Star Fleet Universe News
THE BIG NEWS: NEW PRODUCTS
Things are moving forward here at ADB, Inc., with a series of new product releases to brighten up your fall gaming schedule.
SFB MODULE C1: New Worlds I has undergone a makeover. The SSDs have been brought up to the current "block 4N" standard with all of the notes. The rules are those from the current SFB Master Rulebook. The counters were updated to the new graphic standard in 2007. The price has increased to $20.95.
For the Glory of the Empire was an experiment done years ago to see if the book binders could do it. This is now in a retail 8.5x11 format and will be uploaded as our first Kindle book by the middle of November. It's high time to show the fiction readers out there what we're all about.
F&E Fighter Operations has had a makeover to the new 2015 edition. This includes a new rulebook done to the standard of F&E 2010 and two copies of a revised countersheet I+J which was expanded to 280 counters and now includes the ships of the Four Powers War. (We still include the fighter coins of Sheet G+G and new carriers and escorts of Sheet V+V.)
Check the shopping cart or ask your local store.
FIRST CONFLICT: ROMULUS
On 4 November, Steve Cole noticed a document in the attachment folder for his email system. This document, titled "First Conflict: Romulus" is a one-page proposal for a new game based on the Federation-Romulan war during the sublight era. The document has no name (of the sender) or contact information. There is no associated email. (There must have been one, but it appearently was deleted by the spam-defense bots.) Steve Cole vaguely remembers that someone contacted him a month go about a proposal similar to this, but that email is long gone. (For every five people who discuss sending a product proposal, only one ever does, so we don't keep the preliminary contact messages.) We'd appreciate this individual contacting us again.
Always assume that your email asking a question or proposing something new just may get lost, so include contact information within the body of the attachment (if there is one) and ask in a few days if we received it.
DOING VIDEOS OF THE SFU
A customer asked about posting "tutorial videos" for our games. We like it when people do that (and even give commendation medals) but you need to have us check the videos to make sure you aren't violating something somehow (or that you didn't make a rules error). Doing such videos to make money is not cool. Please drop us an email before you post the videos.
STAR FLEET'S LEGIONS EXPAND:
Facebook Fan Pages
So join us on Facebook and get a fix of your favorite game there, too!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tony L. Thomas at: email@example.com.
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
Steven Petrick is hard at work on creating the tree, based on Ace rating, for the 2015 Platinum Hat.
Rated Ace Tournament #45 has reached the finals with a classic Kzinti vs. Klingon battle planned. David Zimdars will face Bill Schoeller in the final round. Good luck! Gregg Dieckhaus is the judge.
World League is a team tournament, where three-player teams compete against each other. The first round is a round robin style event where teams score points for each game played (four points for a win, two points for a loss, one point for a mutually agreed tie/unfinished game, zero points for a no show). After the first round, the top four teams will advance to a single elimination ladder, by team, so there will be two rounds of finals (four teams then two teams). This has advanced to the final rounds. Team Anything Goes will face Team Barnyard Squad. Peter Bakija is the organizer of this tournament.
NetKill Patrol's 2015 third quarter competition is drawing to a close. Seth Shimansky won the patrol portion. The playoff is between him, Justin Royter, and John P. Rigley. Richard Schirmer maintains the statistics that make this tournament possible.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
3CON V "Alice in Wonderland" Convention was cancelled.
At the Council of 5 Nations Tom Talasco held an A Call to Arms: Star Fleet demo. He reports great success with five new players trying it out.
PENTACON will be held November 13-15, 2015 at Grand Wayne Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Ranger Randy Blair will be hosting Star Fleet Battles. The scenario is Survivor! A hostile entity made of pure dilithium has
ravaged a caravan and your starship has been sent to intercept. Trouble is, other enemy starships are in pursuit of the monster's riches! Ally or attack?
Slot 2 (Friday 2:00 - 6:00 pm)
Slot 5 (Saturday 2:00 - 6:00 pm)
Slot 8 (Sunday 2:00 - 6:00 pm)
Spokane and Kootnei County Battle Group invites you to attend the John Schoen Memorial SFB Game: Starbase Attack! Gamers Haven, Spokane Valley, Washington at Indiana and Pines Roads at 11:00 am, Friday, November 27, 2015, Attacking force will be the Federation (John's favorite empire), with the Klingons defending (John's favorite foe). All are invited. Harlan Haskell III is the Ranger in charge and will be providing all needed materials.
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 held regularly in Indianapolis, Indiana at Game Paradise. Anthony Harding is the contact person. For more information see: http://www.meetup.com/Star-Fleet-Battles-Indy/.
