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Monday, October 16, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 8-14 October 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady work on current projects. We released Hailing Frequencies and Communique on the 10th.
 

  Steve Cole worked on the newsletters, our store on Shapeways, fiction, A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, blogs, and other projects.
       

Steven Petrick worked on the Star Fleet Battles R3 update, quality control assembly and shipping, and the Kzinti and Gorn Master Starships Books.
        

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
   

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.
   

Simone released the newsletters, did website updates; and some graphics.
        

Wolf guarded the office, chasing away two computer viruses and a phish.
 

Jean worked on Hailing Frequencies, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,910 friends), uploaded ships to Shapeways, managed our Twitter feed (238 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Communique, took care of customers, and did some marketing.

 
Coming soon to our store on Shapeways: Federation F-14 fighter!

Friday, October 13, 2017

TO THE PARK

Needs can be seen in a puppy dog's eyes,
Locked in his crate some of his needs aren't realized.
It's your decision; it's a walk that he wants.
It's in your head, it's behavior that's like old hunts.
Do you need a friend, full of love's true spark?
Would you take him out, on a long walk to the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?

You try to listen to the voice in the crate,
He fills your ears as you tell him he has to wait.
You're never certain if the pathway is free.
You pinch yourself but the dog's eyes are all you see.
Can you break away from your TV set?
Can you let him play, on a long walk to the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park? Whine, whine, whine!
 
Won'tcha walk me? yip, yip!
Won'tcha walk me? whine whine!
Won'tcha walk me? yip, yip!
Won'tcha walk me? whine whine!

You finally give in, to the barking you hear,
You find his leash and you try to be so sincere.
You walk your rounds and you TiVo your show.
You'd let it wait to get him all ready to go.
Can you find his leash when you hear him bark?
Can you feel his need? Will you take him to the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park?
To the park? Whine, whine, whine!
 

Apologies to Billy Squier.

Monday, October 09, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 1-7 October 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady work on current projects. On October 2nd we released 76 new ships on Shapeways. We all took time to pray for the casualties of the Las Vegas incident and their families.
     

 
 Romulan King Condor is new in our store on Shapeways.   

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with three new entries and three updates.
     

Steve Cole worked on reprinted countersheets (Star Fleet Battles  Basic Set, Modules C2-C3-R4, Federation Commander Klingon Border, Federation & Empire Planetary Ops and Sheet TU, all went to press), Shapeways, A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, blogs, and other projects.
      

Steven Petrick worked on Star Fleet Battles updates, quality control assembly and shipping, and the Kzinti and Gorn Master Starship Books.
      

 Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
   

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.
   

Simone did website updates and some graphics.
   

Wolf guarded the office, chasing away a rainy day.
      

Jean worked on the GURPS Prime Directive revision, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,902 friends), uploaded ships to and released ships for our store on Shapeways, managed our Twitter feed (237 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Monday, October 02, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 24-30 September 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady work on current projects.
 

Steve Cole worked mostly on the new countersheets for Star Fleet Battles modules C2, C3, and R4. When the printer changed from printing the sheets four to a page to eight to a page, it gave us the opportunity to replace some more of the oldest sheets (done before ADB took over production). Steve also worked on blogs, managed the Shapeways project, wrote descriptions for new ships, and other projects.
      

Steven Petrick worked on Star Fleet Battles updates, quality control assembly and shipping, and the Kzinti and Gorn Master Starship Books.
       

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
   

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.
   

Simone did website updates and some graphics.
   

Wolf guarded the office, chasing away a herd of alpacas.
        

Jean worked mostly on getting 76 new ships ready to release on Shapeways October 2. She also managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,896 friends), uploaded ships to Shapeways, managed our Twitter feed (237 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, took care of customers, and did some marketing.

 

 Franz Joseph Federation destroyer coming soon to our store on Shapeways. This is the official Franz Joseph design offered by ADB, Inc. under its contract with Franz Joseph Designs.   

Monday, September 25, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 17-23 September 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady work on current projects.
 

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with three new entries and an update.
 

Steve Cole worked on Shapeways production management, reprinted countersheets, A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, Book 2, blogs, and other projects.


 Omni
Scale Federation F-18 fighters coming 
soon to our store on Shapeways.  

Steven Petrick worked on Star Fleet Battles updates, quality control assembly and shipping, and the Kzinti and Gorn Master Starship Books.
      

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
   

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.
Wolf guarded the office, chasing away a ThompsonĀ¹s Gazelle, as well as Doctor Thompson.
 

