Star Fleet Universe News
BIG NEWS: MERRY CHRISTMAS!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Eid, the Winter Solstice, and all others. This is a time for family gatherings and good times with friends. These are the shortest days of the year and everything gets better from here.
Federation Commander: North Polar Ship Card Pack to be made Available
Back in 2006, ADB produced a ship card for Santa's Sleigh. This later became an annual tradition. More ships were done and scenarios were created. All of these appeared in various Communiques until eventually we suddenly had six ships and six scenarios. We talked it over and decided to gather up all the ships and all the scenarios (all newly edited for this pack), and add graphics for the counters. Then we decided to give it away for FREE as a present to our customers. Happy Christmas!
Six Federation Commander ship cards for the North Pole, including:
Christmas Tree Cruiser
Candy Cane Light Cruiser
Commando Cane Cruiser
Each ship is presented in high resolution in both fleet scale and squadron scale.
The pack also includes the six North Polar scenarios that have been written to date. "Star over Frallia" pits the Orions against the North Pole. "Santa Meets the Monster" is for any empire. "The Klingons Throw out the Wreath" features the Klingons attacking the North Pole's base. The Klingons try again in "How the Elves Rebuilt Christmas." The poor Klingons never learn from their failure as we find out "How the Klingons Stole the Christmas Trees." Finally, discover "How the Hydrans Met Santa Claus." All of the scenarios were written to feature at least one North Polar ship.
The pack will only be available as an e-pack.
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 a battle group that is forming: Battlegroup Gator. They are homeported in Waycross, Georgia with Ranger Michael Baker as their group commander. They are active in playing many of the Star Fleet Universe games. Do you live in the area? Find out how to contact them here:
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 46 is over. Ron J. Brimeyer defeated Lee P. Graves. Congratulations, Ron! Andy Vancil was the judge for this tournament. Stay tuned for news about Rated Ace Tournament 47.
The 2016 Star Fleet Battles World League is over. Team MBA went down to Team Beaurocratic Haul's Glass! Peter Bakija coordinated this tournament.
The sixth annual Star Fleet Battles Platinum Hat tournament is now underway. Six of the second-round games have been played; two third-round games have been played. Paul Scott is the judge for this tournament; Steven Petrick is the Tournament Marshal, with Peter Bakija assisting them.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
Ranger Harlan Haskell reports he will be in Everett, WA, for Orcacon Jan. 13-15,2017, and present an all miniature SFB Tournament during the three days.
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.
THE NEXT TWO BELOW HAVE CHANGED!!!
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. December 2016's Early Years game should be a continuation of November's "Disaster at Rikantha", in which a lone Jindarian ship has to run a gauntlet of sublight Romulans. Date will be Dec 11 or 18, still TBD.
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
Like the Kzintis, the Romulans have a couple of advantages when it comes to implementing the CVEG rules (318.43). Here the Romulans can take advantage of the fact that the NHB, FHB, and SPB all have eight fighter factors and the SKB has four fighter factors. The Romulan CVEG will consist of a NHB, FHB, SPB or TH (year in service permitting), SKB, FHM or SPM, and two SKEs for the minimum group size. The TH provides the third attrition squadron as it is a PFT also. Any available PFT could be added to the battle force for the third attrition squadron. The big limitation on the TH and SKB is that you only have a total of eight fighter factors and would have to include a SUP or second SKB to get to the full three squadron limit for attrition units.
For example, here is a NHB CVEG group: NHB 9-10 + 8 (fighters), SKB 4-5 + 4 (fighters), SPM 7, SKE 5, SKE 5 = 30-32 + 12 (fighters) plus other units in the battle force.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
THE GAME TURN
The ACTASF turn is divided into four phases: Initiative, Movement, Attack, and End of Turn. Let's look at them in order:
Initiative Phase: Winning the initiative for a turn gives one an advantage. The winner gets to move second and can react to his opponent's movement. The winner gets to fire first, and can target the ship of his choice before it gets a chance to fire at him. You can aid this process by selecting a ship with the Command trait as this gives a bonus to your initiative roll. This often makes that ship a prime target. If your opponent only has one ship with this trait and you can destroy it, he has lost the modifier. If you only have a single Command ship you must protect it well.
