Star Fleet Universe News
BIG NEWS: ROMULAN MASTER STARSHIP BOOK RELEASED
The fourth volume in the long-anticipated Master Starship Book series is now available. It includes every Romulan ship in Star Fleet Battles, including X-ships, Y-ships, and R1 units that are specific to the Romulan Star Empire. Romulans are especially challenging because of the history of the various great houses insisting on a particular design, the various stages of early versions of what would become the cloaking device, and the addition to their fleet of converted Klingon ships. This book even includes some new units that won't be printed until Captain's Log #52.
Every ship is illustrated. All updates, corrections, and errata have been added. The ships are in order (regardless of the product they came from) with the enhanced format listing detailed information in a consistent manner. This book contains the descriptions of the ships, but no SSDs.
Want it as a PDF? You have several choices.
It is also in print directly from ADB.
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:
Each month we shine a spotlight on one of our battle groups. This month it is one of our most active battle groups: Battlegroup Murfreesboro. They are homeported in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with Tony L. Thomas as their group commander. They actively playtest A Call to Arms: Star Fleet and Federation Commander; any of the other games are played and demoed upon request. Do you live in the area? Find out how to contact them here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/battlegroup/battlegroup_murfreesboro.shtml
Do you have a battle group? Be sure to report your activities here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/battlegroup/report.shtml
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
Rated Ace Tournament 46 is in its final game. Ron J. Brimeyer will face Lee P. Graves. Good luck to these players! Andy Vancil is the judge for this tournament.
The 2016 Star Fleet Battles World League is entering the finals. Team MBA and Team Beaurocratic Haul's Glass face off against each other. Peter Bakija is coordinating this tournament.
The sixth annual Star Fleet Battles Platinum Hat tournament is now underway. Five of the second-round games have been played; one third-round game has been played. Paul Scott is the judge for this tournament; Steven Petrick is the Tournament Marshal.
DEMOS AND CONS WITH SFU GAMES
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
One gambit the alliance may try is to delay the Romulan entry into the war. If the Klingons do not deploy their D7N in the Romulan Capital, consider sending a Federation prime team there on Turn #10 to assassinate the Klingon diplomat! While the chance of success is low, it is worth the effort, as if successful it will delay the Romulan attack. In such a case the Federation should strive to keep the Klingons from being able to send a replacement diplomat on their next turn.
On the Hydran front, now that Minor Empires is a consideration, it is important to send both Hydran diplomats to Demorak, as otherwise a successful assassination of a Hydran diplomat at that location will lead to the Lyran Democratic Republic joining the Coalition, adding many ships and additional economic income to the Coalition's efforts.
A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month
This is where the tactical choices begin. After a conflict intensity is selected, you must purchase your forces. Everyone has a different play style and no one style is right or wrong. Do you select a lot of small ships, a few big ones, or a balanced force containing both small and large ships? Again, it's up to you, and there are no "command" and "formation" rules from SFB. Here are some things to keep in mind for force selection:
Quantity: Since ACTA uses the you go/I go method for movement and fire, having more ships than your opponent gives you an advantage during both movement and attack.
Quality: Dreadnoughts and other big ships are nice but make enticing targets. They can dish out an astounding amount of fire in a single turn, but your opponent can field three smaller ships for the same price. You have to weigh the potential of your dreadnought against what those three smaller ships can do.
Ability: Each ship has multiple traits and those traits should be considered. Is your opponent's force a drone-using empire? Then consider getting units with the Anti-Drone trait. Does your opponent have Stealth? Consider ships with Accurate weapons.
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.
Large ore carrier. Painting by Dale McKee.
Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.
To be released in 2016
A new Starmada book for both editions.
Federation Commander Reference Starship Book
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.
PDF and EBOOK SALES:
RECENTLY RELEASED ON Warehouse 23
Bridge, Federation Large Auxiliary Carrier Galeron
in Orbit over Arcturia, August 18, Y180
"Does the space station confirm the Rochefort's readings?"
"Affirmative, Admiral," replied the sensor officer. "Seven contacts, bearing 272 degrees mark nine, distance 700,000 kilometers, closing at warp seven. Cancel that, Sir, they are reducing to tactical velocities, warp four and dropping."
Guard Admiral Teraana Aphena's heart quickened. Could it be happening again? And will we be prepared this time?
"Tactical display on main viewer," she commanded firmly in the main Arcturian tongue. During the years of Klingon occupation, the Arcturian government-in-exile had built up the National Guard fleet using auxiliary ships built on freighter hulls, recruiting whatever Arcturians had been off planet at the time. The Galeron was the flagship, an auxiliary carrier with six F-101C heavy fighters and a dozen F-18Bs. Since the ship was crewed entirely by Arcturians, it wasn't necessary for her to give orders in the Federation Standard Language most of her species found difficult to master. On the tactical display, she saw the ship icons for the rest of her squadron: the large auxiliary cruiser Keob, the small auxiliary cruisers Morkaln, Then'kkah, and Tecpec, and the large auxiliary scout Joseph Rochefort. All of these ships except the Rochefort were named for important cities on Arcturia. The Rochefort was a Star Fleet ship on loan to the Arcturian Guard, and the only ship not crewed by her species.