Jean worked on the GURPS Prime Directive revision, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,895 friends), uploaded ships to Shapeways, managed our Twitter feed (238 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, Book 2, took care of customers, and did some marketing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

RANDOM THOUGHTS #294

Steve Cole's thoughts on playtesting.
   
Many people ask to playtest our games. Few of those who are given something to test actually report anything worthwhile or anything at all. Playtesting is hard work, and your gaming buddies may not be as enthusiastic as you are. Playtesting delivers a great sense of accomplishment, of making the game and the world better, but it's not really what anyone would call fun. It's also not a free ticket to insist on any changes to the game that you think are cool; your suggestions and reports will be considered along with those of other playtesters but you're not the game designer and don't get to change the game on your own whim.
 
Many players don't understand what playtesting is, or they do understand it but don't want to do THAT and want to define their role as something else. It's not proofreading. If you notice a mis-spelled word or a missing comma then you're welcome to report it, but that's not something you get playtesting credit for.
        
 Playtesting is not reading the rules by yourself and commenting on your gut feelings about how the game will work out when real people try to play it. You can certainly do that, but it's not playtesting, it's commenting, and anything you notice will, if the game designer thinks it valid, have to be tested by live gamers in a real game. One applicant recently said he'd been on the playtest mailing list but had never sent in a report because he wanted to wait for and comment on the final copy. That isn't how it works. For one thing, asking to be on the mailing list and never reporting is the way to never get picked for another project. For another, it's not really fair for you to stay out of the ongoing debates on rules developments then drop in at the last minute and argue with the designer about rules changes when nobody else is looking.
        
 Playtesting means you sit down with live opponents and play the game/scenario/ship multiple times, trying different tactics and then (after checking with the designer) multiple tweaks and changes. Playtesting means playing to the end (or until you find a game-killing problem) and then writing up a report and sending it in.
    
Playtesters must play to win, but they must also play to explore (which is why playing the game/ship/scenario once is nowhere near enough). We sent Star Fleet Marines to several test groups who all reported by "fine, print it!" but then one day Steve Petrick and I sat down to play it for fun by ourselves. We found out that the playtesting had missed, well, everything, and it took months to redesign the game and test it ourselves. 
 
Sometimes you do something that isn't the way the game is supposed to work just do see what happens. Decades ago I was working on a game an outside designer had sent in. I had tested it with live opponents and it was ready for press on Monday morning. Then at the Saturday game club meeting somebody said he really wanted to playtest something. I sat down with the finished game, expecting to simply evaluate his potential skills. He read the rules, read the scenario, read the little history article, then did something no one else had ever done. He spent the first turn shifting the Japanese Army to the north before moving west to attack the British. (The map was a very dense jungle and the Japanese attack involved sending part of their army down three roads through the wilderness. By shifting to the right, he had more troops hitting the north end of the British line, the place where all of their supplies and reinforcements entered the map.) The net result was a blowout, and the British were lucky to escape to Egypt. (We changed one hex on the map from clear to jungle and the whole "north shift" plan became unworkable. Further research proved that error on the original designer's map was why the Japanese didn't use the northern strategy in the historical battle.) That incident became part of how I trained playtesters from then on. If the scenario says the Klingons attacked Georgia, see what happens if they go around Florida and attack New Orleans!
        
The best way to get hired as a playtester (and by "hired" we mean you get a couple of free copies and your names in the book) is to start playtesting. Check the BBS for new projects, check the newsletters for new scenarios and new ships. Don't wait to be hired, just grab something and test it and tell us how it works. If we think you have the skills and the drive to stick with it, we'll start sending your playtest stuff the public hasn't seen.

Monday, September 18, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 10-16 September 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady work on current projects. The Orville changed SF/TV forever. The Cassini space probe ended a 13-year visit to Saturn by crashing into the clouds.
 

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with one new entry and three updates.
 

Steve Cole worked on Shapeways, fiction, A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Book 2, blogs, and other projects.

3788 Scale Klingon B10B boom
in our store on Shapeways.  

Steven Petrick worked on Star Fleet Battles updates, quality control assembly and shipping, and the Kzinti and Gorn Master Starship Books.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
   

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.
   

Simone did website updates and some graphics.
   

Wolf guarded the office, chasing away a pack of lions. (In truth, they were leaving for their winter range anyway as every year the pride goes before the fall.)
        

Jean worked on the GURPS Prime Directive revision, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,896 friends), managed our Twitter feed (236 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, took care of customers, and did some marketing.