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
During the phasing turn, consider using your X-ships (with an X-scout) to block the reinforcement of a key battle hex. When attacking such a hex, the X-ships moved with the attacking force can later help form a pocket-of-protection from enemy ships attempting to reinforce the key battle hex. Six-to-eight X-ships with a flagship with a command rating of 10 unit will pin all but the most robust non-X reserve fleets of 12-16 ship-equivalents.
The beauty of this is that as the phasing player, you select the order of battle hex resolution. With careful planning, you could select and tackle the X-force battle first, be in a position to fight the reserve fleet, then possibly abandon the blocking position. If retreat priorities permit, slide back into the key battle hex bringing a large force of X-ships back into the key fight.
In any case, you blocked enemy reinforcements from reaching the key battle hex.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
TARGET THAT EXPLOSION . . . NO, THAT ONE . . . NO . . .
In most wargames the tendency is to take out the biggest, baddest guy around first. After all, once the champion is slain everyone else is easy pickings, right?
This is not always the case in A Call To Arms: Star Fleet. Let's look at an opposing fleet consisting of a dreadnought, three heavy cruisers, three light cruisers, and three frigates. This comes in at right around 1,500 points (depending on which empire and which variants are selected) and makes for a typical one-evening battle (or four days of SFB, you pick). You lose the initiative roll so your opponent fires every weapon his dreadnought has. Now it is your turn. You survived the fiery onslaught dished out by the dreadnought and you are determined to make your opponent pay for his temerity and take out his dreadnought.
Wait a minute there!
The dreadnought has already fired its weapons and is not a threat during the rest of this turn. Is it worth more to take out a target that has already fired or to try to prevent some additional incoming damage by preemptively firing on one of the opposing vessels that has not fired yet? If instead, you fire at one of your enemy's other ships, the dreadnought may survive until next turn, but you may take out an opposing unit before it can fire at you. That could give you a bit less total damage this turn, something that adds up over a multi-turn fight.
If you have seeking weapons available and the dreadnought has indeed fired everything, then the decision may be even easier. Fire direct-fire weapons at opposing ships and target all available seeking weapons on the dreadnought (or another ship with no remaining defenses). You may get lucky and take out the ship you are firing at and the defenseless dreadnought.
This works both ways. Should you win the initiative roll, consider firing the weapons on the ship you most want to save first. Your enemy just might leave it alone and concentrate his fire on those ships that can still harm him this round.
Mini of the Month
Faceoff! Kent Ing posted this picture.
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
To be released in 2015
F&E Minor Empires, SKU 3214, price $TBA
A new Starmada book for both editions.
F&E Fighter Operations update 2015, SKU 3203
Federation Commander Reference Starship Book
To be released in 2016
Traveller Prime Directive Core Rulebook
New starships for the 2500 (1/3125) range including Klingon B10
New starships for the 2400 (1/3788) range including heavy war destroyers and the jumbo freighter.
Tribbles vs. Klingons (assuming Kickstarter works!)
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23
Sensor Room, Xanadu
"So there is no one else in range to help Norris, Dawn?" asked Tombaugh.
"Even if we could get a signal out, which is highly doubtful with this interference, there are no scheduled arrivals for at least a day, and no patrols in our area other than that police ship, Sir," she replied dolefully. "Soon they will be moving beyond the range we can provide them electronic support, and they haven't even damaged that monster yet!"
He patted her shoulder. "Have a little faith, girl. This is Star Fleet we're talking about here, even if it's not a heavy cruiser. They'll save our lives, we'll be grateful, and give them the best hero's welcome we can!"
"Technically, it is the Federation Police," Dawn replied, trying to reflect back some of her superior's apparent confidence.
"When the guns are firing that is a difference without distinction," he replied as he turned back to the monitor, trying to hide his own doubt and fears, but that's what commanders did.
Ed Meister asks: I have a question regarding the plasmatic pulsar device. Say I start a scenario at Weapons Status-III and I paid the two points of power to hold it since I am fairly certain I will not get to Range 8 during the first turn. During Turn #2 energy allocation, I want to overload the plasmatic pulsar device. I know I have to pay the two points of power to hold it, but then do I have to pay the full eight points of power to overload it for a total of 10 points of power? Is it the same if I want to use reserve power? If I am holding it do I have to pay eight points of reserve power to overload it?
ANSWER: Although (E11.63) could be clearer, overloading a held plasmatic pulsar device only requires you to add the additional overload energy, two points (for one extra pulse), or four points (for two extra pulses). The energy requirement is the same whether you are adding the energy during Energy Allocation or by using reserve power during the turn.