Also under her command were a dozen FB-111 bombers and a dozen F-16 fighters based on the homeworld. The bombers were an impressive asset, but the fighters were manned by green pilots who'd only just begun their flight training. At least the F-16s were the powerful Gatling versions; being a member planet had its perks. A new battle station orbited Arcturia, but the station was only partially operational and wouldn't be complete for at least another month. The special sensors were working, but the station had only half of the powerful phaser-4 weapons on-line. One of the slow monitors was due to arrive in a few days, along with a shipment of defense satellites and mines, but that did Admiral Aphena no good today.
Two powerful Star Fleet squadrons centered on the dread-nought Star League and the carrier Yamamoto were supposed to be screening the system from Klingon attacks or another invasion, but something had obviously gone wrong. Arcturia had been retaken from the Klingons so recently that the system defenses were not yet up to par. The Klingons themselves had to know this. Could this be an attempt to retake the planet, or was it just a raid to keep things off balance?
Douglas Saldana asks: According to rule (D15.52) shuttles "carrying ground units to or from a planet or returning from such a mission may be formed together with escorting fighters into a convoy." It goes on to say that convoys are "specifically for the purpose of protecting troop transport shuttles." Is it a requirement that the convoy actually be travelling to or from a planet?
ANSWER: The rule very specifically states planet several times, however, it is part of (D15.0) and (D15.1) provides that the rules could be used to attack an asteroid that has something important located on it. If a scenario says that you need to land troops on the big derelict alien battleship to capture the techno-whatzit, then you could use a convoy to get there.
Follow-up question: Could a convoy be formed to move troops between two ships or bases?
ANSWER: It is impossible to write a rule that would cover every exceptional case, but in the end shuttle convoys can only be used where ground combat is going to take place. If the scenario does not require ground combat, then convoys cannot be used. The specific purpose of the convoy is to deliver ground troops to or from the "planet" in question. If there is no ground combat, then shuttle convoys cannot be used. Note specifically that at least one term paper has been submitted by an over-eager Hydran trying to use the escort of a shuttle in deep space to make it harder for the opposition to shoot down his Stinger fighters. This paper was rejected because that is not the purpose of convoys. No ground combat, no convoy.
Follow-up question: Could I use a convoy to move troops to or from a comet, asteroid, or other non-planetary body on which ground combat is possible?
ANSWER: The scenario must define a reason for there to be ground combat in order to invoke (D15.0). The fact that there is some terrain feature which would make ground combat possible is not enough, but if the scenario says ground troops must land, you can use a convoy to safely get them there. A player cannot simply say: "We are fighting in an asteroid field, and if I land one boarding party on a rock someplace, you might land a boarding party on that same rock, so ground combat is 'possible' so I am invoking the shuttle convoy rule to move my strike fighters close to your dreadnought."
Follow-up question: Could a convoy be formed to protect shuttles attempting to disengage (by distance, by sublight or by leaving a fixed map)?
ANSWER: No. Shuttle convoys can only be invoked if there is going to be ground combat as part of the scenario.
Follow-up question: If some destinations are legal targets of convoys and others are not how is this enforced?
ANSWER: The scenario itself must require ground combat so that something can be accomplished. This might be landing troops to attack something, or to rescue someone, or some other situation that will require that troops be landed. Convoys might be used in a scenario involving ground combat on a planet to move troops from the planet to a moon (or asteroid) near the planet that the two sides are contesting. The ultimate requirement to use convoys is that the scenario must invoke (D15.0) Ground Combat. If there is no ground combat, then (D15.0) does not apply, and shuttle convoys, which are part of ground combat, cannot be used.
Follow-up question: Does the convoy player need to record the convoy's destination when it is formed?
ANSWER: No. Even if such a destination were recorded, it could be changed, e.g., you originally intended to land at the ground combat location on the 2214/2215 side of the planet in hex 2215, but decided to land at the ground combat location on the 2216/2215 side of the planet. Such a change would be able to be done on any impulse, just as any shuttle can join or leave a shuttle convoy on any impulse (D15.5211).
Follow-up question: What happens if the convoy fails to move directly to its destination?
ANSWER: Nothing. A convoy could be formed and wait for the ground defenses to be reduced before proceeding to the planet, or the defender might form a convoy have it waiting in the atmosphere to determine which ground combat location the attacker will hit so that he can send it there to reinforce the defenses. The controlling feature once again is that there must be ground combat as the feature of the scenario. At that point, given commanders will determine when to attempt to "run the batteries" to get their troops to the critical points to win the ground combat and thus the scenario.
Follow-up question: What happens if the tactical situation changes and a player wants to recall the convoy or divert it to a different destination?
