Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS: THE RETURN OF STARLINE 2500
In a Star Fleet Alert dated 18 April, 2014, ADB, Inc., announced the relaunch of the Starline 2500 range of miniatures. This included a new strategy for manufacturing, pricing, and distributing this product line.
Starline 2500 will now be distributed solely by mail order from our Amarillo, Texas facility. We will no longer be able to sell these to wholesalers or retailers because (to make any profit at all) we would have to raise the unit prices far beyond what any customer would pay (e.g., $20 for a cruiser). The actual cost of manufacture turned out to be higher than the original prices can support.
Given our legendary quality control and customer service, this is a benefit for every consumer. If it's on our shopping cart, we have it in stock. (If we run out for a few days, we deactivate it on the cart.) There will be no more pre-orders or back orders. If you want it, you get it.
Further, there will be no more boxes, sets, or two-packs. Every ship is available as a single so you can buy exactly as many as you need to build your perfect fleet. We will also eliminate the resin ships, replacing them with metal. (A few resin dreadnoughts remain in stock; inquire as to availability.)
In most cases, the prices have gone down. For a few large ships, they will go up. From now on, each ship will get its own price based on its cost of manufacture. We will not push every ship into a one-price-for-all packaging system. Prices will range from $5.95 to $19.95 (higher for battleships).
The 2500 range will continue to grow. As this Hailing Frequencies is posted, we have more than a dozen new ships in the pipeline:
Available now: Kzinti DN in metal.
Prototypes sent to master molds: Tholian PC, DD, TK5, CA; Orion BR, DW, CA, BC, BCH.
In the pipeline: Klingon C8 and B10 (in metal), Orion Slaver and DN, a bunch of Lyrans, Romulan Condor and Vulture (in metal). Also, the augmented battlestation, jumbo freighter, and heavy freighter will be done in metal for the multi-scale 2425 series.
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 and will be adapting their offerings to match ADB's new marketing for the miniatures.
Rated Ace Tournament #42 is heading into the final four players. Only one third-round game is left to play and then round four will be set. Bill Schoeller is the judge for this tournament.
NetKill Patrol first quarter has finished on SFBOL. Joshua Driscol is our newest Cyberknight and has earned the right to have "Sir" added to his handle. Congratulations! Richard Schirmer maintains the statistics that make this tournament possible.
The Platinum Hat 2013 International Online SFB Tournament has only the final game left to play and that will be between Stephen McCann and Lee Graves. Paul Scott is the judge.
The Masters 2013 Tournament is finished. Ken Rotar flew the Federation ship; Paul Scott flew the Klingon. Ken's Federation ship came out the winner in this classic duel. The judge is Andrew Koch.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
This all-SFU convention will be held in the southern Nashville region 7-14 June 2014 (eight days) at Clarion Inn & Suites, 2227 Old Fort Parkway, Murfreesboro, Tennessee 37129 (615) 896-2420. Ask for the StratCon room rate. StratCon is organized primarily by and for the F&E community but is open to all SFU games and gamers. The cost will be under $75 per player for the entire week, a fraction of the entry and gaming costs charged by Origins. (That is why it is not being held at Origins. It was announced in the last issue of Communique that ADB, Inc., will no longer attend that convention.) Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Tony L. Thomas will once again be running several A Call to Arms Star Fleet events at Nashcon 2014 May 23-25, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.
On Friday night, we'll once again be presenting "The Battle for Kh'rtis Rock." This is a massive Klingon versus Federation battle: 61 starships along with 5 repair freighters and there's also a battle station!!!The Federation won in 2012.
The Klingons won in 2013.
Who'll win in 2014? And will you be a part of the victory or the cause of defeat?
Saturday will be the ACTASF tournament where three rounds of combat with the overall victory points determining the winner. Bring your favorite 1,000 point fleet and lets see who's the best player in the mid-south!
Sunday come help playtest the revised second edition of ACTASF with the lead developer.
