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Saturday, February 18, 2017

How to Find New Opponents

Steve Cole writes:

Many gamers are looking for new opponents. This is nothing new. When I was a teenager, there were maybe four war gamers in Amarillo that I knew, but there must have been more as the one store that carried Avalon Hill games (then the only wargames) would sell one or two now and then that my friends and I knew we didn't buy. Funny, it never once occurred to us to ask the store manager to give our phone numbers to the other guys. When I was in college, SPI (then the second wargame company and rapidly becoming larger and more innovative than Avalon Hill) had an opponent wanted list. I sent in my dollar to get it, and found only one person (of the 20 on the list) who was within 120 miles; the first and last person on the list were each 450 miles away (in opposite directions).

These days, the concept of contacting other gamers has had decades to mature, works much better, and there are a lot of ways to do it. For best results, you should do all of them.

If you play Federation Commander, then you can go to the Commander's Circle and enter your data (as much or as little as you are comfortable with) and perhaps find opponents near you. We are gaining new sign-ins every day, and since it's free you can try it every month or two and find out if somebody nearby has signed in. http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/Commanders%20Circle/

Primarily for Federation Commander players, the Forum has a topic where local stores and groups post announcements and invitations. Players can let other players know they're around. How silly would you feel if you found out that the guy who you've been arguing with on the forum for years actually lives in your town. (That HAS happened.) http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2

You can to go to a local store and ask them to let you post a notice looking for opponents. You could also run a demo of your favorite game(s) and "grow your own" opponents. If a person already plays the game you are demoing, he'll doubtless drop by just to swap phone numbers.

Many towns have community bulletin boards on the local cable company's "home" channel. These are variously free or cost just a couple of dollars. It's hit-and-miss, but you could get lucky. (When I commanded Company C of the 1-39 MPs, I gained a dozen new recruits in a year that came from cable TV.) You could also buy a cheap want ad in the newspaper or the free advertising newspaper (American's Want Ads or whatever yours is called) found in quickie marts. There is also Craigslist, but you should use the normal caution you would for meeting a stranger.

The quickest result, probably, is Starlist. Go to http://starfleetgames.com/starlist.shtml. Enter your data in the form, and you'll get a list of local players back. (This may take a day or two as it is done by hand.) Starlist is the most effective hunt for new players because the database has some 5,000 players in it, far more than all of the other sources combined. The only drawback is that Starlist works with full information (name and address) and those who are seriously concerned about identity theft often find this uncomfortable. In all reality, however, Starlist would not give an identity thief any more information than a local phone book would, and if that's enough for those criminals to operate, they would be vastly more likely to use the phone book than to request a copy of Starlist.

You can find opponents for all of our games on our BBS. Go to http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/ and you'll see "Seeking Opponents" on the main menu. You can post a notice there (and search the previous postings). Again, you can post as much or as little information as you are comfortable with.

Friends of our page on Facebook can post to see who is out there. Not a friend? Become one here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf

With more effort, you can post opponent wanted notices in a whole lot of boardgame sites (see http://www.starfleetgames.com/links.shtml for suggestions).

If there is a game convention within driving distance, it's worth a trip to see if you might find someone who is also within driving distance. If there is a game club in your home town or a store with a gaming area, go there and set up the game and wait for somebody to ask what it is. (Even better, take a friend who will play the game with you so you won't be bored.) If there is a Star Trek club in your home town, show them Federation Commander or Star Fleet Battle Force. There are people who have printed a card with the logo of one of our games and their email address and left these in the windows of their cars who got emails from other gamers in their home towns who were seeking opponents.

You can go always go to SFB Online (http://www.sfbonline.com/index.jsp) and play Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander online with live opponents from around the world for the princely sum of $5 per month. You might even stumble into somebody local.

There are probably more ways than this to find opponents, but unless you live in a cave somewhere, you can almost certainly find a new friend within a short while by trying these methods.

Friday, February 17, 2017


That Jean Sexton could be doing if she were not working at ADB.

10. Teaching a course in creative writing a the local prison entitled "Prose & Cons."

9. NASA's new director of orbital food preparation.

8. Producer of a new TV show called "Menu Makeover" where she shows failing restaurants that customers don¹t' care about dining room décor but about interesting food that is prepared well.

7. Chief proofreader for Facebook.

6. Running a gourmet restaurant called "The Peppered Onion" which the Steves never visit.

5. Managing a dog daycare service complete with gourmet dog meals and adventure trail walks with two guys named Steve and the official Lead Dog Wolf.