Movement Phase: If the first player has more ships, he might elect to move one that is out of position or pick a small, non-important ship and choose not to move it. This puts the onus of first movement on the other player. If both players have an (approximately) equal number of units, the decisions are different. After a player has moved a ship, you know where it will be for the rest of the turn. This often leads a player to move his larger and Command trait ships later in the turn as fewer ships can then react to their movement. In SFB, many ships have weapons that can fire down the hexrow directly ahead of the ship. In ACTASF these ships have weapons that are split into PH and SH arcs. The ACTA rules state that if a target is on the boundary line between two arcs, both arcs can fire at that target. If moving to target a unit that has already moved, it can be beneficial to declare that you are "center lining" the targeted vessel.
If you are the first player to move and you have fewer units, there are a couple of strategies you may consider:
Save your most critical ship until the end of the turn. The more units your opponent moves before you move the key one, the fewer that will be able to target you directly.
Pretend one of your units is a sacrificial penal ship. Throw it into direct confrontation with your opponent's juiciest ship. He may panic and immediately move that ship out of the danger zone. This will allow you to follow on with other ships that can target it now that it has completed its move.
Attack Phase: As the winner of the initiative phase, you get the first opportunity to fire. There are many variables to consider. Do you attempt to cripple or destroy a prime target before it can shoot you? Do you finish off a cripple that's been hanging around the periphery of the battle zone hoping to score a lucky shot?
If you can take out (or cripple) one of your opponent's ships before it gets to unload on you, that's a no-lose proposition. Crippled ships suffer several penalties, so crippling a mid-sized unit may outweigh destroying a small vessel. Taking out the only ship with a specific trait can work. If the scenario being played requires the use of labs to win, then kill or cripple the unit with the most labs. If you've got a lot of drones, take out the ship with Anti-Drone capabilities or with the most tractor beams.
Once you've decided that, then you have to decide which ship to fire first. Do you fire the ship with the most weapons that bear on the desired target? Do you fire your best ship first, even if it's not the ideal shot?
Often times, an opponent will not fire at a ship that has already expended its weapons if they can target one that has yet to fire. This can allow a crucial ship to survive to repair a bit of damage or regenerate its shields enough to stay in the fracas.
Once you've picked a target, you have to decide how much weaponry to fire at it. Is it more important to kill/cripple several ships? In that case you may want to spread the fire from your forces among those several ships. Or do you need to make the target ship go bye-bye in a big way? If you can score enough damage on it to reduce it to zero points and still have damage remaining, there's the possibility of causing it to explode. Since ships explode with a four-inch radius, always look at what's near the target. A crippled or damaged ship within the blast radius just might be taken out by an explosion and a damaged ship might be crippled. This "two-fer" is worth taking a second look at.
One last point: Just because your first shot didn't take out the target is no reason to despair. Owing to the you go/I go nature of ACTASF, if the tactical situation warrants it, you can follow on with the next ship at the same target, and so on.
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.
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
To be released in 2016
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
Federation Tramp Steamer Satchel Paige, Y159
"Thank you for saving us," the freighter captain said. "Those Orions would have murdered us all."
"The Klingon Empire is no haven for pirates," Ensign Ketrick said. "They are lawless criminals, and have no place in our society, which is based on order and justice." The Orion raider did not have permission from us to raid Federation territory. We received orders to help your ship and return it to the Federation in good order because the Empire wants to reduce tensions on this border while we're at war with the Kzintis. At least my tour with the Marines was more exciting than usual, and the boarding party medal will be worth a few drinks at the next port call.
"The passengers have elected a representative to personally thank you," the freighter captain said, gesturing to a teenage girl standing nearby.
"Thank you for saving us," she smiled. "We wanted you to have this cat as a reward," she said, handing Ketrick a carrier. "His owner was killed in the original attack."
"Thank you," Ketrick said. Now, what do I do with it?
Engineering, E4 Defiant, Two Days Later
"So, you found the thing," the Captain snarled. "Why did I have to come here to see it? Just put the thing out the garbage chute and be done with it."
"You need to see something," the Chief Engineer said, gesturing at the deck where the cat sat licking his paws. A plate of fish was half-eaten in front of him, but laying just behind the cat was a row of eleven tribbles, all dead.
"Did it kill those things?" the Captain asked.
"Indeed," the Chief Engineer answered. "Whatever it is, that thing is a natural predator."
"Ensign Ketrick," the Captain said, "You're now assigned to engineering. Keep the animal busy and find it a place to sleep."
"Fear not, little warrior," Ketrick said, gathering the cat into his arms, "for you are safe."