MISCON's Sanctioned Tournament for SFB with miniatures will be held on Sunday May 25, and Monday May 26, 2014 in Missoula, Montana and will accommodate 16 players. The all Miniatures Sanctioned Tournament will start on Sunday, at 10:00 am and run for 10 hours, with up to three elimination games. The finals will start 10:00 am, Monday, and run up to 6 hours if necessary. This will be a single elimination tournament, and wild cards will only be used if necessary to fill a bracket, if players do not wish to continue, even if winning. Judge Harlan Haskell III will have all necessary materials, and miniatures for each player, during the tournament. For more information about the con, see: http://www.miscon.org/
On August 17, 2014 at SPOCON, at the DoubleTree, Spokane, WA there will be an SFB sanctioned game or games (depending on turnout) using the tournament rules, with miniatures. Judge Harlan Haskell III will provide all materials for this event.
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.
Games are held in Spokane, Washington on an irregular basis. Contact them to see if there's a game scheduled. They meet at The Gamers 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
F&E Strategy of the Month
Adding colonies co-located with existing bases is a long-standing practice as a way to help protect them with additional PDUs. Engineer units can add a PDU to a planet or colony by (433.32). In addition to the ability to add a PDU, they can add an extra PDU above the normal limits of (433.424) and (446.32). Using the engineer unit to add that extra PDU above the limit of (446.32) gives you that much more additional ComPot when the enemy does attack or raid the base.
A BATS and a colony with three PDUs has a ComPot of 21, plus 24 fighters, or a total of 45 or 250% greater than a BATS alone. The presence of both a colony and a base gives you the option to stay an extra round or two and cause additional damage to your opponent while he is trying to kill your base and PDUs. You also benefit from the electronic warfare points generated by the PDUs.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
IF YOU CAN'T BEAT THEM, BOLT THEM
At first glance, plasma bolts seem like a very weak option for plasma-armed ships. The maximum range is shorter (10 inches), damage is halved, and on top of that you must roll to hit. Statistically, your torpedoes will do around one-quarter or less of the damage they might if launched.(End of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month)
There are two advantages to plasma bolts, however. Bolts cannot be intercepted by defensive fire, and may bypass shields (by rolling a "six"). If your target still has enough unfired phasers to stop your plasma volley, or is protected by other ships using Intensify Defensive Fire!, then bolting your plasma torpedoes may be a better option. If your opponent knows that you may use plasma bolts rather than launch, it may cause him to choose another special action rather than potentially waste an action on Intensify Defensive Fire! By being flexible in your approach, you complicate your opponent's defensive calculations.
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
Starline 2500 Federation CB, CC, and three CAs. Eric Drumm painted the minis and took the picture. (It has been photoshopped to remove the base stands.)
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23 (e23 been joined with and is now known as Warehouse 23.)
"Bridge, we are reading a huge buildup in the vortex. This appears to be an inversion coming up."
"Helm execute a turn towards the vortex and enter as soon as it inverts. Don't wait for orders, just get us out. You have discretion on all uncommitted power."
"Range to Unknown Four closing, twenty thousand kilometers. Firing as ordered. ESG impact. Good hits. Unknown Four has extensive damage and its warp drive output has dropped by 75%. They appear to be crippled. UIM is still good."
"Unknown Four has fired. Shield one is at 10%. Unknown Four is tractoring us, range ten thousand kilometers!"
"Reserve power to negative tractor. Fire all remaining bearing phasers."
"Firing. Good hits. All reserve power applied to negative tractor, but they still have us. We are now facing the vortex and it is at heading 35.4 mark 3 at warp 1.4. Vampire Ten is now closing on the rear shield!"
"Maneuvering against Vampire Ten, Captain."
"Vampire Ten took shield number five down to 10%."
"Captain, the vortex is inverting. We are getting somethingŠ Contact! Designate Unknown Sixteen. Ship is class 4 sizedŠ Correction, police ship Thiefbreaker exiting vortex. Making a High Energy Turn directly towards us. Range thirty thousand kilometers and closing."
"Bridge, the vortex has definitely just inverted to a collecting phase and is still building up energy. We anticipate that the vortex will be making a final displacement and then dissipating in the next few chrons."
"Helm, drag that cursed ship tractoring with us towards the vortex if you have to, but get us out!"