Francois Lemay asks: When an MRS lends electronic warfare to its assigned fighter squadron, does the MRS itself also benefit from the lent electronic warfare?
ANSWER: William Wilson answers: By (J4.464), the MRS does not benefit from electronic warfare points it is loaning to its assigned fighter squadron and does not benefit from electronic warfare points loaned to the squadron by the carrier. Also note that the MRS does not get the electronic warfare points it generates if it is lending to its home ship either (J8.412). The MRS could be loaned electronic warfare points individually by a scout using a scout channel.
James Everett asks: I have landed my ship next to a small ground base and captured it. How fast can I transfer cargo from the base to my ship?
ANSWER: You can dock to the ground base under (P2.711), at which point you can use direct transfer (G25.23) to move 64 cargo points per turn. You could also transporters and shuttles to augment the transfer rate. Each transporter could move 10 cargo points. Each administrative shuttle could move 15 cargo points, but note that it would take a deck crew action to load it. There is also an eight impulse delay between launching and landing the shuttle, unless you are using the (J1.62) special landing procedure.
Michael Calhoon asks: What happens if an Andromedan unit fires on the moray eel of space and in the same impulse, displaces more than six hexes away from the monster?
ANSWER: Kommodore Ketrick replies: The restriction on the moray eel attacking units within six hexes of itself is based on the fact that units cannot attack the moray eel from more than six hexes range. It is not a limit on the actions of the moray eel. The fact that it can strike at a huge number of units in a single impulse implies both greater range and speed than is normally seen. (Recall that a moray eel can strike at a unit which fired at it from six hexes in Direction A, and on the same impulse strike at a unit that fired it from six hexes in direction D, although nominally having struck at the unit in direction A the unit in direction D is more than 12 hexes from the moray eel). While it seems pseudo-Vulcan logic, the moray eel can strike at such an Andromedan unit, and of course the Andromedans do gain an advantage in luring the moray eel further from the planet. They do not, however, avoid moray eel retribution.
Thomas Mathews asks: Can a fast patrol ship docked to a fast patrol ship tender transfer power to the fast patrol ship tender for the purposes providing extra power to the fast patrol ship tender?
ANSWER: No, per (K2.44).
Mike Kenyon asks: There is a planet with six Vudar ion storm stations on it, one per side. On Turn #1, the ion storm station on hexside C starts up a storm with its "A" ion storm generator. On Turn #2, the Vudar want to maintain the storm. Does it need to be:
1. The "A" ion storm generator,
2. Either the "A" or "B" ion storm generator,
3. Any ion storm generator from any hexside.
ANSWER: William Wilson replies: Rule (G37.31) states that the effect of ion storm generators is not blocked by terrain. So there is no difference in effect among multiple ion storm generators on a planet, even on different hexsides (assuming the planet occupies only a single hex). If the planet was large enough to encompass more than one hex, then the boundary of the ion storm would move slightly depending on precisely which hex contained the ion storm generator that was used to create the storm.
Ion storm generators are activated or voluntarily deactivated, and the activation or deactivation takes effect during energy allocation (G37.311). As a result, there is no "gap" between voluntarily deactivating one ion storm generator and activating another one, if done during the same Energy Allocation Phase.
Therefore, the answer to your question is "3." What (G37.315) means is that you only need one ion storm generator to create an ion storm, and that if you have more than one, you can use any or all of them, including the one used to generate the storm, to create directional waves (G37.32).
Mike Kenyon asks: Rule (E18.62) for light rail guns does not expressly indicate warp power while warp augmented rail guns and medium rail guns do. Can light rail guns use energy from any power source?
ANSWER: William Wilson replies: I can see how you could construe the rule that way, but light rail guns still require warp power. Rule (E18.61) says "Light rail guns operate in the same manner as warp augmented rail guns except as noted" and while (E18.62) changes the cost of arming, it does not change the type of power required.
William Wilson asks: I have always assumed that transporters use "true" range. However, a strict reading of (D1.4): "All range rules use 'effective range' unless specified otherwise" and (G8.14): "The maximum range of transporters is five hexes" (with no further qualifications) would imply that effective range is used. Because (D19.33) (passive fire control bonus) specifies that it is used only "when firing," the main two cases where this would matter are if the ship with the transporter is trying to beam something onto a cloaked or fading ship to which it has a lock-on but not a tractor beam, or if the ship with the transporter has scanner damage.