Andrew Granger asks: Regarding Bran-thodon tail slaps. Above the box is a number, either "3/imp" or "6/imp," but I cannot find any reference to this. Is this the number of times the slap can be used in an impulse in defensive mode?
ANSWER: Kommo-dore Ketrick replies: Under (OG19.4331) tail slap can be used once per turn and is an offensive use of the tail. Under (OG19.4412) the defensive use of the tail is noted as listed on the SSD as the number of attempts the tail has per impulse to intercept seeking weapons. Thus the "3/imp" means that the tail can be used three times in any given impulse of the turn to try to destroy seeking weapons which have entered the hex of the dragon ship. Under (OG19.13) the tail can have various genetic improvements affecting the above, e.g., it can use tail slap twice a turn.
Pat Leppan asks: How many fighters can the Alunda Huntship Carrier launch during one impulse? With all of the docking points each being an external bay does this mean that both squadrons can launch in a single impulse?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: See the "Notes on Alunda Fighters." Each fighter is on a separate "mech-link" and all can launch or land on the same impulse within the limits of the appropriate launch and land delays (cannot land again until eight impulses after you launched, or launch again until eight impulses after you landed, etc., etc.). The launching or landing of a given fighter has no effect on when other fighters can launch or land (other than available "mech-links").
Andrew Granger asks: Can power absorber mines be used against dragon fire?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Yes. Dragon fire is treated as plasma torpedoes for all purposes not specifically excluded in its own rules (OFP6.112).
Ken Kazinski asks: Rule (OR14.PF2) states some units have Iridani fast patrol ship modules but there is no cost for just them. How do you replace the modules and what is the cost?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: It takes "four deck crew actions" to change a module on a "true" fast patrol ship tender (PFT); casual fast patrol ship tenders cannot change modules. Having a PF docking module makes the base a "true PFT." There is no cost for the modules. You simply select the starting modules (and pay the cost of the fast patrol ships based on the modules on them at the start of the scenario) and determine what your spare (free) modules are; see (K2.384).
Andrew Granger asks: At what arming level does a transporter emitter missile fire its transporter-collector beam? Is it one point of energy or more?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: They are armed with one point of power with a maximum range of 11 hexes (OFD2.21).
Andrew Granger asks: If I were going to use the Qixa in a free-for-all scenario, and wanted to give them the spark function for their gauss cannons and extra damage for their energy spark rings, but did not want to hamper everyone else with the Qixavalor Cloud movement damage, should I use the Qixavalor Cloud BPV for the Qixa ships? I think common sense would say yes.
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: The Qixa BPV in the Cloud assumes not just the added damage from their weapons on targets, but the fact that their own weapons do not damage their own ships in the Cloud (OP1.213) [except through feedback damage (OE28.33) & (OE29.34)] plus the fact that their ships can move through the Cloud without sustaining damage (OP1.13). So there is no "just use the higher Cloud BPV" rule because the opponents are not suffering Cloud effects on their movement. Sorry, but there is not a simple answer to this.
Andrew Granger asks: How does towing something with a dragonship work?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: See (OG19.344) and (OG19.21). You treat the wing factor points as warp power and you determine the movement cost of the dragonship's wing movement rating as its movement cost.
Ken Kazinski asks: Is there a range limitation for fighter heavy dark matter pulsars?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: See (OE21.15) which takes you to (J1.31).
Rule (OE21.15) says "OTHER RULES: For any interaction not specifically defined otherwise, e.g., webs, crew quality, legendary officers, etc., DMPs are treated exactly as phasers are." Souldra Shards operate under shuttle rules, i.e., their rule number is (OJ4.0), and that rule says "Soul Shards are the equivalent of shuttlecraft . . ." and rule (J1.31) says "No shuttle (including fighters) can fire a direct fire heavy weapon to a range of more than fifteen hexes."
Unless a given shuttle/fighter has a specific rule saying that it has a direct-fire weapon that it can fire to a range greater than 15 hexes (which would be a case of specific overriding general) no fighter can fire any direct-fire weapon to a range greater than 15 hexes. Since dark matter pulsars, whether heavy or light, are treated as phasers (OE2.15), the fact that no fighter can fire a phaser-2 (or any other direct-fire weapon, and most non-phaser direct-fire fighter weapons have ranges less than 15 hexes) to more than 15 hexes range means that a dark matter pulsar cannot be fired by a Shard to more than 15 hexes range.
