Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS: SPRING BREAK
This month's big news is that Steve Cole and some of the ADB, Inc., staff made the annual spring trip to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. As before, Steve reprised his role as "Chef Steve" and fixed a spring basket containing beef heart, liver, and kidney for 54 of his special friends. The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is a charity which ADB, Inc., has supported for many years. Steve goes there every May and October.
Captive-bred wild animals are an ongoing tragedy in this country. Unscrupulous breeders produce an endless supply of wolves, tigers, and other wild animals for sale to good-hearted people who want an exotic pet and discover within a year that the cute puppy or kitten they brought home has turned into an adult animal that consumes five pounds of meat per day (or more!) and causes endless problems with local police and animal control officials. Friendly puppies and kittens turn into adult animals that play rough (or revert to their wild status) and cause unintended injuries, problems, and lawsuits.
The result of this is a steady supply of unwanted adult animals that end up being put down, condemned to a miserable life in small cages, or released into the wild (for which they have had no training from captive-bred mothers who never knew how to hunt).
The lucky ones end up in sanctuaries like Wild Spirit in New Mexico, Big Cat Rescue in Florida, The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, Shambala in California, or others. There, they live out their lives in large pens with companion animals and human servants, proper diets controlled by actual scientists, and expert veterinary care.
Such sanctuaries, however, get no government money; indeed, they get constantly inspected by US and state inspectors who want more safety systems, improved facilities, and endless extra expenses. The sanctuaries are able to function only because of underpaid staff, unpaid volunteers, university interns, and donations from tourists and animal lovers. You can find a shelter near you on the internet, or we list two of them here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/wildliferescue.shtml
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 #44 is Finished. Andy Vancil defeated Lee Graves in the final round. Congratulations to Andy! Paul Scott was the judge.
Rated Ace Tournament #45 is taking signups with he deadline for those being May 17. Gregg Dieckhaus will be the judge. Sign up for this free tournament here: http://www.sfbonline.com/tourn_signup.jsp
NetKill Patrol's 2015 first quarter top player is Seth Shimansky. Richard Schirmer maintains the statistics that make this tournament possible
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
In Statesboro Georgia, there was a Federation Commander demo at Galactic Comics and Games on Saturday April 11, 2015 at 1:00 pm. James Everett is the Ranger in charge and reports that it went well.
Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander (and possibly A Call to Arms: Star Fleet) games and demos will be held at the Balticon Convention in Hunt Valley, Maryland on May 22-25, 2015. Ranger Joseph Dorffner will be holding these in the gameroom.
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
Under the Enhanced Small-Scale Combat rules (310.115), any battle force consisting of three or fewer units (including any assigned attrition units) facing a battle force that qualifies for small-scale combat may, regardless of its combat potential, require that the battle hex be resolved by the small-scale combat system at the owner's option and risk. However, any combat potential in excess of 14 offensive and/or 19 defense factors is ignored.
With this rule in mind you can select picket forces that provide maximum flexibility during the ensuing enemy combat phase. Select two or three ships that satisfy the exception under rule (310.115), but fail to meet the maximums where Enhanced Small-Scale Combat is required (310.11). However, also make sure one of the ships is a very inexpensive unit such as a POL or a frigate. For example, a Klingon flexible picket force might be a D5, F5, and E4. This force has 16 attack factors and defense factors, and thus you may use Enhanced Small-Scale Combat (maximum combat potential of 14, but with a defense potential of 16) if this force is attacked.
However, you are not required to use Enhanced Small-Scale Combat. Thus, if the enemy attacks with a vastly superior Enhanced Small-Scale Combat force (such as a Federation DNL, FFS, and FF with an effective 14 combat potential, 19 defense potential, and additional fast and scout bonuses) you may have the ability to force normal combat, which is advantageous for you in this circumstance.
Alternatively, if the enemy sends a relatively weaker force (such as two Federation NCLs), then you may elect Enhanced Small-Scale Combat in the hopes of causing more damage to the enemy.
Furthermore, if an overwhelming force attacks your picket squadron, such as by an entire fleet, then you may simply offer the smallest ship (such as the E4 in the force above) as a sacrifice and retreat without great loss.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY!
Many theories have been presented regarding target selection in ACTASF. The competing theories include:
If you are facing an opponent who only has a single scout - target it. Once it is gone, he no longer has the benefits of a scout on his initiative rolls and no longer has its unique ability.
If he only has one ship with the Command trait, target it. Once he loses that trait, his entire fleet suffers from an initiative loss during every turn from then on.
If he has only one ship with drones - target that ship! Once it is gone, he no longer has a 36"-range weapon.
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
Mark Notestine painted this Romulan RoyalHawk.
