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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Those of us at ADB are taking the day off to spend with family and friends. We wish our American friends a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

For those of you who do not celebrate this holiday, we wish you a great day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Got Any Marketing Ideas?

ADB, Inc., is always interested in great marketing ideas, ways and places to sell our products, as well as new products to sell. Our page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf) exists to put our products in front of other groups of potential customers. You will find us on Twitter as ADBInc_Amarillo. We also are releasing YouTube videos that show what you'll find in "the box" and our latest releases. You can catch our videos on our channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/starfleetgames.

We tried a lot of things that didn't work (Google Pay per Click, full-color ads in trade journals) and a lot of things that did work (banners on gamer websites, Star Fleet Alerts) and are always looking for new ideas. If you have any, send them to us at Marketing@StarFleetGames.com and we'll think them over.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Music in Our Minds

This is Steven Petrick posting.

The lyrics of songs often seem to escape people. I have seen books on such a subject, but had not generally paid it much heed. Most "modern" music comes across to me as repetitive nonsense words. Words are said, but are strung together in a sequence which does not carry any real meaning to me.

Still, older songs I have often found to be popular with people, but if you ask them about the lyrics, they really do not know. Have no idea what the song is about.

I have talked to people who love the song "Lucky Man," who are stunned when I tell them the lyrics are about a young man who was born into wealth and dies in a war.

I have talked to people who love the song "Scarborough Fair" and do not know that it is the story of a young woman and an young man exchanging impossible tasks to prove their love (of course the older song is about a woman putting off the advances of a demon who demands she do impossible things to achieve her freedom, and she in turn demands impossible things of the demon, it is actually a very, very old song, unlike "Lucky Man," as indeed was the Scarborough Fair itself).

I am not immune to this. I have heard "Green Green Grass of Home" many times, but was never able to make out all of the lyrics. Still, the image the song always conjured in my mind was that of a man being returned to his home for burial. In that I was always half-right. The first part of the song it turns out is a dream by the man that he has come home, the break is where we learn the man was sleeping, and has awakened to find himself still surrounded by prison walls, and then the chaplain arrives to accompany him to his execution. The lyrics pick up then to carry the man from the aftermath to his burial beneath the oak tree of his youth and the grass of home. The song, of course, makes no mention of why the man was imprisoned and sentenced to death, i.e., what his crime was, so all are able to imagine it as they will, only he is very probably not an "honorable soldier" which was the image conjured for me before I actually read the lyrics. Depending on your viewpoint, because the crime is not mentioned, he might be a political prisoner, or an innocent man entire. The tone of the song, however, conveys that the man in question is probably not a violent man, and that perhaps his execution was somehow wrong. The chaplain (padre) walks with him "arm-in-arm" to his execution and clearly from the lyrics bears the prisoner no malice for whatever crime he committed that has brought him to that point.

Still, there are other songs.

"Leaving on a Jet Plane" for example always conveys to me the image of a soldier going off to war, even though the protagonist is clearly a musician ("Every song I sing, I sing for you"). Being me, however, the image is always of soldiers leaving their families to go and protect those families from "war's devastation."

Of course, I have mentioned before the images "Tubular Bells," "Classical Gas," and "Maid of Orleans" conjure in my mind, and always have from when I first heard them. There are other instrumentals not meant to create the images in my mind that they create (one I have forgotten the name of always makes me think of a carrier launching a strike, and another that was on that same tape was of a aircraft making their way through an enemy's defensive nets).

Still, I wonder how many of us (meaning of course you the readers) have songs we like that we do not actually know what the lyrics are about, but "it has a good beat and you can dance to it."

Monday, November 24, 2014

This Week at ADB, Inc., 16-22 November 2014

Steve Cole reports:

This was a quiet week as we took stock of recent releases, cleared up small projects that had been on hold, and pick new directions for the future. The weather this week was warmer than last week. The spam storm mostly remained at something under 200 per day. Steve Cole, Jean, and Tony L. Thomas appeared on TalkShoe to discuss A Call to Arms: Star Fleet 1.2B. 

New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week were parts A and G of Federation Commander: Briefing #2.

Steve Cole worked on ACTASF reports, miniatures, customer requests, art support for the SFBOL3G project, and other small projects. Steve also dug out the last five JagdPanther magazines and gave them to Simone to scan.

Steven Petrick continued on the Klingon Master Starship Book.

