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.
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.
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
For more information about playing long distance, drop in on the Forum (http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2
) or BBS (http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/
Ever wished you could take a peek inside a shrink-wrapped box or look
behind the pretty covers of a book? Then these videos are for you.
brainchild of Mike Sparks, our YouTube videos are of three types. The
first is about a specific product line and you can hear Steve Cole (yes,
he is the talking hands in our videos) discuss the products that are in
one of the different games. The second kind is what ADB, Inc. has
released in a particular month. These are a great way to catch up
quickly on the new items.
It is the third kind that let's you see what is in the box. A boxed game such as Federation & Empire
is taken out of the box item by item so that you can see what's in
there. From rulebook, to charts, to maps, to counters, each item is
shown and discussed. It's a lot of information to pack into a short
clip, but SVC and Mike manage it.
Check out our channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/starfleetgames
and be sure to bring the popcorn!
THE TOP 10 QUESTIONS A CAPTAIN NEVER WANTS TO ASK DURING A BATTLE
1. If you didn't put the drones in the scatter-pack, where did you put them?
2. You loaded the photons with WHAT, instead of anti-matter?
3. Why is the cook leading the Marines?
4. You did what
to the warp engines?
5. If the pilots are still on the ship, who is flying the fighters?
6. What do you mean "he went to the bathroom"?
7. If you're not using the UIM to aim the disruptors, then what are you using it for?
8. What do you mean "you're not sure" whether you launched the real or the pseudo plasma torpedoes?
9. You're using the stasis field generator to keep the vegetables fresh?
10. You're using one of the seeking weapons control channels to steal pay TV ?
Thanks to Geoff Gard. This originally appeared in Captain's Log #18.
(c) copyright by Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc.
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).
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Sublight Squadrons Win Using the Rules
This is Steven Petrick posting.
Games give us opportunities to find solutions. The game mechanics and situation can place us in a difficult situation where success on the surface appears illusory at best. This gives us, however, an opportunity to work within the game's framework to find solutions.
Romulan sublight ships are obviously severely handicapped when facing warp powered ships. So much so that victory seems unlikely. Winning with them takes more thought and patience and you have to optimize the rules affecting them.
The fact that they move so slow makes it difficult for an opponent to gain and retain a lock-on if they are cloaked. However, that does not mean the opponent cannot simply fire without a lock-on to gradually wear away the sublight ship's defenses. Given the long range of the plasma-R torpedo, the opponent may be forced to operate at fast speeds in order to fire and "get out of dodge" before the long range plasma-R can catch him. He also has the advantage that the Romulan sublight ships are designed for "offensive" use rather than defensive, at least in space. All of the weapons on the Eagles, Hawks, and Snipes are designed to fire forward, there is not much to protect the vulnerable tails of these ships.
There is also nothing that keeps you from operating a few ships in a squadron of sublight Romulans in reverse. Whether moving not at all, or their maximum speed of one, has no effect on their ability to move one hex a turn by impulse power.
There is also the fact that they can hold off on moving at all until almost the end of a given turn. They should always, in battle, use only reserve impulse power to move. Whether that movement is a sublight tactical maneuver, or actually leaving the hex will depend on the enemy's operations. In the interim, it is somewhat harder to get a lock-on on a cloaked ship that is at Speed Zero most of the turn, except at most the four impulses at the end of a turn, and retaining a lock-on gained is problematic at such speeds, especially if you are fleeing from a Romulan plasma torpedo meaning you are opening the range.
No, this is not going to help in a duel situation. Lone sublight ships are extremely disadvantaged and one can imagine many a Romulan picket ship lost to raiders. But Romulan sublight squadrons can still prevail over small groups of enemy ships by optimizing the advantages the rules give them.