Ken Kazinski asks: For (R1.F7) is a subspace rocket considered a drone weapon or an assault weapon?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Rule (R1.F7) was published to define how to convert fighters to electronic warfare fighters at a time when electronic warfare fighters were not included on the SSDs of carriers or in fighter squadron SSD sheets. It has since been overtaken by the formal publication of electronic warfare fighters in squadrons where an electronic warfare fighter is appropriate. The published electronic warfare fighter supersedes the rule, and in all cases the published electronic warfare fighter is correct. (You will note if you check that some electronic warfare fighters in the Alpha Octant are different than the original rule defined them.)
John Christie asks: In regards the Hiver fighters' ability to use 0.25 energy to increase their speed by one, does this restrict it to an increase of one, or can it increase speed by more than one if it has enough available energy?
ANSWER: Peter Bakija replies: The Hiver Barbs can increase their maximum speed by one for every quarter point of energy they use. So if they spend one point of energy, their maximum speed is increased by four. If they spend 1.5 points of energy, it is increased by six. If they use two points of energy, it is increased by eight. Or whatever.
This does not actually increase their speed, just their maximum speed, so they need to change speed in mid-turn (or accelerate at the start of the turn), following the appropriate rules for that as well.
(End of Admiral Vanaxilth)
A ROSIE SCENARIO
Q: Does the Four Powers War use the base F&E map as printed? It seems to me there is some room for fiddling in Hydran territory and along the Klingon-Tholian border at that time. Additionally, is the introductory write-up and subsequent scenario historically accurate and integrated into canon?
A: Yes and yes. The only difference on the map is a bunch of the BATSs are actually BSs at this time. Which ones are specified in the new scenario. The borders in question are correct on the base F&E map for the Four Powers period.
Q: In the Winds of Fire scenario (617.B1), do the planets with one PDU have a heavy fighter half-squadron on them? These planets were liberated before the start of the scenario but after the deployment of heavy fighters under (530.212). Do the bases outside of the capital hex have heavy fighter squadrons on them? The bases were established after the deployment of heavy fighters under (530.212)
A: You can assume the Kzintis put the heavy fighters on them as that is the level of PDU technology available.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean, My question is how many phasers I, II, and rifles (and grenades and missile launchers?) would a Ptolemy-class tug be likely to carry? I assume at least one rifle for each Marine, and arguably one phaser I for each crew, but how many phaser IIs would be reasonable, how many additional phaser rifles above and beyond those issued to the Marines, and how many ammo cells?
A: The 10 Marines would have 10 phaser rifles and 10 phaser-II heavy pistols. After that,SFB rules say that "half of the non-Marines can be armed as 'militia' in an emergency. The ship's 220 crew includes 10 Marines, so 210 are non-Marines so 105 can be converted to "militia." Standard manifest would include 50 phaser-II heavy pistols, 50 phaser-I light pistols, and 5 rifles.
Phasers are dangerous weapons and so are not routinely issued to everyone on the crew (just as sailors aren't routinely issued pistols in the US Navy today). Away teams get weapons when needed.
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 MonthDIVIDE BY THREE AND CONQUER
When launching drones at a base, always launch at a range evenly divisible by three. Drones move three hexes per impulse, so this ensures that the last chance the base gets to fire at the drone, before impact, will be at range three. This is a bad range for phaser-3s and it is also out of tractor range. The drones should also be timed to impact on an even-numbered shield, because a battle station will only be able to fire two-thirds of its defensive phasers through those shields. For maximum effect, time the drones to arrive at the same time as your suicide freighter.
The same thing works for plasma torpedoes, but as they move four hexes per impulse, launch at a range evenly divisible by four, and they will be four hexes from the base (and an even worse target) at the last chance before impact for the defender.
The base defender may respond by sending a ship to intercept your drones so it can fire at the drones or tractor them at range zero or one. If he does, you can fire your own overloaded heavy weapons at the intercepting ship without being in range of the base's overloaded weapons. A big wave of drones can force the defender to choose between sending ships forward (losing the protection of the base's guns), or have the base's drone defenses overwhelmed. This lets the attacker apply all of his firepower against a part of the defender's forces, and that is always an important advantage.
When your satellite ships take a lot of power into their panels, it is fairly standard to transport them back aboard for a period of cooling off.
Another option is to transport them into a convenient planetary atmosphere for a while. This has a couple of advantages.
1. The power absorber panels dissipate energy at double the normal rate.
2. Your satellite ship can repair its power absorber panels at the maximum rate (of degradation or damage).
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
Dale McKee painted these freighters. I love how they look as though they've been used hard and put away wet.