Starline moved forward with pounds of rejected castings turned into Pound-o-Ships bags and Scrapyard Sacks.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with three new entries. SFBOL reports 543 third generation SSDs are live on line, total 15% done.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates and some graphics.

Jean managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 2,361 friends), managed our Twitter feed (122 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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

ADB, Inc.’s page on Facebook is now up and running, and we’re finding a lot of new faces who haven’t been around the BBS or Forum. We have pictures up of ADB, Inc. staff, links to many of our videos, snippets of information, and interaction with our fans. Jean Sexton is the main voice you will hear on our page on Facebook. If she doesn’t know an answer, she’ll ask one of the Steves and ferry the answer back.

All that is left is for you to "like" the page for Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. if you haven’t done so already. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf.

Many people on our page on Facebook have not been on our BBS, so perhaps our new outpost on Facebook will become the place for those who want to keep up with current events without the intense atmosphere (and flood of information) found on the BBS. If you are very busy on a given day, checking our page on Facebook would tell you quickly if something important has been announced. The page also has its own art galleries, plus a place where you can post a review of our products. It also has discussions where you can link up with fellow gamers.

We've also added a Twitter feed which you can follow at https://twitter.com/ADBInc_Amarillo.
 Be sure to follow us for a quick look at what is going on!

We hope to see you there! For Facebook users, be sure to add us to an interest group to see all of our posts.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Playing Star Fleet Universe Games Long Distance

Playing games by email or by post is an alternative to playing face-to-face. While there are a few differences (i.e., your opponent isn't sitting across the table from you), it is the same game.

When playing Star Fleet Battles or Federation Commander using the Play-by-Email (PBEM) system you and your opponent submit your orders for the turn to a moderator via email. The moderator then processes them, and sends a "SitRep" (Situation Report) to the players via email. You receive the results, write up your next set of orders, and then submit your orders once again. The process is repeated until the game is completed. Sounds simple? That's because it IS! It'll take a little getting used to (after all, what doesn't?), but once you've got the hang of it, you'll be lobbing photon torpedoes (or whatever your weapon of choice is) at opponents from all over the world.

Every FC or SFB PBEM game has at least three participants: two or more players and one moderator. The moderator's purpose is to accept orders from the players and carry them out, reporting the results of those orders to all players. While (s)he is not a player, the moderator fulfills a very important role in the game. Good moderators and good players make for a good, enjoyable game. Moderating a game is also an excellent way to learn more about the game's rules.

Prime Directive games can be played by posting on the Forum. The GM of the game gets players, approves their characters, then sets up situations for the characters to face. It takes a bit longer because the players are not sitting around the table, but it also allows people who are spread out across the world to play.

Players of all our games are expanding the frontiers of playing long distance. Some are trying chat, some are adding webcams to that, many are trying out VOIP so as to get close to a face-to-face experience.

While there are some disadvantages to playing long distance (it does take longer to finish a game), there are advantages as well. You can play against people in other parts of the world (how often do you get to Australia, anyway?), you can play multiple games at once, and you can have large multi-player games (without worrying about running out of chips and soda).

For more information about playing long distance, drop in on the Forum (http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2) or BBS (http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/).

Friday, November 21, 2014


I hear the plasma in the night,
But they hear only whispers of some future devastation.
I lead my ships into the fight.
The silver wings reflect the stars that guide me to my destination.
I asked an old centurion,
Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient battle plans.
He turned to me as if to say,
"Hurry boy, there’s glory here for you."

It’s gonna take a war to keep me away from you.
There’s nothing that a tractor beam and ships could ever do.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
Gotta take some time to do the things we never did.

The dead crews cry out in the night,
As they grow restless longing for some ghostly company.
I know that I must lead the fight,
As sure as BattleHawks and Eagles rise
like a Phoenix over the horizon.
I seek to fight what’s deep inside,
frightened of this war that I’ve begun.

It’s gonna take a war to keep me away from you.
There’s nothing that a tractor beam and ships could ever do.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
Gotta take some time to do the things we never did.

[ instrumental break ]

"Hurry boy, there’s glory here for you."

It’s gonna take a war to keep me away from you.
There’s nothing that a tractor beam and ships could ever do.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
I fought the Gorns out at Gornshima.
Gotta take some time to do the things we never did.

Filk written by Stephen V. Cole. Appeared in Captain's Log #35. (c) 2007