June 2011

Star Fleet Universe News

THE BIG NEWS: this month is the release of Captain's Log #43.
THE BIGGER NEWS: is the release of four products at Origins on 22 June: F&E ISC War, FC Transports Attacked, Starmada Distant Armada, and Prime Directive Starship Aldo.
THE BIGGEST NEWS: in the history of the Star Fleet Universe is our new contract with Mongoose Publishing to do a series of products for distribution to every retailer in the US, Canada, and Britain. Those will include an SFU version of their A Call to Arms space combat game, a version of Prime Directive for their Traveller game, and an whole new series of miniatures (Starline 2500) which will replace all of our existing miniatures with new designs of greater artistic detail. The first of these products should appear for Christmas.

WEBSITE:Our website, www.StarFleetGames.com, continues to grow and improve. You are welcome to send us your requests, comments, and suggestions. Joel Shutts, 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 the Wall of Honor where we recognize our volunteers and their contributions.

FACEBOOK: Jean continues to improve our page on Facebook, adding many new photos and other features.
If you haven't seen the 300+ pieces of art in the albums, you should drop by and visit. You don't have to be a member of Facebook to see our page, but if you are, please become our friend so you can get information in your news feed.

VIDEOS: StarFleetGames has taken its act to YouTube and we now have a YouTube channel. Our goal is to create a video for the new product releases during each month. We have "In the Box" videos to show you what you will see when you unpack your new game. We have also done "Spotlights" on a single product or product line. So pull up a chair and join us at the movies! Our newest uploads are:

ADB May 2011 releases

STARBLOG: Our StarBlog has moved to a new URL and all links on the Federation Commander websites and the first site have been changed to match. The new site is http://federationcommander.blogspot.com

AMBASSADORS: Jean Sexton has succeeded in recruiting two ambassadors (Michael C. Baker and A. David Merritt) to carry the word of the Star Fleet Universe to other websites. They (and Jean) have been awarded the first ever "Star Fleet Ambassador Badges" as well as appropriate medals for their service to date. These ambassadors do not just repeat press releases; they answer questions, encourage discussion, and help people find the relevant documents on our website.
Ambassador Badge


Our FFAC tournament has reached a key point when the last seat was filled and the final first round games were scheduled. The format takes some cat-herding (people who are slow to play games make life boring for everyone else) but with strong judges and cat-herders we plan to use the same format for the Platinum Hat.


Our new Internet SFB International Championship Tournament is open for registration. Registration will close July 5th and play will begin July 15th. This is a single-elimination tournament using the format we test drove with FFAC. This will be conducted through SFBOL.

We'll have 64 seats (more if there is demand) and anyone eliminated can re-enter for no cost in one of the unsold seats. Once we know how many people entered, some uber-players (e.g., former national champions) may get first-round byes. Having learned some lessons from FFAC, Tournament Marshal Steven P. Petrick will "ride herd" on the tournament to ensure that games are played on schedule and the event does not drag. There will, inevitably, be some delays near the end when re-entries have to "catch up" to the initial entries. A firm hand on the helm will ensure that these are as minor as possible. Three senior players (Gregg Dieckhaus, Peter Bakija, and one to be named later) will be appointed as "honorary sheepdogs" and empowered to encourage people to get their games done.

The entry fee ($10 per person) will be added to the prize fund which ADB, Inc., has always provided, making this the richest SFB tournament ever held!

Download Transmissions

HAILING FREQUENCIES: This is our newsletter and will let you know all the news for all our games. You can subscribe here. Have you missed an earlier newsletter? Click here to get caught up!

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.

COMMANDER'S CIRCLE: We continue to improve the Commander's Circle. All of the ships and scenarios are available as separate documents (the ships are organized by empire) so you can quickly see what is available. The FC Scenario Database and Master Ship Chart documents are also here. Our newest project was suggested by our players and is uploading low-toner Ship Cards. The Commander's Circle is the best place to find free additions to Federation Commander!

FC Forum Recent Posts

The Federation Commander site and Forum continue to grow as more gamers continue to find them. All of our games currently have topics in the Forum. If you have any comments, questions, or requests for our Graphics Director, this is the place to let him know. Come see what the commotion is about and join the Federation Commander Forum now.

