Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS:
This month's big news is that we have finally received the long-awaited next batch of ships for the Starline 2500 miniatures series. These include the Klingon SD7 strike cruiser, the Orion dreadnought, and the Kzinti NCA. (The first two are entirely new for the 2500s, and no 2400 SD7 exists. The Kzinti NCA replaces the defective ships that were released before Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc., took charge of production.)
Also in the news this month, we have released two PDF books with the Starmada ships from Captain's Log.
Starmada has existed in its own universe for a decade, but has included Star Fleet Universe books for five years. Starmada is another "simple but not simplistic" game system which allows SFU players to use more ships or play faster battles with equivalent results. There are two versions of Starmada, Nova and Admiral. (The Nova edition handles larger fleets in the same time as Admiral. Both handle larger fleets than FC or SFB, or the same fleets in less time.)
The last eleven issues of Captain's Log have included new ships for Starmada, one of many game systems we operate and support. In response to player requests, we compiled the new Starmada ships, tactics, and scenarios from the last 11 issues of Captain's Log into two new PDF books and released them in early June.
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
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander games and demos were held at the Balticon Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland on May 22-25, 2015. The event went well.
All SFU games are welcome at StratCon, held in the Nashville, Tennessee area on June 20-27, 2015. While there will certainly be Federation & Empire, other games include Star Fleet Battle Force, Federation Commander, Star Fleet Battles, and A Call to Arms: Star Fleet. Stay tuned to their page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/151297821607520/
Randy Blair will be running Star Fleet Battles demos and games at Gencon in Indianapolis, Indiana on July 30- August 2, 2015. Stay tuned for more information!
Star Fleet Battles games and demos will be held at the Shore Leave Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland on August 7-9, 2015. Ranger Joseph Dorffner will be holding these in the gameroom.
Star Fleet Battles to be at the 73rd WorldCon at Spokane WA, on August 17-22, 2015! A SFB Giant Sanctioned Official Tournament will be run for 64 or more players, of the 7k guests expected to attend in downtown Spokane WA, USA NA. An all-miniature tournament, it will be run eight games at a time, every four hours, during the hours of 9-9, to take care of the first few rounds, with finals Saturday or Sunday depending on turnout. All materials mostly provided by Ranger Harlan Haskell III. Bring pen and paper, everything else provided, for the tournament. Queries? Turtle test available starting Thursday evening, upon demand, with cards available.
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
Inter-Stellar Concordium carriers and fast patrol ship tenders can be placed into echelon formation core slots (324.2) giving them added protection. However, this practice is not always warranted. For example a heavy carrier or space control ship group consisting of a CVA/SCS+CE+CE+DE has a defensive value of 13+8+8+6 or 35. The 35 points are the un-crippled sides only. Thus to even cripple the entire group your opponent will need 70 points of damage without a mauler. Thus you can save a core slot for some other less-protected unit unless you are fighting over a heavily defended fixed point where your opponent has the combat potential advantage.
Another and perhaps better example is the area control ship or division control ship group of DCS+CE+CE+DE. This group has a defensive value of 10+1 [scout self-defense rule (308.52)]+8+8+6 or 33, again resulting in at least 66 points needed to cripple the entire group before a mauler and ships with mauler effects. When you know that your opponent is unable to generate that much damage, even under the worst case of an adjusted Battle Intensity of 10 with a combat roll of six, save your core slots for things like strike cruisers or standard light cruisers that are not in the battle group. As the carriers get smaller then you probably want to consider placing the carriers in the core slot for added protection.
You do not know what the enemy battle force will be until it is revealed because of the way the selection process works in the Sequence of Play, but you do know what units the enemy has in the hex to choose from.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
You could use the "line up" ability (part of a final maneuver at the end of the Movement Phase) to threaten a given ship, even one that has yet to move. Suppose the enemy really wants to keep a cruiser in a particular spot (not moving) for some game reason (within transporter range of a planet, or in a place he can fire between two terrain features at a particular target). If you make a show of moving a ship or two and "lining up" on the enemy ship that doesn't want to move, you are in effect announcing your intention to fire at that ship during the Attack Phase. You might convince him that staying put is a bad career move. (You aren't actually required to fire at this target and could be trying to distract him from noticing what else your ship is in position to shoot at.)