"Captain, the Thiefbreaker is overrunning us. They're closing to minimum range on Unknown Four. Firing all weapons; they're taking feedback damage. Vampires Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen are now maneuvering to hit Thiefbreaker. Vampire Fourteen has been tractored. Vampires Thirteen and Fifteen are accelerating to warp 3.2. My energy plot says the police ship has committed most of their power. Thiefbreaker is dropping its bearing shield to us and we are receiving a transporter signal. Vampire Thirteen and Fifteen hitting Thiefbreaker on its bow shield. Heavy damage. Thiefbreaker launched two shuttles just before the drones impacted. If those are suicide shuttles, Thiefbreaker probably has no reserve power remaining."
Nick G. Blank asks: I would like you to clarify rule (G24.132) and its accompanying example. The relevant part of the rule says "If a scout blinds a channel that is providing ECM/ECCM or self-protection, the channel is considered blinded for the step in which it is blinded ... fire during the same step ... would lose the scout support." The example says that if a fast patrol ship tender (scout) powers channel #1 to loan electronic warfare to its fast patrol ship flotilla, and fires its weapons on Impulse #32 (blinding channel #1), then powers channel #2 on the next turn to again loan electronic warfare to the fast patrol ship flotilla, that the fast patrol ships would never be without electronic warfare support. This seems to contradict the rule, which the way I read it says that the fast patrol ships in this example would be vulnerable (without the fast patrol ship tender's lent electronic warfare) during the Impulse #32 firing step in which the fast patrol ship tender fires its weapons, i.e., an enemy that fired at the fast patrol ships in the same firing step in which the fast patrol ship tender blinded its sensor would not have to deal with the lent electronic warfare.
The example and rule seem to contradict each other; which is correct?
ANSWER: This one had to go to Kommodore Ketrick who replied: I hate to say it, but the example is quite clearly wrong. It was probably written originally for some other scout function and was changed to the more common and prosaic electronic warfare lending function at some point without realizing that made it contradict the rule. The rule is pretty clear that electronic warfare lending ends immediately with the firing of the blinding weapon providing no benefits. So the example is wrong and I have made a note to fix it, to wit: (G24.132) The example, following this rule is in conflict with it, and therefore the example is wrong. The PFT could not continue lending to the PF flotilla on Impulse #32 if it fired its weapons and blinded its channel. Any weapons fire directed at the PFs on the same impulse would not be affected by any EW the PFT was lending them.
Daniel K. Thompson asks: Regarding the scout channel answer for (G24.132): The rule seems to contradict itself since it starts off by saying blinding is done after weapons fire is resolved on the first line of the rule. It then goes on to say it happens before it is resolved. Can this be clarified some please? Which is correct?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replied: I can see where the first sentence of (G24.132) could be a little confusing relative to the fourth sentence. However, there is no contradiction. The scout channel is considered blinded after weapons fire is resolved in terms of functions other than electronic warfare lending, and for purposes of when the 32-impulse blinding period begins. However, any electronic warfare lending from the channel will be canceled during the phase the scout fired the blinding weapon.
Follow-up question: So, for example, if the scout fires a phaser-1 during the exact step where all similar weapons are fired, any electronic warfare it is generating does not count for any purpose?
ANSWER: You have the gist of it, but let me give an example to make sure we are all clear. A Hydran scout has two special sensors powered. One has been used to break lock-ons of some drones. The other is being used to lend four ECCM to a friendly Tartar.
On Turn #2, Impulse #15, the scout fires a phaser-1. This will blind one channel through the direct fire phase of Turn #3, Impulse #15. The scout player chooses the one that had been used to break lock-ons, so the ECCM lending continues. Impulse #16, the Tartar has reached optimal firing range, but the scout needs to fire all four pulses from one of its phaser-Gs at some drones that are getting close. This fire will blind the other scout channel. The Tartar fires one of its hellbores in the first hellbore firing option. It will benefit from the ECCM. However, the phasers it fires this impulse will not benefit nor will the other hellbore that it fires during the second hellbore firing option.
Q: The rule in (540.251) states: "...the planet (and its defenses) have joined the team's empire at the start of the next player turn of that empire (immediately)..." It also states: "Note that if the planet joins your empire it is treated as a part of the adjoining fleet and if that fleet is inactive the new planet is in an inactive fleet area, but defenses can still be added to the planet and it produces income for the gaining empire."
