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Sunday, March 26, 2017

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.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

ADB, Inc.’s page on Facebook is 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.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Star Fleet Trivideo Schedule, pt. 4

8 pm:

GOR6: Honey, I Enveloped the Kids. Movie; PG.

THL7: Pinwheel of Fortune, Alex Deridex hosts.

ORN8: Orion¹s 11, looting the casinos on Planet Vegas.

LYR11: History of the Civil Wars, Part 23.

ISC13: The Magnificent Seven. A team of mercenaries tries to protect a village that won¹t help itself.


(c) 2003 Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. Captain's Log #25

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Some Insight Into the Upcoming LDR Master Starship Book

This is Steven Petrick posting.

The Lyran Democratic Republic Master Starship Book has been sent to the checkers. We will probably just go ahead and do the graphics for it immediately when we finish the graphics for the Lyran Master Starship Book, since we will have essentially already done the basic ship designs.

The Lyran Democratic Republic Master Starship Book is going to be in many ways the same, but different from the Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Hydran, and Lyran Master Starship Books.

The basic layout will be the same, but because the Lyran Democratic Republic fleet was so small, the "refits" had to be more tightly defined. The Lyran Empire built a lot of frigates, for example, but the Lyran Democratic Republic only built six (including the one it had in service at the time of the revolt), of which four were converted to war destroyers (the other two were destroyed in combat).

One of those four war destroyers was then converted to a war destroyer leader, and two of them were converted to fleet destroyers.

Then the remaining war destroyer, the war destroyer leader, and both fleet destroyers were converted to heavy war destroyers.

Then three of those heavy war destroyers were converted into advanced technology destroyers (the fourth heavy war destroyer was destroyed).

At various points some of the ships had refits installed (and these are given by ship name and year when the individual ship was refitted), but just to make things more difficult, in various stages sometimes when as ship was converted, it was re-named, e.g., the war destroyer leader Commissar became the heavy war destroyer Mediation.

The path followed by the frigate-to-war destroyer-to-heavy war destroyer-to-advanced technology war destroyer is only the longest string, but not by any means the only one. And names do not always change, e.g., probably the most famous Lyran Democratic Republic ship is the Democracy, the Lyran Democratic Republic's lone battlecruiser. But she was the Democracy from the moment the Republic was born and she was only a light cruiser, albeit then named Nightscreamer.

And it is not just the warships.

The Lyran Democratic Republic made a heavy use of "General Units," the upshot being that there is a lot more background buried the General Units ship descriptions. Again because the Lyran Democratic Republic was so small, and had so few ships, their general histories and some generally unique uses are better known. The Lyran Democratic Republic "regular navy" took over the few Manx police corvettes (upgrading most of them to Caracal military police corvette design), but the "police" mission still had to be performed, and that in turn fell to "armed cutters," which as much as the Caracal military police corvettes were arguably too small to really serve in fleet combat (if larger than the Manx police corvettes they were derived from) the armed cutters were really too small for the police role, but were pretty much all that was available.

So there is a lot of stuff in the Lyran Democratic Master Starship Book that will help flesh out not just the history of the Republic, but how it actually operated and planned to "wage war" if it happened against its larger neighbors.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Captain's Log #52 and Hoop Jumping

Steve Cole writes:
    
Embrace the Chaos!
    
Sometimes there are just too many moving parts, and Captain's Log #52 will stand as a shining example of that. You might think that it would be easy to just "do nothing but Captain's Log until Captain's Log is finished" but fate and fortune don¹t work that easily.
    
It's fairly common for any game companyto want to release several products at the same time. This makes it easier for the wholesalers, retailers, mail order gamers, and our warehouse to handle orders and shipments. Rather than shipping a wholesaler 72 copies of Captain's Log #52 this week and 48  copies of Prime Directive PD20M Supplement next week, we ship them both at once. In this case, that also included the new large, jumbo, and heavy freighters.
    