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
David Drumm painted these Starline 2500 Gorn minis.
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
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23
"Ross, get Launch Control on a channel and have them launch the intelligence fighter. Orders are to launch its probe drones when we do. Make sure the fighter gets no closer than 80,000 kilometers. We'll pick it up on the way out if we can. Otherwise, it will need to rendezvous with us at Checkpoint Alpha." The commands were crisp. "Lieutenant Garner, turn into the Manta. Launch our own probe drones simultaneously with the fighter. Navigation, begin cycling reserve warp through the battery grid. One more pass, gentle beings." Around Folomar, the Bridge bustled with activity. The crew did not show any misgivings at being ordered to engage the monster again. For that, their Captain was proud.
We should get plenty of information this time, even if we are low on intelligence assets. Then we can leave the thing in peace, or kill it if it forces us to do so. At least it shouldn't have any more surprises to throw at us. If it did, it would have done so in the first pass.
He hesitated. He was certain that his reasoning was correct. The creature had not been especially deadly on the first approach until they had gotten close. If they avoided a point-blank approach, they should be able to reinforce the shields enough to keep them from being breached again. This thing is just a beast, he told himself, it fights by instinct. It won't be clever enough to hide some of its weapons for a later attack. They just had to get close enough for the sensors to get reliable data.
A quick run in, keep the fighter outside of the monster's close-in kill zone, get the information we need, and get back out. Recover the fighter and analyze the data as we run ahead of it again. It won't be easy, but it's a mission we can do.
He took a deep breath, staring at the view screen. The creature, through the magic of the Powell's electronics, was steadily growing in size as they began to near it once again. They had taken all of the standard precautions just as they had the first time, and they had survived the encounter. It should be no different this time. Yet he could not shake the feeling that all was not going as planned.
Why do I still have this cold, twisting, knot of dread between my shoulder blades? This thing is just a beast, right?
Xander Fulton asks: When a scenario starts, ships are given position and speed, which determines what they can accelerate to during Energy Allocation of Turn #1, but what of the turn and sideslip modes? Do ships start a scenario assuming they had previously been going "straight," so they can turn right away? Or do the turn and sideslip modes start at "0"?
ANSWER: Paul Pease replies: Rule (S1.2) . . . "Ships placed on the map at the start of the scenario, or which enter the map during the scenario are assumed to have fulfilled their turn and sideslip modes provided it is possible for them to have done so. . ." There is an exception in that units at Speed Zero have not fulfilled either and scenarios may specify exceptions.
Sean Hunt asks: The note at the end of (XC1.313-2) seems wrong, maybe. Would we not still use this rule for determining some aspects of movement, even if (XC1.32) plotted movement is being used? For instance, if a non-nimble X-ship was scheduled to move the same impulse as a nimble non-X ship, then presumably the X-ship would have to move before seeing the non-X ship's movement, even though it was pre-plotted.
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: No, because by the definition of pre-plotted movement the nimble ship has given up its advantage in the Order of Precedence. It does not get to see all of the non-nimble ships that are using plotted movement move and then make its own movement based on that movement. So only the X-ships use non-plotted movement as stated.
Troy Williams asks: Is it legal to allocate energy to, say, a 14/28 speed plot but choose not to accelerate when the change is due (tactical situation changed) and remain at Speed 14 or conduct the change at a later impulse? I am pretty sure you cannot do this but cannot find the rule specifically saying this.
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: Unplotted mid-turn decelerations are specifically forbidden. Note the following rule:
(C12.32) DECELERATION (Second paragraph) specifically says: "Speed changes to reduce speed must always be plotted during Energy Allocation (C12.12). They can never be unplotted."