4. Professional book review writer, including a list of the typos and other errors in each book.

3. Training marketing directors in how to "manage the narrative by managing your boss's access to the Internet."

2. Running a tavern called "The Oxford Comma."

1. Twitter editor for Donald Trump, in control of the "send" button.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Progress on Some Projects

This  is Steven Petrick posting.

Work continues apace on getting Captain's Log #52 done. It should be released by the end of this month at the latest if all goes well.

The Lyran Master Starship Book is still receiving reports, most of which are minor edits rather than gross errors. An example being some rule number references for some ships in the "Early Years Section" that were missing the "Y," i.e., a reference to the Warp-Refitted Dreadnought was given as (R11.14) instead of (YR11.14).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Free Stuff for Star Fleet Universe Players!

Steve Cole writes:

We have a lot of free stuff on our website. Let me point you to some of the most popular things. Doing this in alphabetical order we start with Federation & Empire. They have play aids and countersheet graphics here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/index.shtml#FNE

Some people do not realize that you can download what amounts to a free copy of the Federation Commander game (well, enough of the game to play a few battles). First Missions will give you enough of the game that you can try it out. Go here to download it: http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/Commanders%20Circle/first-missions.shtml

But that's just a start. Commander's Circle has lots of free resources such as various formats of the Master Ship Chart, Ship Cards, the current and back issues of Communique, scenarios, and playtest rules. If you register, then you can find other Federation Commander players.

Prime Directive players can find a treasure trove of play aids, including medals, insignia, maps, the timeline, and lots of other goodies to spice up a game. These can be found here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/index.shtml#PD

Want to introduce a friend to the Star Fleet  Universe? Try the free download of Introduction to the Star Fleet Universe: Prime Directive and Roleplaying found here:http://www.warehouse23.com/products/introduction-to-the-star-fleet-universe-prime-directive-and-roleplaying

Star Fleet Battle Force
has new cards and play aids as well. These are located here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/index.shtml#SFBF

Star Fleet Battles
players have the Cadet Training Manual and Cadet Training Handbook. These were done as a way to get players into the complicated Star Fleet Battles game system. You can download them for free here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/CadetTraining.shtml Also available on the same webpage are lots of SSDs for the game.

We have downloadable art for your computer and iPhone so you can show your SFU pride. Those are here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/wallpapers.shtml

Don't forget Hailing Frequencies, our free monthly newsletter. Covering all our games, you can read back issues here: http://www.federationcommander.com/Newsletter/past.html Don't forget to sign up to get the link delivered straight to your email box each month. You can "opt in" here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/newsletter.shtml

There are many historical documents which are available for download. Maps, deck plans, assorted graphics, and much, much more can be found here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/historicaldownloads.shtml

Browse our master index to find all sorts of interesting information: http://www.starfleetgames.com/masterindex.shtml

As you can see, you could spend days browsing. We hope you enjoy what you find.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Steve Cole ponders thoughts on dinosaurs:
1. The Morrison Formation is a large geological area including the current Colorado plateau. Scientists have found more turtles and crocodiles (150 total specimens) in the east and north than in the south and west, indicating that during dinosaur times, those areas were wetter, perhaps mostly swamp. These eastern and northern areas have relatively greater abundance of limestone and mudstone, things that are created in oceans and swamps.
2. There is a large impact crater in Ukraine known as the Boltysh structure. It dates from (best guess) a few thousand years before the Chicxulub crater, although geological dates are squishy and it could be anywhere within a million years either way (in a similar orbit and just hit a few loops around the solar system earlier or later) or even on the same day (fragment of the same asteroid). This impact has not been adequately studied so far.
3. During the dinosaur period (the Mesozoic, which includes the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous) the earth was rotating faster and days were shorter, around 22 hours at the start of the Triassic (385 days in a year) and 23 at the end of the Cretaceous (375 days in a year). The year lasted about the same number of hours but had more and shorter days.
4. Birds don¹t use lungs like mammals do. In a mammal, there is one pipe into the lung, and air flows alternately in and out by way of that one pipe. In a bird, air is taken all the way down and put into the bottom of the lungs, then flows up and out a separate pathway, so the airflow only goes one direction. This is more efficient and without this (and a lot of other bio-engineering) birds could not fly. Apparently, meat-eating dinosaurs and saraupods (the biggest ones, like Brontosaurus) did the same thing. It gets better. Birds, meat-eating dinosaurs, and sauropods had hollow spaces in some of their bones, and these were actually part of the air circulation system.
5. Dinosaurs come in two types: bird-hips (stegosaurus, duckbill, triceratops) and lizard-hips (birds, meat-eaters, and sauropods). This is defined by the shape of the bones in their hips.
6. One relatively new field of the study of dinosaurs is brain endocasts. These are castings made from the empty skulls of dinosaurs (or any animal) to create a rough model of the brain. This has become much easier since scans and 3d model technology allows this to be done without destroying the invaluable skull. Scientists are, often, able to identify major brain structures (fore-brain, mid-brain, hind-brain). Comparing this to existing animals yields important clues into the intelligence and behavior of the dinosaur. It is often possible to identify the areas linked to sight and to smell, and the relative size of these areas indicates how the animal hunted (or avoided being hunted).
7. A new study of the later years of dinosaurs (just a few million years before the big rock hit Mexico) shows the appearance of new species of large snakes and large birds which preyed on dinosaur eggs. This probably does not mean that egg thieves were the cause of dinosaur extinction, but it is unclear what it does mean beyond the later times of the dinosaur era having new threats and dangers.
8. One way we learn more about dinosaurs is trackways. These happen when a dinosaur walks across a muddy flat area just before a sandstorm or volcanic ash cover everything up. The trick is, unless you find the dead dinosaur at the end of the tracks, you really have no idea which species made them. (We have never found the aforementioned dead dinosaur, but scientists continue to hope.) Dinosaur fossils rarely have any skin or tissue left, so footprint identification is a matter of which skeletal foot is close. Consider also that we might logically know as little as 1/3 of all the dinosaur genera that ever lived, so the tracks you find might not connect to any known dinosaur. Tracks can be measured but it's hard to tell what speed the dinosaur was going when he made the tracks, but there are mathematical guesses. This probably results in the normal walking speed, not the fastest running speed, but at least in theory we'd know from the shape of the tracks if the dinosaur was running.
9. THE LOST WORLD by Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by some huge fossil dinosaur teeth he saw. Funny thing is, these were later identified correctly as crocodile teeth. (Crocodiles back there were three times the current size.)

