Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS: The Year 2015
THE BIG NEWS this month is the announcement of the plan for 2015. As with 2014, this is a list of things we plan to do and the order in which we plan to do them, not a specific schedule of which month they will appear. As before, there are several separate lists, not a single unified one.
CAPTAIN'S LOG: We will do Captain's Log #50 next, probably releasing it in late January or early February, depending on how long it takes Steve Cole to create the fiction that none of our writers sent in. Captain's Log #51 will appear sometime in the summer and Captain's Log #52 sometime next winter.
COMMUNIQUE this year will include a new ship each month that was requested by players.
STARLINE will see three new 2500s (Klingon SD7, Kzinti NCA, Orion DN) followed by the contents of Master Mold Three, expected to include the jumbo freighter, heavy freighter, and two 2450s. We still plan to get the gunboats done as 2425s.
MAIN LIST-Steve Cole: He will finish up ACTASF-1.2-Deluxe and Captain's Log #50, then move into the F&E products using the new print run of counters: Minor Empires, the revised Fighter Operations, the reprinted bases sheet (to get the boxed game back into stores), and a revised sheet for Advanced Operations. We expect he will work on Captain's Log #51 after that, then proceed with the Federation Admiral Campaign Manual, Federation Commander Fighters Attack, and finally Captain's Log #52. (Note that due to the unscheduled print run of single-sided counters, Fighters Attack might appear in 2016.)
MAIN LIST-Steven P. Petrick will work on Captain's Log, push forward on the Klingon Master Starship Book (released sometime in the summer, perhaps) and will concurrently begin work on SFB Module X2 which will take many months to complete (and might not see print this year).
MAIN LIST-Jean Sexton will convert our paperback book FOR THE GLORY OF THE EMPIRE for sale on Kindle. (If it sells well, we will create more books.) She will manage the creation of the four Mongoose-Travellers books by Mike West.
MAIN LIST-Others: Tony L. Thomas will finish ACTASF-1.2, supervise the creation of the ship roster cards, and create ACTASF-2.1. Daniel Kast will complete work on both versions of Starmada: Rumors of War (War & Peace and Reinforcements Attack). Gary Carney is working on some more FC playtest packs and will prepare a short print run of actual Omega cards.
Our website, www.StarFleetGames.com, continues to grow and improve. You are welcome to send us your requests, comments, and suggestions. Simone Pike, our graphics director, continues to update the website, do covers for the new products, shut down pirate websites, help out around the company, and learn more about the game business. One of our newest pages is for Starline 2500 where we display photos and 3d renders of the new starships.
Custom Decals for Starline ships
Tenneshington Decals continues to provide custom decals for all currently produced Federation Starline 2500 miniatures.
For more information or to download the order sheet, check them out at www.tenneshington.com. Or if you prefer, email Will McCammon at: 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 big news here is that Rated Ace Tournament #44 is moving along smartly. A quarter of the first round games have already been played. Paul Scott is the judge.
The Platinum Hat 2014 is well underway. Most of the third-round games are complete. Stephen McCann is the judge.
NetKill Patrol's fourth quarter will be determined as Brendan Lally and Chris Proper meet on January 10. Joshua Driscol came in third. Richard Schirmer maintains the statistics that make this tournament possible
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
Harlan Haskell reports that the January 1st game of Star Fleet Battles had several players show up. Much fun was had by all.
Star Fleet Battles games are held weekly in Tempe Arizona each Friday at Game Depot from 2:00 -7:00 pm. Eric Phillips is the person to contact.
Star Fleet Battles games are played regularly in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday afternoons at the Soldiery. Lee Hanna is the contact person.
Games are held in Spokane, Washington on an irregular basis. Contact them to see if there's a game scheduled. They meet at The Gamer's Haven, 2114 N. Pines St., Suites 1 & 2, Spokane Valley, WA 99206, (509) 443-5992 http://www.thegamershaven.net/gamers_haven.php
COMMUNIQUE: The latest Communique brings you more Ship Cards, scenarios, and more news from the Star Fleet Universe! It can be downloaded from the Commander's Circle.
FC Forum Recent Posts
Destroying valuable enemy ships, such as tugs carrying pods or specialty cruisers or most scouts, can be made difficult when your opponent takes measures to protect them. However, the drone-using empires (Klingon, Federation, Kzinti) are well-positioned to have a decent chance of selectively destroying one of these units each turn. The key is to recognize from the Sequence of Play that espionage and sabotage prime team missions take place before drone raids. If you succeed on a "cripple a ship" sabotage mission with a prime team against a unit with a crippled defense factor of four, then a subsequent eight-point drone raid will automatically destroy the newly crippled unit.