Delaying an acceleration is by definition a deceleration. There is no legal means (in Star Fleet Battles; Federation Commander does provide a means to use power to cancel movement) to cancel (or delay) a plotted acceleration short of Emergency Deceleration or colliding with a tournament barrier, or Energy Balance Due to Damage, or breakdown as a result of a failed high energy turn, or impact with a web of sufficient strength at sufficient speed.
Other rules may also apply.
(C1.34) ALWAYS PLOTTED: (Second sentence of the second paragraph): "All deceleration must be plotted (including braking energy to reverse direction), except an emergency deceleration, which is never plotted."
(C12.22) PLOT REQUIRED (second sentence): "Alternatively, reserve warp power could be used to accelerate (but not to decelerate) the ship; see (C12.24)."
(C12.23) DAMAGE (this rule allows you to cancel an acceleration, but only if you are using Energy Balance due to Damage and in response to damage, not simply voluntarily for tactical convenience): "If Energy Balance Due to Damage (D22.0) is in use, a player can cancel or reduce future accelerations to fulfill energy balance requirements. Cancellations must be announced."
Rule (C12.244) allows for an unplotted deceleration, but only if it is following an unplotted acceleration in the middle of a turn, e.g., you use reserve power to accelerate to a faster speed between Impulse #8 and #16, the deceleration back to your plotted speed on Impulse #16 is technically an unplotted deceleration.
The rules do not allow you to cancel or delay a pre-plotted acceleration.
Q: Can the ISC use the echelon formation (324.0) in a pursuit battle (307.0) if it meets all the requirements of (324.1) and (307.2) as the pursuer or (307.3) as the pursued?
A: No. See (324.15): Echelon formations cannot be used by a Battle Force conducting a pursuit. They can be used by a Battle Force being pursued.
Q: I have a monitor in a hex with a planet, which also contains a tug upgrading a mobile base. According to (519.22) the monitor is treated as a base in regards to the approach of the planet. That being the case, I have two "bases" at the planet: the mobile base being upgraded, and the monitor. Can the monitor be the "focus of the attack" and make the tug upgrading the mobile base the "excluded" base?
A: Sorry, but no. The rules define the monitor and mobile base as "colocated" so they're both in the battle. The situation here is that the monitor is a ship acting like a base and (with no positional stabilizers) will be as close to the base as it can be.
Q: What if a starbase with F14+2 reacts its 12 fighters out of the hex? Does that mean that it can put up an eight-point independent squadron (502.95) in two rounds of combat?
A: This represents two squadrons of fighters, one of eight factors and one of six factors. As long as the damage is taken on the six-factor squadron first, the eight-factor squadron remains. See (501.91), (501.61), and (302.452) for more information.
Q: For the purposes of the die roll to determine if pursuit is successful under (307.21), does the missing escort for a tug with carrier pods count? The missing escort obviously counts against the number of ships. I note that carriers with missing escorts (307.22) count as the actual number of ships for the die roll but as the required number of ships for formation of the pursuit force.
A: Correct, it counts against the size of the force but does not count for the die roll. (In other words, send some other ship.) This applies to any carrier rolling for pursuit. If the carrier is missing escorts below the number required by (515.2), the group takes up that minimum number of slots (that's how the command software works, and it keeps players from using high-density unescorted carriers), but the "group" only counts the actual number of ships when checking for successful pursuit under (307.21). During pursuit, the escort spread out to expand the search area but then rejoin the carrier when the enemy is contacted.
Q: Can a single rescue tug (537.2) rescue a ship in combat, and then keep a ship out of pursuit during the pursuit battle? Or is each of those items a different rescue tug action?
A: Yes, if assigned properly one tug can attempt to save a unit in battle and then later save the same ship or another ship in pursuit. The rescue tug can attempt to save the same or another unit from the pursuit battle. Remember, it is the role that the tug is assigned and not about the unit(s) it saves.
Q: If the enemy has more ships at your capital than your whole fleet and you retreat from an adjacent hex with a smaller fleet, does that mean that the smaller fleet can't enter its own capital because it is "outnumbered" and retreat priority 2 fails?
A: Yes, this is how retreat priority 2 works (302.732).