10. You might assume that the south pole was always cold, but during the Cretaceous it was covered with open forests and a rich diversity of dinosaur types and sizes, including some not found anywhere else.

Monday, February 13, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 5-11 February 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady work on current projects. The weather this week was fairly nice.

We released Hailing Frequencies and Communique #134 on the 10th, on schedule again.

New on DriveThru RPG this week was Prime Directive PD20 Modern Supplement.


The Starlist Update Project moved forward with two new entries.

Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #52, blogs, and other projects. (He was sick Monday with a norovirus but recovered.)

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #52, the Lyran Master Starship Book, quality control assembly and shipping, and the LDR Master Starship Book.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates, worked on Hailing Frequencies, and did some graphics.

Wolf guarded the office, chasing away a Tasmanian Devil who was looking for his Wallaby. We all celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Wolf¹s joining the ADB staff.

Jean worked on Prime Directive PD20 Modern Supplement fixes (mostly minor), managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,632 friends), managed our Twitter feed (216 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Captain's Log #52 and Communique #133, worked on Hailing Frequencies, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Exploring Excellent Ebooks

We have continued our long-awaited move to offer more of our products as PDFs by way of the  Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault websites. So far on Warehouse 23, we have released a lot of stuff for Federation Commander, including the Revision Six Reference Rulebook, the 72 ships from Federation Commander Briefing #2 (divided into six packs of 12 ships and a separate rules pack), and more than a dozen Ship Card Packs. Our ebook PDFs are in color and high resolution. PDFs of most books are searchable (older Captain’s Logs are not).

The way Warehouse 23 works, once you buy a product, you can download it again for no cost if you lose it or if we upload a revised version of that edition. Thus, the people who bought Reference Rulebook Revision 5 were able to obtain Reference Rulebook Revision 6 for free (and to download it again when we discovered we had accidentally left out rule 4S).

Our Prime Directive PD20 Modern books are sold as ebooks exclusively through DriveThru RPG. We have started offering general RPG books there as well as some of the general gaming materials that Steve Cole has written. We are also listing Federation Commander, Federation & Empire, and Star Fleet Battles products on Wargame Vault.

We are expanding into Kindle books through Amazon. Our first book, For the Glory of the Empire, was released there recently; more will follow. 

We must note that these products are copyrighted and are not to be uploaded or passed around to your friends. Doing so is piracy, a criminal act, and may result in us deciding not to offer any more PDF products. We have already uploaded many Starmada, Star Fleet Battles, Federation & Empire, and Prime Directive products. We have created a new page that allows easy access to our PDFS for sale through the various venders. From here you can see what we currently have posted and have links to those products.

So check them out! Many people like the fact they can search our rulebooks for a keyword and find everything that pertains to that issue. Others like the fact they can carry around multiple books on one device. Some ship cards are available exclusively as PDFs. Whatever your reason for using them, we hope that you enjoy them and rate them.