Shipping Captain's Log #52 and Prime Directive PD20M Supplement at the same time wasn't that big a problem, but it did mean that while we were finishing Captain's Log #52 and getting its cover created, checked, and sent to the printers we also had to create, check, and print the cover for Prime Directive PD20M Supplement. It wasn't that hard to get Prime Directive PD20M Supplement done a week early so that the bookbinding department could have those all done before they had to start binding Captain's Log #52. We did have to make sure that every press release for one included both. Simone did the covers and Leanna got the two products onto the cart; Simone then added the cover art to the cart and provided cover art for advertising.
    
Adding in the miniatures complicated things by a factor of six. It's not just that we were adding six products to the release; we had to carefully explain an entirely new product concept (known as "tinker toy freighters") to the players. (The press release for the freighters is actually longer than the one for Captain's Log #52 because everybody understands what a Captain's Log is. Nobody had ever seen freighters that snapped together like these. We had to create photographs of the miniatures, and have them sized and captioned for the cart and for advertising.
    
When Jean runs around the internet posting notices for the new products, she had to have information, text, and graphics to tell about all of the new products ready.
    
We had Communique and Hailing Frequencies coming out on the 10th of March (the products shipped on the 13th) which was good for publicity and marketing, but bad because the same designers and proofreaders who were busy trying to finish Captain's Log #52 had to stop everything and create the newsletters. All of the news releases (new products, the new edition of Starmada, and the Shapeways store) had to be coordinated in both newsletters and Captain's Log.
    
Speaking of the Shapeways store, a lot of people had done a lot of work to get the store all ready to open. The game publisher (busy doing page layout for Captain's Log) had to negotiate the deals with Mongoose, sculptors, and Shapeways. Ships had to be uploaded, evaluated, then redesigned to pass the various checks and tests. We did not know what we did not know, and finally reached the moment when we could order pre-release samples of the ships going on that store. Only then did we find out that it would take 20 days, not two days, to get those samples. Since we have never done this, we decided to delay opening the store until we could actually review samples of what we would be selling. This actually became a benefit because in the intense and critical last hours of finishing Captain's Log #52 we could just ignore anything that the Shapeways store needed us to do until the issue was on the trucks to the wholesalers.
    
Buried in Captain's Log #52 was the announcement of the new Starmada Unity edition.This required special care as we wanted to make sure that people knew about the free upgrade path before they got upset about being "forced to buy" another new edition. This is why there's a special note in the free PDF Captain's Log #52 Supplement. (The supplement has a nominal charge if ordered in paper.)

 
    
While any major project has come to be referred to as "the visitation of the great dragon" because it takes up all of our time, this issue was stretched over such a long period (due to articles and art not arriving and other interruptions) that we could not put all other matters aside. The F&E staff needed some help with a problem with command ratings, Jean needed occasional bits of information about this or that species for her Prime Directive books, and Leanna needed some production issues resolved. Another aspect of the long gestation period was that things written two months ago had actually become obsolete by the time the issue was printed, and these became part of the "hoop jumping" work that made this issue fun. The brief notices of the Platinum Hat tournament had to be updated once when the last semi-final game was resolved and again when the finals were played. The new freighter miniatures were once expected to be "released in a month or two" and ended up being shipped simultaneously with this issue.
   
 Jean did us one favor. Steven P. Petrick and I had come up with a plan to release the printed Lyran Master Starship Book at the same time as Captain's Log #52, Prime Directive PD20M Supplement, and the freighters. Jean put a firm stop to that plan, insisting that the Lyran Master Starship Book go on the PDF stores for a full month before she would allow printed copies to be released.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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/).

Monday, March 20, 2017

This Week at ADB, Inc., 12-18 March 2017

Steve Cole reports:

This was the week we finished Captain¹s Log #52 and shipped it to the wholesalers.

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

Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #52 final fixes and started the FLAP list, blogs, the Shapeways store, the Captain's Log #52 Supplemental File, caught up on Starlist, and worked on other projects.
    

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #52. Captain's Log #53, 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 and some graphics.
   

Wolf guarded the office, chasing away Big Foot.
 

Jean worked on the GURPS Prime Directive revision, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,735 friends), managed our Twitter feed (220 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread the final fixes of Captain's Log #52, did research on Shapeways, took care of customers, and did some marketing.