The base chance of success is 27.8% versus a size-class-3 unit, or 41.7% against a size-class-4 unit, or 16.7% against a size-class-2 unit. You may make one attempt per enemy empire per turn; so if the Coalition is at war with the Feds, Kzintis, and Hydrans, then the Lyrans and Klingons combined can use three of their four espionage and sabotage attacks to make one attempt against each enemy. If you make three such attacks, your odds of one of them succeeding are fairly good (roughly 45%). Then send two drone ships on a drone raid to kill the one you succeeded against; if you are lucky enough to succeed against two or all three, then be thankful and pick the best target to kill.
The downside to this strategy is that it costs you two economic points per espionage and sabotage mission, which is quite expensive, plus the drone raids' 0.8 economic points. Three such attacks per turn is a whopping six economic points per turn, and roughly an average of 12.8 economic points per success (assuming you only do a drone raid when you succeed). Bear in mind that you will also have a steady drain on prime teams as some of them will die.
However, roughly every other turn you will be killing a unit such as a battle tug, a carrier tug, a drone cruiser, a cruiser scout, or some other key unit. Most of these units will cost 12 economic points or more to replace, and more importantly you will be limiting their numbers. Better yet, there is very little defense against these attacks because the enemy will not have enough defensive prime teams to protect all such valuable units. Of course, the enemy may concentrate his units in zones surrounded by picket ships that will prevent the drone raid, but the enemy is unlikely to concentrate all such units in such a "picket park."
Overall, the investment is likely to pay off in the long run. While any drone-using empire can use this tactic, the Klingons are well suited early in the game to take advantage as they have a budget large enough to support it. However, they may very well be on the receiving end from the Federation later in the game.
This strategy can be used against dreadnoughts or units with a crippled defensive value of five or six; however, your odds of success are much lower. For one, the espionage and sabotage mission is much less likely to succeed; and even a 12-point drone raid has only an 84% chance of success. However, if the destruction of such a unit would be particularly valuable on a given turn, it might be worth the attempt.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
BUILDING A WALL OF DRONES
The new 1.2C rules provide that drones stay on the map for two turns if they have a valid target that they cannot reach on the first turn. This can be particularly useful when you are trying to conduct some kind of maneuver and don't want the enemy in your way. This might be a retreat, or it might be an attempt to get around the enemy and seize key terrain such as a planet. You have your ships launch their drones at enemy ships more than 12 inches away, and those become "swarms" which can attack enemy ships that move within range on their next turn. By having your ships add their drones to swarms already started by other ships, you can in effect create a few artificial ships which are between you and the enemy. If the enemy is closer than 24 inches, you will want to "short-fly" the first-turn of drone movement to keep the drones more than 12 inches from the enemy, but still in a position to keep the enemy out of an area you want to deny him. (The reason for this is that since the drones already moved on this turn, they cannot attack enemy ships on this turn. So if the enemy is 20 inches away and you move your drones their full 12 inches, the enemy ships that have yet to move are now eight inches beyond your drone swarms and they will simply use their 12 inch movement to run past your swarms. The next turn, your drone swarms will be chasing the enemy toward you, which is not what you wanted to accomplish. Worse, they won't be able to catch any ship that moves far enough away from them swarms.)
Throughout the month our graphics director places on the website various cards called Demotivationals. These are like postcards with an image and a phrase that is often used for humor. Here are the newest demotivationals since our last newsletter:
To see our previous Demotivationals click here.
Mini of the Month
Klingon squadron painted by Mike Raper.
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
Traveller Prime Directive Core Rulebook
F&E Minor Empires, SKU 3214, price $TBA
A new Starmada book for both editions.
New starships for the 2500 (1/3125) range including Tholian PC, DD, CA, TK5, DN; Klingon B10; Orion BR, DW, BC, BCH, DN.
New starships for the 2400 (1/3788) range including heavy war destroyers and the jumbo freighter.
Tribbles vs. Klingons (assuming Kickstarter works!)
F&E Fighter Operations update 2014, SKU 3203
Federation Commander Reference Starship Book
Captain's Log #50, SKU 5740
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23 (e23 been joined with and is now known as Warehouse 23.)
