrated Warp Tractor Beams (OG18.0) working as a Pressure Field (OG18.36) states that if a drone is not within the field at the beginning of the movement, the drone gets to ignore the field. How would that work against high-speed drones such as mass drivers or hyper drones which can hit you without being involved in a movement phase?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: The interaction of mass driver missiles and an integrated warp tractor pressure field is answered by (ME2.655) in Module C5. As to hyper drones, they are covered (lacking a direct reference as found for mass drivers) by (OG18.364), second to the last sentence which says "Pressure fields never affect Direct-Fire weapons even if the weapon is nominally described as a physical object, e.g., ADDs (E5.0)." Hyper drones are direct-fire weapons, i.e., their rule number is (E55.0). Note that while mass drivers are also direct-fire weapons, their interaction is defined by a specific rule.
Follow-up Question: Would this prevent both movements of a Nicozian Skip-Warp Missile?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Yes, because the pressure field is still a tractor effect even if a looser form (the trapped drones are held in the hex where they are caught and not dragged along by the tractoring ship), and (FD93.49) defers to (C91.41) which says being held in a tractor cancels the skip-warp movement of a missile as long as it is held.
Ken Kazinski asks: The Iridani GL shuttles table shows a gig. Rule (OR14.S2) says the gig is purchased separately. Many of the Iridani SSDs show a gig but some do not. Is the gig part of the standard shuttle loadout when it is listed in the shuttles box?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: You have to purchase the gig; it is not free (OR14.S14). The designer decided to include enough check-off boxes for it on the administrative shuttle tracks for those ships able to carry one. As the rule cites the trade-in value of a replaced admin shuttle, if you choose not to use the gig, you simply mark out the extra damage boxes and you have the standard admin you did not trade for the gig.
Ken Kazinski asks: Question on Worb turrets. The heavy destroyer forward turret has FA+L and RF+R shown. Are the subspace rockets only FA and anti-proton beams #3 and #4 LF+L while anti-proton beams #5 and #6 are RF+R? I understand the turret can change from the FA arc, but I am not understanding the LF+L & RF+R arcs shown.
ANSWER: All weapons in the turret are FA when it is pointing toward shield #1. If it rotates to shield #6, those arcs all become LF+L. If it rotates to shield #2, those arcs become RF+R.
Mike Kenyon asks: What is the interaction between tachyon missiles and the monster close-in defense system? About half the time, it seems as though tachyon missiles get size classed as a shuttle for special rules and half the time as a drone, so I am not sure and I cannot find it expressly called out.
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Treat tachyon missiles as shuttles for purposes of the monster close-in defense system. Note that a crippled tachyon missile does not lose any speed, but a second hit will destroy it.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Q: In the SIT what products are "TO" and "NO"?
A: "TO" stands for Tactical Operations, a place for any ship that we might add sometime, perhaps in a product of that name or perhaps some units would go into other products. "NO" means Nebulous Operations, a catch-all place for any ship that just isn't needed in F&E and will probably never be added to the game.
Q: How are the units treated after the heading for the different products? For example, it says "AO: FD7, D5J, D5S, 3xE4, E4R, ADM." What exactly does that mean?
A: It literally means that if you are using Advanced Operations, then you add those ships to the order of battle.
Q: Does "unbuilt variant" in the Ship Information Tables mean something or is it simply a textual note?
A: This comes from SFB and means that empire had the capability to build an unbuilt variant but didn't do that for some reason. The empire did not know how to build "conjectural" units, but gamers might want to. In any given game the players must decide if they will stop at historical, unbuilt, or conjectural ships.
Q: If the Hydrans lose their capital, build a new one off map, then recapture the old one, then lose the old one, then does (511.41) capital defense priority apply?
A: No. The "capital" is now off map and (511.41) is moot.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean,
How does healthcare work for non-military people in the SFU?
A: The key to health is prevention. The kind of "annual physical" that people have in 2015 is a monthly event in the SFU, but takes only a few minutes and costs only a few credits. Tests that cost thousands of dollars and take an hour in 2015 (and hence are ordered only by doctors who suspect things) are routine in the SFU at the monthly wellness checkup.
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.
There is a good reason why the Ryn were never conquered despite all of their disadvantages. Yes, they can hop around the map and play games with your seeking weapons, but that is not the real reason they are to be feared.
The reason is their offensive boarding party operations.
Consider the following all working together:
1. When they are within their own space they can buy boarding parties as Commander's Option Items without regard to the normal "maximum of 10 extra boarding parties" limit.
2. Their transporters have a range of 15 hexes.
3. They do not have shields (they have armor instead) so they do not have to telegraph their intentions.
4. Finally, and most frightening, they can use their quantum transporter boxes (their equivalent of engines) as transporters on a one-to-one basis.
So a lowly destroyer can send over 25 boarding parties in a single wave if you give it the opportunity. Few empires have ships capable of resisting this kind of assault.
Of course, the Andromedans can and did, so it is no wonder the Ryn evacuated their space when threatened by them.
(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
Star Fleet Battle Force being played! Friday night Game Night!