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
SFB Module X1R SSD Book (B/W)
Lab Seven, U.S.S. Colin Powell
The lab looked like a wreck, but it was still functional. Several computer terminals were smashed or powerless. An array of cabinets that were normally home to delicate equipment had broken open and spilled their contents on the floor. Most of the debris had been pushed to the side as lab workers now focused exclusively on the remaining computer terminals.
The workers were divided into two teams. One team worked hand-in-hand with the damage-control teams. Using the terminals and high-powered workstations in the lab facilities, they could help guide repair efforts on the sections of the ship that Captain Folomar had decreed. The workstations were operating at the top end of their performance specifications, and consequently demanded a good bit of power from the Powell's damaged engines. Folomar had no choice but to divert power to them if he wanted to get his ship battle ready in as short a time as possible.
The other team studied data and fed reports to the Prime Team headed by Lieutenant Joprin. Their job was to help the team decide if the ship's sensors had acquired sufficient data on the first pass to justify leaving the area, or if they had enough information to determine if they had a means to destroy the Space Manta, as Joprin's Primes had begun calling the creature.
They arduously sifted through the sensor data. Even though the Powell had a reputation as one of the best information gatherers in the business, it was becoming clear that the dense skin of this particular life form had proven very tough for the sensors to penetrate. It was to be expected of course. Anything that evolved naturally and lived in the heart of a nebula would have to be a fantastically tough organism.
As they sifted through the data, to the increasing dismay of all the lab technicians, the computers consistently came back with the same maddening display. Over and over, the displays blinked with consistent insistence.
Insufficient data. Insufficient data.
Francois Lemay asks: A ship does a high energy turn and fails and ends up tumbling starting on Impulse #25. Can it perform self-destruction even if it is tumbling at the turn break?
ANSWER: By (C6.552), tumbling ships cannot take any action. This would block it from self-destructing.
Follow-up question: I had sent over three boarding parties in a capture attempt before the ship started to tumble; do we conduct boarding party combat at the end of the turn or is that not allowed as well as per (C6.552) for both sides?
ANSWER: In this case (C6.546) applies. Although the ship can take no action, one half of its surviving boarding parties will be able to defend the ship from one half of the surviving boarders. The remaining Marines (both attacker and defender) will be unavailable during the post-breakdown period or the Boarding Party Combat Step at the end of the turn the ship broke down.
Brendan Lally asks: As I understand it there is no rule allowing a ship to travel both forward and backward in the same turn. Does this still apply after a ship hits the tournament barrier (assuming the use of reserve power)? Does braking energy need to be applied on a subsequent turn after striking the barrier, before moving in reverse?
ANSWER: If you are using mid-turn speed changes, then ships can, indeed, mix forward and reverse movement in a turn. See (C12.37). As per rule (P17.221), hitting the tournament barrier does not release you from the restrictions of (C3.52) and (C12.371). If you try to reverse direction within eight impulses of hitting the tournament barrier, you will need to pay braking energy or attempt a quick reverse (C3.6).
Matthew Potter asks: A unit with a turn mode of 4 makes a turn. Four movements later, it kicks its speed up to a speed with a turn mode of 5. Would it be able to turn during the next move? Or would it have to satisfy the turn mode of 5?
ANSWER: Garth L. Getgen replies: See rule (C3.44) which states "A unit which satisfied its Turn Mode at its current speed but did not turn, and which subsequently changed speed [either by (C12.0) or at the end of a turn], must satisfy the Turn Mode at the new speed."
Follow-up Question: Rule (C3.44) seems to be the crux of the problem. Is it that the above unit must satisfy the higher turn mode even though the turn was performed at a lower turn mode?
ANSWER: Alex Lyons replies: Rule (C3.44) is clear, the turn mode is determined at the moment of turning. The fact that it was satisified earlier at a lower speed is not relevant.
Mike Kenyon adds: To apply what Alex said to your specific case: At Turn Mode 4, you accumulated four hexes of movement. You then accelerated and your turn mode is no longer satisfied. A common tactic is to take the top of your turn mode and plot a speed plot of that, then drop to one hex less than that, then speed back up to that. This enables you to always get a speed of the bottom of the next bracket up while maintaining a lower turn rate. For example: My Kzinti tournament command cruiser has a turn mode of C. That is a four at Speeds 15-20. If you plot a plot of: Speed 20 until Impulse #8, Speed 19 until Impulse #19, and Speed 20 thereafter, you end up getting 21 hexes of movement without ever having a turn mode of five. That is about the best you are going to do for cornering.
Q: Can you scrap ships without using Advanced Deficit Spending (447.0)?
A: Certainly. While the rule isn't crystal clear, it does say that you can scrap ships whether you're in debt or not. In effect, scrapping ships without being in debt means you have arranged for a line of deficit credit but didn't actually use it.
Q: Can you scrap auxiliaries? The Alliance has a bunch of auxiliaries that I'd happily trade in for EPs.