SFB Module R4 SSD Book (B/W)
Bridge, GVX U.S.S. Field Marshall Colin Powell
Captain Win Folomar relaxed in his command chair, observing his Bridge crew work with quiet competence. Absently, he drained the first cup of coffee of the shift, the taste of the arabica bean blend that he preferred lingering in his mouth. As far as he was concerned, coffee was the best thing that humans had to offer the rest of the civilized species in the United Federation of Planets. He placed the empty cup carefully on the arm of the chair and turned his attention to the ship status display reports manifested on the PADD in his lap. He knew that the cup would be miraculously replaced with a fresh, full, steaming cup as soon as he appeared sufficiently engrossed in the daily business of running the ship.
But it was not to be. It was the third "morning" of their survey of the Cotton Candy nebula and the wondrous views that played across the ship's main view screen kept drawing his attention away from the PADD. The hazy image displayed on the screen was backlit by dozens of stars buried within the nebula. The ship's slow movement as it surveyed the nebula brought new waves and shapes of ionized gas into view every few seconds. Classified as an emission nebula, this H-II region of space was over 200 light-years across. Scientific curiosity aside, the nebula was one of the prettiest areas of space the crew of the U.S.S Field Marshall Colin Powell had ever had the pleasure to survey. He could understand why the humans that discovered it had named the nebula after one of the confectionery treats sold at their country-fair reenactments.
Francois Lemay asks: A Lyran CL is in hex 1414 heading B, a badly beaten up Lyran CA is in hex 1514 heading B, and a badly beaten up Lyran DW is in hex 1412 heading C. A Kzinti drone cruiser is in hex 1415 heading E at Speed 16. (It beat up on the Lyran CA with six heavy drones earlier in the turn.)
During Impulse Activity for Impulse #13 of Turn #2, the light cruiser tractors the heavy cruiser and war destroyer, so the light cruiser's pseudo speed is 4, the heavy cruiser's pseudo speed is 7, and the war destroyer's pseudo speed is Zero. Two ESGs at radius two, strength five, from the light cruiser, are now active. The war destroyer is outside of the spheres. The drone cruiser launches a shuttle in hex 1415 heading E.
On Impulse #14, Speed 7 and 16 move. The heavy cruiser sideslips to hex 1513 heading B, bringing the light cruiser to hex 1413 heading B and the war destroyer to hex 1411 heading C, with the expanding spheres hitting the drone cruiser and the shuttle.
Do we pause further movement of the drone cruiser and apply the expanding sphere generator's damage to the drone cruiser's #6 shield after the shuttle takes its share of damage here or continue with movement before applying expanding sphere generator damage? If we continue with movement, the Kzinti drone cruiser sideslips to hex 1315 heading E.
ANSWER: When the light cruiser moves, you note that a collision with the expanding spheres has occurred and, per (G23.5131), the expanding spheres will hit the #6 shield of the drone cruiser. They will also hit the shuttle. We will assume the war destroyer wishes to treat this situation under (G23.5732), and not take any damage from the expanding spheres. Once movement is complete, you apply damage. The shuttle (assuming it is a standard admin shuttle) will take six points of damage, and the drone cruiser will take the remaining 28 points of damage. Note that had the drone cruiser moved straight ahead to 1316 while heading E, it would have passed completely through the expanding spheres, giving it a higher damage priority under (G23.52). This would have resulted in 34 points of damage to the drone cruiser (still on its #6 shield), and none to the shuttle, assuming the drone cruiser can take that much damage without being destroyed.
Follow-up question: If the drone cruiser does a high energy turn to hex 1414 heading A, does it take any damage and to which shield, if so? I am thinking no damage is applied.
ANSWER: You are correct, no impact occurs, by (G23.572). (The Kzinti admin shuttle, of course, will be hit.)
Follow-up question: What if the drone cruiser does a high energy turn to hex 1516 heading C? Is it still the #6 shield taking all 34 points of damage because of (G23.52)?
Follow-up question: If the drone cruiser does a high energy turn to hex 1515 heading B, is it the #6 shield again because of (G23.5131)?
Q: What happens when a BATS with one or two SIDS steps is upgraded to a SB? Would the number of SIDS steps remain the same after conversion, or would it increase proportionately? On the one hand, since the SB would be crippled if the BATS were crippled during the upgrade, it doesn't seem like two SIDS on the BATS should remain two SIDS on the SB. On the other hand, if the number of SIDS increased proportionately, you would end up increasing the cost to repair the base by upgrading it, which also doesn't seem quite right. Perhaps SIDS steps which existed before the upgrade began would be treated differently than ones taken during the upgrade?
A: See the (443.4) ruling on this question.
Q: If the DMH (Romulan DemonHawk) replaces both of its modular sections, does it cost two economic points to do so?