ANSWER: He does so. The rule is not intended to take away the commander's flexibility to react to changes in the tactical environment, but again this can only be used if there is to be ground combat. A commander might start a shuttle convoy towards a planet, determine that he has lost the ground battle while the convoy is en route, and recall the convoy to his ships so that he can take them aboard before he disengages.
Follow-up question: Must the escorted shuttles actually be carrying troops?
ANSWER: It would be difficult for shuttles to return to ships (or to another ground combat location) to pick up more ground units if they could not be empty. The purpose of a convoy is to move ground units (D15.52), so empty shuttles must be en route to pick up ground troops on a "planet." A convoy cannot be formed around an admin shuttle for the purpose of making it harder for the enemy to cripple the squadron of "escorting fighters." Convoys exist for the purpose of moving ground units, not for the purpose of getting fighters to the target. Whether moving from ground combat location "A" to ground combat location "B" to pick up ground units to carry to ground combat location "C," or moving from ground combat location "A" to ships adjacent to, or several hexes from, the planet to pick up ground units to carry back to the planet and perhaps to land at ground combat location "D." This is covered by "returning from such a mission" in (D15.52).
Follow-up question: Could they be carrying crew units (not yet converted to militia), or civilians?
ANSWER: If as part of the ground combat requirement which invoked rule (D15.0) you need to evacuate personnel you can do so in the shuttle convoy. Special scenario rules might provide that you need to move units of scientists to the ground combat location (probably after you have secured it) to study something and such would be non-combat crew units. But, again, if there is no ground combat defined in the scenario, no shuttle convoy.
Follow-up question: Could they be carrying cargo not directly related to ground combat?
ANSWER: Such cargo must be part of the ground combat, either something the ground troops need or something they rescued for you. You cannot say "There are Marines on that planet so I'm using a convoy to move cargo from Ship A to Ship B."
Follow-up question: Do they need to be carrying anything at all (given that the shuttles themselves can participate in ground combat)?
ANSWER: If ground combat is the basis of the scenario, shuttles could benefit from the convoy rule to reach the battle.
(End of Admiral Vanaxilth)
ARE WE OVERREACTING?
Q: If an enemy fleet is two hexes away from your Fleet Alpha and moves parallel to your position, and if your fleet Alpha contains a scout, then your fleet Alpha is permitted via reaction movement to move one hex toward the enemy fleet, and then react again to enter its hex. But if you have a second force, Fleet Beta, which only had to react one hex and has completely pinned the enemy fleet (so it does not move again) can Fleet Alpha enter that battle hex with its second hex of movement even though the enemy fleet did not move again?
A: According to rule (205.33) regardless of how an enemy force comes to a stop in a hex, a force of eligible reacting units may use extended reaction movement to enter the hex of the now stopped unit. So Fleet Alpha can enter that hex whether Fleet Beta pinned the enemy or the enemy just stopped on his own account.
Q: The Klingons have captured NZ planet 1506 and have a squadron there. Kzintis attack the BATS in 1507, and the entire Klingon squadron reacts to that battle. The NZ planet becomes independent again and an RDU magically appears there. Can the Kzintis, leaving 1507, do a fighting retreat to 1506, destroy the RDU, and then retreat on to 1505?
A: This has been clarified before. An RDU is not a unit. In fact, it hasn't been called an RDU since 2009 and was changed to RDF in the 2010 rulebook. As such it does not block retreats or pursuit and you can't just attack them for the sake of attacking them. This applies to fighting retreats as they do not block retreats which is a requirement for the fighting retreat to happen, per (302.77).
(End of F&E Q&A)
ASK AUNT JEAN
Dear Aunt Jean, How are the baseline stats for a given species established? Just who is being rated? The Kzinti weightlifting team? The Gorn on the street? The Klingon warrior? A Federation civilians?
A: Baseline stats assume that what is "average" is a normal human being. These are "non-player" characters, for the most part. Baseline stats for a species assumes this is normal for that species. In GURPS that comes with a price; in other game systems there is usually some sort of compensation for taking an "ordinary human" or a price for playing other species.
Players have characters that are, by design, better than normal. Player characters have the advantage of additional training, better than average stats, and in some cases a created background that can affect game play. GURPS Prime Directive shows this the most clearly.
Send questions to Jean at marketing@StarFleetGames.com and she will answer as soon as she can.
(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".
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.
Andromedan commando ships, the Diamondback and Rattler, can land on planets to unload boarding parties quickly. This is necessary for the Andromedans who have relatively few transporters and no shuttles. However, conventional landings are time-consuming and can leave the commando ship vulnerable to fire from the defenders. The Diamondback and Rattler are both satellite ships, so they can be carried in a mothership's hangar like any other satellite ship. This means a mothership can carry a commando ship to within five hexes of the planetary surface and then transport the commando ship straight down to the ground using rule (G19.416). The troopship will be protected by the mothership's power absorber panels on the approach, and the defenders will never get a chance to fire directly at the commando ship before it reaches the surface.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)
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