RANDOM THOUGHTS #216
Steve Cole ponders the curious
origins of interesting words:
1. PARAPHERNALIA, any sort of
miscellaneous baggage or equipment carried by an individual, comes
from the Greek para (beside) and phero (that which was bought). It
originally referred to the personal property of a bride which did not
become the property of her husband; it was separate from her
2. PARASITE, some person or other
animal who lives entirely off the resources of someone else, is from
the Greek para (beside) and sitos (food). Originally it was not
derogatory and was used to refer to priests who existed from the
donations of their flock. Later the term applied to guests at dinner
(who were expected to flatter the host if they wanted to be invited
3. PARIAH, someone who is outcast, comes from an
Indian word parai, which referred to workers who spent all day beating
a drum to control the pace of work by other workers. When the Aryans
invaded India about 2,000BC, they subjugate the dark-skinned natives
and reduced them to the lowest caste, which were called pariahs not
because they beat a drum all day but because they worked in low level
drudgery. The British, hearing (and not completely understanding) the
term used it to refer to anyone who had been cast out or banished.
4. PATROL, which means to walk
around an area checking for trouble, comes from the Old French word
patouiller which meant "to dabble in the mud." Later French
soldiers assigned to walk around the outside of the camp to prevent
anyone from approaching adopted the term, and the British (who copied
many French military terms) copied and shortened it to patrol.
5. PATTER, a word used by the English (but rarely if
at all by the Americans) to be babble or mindless recitation comes
from the Latin pater (father). Peasants in the middle and dark ages
recited their Latin prayers without knowing what the words meant; the
the pater noster (our father, or the Lord's Prayer) was the most
common of those.
6. PAVILION, once an elaborate
tent and now often a public building where exhibitions are held, comes
from the French papilio, which means butterfly. The French used that
term because tents used by the officers and nobles were often of
brightly colored cloth. Over time it passed into English.
7. PECULIAR, which today means strange or
odd, comes from the Latin peculiaris, which originally referred to the
cattle owned by a farmer. Over time, peculiaris began to refer to all
of the wealth (and then to all of the possessions) of a farmer,
worker, or soldier. Something you owned was "peculiar to you."
Unusual creatures or cultures were said to have peculiarities, that
is, attributes unique to them.
which technically means a schoolteacher but is often used today for
"know it all," comes from the Greek and meant "leader
of boys." A rich family would assign a specific slave the duty of
caring for the sons, guarding (perhaps herding) them as they went
outside of the house (perhaps to the gym or some other outing). Over
time, it became highly desirable to buy a slave for this duty who was
an educated man captured in battle, and he was expected to be more of
a teacher and guide than a mere nanny.
9. PEN, PENCIL,
now the most common writing instruments, would appear to be derived
from a common root, but they are not, and their similarity is only
coincidence. Pens came from goose quills, which were called Penna in
Latin. Pencils were originally the finest of brushes used by artists,
and peniculus was the Latin word for "little tail."
10. PERSON, which today means a unique
human, comes from the Latin persona, which means mask. (It is easy to
see how the modern word persona derives.) Greek actors always wore
masks with unique exaggerated features so that those members of the
audience in the most distant seats could tell who they were. Thus, in
every play you saw, a particular mask (used over and over) was always
a 40-year-old father, while a different mask was always a sickly boy,
another was always the god Apollo, and so forth.
This Week at ADB, Inc., 7-13 December 2014
Steve Cole reports:
This was a week of steady work.
The weather this week was cool (40F-50F). The spam storm mostly
remained at something under 200 per day.
New on Warehouse 23 this week was JagdPanther #11.
New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week were JagdPanther #11, Captain's Log #9, and Federation Commander Briefing #2 Pack
Steve Cole worked on the line items for
A Call to Arms: Star Fleet 1.2C.
Steven Petrick worked on the Klingon
Master Starship Book and Captain's Log #50.
The Starline 2500 project marched in place, waiting for masters
that should have been here a month ago. We're as fed up with the
mold-making company as you are.
The Starlist Update Project moved forward with six new
Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
inventory. Mike got both Steves to help him do quality control checks
on a new shipment of Starline 2400 miniatures. The casting house did a great
job and there were less than 20 bad ones out of over 1000 pieces.
Simone did website updates, sent out Hailing Frequencies, uploaded Communique #108, and did some graphics including
Jean worked on A Call to Arms: Star Fleet 1.2C,
managed our page on Facebook (which is up to almost 2400 friends),
managed our Twitter feed (over 100 followers), commanded the Rangers,
dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog
feed, proofread For the Glory of the Empire, took care of customers,
and did some marketing.