We are very pleased to see the medals, honor bars, and ribbons awarded to players being incorporated into their signatures. It is exciting to see an explosion in the Federation Commander Play by Email topic and even more exciting to see more FCOL Tournaments taking place. Get in on the activity!

While for new players the Federation Commander Forum is a little easier to manage, the original (Discus-based) BBS is where most product development takes place. If you have a proposal you'd like to see worked on, don't forget to make sure it is mentioned here. It also has active F&E and SFB forums where players run campaigns, Rated Ace tournaments and other SFB tournaments are organized (most FC tournaments are organized on the Forum), SVC's "My Day" appears, along with current news and strategies dealing with Prime Directive, and each issue of Captain's Log is created. While less colorful (no avatars or sigs), it is a vital part of ADB, Inc.'s communication.

FC Tactic of the Month

     Andromedan satellite ships are very vulnerable to burn-through damage penetrating their power absorber panels because they lack labs and other "free hits". A few hits from disruptors and you will see your Cobras losing important systems that they cannot quickly repair because of their low repair rating. To combat this, the mothership should cycle damaged satellite ships through its hangar to take advantage of (5V1c4), which allows the mothership to use its own Repair Points on satellite ships in its hangar.
     A Cobra in an Intruder's hangar will have up to six Repair Points to use instead of only two! If an energy module is also in the hangar, the damaged satellite ship can perform a tactical power dump and the energy module will pick up the dumped energy by (5V1c3).
     So when the Galactic boys get rough, let Mama fix the satellite ships' boo-boos and then send them back out to play some more!
(End of FC Tactic of the Month)

SFB Tactic of the Month

     Rule (OE17.22) allows the Iridani to fire their focused energy beams using the power in the phaser capacitors. This is actually a work around for the fact that the focused energy beams normally cannot be held, and are normally fire-or-discharge weapons.
     A tactic for the Iridani would be to allocate power to one focused energy beam, and close to point-blank range with capacitors full. Near the end of the turn, after the "Impulse of decision"; fire the focused energy beams, drawing power out of the phaser capacitors as needed. On the next turn, fill the phaser capacitors and fire the phasers. If the ship's phaser capacitor system is not large enough to fire all of the focused energy beams, you can allocate contingent power to the focused energy beams, and then get the remaining power needed to fire them from the capacitors.
     While this is a standard tactic, only the Iridani have such an effective means to hold power for the normally unholdable focused energy beams, something even the Hydrans cannot match with their fusion beams.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)

F&E Strategy of the Month

     When late war combat formations (318.4) arrive, combine "Commando Groups" (318.44) inside "Battle Groups" (315.0) to form "Commando Battle Groups" of six commando ships that take up five command slots in your battle line.
     Rules (315.21) and (315.22) define a battle group as a maximum of six ships of which no more than three can be size class 3, but all six could be size-class-4 ships.
     Rule (318.44) allows two-size-class 4 commando ships to serve as either escorts or consorts to a size-class-3 or larger commando ship.
     None of the commando ships in the battle group [see (315.5)] may be carrier escorts per (515.0) or commando escorts per (521.372).
     However, commando ships in the (315.0) battle group may still be escorted. Escort candidates outside the battle group can be any ship or non-ship units. This allows two combinations of commando battle groups.
     1. Two size-class-3 commando ships each with two size-class-4 commando ships playing consorts. These size-class-4 consorts can use both their "G" factors and full combat potential.
     2. Three size-class-3 commando ships with one escort/consort outside the battle group and one size-class-4 commando ship consort inside the battle group. The former role of the size-class-3 escort can be played by fighter squadrons or PF flotillas.
     The price of using this tactical formation is two-fold:
     1. It reduces the Combat Potential of an attack because commando ships are much lower in attack factors than normal ships, with the notable exceptions of the Romulans and Gorns.
     2. It is much less effective against Klingon fortifications protected by penal ships and SFGs. The former will honor duel the commando ships (to cripple or kill them) before they can land Marines - particularly the smaller commando frigates - and the latter will simply freeze the commando ships that lack escorts.
(End of F&E Strategy of the Month)


Mini of the Month
Every month we will feature one or more of our miniatures that has been painted by a fan. If you paint miniatures, submit pictures of your minis and they may be selected for the next Mini of the Month!