Rule (540.253) says: "If a neutral planet joins an empire, it produces income and can have PDUs added up to the normal limit, but is not part of the supply or strategic movement grid until the turn after the empire is at war with or allied to the other adjoining empire."
So, given all of that, my questions:
1. The rules say that defenses can be added to the planet and it further clarifies that only PDUs (and by extension I assume PGBs) can be added to the planet. Can the empire send EPs to the planet via say a tug to allow it to build these defenses? Also could a tug be sent to the planet to add a PDU based on rule (433.422)?
2. If the planet joins an empire that has not been set up yet, can elements of the adjoining fleet be setup on the planet without being forced to accept internment? I would note here that per (540.251) opposing diplomats are allowed to withdraw without being interned and it states that this rule is an exception to internment in this case only. This seems to imply that the planet is considered part of the empire and no longer a neutral. Also, can the empire send additional ships to the planet to help bolster its defense? Could a monitor be sent to the planet?
3. Since the planet generates EPs for "the gaining empire," can a tug/LTT/TT be sent to the planet to pick up those EPs? Would the tug have to be carrying a diplomatic team to make such a pickup?
A: Answers to your questions:
1. No, the hex the planet is still in is a neutral zone and only delivery of PDUs per (503.63) is allowed.
2. No, the hex the planet is still in is a neutral zone and only delivery of PDUs per (503.63) by tug is allowed. There are also diplomatic missions allowed, but no warships.
3. No, the hex the planet is still in is a neutral zone.
Q: It was ruled back in August 25, 2010 that Orion Smuggling cannot be used to take EPs from a planet that joined your empire by (540.25). Is that still true?
In light of (540.251) the EPs clearly belong to the empire the planet joined not the planet itself, so why is there this restriction? Nothing in (540.25) supports this ruling. According to (410.341) Orion Smuggling is a perfectly legal way to move EPs out of a Partial Grid as well as into a Partial Grid.
A: The original answer was correct; you cannot use Orion Smuggling (or any other method) to get those EPs sooner than the rules allow. Nowhere in (540.251) or the rest of (540.25x) does it say the planet shares its income immediately. Rule (540.253) specifically states that the planet does not belong to the supply grid of the empire it joined. Hence, no movement of economic points is allowed. The original ruling stands.
Q: A diplomatically aligned neutral planet generates EPs but is not connected to adjacent grids and is in its own partial grid until such time you are at war with the other neighboring power. They accumulate EPs which may be used to locally construct defenses and/or accumulate. May one use Orion Smuggling to transfer EPs to the planet to augment its indigenous EPs for construction projects?
A: Sure, if you have them per (410.34). You would have to obey all rules concerning the use of EPs for your empire at that time based on your economic condition. If you are at Peace you could cancel PWC or use other diplomatic income to do this. Or, if you were at War but this was an inactive fleet from the general treasury at the local Orion's rate of exchange. The local planet would not allow you to pull such income via the Orions as they know it would just make their situation more untenable.
Q: Is Pavarak (5403) considered to be adjacent to the Gorn and ISC for diplomatic purposes (540.25) and can it join one side or the other under the diplomacy rules?
A: Yes, Pavarak is open to negotiations by both the ISC and the Gorns. But, the ISC needs to be an active player empire.
Q: Does the same line of thought apply to Circle Trigon (5109) in future scenarios where the Romulans are involved?
A: Yes, it is close enough to the Romulans to be influenced by them. But, the ISC needs to be an active player empire before the rules can be used.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Q: Dear Aunt Jean,
Will I be able to customize a starship under Traveller Prime Directive rules?
A: Yes, to a point. There are a lot of ships of many sizes in the Star Fleet Universe, and you have a wide variety to pick from. Because the volumetric ship system for Traveller is not readily amenable to the power/tonnage system used in the SFU, most are on a basis of "pick one of these things to install here."