A: As per (525.64) any modules need to be taken from already existing SparrowHawk or SkyHawk modules that have been produced earlier.
Q: Does the DMH replacing both of its sections cost it two movement points?
A: No. It costs only one movement point per (525.65).
Q: The Romulan Fleet's Tholian Border Patrol Detachment sets up in hex 3319. Since that fleet area has no starbase, can one ship be placed on the starbase at 3518 in order for it to be converted?
A: The Romulan Patrol Detachment is not inactive while the Romulans are at war, so the question of having a starbase to convert a ship at is not valid.
Q: Does activating a Vulture dreadnought (525.66) take up starbase conversion capacity?
A: Yes, it is a four point minor conversion.
Q: Does activating a Vulture-V count against heavy carrier production?
A: Yes, it is classed as a heavy carrier by both fighter factors and the SIT for that ship.
Q: Does making a modular conversion count as operational movement? Could a ship that had its modules changed but didn't otherwise move be added to a reserve fleet?
A: If the conversion is done in the Production Phase it does not count as operational movement and the ship can be added to a reserve fleet. If the conversion is made during operational movement, then it counts as operational movement even if the ship did not change hexes and the ship cannot join a reserve fleet.
Q: Is a conversion from a Hydran FFT to an AH a one-point conversion under the SIT or a two-point conversion under (433.241)? The SIT says that an AH may be converted from FF for one EP. I say that the SIT controls the situation, that the FFT is an FF and for this reason the cost to convert this FFT to an AH is one EP. My opponent says rule (433.241) requires the FFT to be "unconverted" to a CU or HN and then converted again to AH for a total of two EP. Who is right?
A: He is. The term "FF" in this case refers to a base hull, not a variant such as an FFT. (An FFT is a transport, not a standard frigate.) All of these categories refer to base hulls:
FF = HN, CU, and CR.
DD = KN and LN.
DW = DWF and DWH.
NCA = MHK, IRQ, CHY, IRC, and MKI.
CA = RN, DG, RGR, LC, LB, and LM.
You know what? This game would be much simpler if we all got together and wiped out those methane-breathing scum and didn't have to put up with them having two parallel fleets that confuse the heck out of everybody, myself included.
Q: When converting a captured ship to your technology does the tech conversion count against the conversion capacity of a starbase? Rule (433.22) is not clear in this regard of the technology conversion.
A: Yes, this counts against the conversion capacity of a starbase. See the ruling on (433.22) in this issue.
Q: Can a conversion facility (minor or major) be used to convert a captured ship to your technology on the same turn the ship was repaired, provided the repair facility is in the same hex?
A: Yes, it is the same as any other ship being converted.
Q: Can I convert a Lyran FFT directly into a DWS?
A: Yes, but not as a single two-step conversion. It's actually three steps. First, pay an EP to convert the FFT transport into standard frigate, then pay for the two-step conversion into a DWS. To be done in a single turn, this must be done by the same base and the base must have enough total capacity to do both.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean, What happened with Prime Directive in 2014?
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 MonthCHANGE FACING AT ZERO SPEED
A ship moving at Baseline Speed Zero can change facing and stay in the same hex without needing to use a High Energy Turn. (This could be done with a Tactical Maneuver, but you can only do that if you're "Stopped", which is not the same as "baseline zero" speed.)(End of FC Tactic of the Month)
Accelerate, and then use Deceleration on the fourth sub-pulse. A ship at Baseline Speed Zero is always Turn Mode 1; and if you cancel a move but your Turn Mode is fulfilled, you can still change facing.
Note that this costs two points' worth of movement; more than a Tactical Maneuver, but less than a High Energy Turn. And you can only change facing by one hexside; but if you're just trying to track a moving target, then one hexside might be all you need. You don't want to put yourself at speed zero just so you can do this trick, but if you're there anyway this may be the only way to turn a new shield or track a target with weapons. Of course, anyone moving faster will move after you do, and can take advantage of knowing your move. Even so, if this is all you have, you do have this much.
When facing a "big plasma" opponent, running away from a plasma torpedo, in particular a 60-point enveloping plasma-S torpedo, is often the best (but unappealingly unaggressive) tactical choice. The traditional alternatives are aggressively running through the torpedo or spending phaser fire and/or reinforcement to soften the blow. Unfortunately, the 10 points of damage to every shield and/or the loss of power and weapons is simply too negatively predisposing to be a good trade, at least until the plasma-launching ship's shields have been softened by longer range direct fire.
He writes: I have been asked, "How do you paint the Styrofoam without it melting?"