Jindarian Custom Battlecruiser
Tice Leonard

New Releases

Communique #66 has been posted to the Commander's Circle

Reacently Released
Captain's Log #43, Stock #5743, $19.95.
Module C3A, Stock #5635, $19.95
GURPS Federation, Stock #8402, $24.95

To be Released at ORIGINS
Federation Commander: Transports Attacked, Stock #4109, $29.95.
Federation & Empire: ISC WAR, Stock #3213, $47.95.
Distant Armada, Stock #6104, $16.95.
Starship Aldo, Adventure for GURPS and PD20, $3

To be Released in August
Star Fleet Marines Assault, Stock #2101, $TBA

To be Released in September
Federation Admiral, Stock #4080, $TBA.

To be Released in October
Star Fleet Battles Module E3: Borak Star League, Stock #7103, $TBA.

To be Released in November
Captain's Log #44, Stock #5744, $TBA

Module C3A
Module P9: The Galactic Smorgasbord
Captain's Log #9
ISC Ship Card Pack #1
Captain's Log #8
Galactic Conquest
GURPS Romulans
WYN Ship Card Pack #1
Federation & Empire Chart Book
Captain's Log #7
Captain's Log #6

Prime Directive PD20M
Klingons PD20 Modern

FC: Border Box #10, SKU 4410, $99.95
Federation LTT, SKU 0238, $9.95
Federation Old CA, SKU 0239, $8.95
Tholian TK5, SKU 0717, $7.95


We have shut down our store on Cafe Press because the owners of the website unilaterally changed the contract in a way we felt would not comply with our contract with Paramount.

PDF SALES: ADB, Inc. continues its relationship with Steve Jackson Games and their e23 Warehouse. We chose e23 because they have a philosophy that agrees with ours -- our customers are honest and honorable and wouldn't aid people who want to steal our products. Furthermore, we know from experience how devastating a computer crash can be and want our customers to know that they don't have to worry about the loss of their e-products bought through e23. What do we have there? We have created a new page that allows easy access to our PDFS for sale on e23. From here you can see what we currently have posted and have links to those products.

Star Fleet Fiction
Burden of Duty, Debt of Revenge

     Captain Frederick Dunn sat hunched in his chair, brooding over the bare desktop before him. His office was austere, almost bare, with only a few plaques and photos mounted on the walls. He had retired here when he realized his near continuous presence on the Bridge - tired, unwashed, and, yes, he had to admit, cranky - was degrading the Bridge crew's efficiency. Now he sat in his office and brooded, longing for something, anything, to do. He had showered, shaved, taken care of other physical necessities, finished every scrap of paperwork he had, and he was still waiting.
    He looked at the com mounted flush with the desk surface, reached for it, pulled his hand back. No, dammit. I just called and asked five minutes ago. They haven't seen anything since then, if they had, I'd be the first to know. He stared at the com unit for several more seconds, fighting the impulse to micromanage. It's like I'm addicted to the hunt.
    He tore his gaze from the com, tapped a code into another area of the desktop, calling up a map of the local sector. The map loaded and opened in a fraction of a second, but it still seemed like it took too long. His fingers pecked at the desk surface disinterestedly, calling up data and adding the codes to the map before him. Recent shipping attacks were added to the screen, showing up as dark orange points in various locations. He added his ship's current location, along with the ships moving parallel to her in a skirmish line parsecs across. The shipping attacks appeared as a green line, slowly heading inward toward the line of bases that marked firm Star Fleet control, then away, back toward Klingon space. He further processed the data, eliminating all those he did not believe to be caused by their intended prey. About half of the dark orange lights, roughly to either side of their advance, flicked out. The rest still glowed harshly, as if lit by the fires of hell.
(Continue reading here)