Q: When determining if (310.0) Small Scale Combat can be used with a force of a carrier without escorts and two other ships which have not been previously designated as ad hoc escorts under (515.34) and (515.35), would it disqualify such a battle force from using (310.0)?
A: Players must follow rule (310.11). Small Scale Combat qualification is done in Sequence of Play Step 5-3B; ad hocs are added next in Step 5-3C, so it is not possible to use the ad hoc rule to lower one's ComPot to qualify for SSC. The carrier may go without escorts as long as there are available command slots for the missing escorts.
Q: Is an FRD a valid target for infiltration (537.12)?
A: The rule specifically uses the term "ships" so only ships can be infiltrated. Infiltration cannot be used against non-ship units such as the following (this list is not exhaustive): FRD/FRX/PRD, a fighter factor, a PF, a CPF, an unassigned pod, a fighter depot, a diplomat, a prime team, a Marine major general, an admiral, a SWAC, a cloaked decoy, an engineer unit, a shipyard, a reserve counter, or a repair deport.
Q: About special raids...
A: Sound of whistling. (The staff is working to fix these.)
Q: How do Tholian Pinwheels (322.31) affect retreats via (302.721)? May the rest of an allied force retreat behind the cover of a surviving pinwheel?
A: So long as a pinwheel remains un-dissolved at the end of any combat round, it can cover the retreat of allied ships as outlined in (302.741).
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean,
Couldn't you do other books while Traveller sorts itself out?
A: In theory, I could, but the reality is that there are a lot of projects on my plate or soon to be on my plate. I have the Klingon Master Starship Book and the Federation Commander Scenario Log on my desk, awaiting the Purple Pen of Perdition. A Call to Arms: Star Fleet will soon be getting its Deluxe Edition, Federation & Empire is looking at Minor Empires, and there is still Federation Admiral, not to mention issues of Captain's Log. By the time those get sorted out, we hope that Traveller Prime Directive can be worked on again.
You can read more of our blogs here: http://federationcommander.blogspot.com/
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 MonthUSE YOUR TRANSPORTERS, DAMMIT!
Ships with less crunch power, such as the Klingon D7 and Kzinti battlecruiser, often have large numbers of transporters and Marines. When flying these ships, always use Marine raids (5F1) whenever you can. The raids can target specific boxes on the enemy's ship display, swinging things in your favor. The large number of transporters makes it more power-efficient for these ships than for other ships, and they have enough Marines to lose some without worrying about defending the ship from enemy counter-boarding attempts.
Good targets depend on the tactical situation, but warp engines are almost always worth attacking, especially on smaller ships. Multi-turn-arming weapons, especially with energy already allocated to arm them, are good targets, as are drone racks.
If flying a drone-armed ship, attacking the enemy's drone defensive systems (ADDs, drone racks, and phasers) can help you score more hits with your drones. Enemy tractor beams holding drones or suicide shuttles are always prime targets.
Some ships have systems that are critical. Romulan cloaking devices should be attacked at every opportunity for example.
Old-series Romulan ships have a primary offensive weapon in their plasma torpedoes, and secondary offensive weapons in . . . nothing. Their warp-targeted lasers are only useful defensively! As a result, their ships retain all of their offensive potential under passive fire control - and under (D19.221), the seeking plasma torpedoes can be launched under passive fire control.
"But wait!" you say, "There are so many things you cannot do without a lock-on your target!" However, this is not really applicable, here. Transporters? You do not have any, so it does not matter. Tractor beams? S-tractors and W-tractors are quite useless offensively or defensively. ECCM? Your torpedo has three points already built in. And so on. You don't need to worry about what you don't have.
Given this, Warbirds and other sublight Romulan ships should go ahead and leave their fire controls off pretty much all the time. After a single turn using this, advantages abound. Under (D19.31), they receive an electronic warfare bonus of two points of ECM, but also under (D19.33), any ship attacking them suffers a five-hex range penalty! All that for no loss of offensive capability at all, and power saved!
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
David Zimdars took this photo of Star Fleet Battles Online, big screen, living room style.