A: No, auxiliaries are not ships, they are units. Only ships can be scrapped.
Q: Can I put one battle pod and one cargo pod on a Kzinti/Klingon/Lyran tug and carry five EPs somewhere? I want to blockade run some EPs but want a resilient ship if it gets intercepted.
A: Certainly! This is actually clever. Any of the tugs that use pairs of pods and account for the pods separately can do this.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean, I have been looking at the SSDs and the deck plans and things don't match up size-wise. Which is correct?
A: I've checked with the Steves and the SSDs and the deck plans serve two different functions. The SSDs are a measurement of how much "destruction" the ship can take. A hold that is huge may have all that huge area destroyed in one hit. For some ships, cargo is what they are about, so they have cargo boxes. Does that mean a starship without cargo boxes can't haul "stuff"? No, but it might have to be squirreled away in odd places.
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 MonthFEDERATION DRONE TACTICS
Are you flying a Federation ship? Federation ships have fewer drone racks than Klingons or Kzintis, so you need to pay attention to the drone game or it will eat your ships alive. Things get worse in multi-ship battles, where the drone advantage of the enemy ships escalates astronomically.
You are going to be forced to use your drones defensively most of the time. If the enemy does not launch on the first turn, take advantage of the opportunity to use your drones offensively. Sure, the enemy will probably destroy them, but that means weapons (of whatever sort) are not targeted on your ships. Count how many drones you can launch, divide by two (assume half of them won't get through), and multiply by 12 (warhead points per drone). Then compare the result to the box count of your possible targets, and pick one that you can cripple (one with about twice as many boxes, or three times as many victory points). Launch all of your drones targeted on this ship.
When your enemy launches drones at your ships, you cannot counter-launch until the next impulse. Use the time to count drones and analyze targets. You can have any of your ships launch counter-drones, and you can judiciously gamble that phasers, anti-drones, tractors, and shields will keep your ships undamaged. Whatever drones you have left, launch ALL of them at ONE of his frigates or destroyers.
In defending your ships which are targeted by enemy drones, analyze how the drones are spread out and what weapons you can use against them. A ship launching its own drone as a counter-weapon has a guaranteed kill against an incoming drone. Phasers have a high chance of a kill, as do anti-drones. The law of averages will usually kill the incoming drones, but leakers can be stopped by anti-drones or tractors or - at worst case - shields. If you are an SFB player, you need to learn some new realities very quickly. In Federation Commander, anti-drones can only be fired by the ship which is the target, and only on the impulse of impact. Anti-drones cannot protect other ships, and you cannot fire multiple shots at a single drone.
The enemy may treat your drones with disdain. (Why would he? They have the same twelve warhead points and four damage points as his own drones.) In this case you can teach him a lesson, even using more of your drones offensively. He will eventually wise up and target your drones, diverting some of his other weapons.
It must be noted that you, the Federation player, have a much better drone game at fleet scale, where your ships keep their single racks and the enemy ships lose half of their racks
A carrier's strength is in its fighters. A fighter's durability comes from its capability to land back on its carrier and reload its weapons. When a ship starts to take damage to its bays that capability becomes endangered.
A method to reduce the chance of damage to a fighter's ready rack within the bay is to transfer standard shuttles over to occupy those boxes while the fighters are deployed. This empties out a shuttle box to absorb damage while protecting the shuttle and the fighter's ready rack. When the fighters need to land back at the box to rearm, simply launch/move the shuttle and have it land/moved back at another box in the bay later. Moving the shuttle does not require a deck crew action so the deck crew can be waiting for the fighter to land to start work immediately. A shuttle could still be prepared for all special missions (i.e., wild weasel . . . etc.) in the fighter's box just as well as its own.
[Rule (J1.594) says it takes a full turn (starting from Impulse #1) to move a shuttle to another box within the same bay. You could speed this up simply by launching and landing the shuttle in another box within the same turn, eight impulses later. However, this would be a tell-tale sign for the opposing player to know just what you are doing.]
You could even transfer fully loaded scatter-packs over to the empty fighter boxes as a means to prevent a chain reaction within the bay. A prepared wild weasel/suicide shuttle could not do this without first dumping its charged energy [see (J3.121)]. Even the transfer of a fully loaded fighter or a standard shuttle to a destroyed box will also help preserve the fighter/shuttle to an extent.
You can also move a shuttle to an empty fighter box, and then move the shuttle to a destroyed shuttle box where it will at least absorb a "shuttle" Damage Point on the Damage Allocation Chart and thereby protect that fighter box just a little bit more. But in most cases the shuttles are launched to support the ship or its fighters in my experience. It is rare for shuttles to be held on a ship unless they are armed for that special mission.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
Chuck Strong visted ADB. Here he is in the center with (from left to right) Steve Cole, Leanna Cole, Jean Sexton, and Steven Petrick.