Ask Admiral Growler

     David Jannke asks: According to (FD1.71) about inert drones: a drone becomes immediately inert and stops [read as "immediately, right now, out of the otherwise normal Sequence of Play, instantly"] when the criteria for becoming inert are met. It also says that the drone is not removed until it harmlessly destroys itself during the subsequent Resolve Damage from Seeking Weapons Step. The following sentence says that at that point the drone cannot be recovered, located, detected, fired at, or detonated, and that ESG fields or other items moving through the hex cannot contact the drone.
    The wording of the paragraph seems to say that the second sentence is referring to the time period after the drone is removed and is simply saying that the drone is gone at that point. Is this true, or does the drone actually disappear at the point it becomes inert and is only there as a kind of game artifact/marker until the counter is removed during the Seeking Weapons Damage Step? If the latter is the case, why not simply remove the drone outside the Sequence of Play as soon as it becomes inert?
    The question is important and valid as a Swordfish drone that fires at a closing target under an ESG can become inert after firing but may impact the ESG in the following impulse before the Resolve Damage from Seeking Weapons Step if the ESG enters the hex of the drone.
    ANSWER: That is indeed what the rule for inert drones says: that they are removed at a distinct point in the Sequence of Play. Prior to that point, while inert (if their target enters their hex they will not hit it), they can still be hit by an ESG field and are still a target for another seeking weapon launched at them, and for some other interactions.
    Follow-up question: The answer to the question might create an opportunity to launch a drone into an active web hex, tractor that drone and, although the drone would lose tracking during the Tractor Step, maintain the tractor until the drone is lost in Resolve Seeking Weapons Damage Step. A ship with such a tractor established would not move in the intervening movement step, even if movement was called at its speed.
    ANSWER: You cannot tractor a drone in a web hex (whether yours or an opponent's) due to (G10.522), which has been around for a while (it pre-dates the Master Rulebook) precisely because evil Klingons such as yourself were trying to use that tactic against the Tholians.
(End of Ask Growler)


     Q: Can a crippled ship be placed in the formation bonus position during a pursuit battle? I want to protect it!
     A: Yes, a retreat battle force is formed as per (307.3) and (307.41) allows one ship to be in the formation bonus position.
     Q: During combat of a non-phasing player turn, a carrier group consisting of SAV, AD5, and F5E is damaged. Due to the tactical situation, the Klingon player decides to kill the SAV and cripple the AD5. Are the crippled AD5 and/or the uncrippled F5E allowed to perform CEDS retrograde?
     The argument that they "might not" assumes that once the SAV is dead the group falls apart. The argument that "maybe they can" rests on the thinking that the group participated in combat and was damaged. Rule (308.131) is confusing because it only mentions "carrier groups". The rule was written before (515.0) allowed players to build their own groups, and assumes fixed carrier-group counters, which could not really exist in Basic F&E (which also lacks auxiliary carriers).
     A: The good news is that the consistent interpretation has been that (308.131) should be deemed to have included flexible (515.0) groups, and as such, the AD5 and F5E were part of a group at the time of damage and can be retrograded out of the area; at least, it could have been on 21 Feb 2010. The bad news is the F&E2KX rulebook eliminates CEDS retrograde entirely, so as of 22 Feb 2010, the entire question is moot as there is no longer any such thing as CEDS retrograde.
(F&E Q&A continues here )


     Q: Why doesn't Prime Directive ever get play time at the Origins Game Fair (this year from June 22-26) just like the "big boys" do? Doesn't ADB care about the game?

     A: Of course we care! And this year, we are sticking our toes in the water. As with all of our games, we depend on our fans serving as moderators for a gaming session. Jeff Johnson, an avid player and GM who ran our first ever play by post game on the FC Forum, stepped up and he will be running four game sessions of GURPS Prime Directive. While three are interlinked, anyone can play in any of the sessions. We're hoping for a good turnout so that this can become an annual event, not just a one-time thing.

     Don't forget that you can also pick up your Prime Directive gaming books at Origins. The easiest way to make sure we haven't sold out is to wait until the week before Origins and then pre-order your copy via the storefront with "shipping" being "pick up at Origins." Your order will be waiting for you as early as Wednesday night.

     I hope to see you all there!

     Send questions to Jean at design@StarFleetGames.com and SVC will decide which one Jean will answer next.
(End of Ask Aunt Jean )


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.

Alert 110615 Mongoose (Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 110504 Gurps Fed & C3A
(Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 110221 Schedule (Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 101231 New Year (Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 101026 Fight For A Cure
(Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 101019 Video (Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 100928 Mod Y3 Release (Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 100914 CL#42 (Adobe Reader Required)
Alert 100906 Module Y3 (Adobe Reader Required)


The Hydran Pegasus