There are three Traveller ships (the Modular Courier, Seeker Skiff, and Security Skiff) that are (via our GURPS deal) already in the Star Fleet Universe. You can use and customize those all you want and you'll be using official Traveller rules and official Star Fleet ships at the same time! Most other Traveller ships can simply be used as-is.
Most of the "adventure groups" in a Traveller setting are ten or fewer people, and these are easily transported by the "gunboats" of the Star Fleet Universe. At the end of the General War, tens of thousands of war-surplus gunboats were stripped of heavy combat gear and sold off to independent explorers who were seeking their fortunes in a galaxy devastated by two decades of war. Rules to customize these will be included. Gunboats are known for being "as handy as a pickup truck and as tough as a mule." They come out of the "de-militarization yard" rebuilt from wartime systems (30-man crews who stay on board only 24 hours at a time) to "workboats" able to carry 10 beings around for months at a time. They can land on planets, asteroids, or even comets.
Smaller groups may be quite happy with a modified shuttlecraft. Rules exist in our other Prime Directive books to customize those for exploration, trade, travel, asteroid mining, survey, or whatever you want to do.
Larger groups might want to use an Armed Transport, a Free Trader, or even a Standard Freighter, all of which can be customized. The Free Trader, for example, has a large cargo bay that is easily reconfigured for a hundred passengers, or dozens of vehicles, or scientific laboratories, or even processing ore mined on one planet while you're on the way to another planet to sell the refined metal. The Standard Freighter is a huge cargo pod and small control pod, but "skids" can be inserted between them with your choice of a dozen customized equipment suites.
Actual warships (frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and so forth) are massive machines with crews in the hundreds. No one can afford to design a new hull design, and a government-run shipyard produces dozens of each class. So while you cannot "design your own battlecruiser" and produce an official SFU ship that will work in our other games, the standard warships can be customized to a great extent (and already are in the space combat games). You can have alternate heavy weapons (torpedoes, missiles, beam weapons) occuping the standard mounts. Warship hulls can be configured for many missions by replacing weapons and other combat systems with cargo bays, science stations, Marine barracks, or other systems. While the volumetric Traveller system doesn't work with these huge ships(*), the degree of customization available is equal to any mission, whim, desire, or taste.
(*) Any conversion of the Traveller system that could produce a given SFU ship could never match any of the other SFU ships because the design concepts are totally different. Say for example we provided coefficients to convert the Traveller construction system in a way that you could produce an exact copy of the Enteprirse. The problem is that those same coefficients would produce only a weak version of the Ortega-class destroyer or an overgunned munchkin version of the Callahan-class police cutter. The two systems just do not convert.
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
Standard Federation doctrine calls for the ship to close to a range of zero or one with fully overloaded photons and then fire an alpha strike. While this works against the Klingons, it needs to be modified when fighting Lyrans.
While you are charging your photon torpedoes, the Lyran is probably filling his ESG capacitors. When you close to Range Zero or 1, the Lyran will fire a full-strength ESG burst, plus phasers and overloaded disruptors. The ESGs, just by themselves, can knock down your forward shield and cause internal damage. You need to blunt the effect of the ESGs.
On the turn before you engage, launch shuttles and pull them along using your tractor beams, keeping them in the same hex with your ship. Launch a drone at the end of the turn, timed so that it will impact during the same impulse as your attack.
When the ESG bursts are fired, your ship, the shuttles, and drone will divide the damage between them, so the shuttles and drone act as a kind of "shield reinforcement."
The tractor beams cost energy, but each shuttle will absorb six times more damage than the same amount of energy used as shield reinforcement. The empty shuttle bay boxes will also pad any full shuttle bay boxes.
After exchanging direct fire, launch another drone (you can take "frame" hits to protect your drone rack) or a suicide shuttle (it's unlikely that your on-board shuttles were destroyed).
The Lyran may well be facing directly towards you and not be able to avoid impact. If he's fired a full alpha strike himself, he won't be able to stop any seeking weapons.
The threat that you might do this could cause the Lyran to hold back some energy in one ESG; if he does, don't bother arming a suicide shuttle and use the energy to accelerate away so you can reload your weapons and repair critical damage.
(End of FC Tactic of the Month)
Steve Cole is checking map panels to make sure they line up appropriately.