ANSWER: By (D6.23), scanners do not apply to transporters. As for cloaking devices, (G13.302) says the range penalty is applied to effective range when weapons are fired, but transporters are not weapons (per Annex #7D). So, in these two cases, at least, the range of transporters is not affected. I cannot think of a case where the effective range, for purposes of transporters, would be different than the true range.
Q: Can an HDW (525.21) be produced at a starbase (431.52) or MSY-DW yard (450.1) in place of the standard DW?
A: Sorry, but no. HDWs can only be produced at SBs via the Y178+ War Destroyer construction rule (442.53) and using any available conversion capacity of that SB. HDWs are not on the list of approved starbase DW substitutions.
Q: Can you use strategic movement to place a colony?
A: No. You would have to use strategic movement on a previous turn to arrive at an eligible colony hex then, by rule (446.1) during the Operational Movement Phase, the first payment of colonial development occurs.
Q: How many Free Fighter Factors do empires receive on Turn #1? Or on Turn #6 or Turn #12?
A: When a scenario starts on a fall turn, then you use (442.63) and use ˆ your normal yearly allotment rounded up.
Q: Does (431.37) let you build a unit before its YIS date?
A: No; rule (431.37) does not create an exception.
Q: Rule (541.11) states that initial engineer units are activated on the first turn an empire is actually at war. The Order of Battle has the initial engineer units listed with the at start forces for convenience. Does the engineer unit just pop up when an inactive empire is invaded? Or must the newly activated empire wait for their first production phase to activate it?
A: Engineer units are activated during the Production Phase of any turn in which an empire is at war (e.g., the first turn). The problem with being attacked is that your units aren't ready.
Q: The ISC can build minor shipyards, so can I assume that a CL is their CW and their DD is their DW for that purpose?
A: Yes. See page 2 of the ISC War rulebook.
Q: Can minor shipyards be built at a captured major planet? At a starbase in captured territory? In annexed territory?
A: Rule (450.13) says that it can't be in foreign territory.
Q: While performing a selected mission from (541.33), is an engineer unit able to perform any or all of the listed missions of (541.34) which simply states "In addition to the above missions"?
A: Rule (541.31) implies that it performs one mission a turn, so, just one mission from either (541.33) or (541.34) per turn.
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean,
On a recent video game trailer, and in the movie The Matrix, I saw the cool characters firing guns with both hands and then throwing the guns away when they ran out in order to draw more guns. Is this even remotely realistic?
A: Not really, but it does make a cool scene on the movie screen or video screen.
The reality is that firing a weapon of any sort with each hand isn't terribly more effective than firing one weapon with one hand. (And most weapons are far more accurate when held in two hands. I should mention that very few soldiers, police, or RPG characters are trained to shoot effectively with either hand, but some can.) You can't aim both weapons at the same time, so the unaimed weapon isn't producing much more than noise and random flying bullets. But then, even that may get lower-class enemy troops to hide behind something solid and wait for you to go away. This is called "suppressive fire" or sometimes "spray and pray" fire. So as a "scare people out of your way" tactic it sort of works as long as the writers say none of the enemy guards manage to stay calm enough to just shoot you.
As for throwing away an empty weapon to draw a new one, this is another incredibly dramatic move that makes very little sense. If takes a lot of imagination to find a real circumstance under which this would be something you'd really do. Do you have so many weapons that you can afford to leave them laying all over the battlefield? (Maybe your mother is going to pick them up and put them back in your toy box later? Or maybe you have four weapons that all use different kinds of ammunition and you only have one clip of each type, in which case you can't reload so you might as well toss it and keep going.) If you are operating one weapon it's actually faster to drop the empty magazine and reload the weapon, but if the point is that "scare the enemy into leave you alone" thing (so you are firing the second weapon just for noise) you can't reload either of them unless you drop one of them (giving you a free hand to reload the other weapon). That might actually make sense if your unaimed off-hand weapon was just for "suppression" and you drop it (not both) to reload your primary weapon before taking aimed shots to eliminate the enemy guards hiding behind things.
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 MonthENERGY ALLOCATION THE FEDCOM WAY
As Federation Commander players, we tend to think of Energy Allocation as an anachronism hailing back to the days of Star Fleet Battles and its tax-form accounting system.
But, as good captains, we definitely still need to plan our energy usage! It is really important to have a rough idea of what you want to do with your power for the turn, so as to avoid running out of it before your opponent does - with all the obvious disadvantages of that position - and to get the best possible use out of your ship and its systems for the turn. Energy allocation in this way is especially important if you are thinking of cloaking. Only then will you know the true cost with respect to your other systems that need power.
So, as you receive your shiny new energy points at the start of the turn, you must carefully tally your available juice and work out what you want to do with it. You will not necessarily use the power exactly as you have planned but still the thinking needs to be there. Once you have determined what you want to be able to do, allocate your power mentally then declare your baseline speed with your other plans still in mind. It may help to physically sort your pile of energy tokens into accelerations, batteries, phasers, and spare power (out of sight of your opponent). You must always include your batteries in your thinking, so you know how much flexibility you have towards the end of the turn. In fact, I usually make a small stack of tokens off to one side, so that I can easily see when my power usage will involve tapping into the batteries. It does not matter if my opponent can see them, as it is something he could always work out for himself.
For example, the thought process for a Romulan FireHawk (45 points of power with full batteries) fighting a Hydran ship might look something like this:
He is probably going to launch his Stingers this turn, so I will need at least Speed 16, plus let's say another six points of power for discretionary speed changes, making my top speed this turn 22, the lowest 10. Next, I set aside eight points to charge up two plasma-S torpedoes in their third turn of arming [I will actually arm them as two plasma-G torpedoes and add the last point of power upon launch]. That uses 30 points of power so far, which leaves me 15 points of power for phasers, tractors/negative tractor, and/or reinforcement, all as required. I do not think I will want to cloak when there are Stingers around, or they will be waiting as I come back up again. Batteries: Five, so let's try to leave five power tokens unused this turn if possible.
This is a useful little exercise, which takes all of 20 to 30 seconds and is definitely time well spent.
Granted most good players will already do something like this unconsciously, but it helps if you make the conscious effort to do so. However you do it, you must still do it!
The small and large collars used to convert Maghadim frigates and destroyers into their larger and more powerful stable-mates each add a third tachyon beam to their "vanilla" configurations. In the case of the battlecruiser and light cruiser (formed by mating a large collar to a destroyer or frigate respectively) as well as the older cruiser (a destroyer paired with a small collar), the resulting ship is balanced enough to operate all three tachyon beams adequately. Unfortunately for the Maghadim, the heavy destroyer (formed by combining a small collar with a frigate hull) is not capable of following suit. Like the New Jersey-class battlecruisers of the Federation Star Fleet, the heavy destroyer runs the risk of triggering shock effects when it attempts to use all of its heavy weapons in the same turn.
However, the unorthodox fire/fire/cool arming cycle of the tachyon beam allows a careful Maghadim captain to shuffle through his trio of tachyon beams in order to maintain a stable, dangerous and persistent series of volleys. For example, he can elect to arm and fire mounts A and B in a given turn (leaving C fallow). Then, in the subsequent turn, he may decide to fire mount A again (its second shot in the arming cycle) but use mount C (which is still freshly cycled) instead of B (which can be left to cool). In the third successive turn, he would then be forced to leave mount A to cool, but would still have the second shot from mount C, and a freshly-cleared shot from mount B, available to maintain the same overall weight of tachyon beam fire over the three successive turns. (In theory, he could continue this first-shot/second-shot/fallow cycle indefinitely, but the ability to do so in practice will no doubt depend on what actions are taken by the enemy in question.)
In terms of power constraints, this will maintain a consistent budget of eight energy points from turn to turn, not counting any pre-allocated or reserve power set aside for overloads (which cost two points of power to add to a standard load). Since the power can come from any source, this amount of power can be fairly manageable for the heavy destroyer, not least compared to its Baduvai rivals capped by the warp power requirements of their charged particle accelerators.
Other Maghadim ships with three tachyon beams can make use of this method, as for that matter can larger Jumokian Pirate hulls taking these weapons in their option mounts. (In squadron or fleet actions large enough to allow the Jumokian force to reach the 30% quota imposed on "foreign" technologies, which Maghadim weapons always count as under regardless of the operating area). However, the heavy destroyer's shock limitations make it the main beneficiary of this practice, if only to get around the threat of self-imposed breakdown.
A typical Maghadim captain prefers to get his ships up close and personal; the tachyon shuffle can help a heavy destroyer to demonstrate why it is not a good idea to let him stay there.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
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.
Facebook Highlight of the Month
Scott Bauman reports: I hosted 2 games of SFB at Hurricon in Orlando a couple of weeks ago. The scenarios were simple and mostly used "simplified" tournament rules to keep game play time down to about 4 hours. Thats me front left. Thanks to everyone who joined in. I was worried no one would sign up to play. But I got a full table!