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.
RANDOM THOUGHTS #278
Steve Cole's thoughts on military history:
1. On June 1, 1940,
thousands of British, French, Polish, and Norwegian troops held the
Norwegian city of Narvik, the port from which 50% of Germany's iron
ore was loaded. (No irion, no steel; no steel, no tanks.) The German
troops in the area had been defeated and pushed back along the railway
line to Sweden. Even after France surrendered, there would have been
nothing Germany could do to take back the port, and it would have
taken a year or two to build new rail lines in Sweden to move the iron
ore to Baltic ports. Then, suddenly, the British pulled their troops
(and the Poles) out, abandoning the port to the Germans. World War II
might have ended much sooner if Germany had only half as much steel to
World War II, Japanese children were taught that civilization began in
the mountains of central Japan (not in India or Mesopotamia). Soldiers
of the divine emperor had, the children were taught, spread out across
all of Asia and Europe, turning hunter-gathers into civilized people
who farmed the land and built cities. (Attila and the Huns were said
to have been ethnic Japanese and one of the divine emperor's armies.
Japanese teachers were vague on the date all this happened since none
of their historical data points held together.) Plague (centuries
after Attila) caused the collapse of the far-flung Japanese empire
and the Japanese of World War II were only restoring what was the
Emperor's territory by historical right.
3. In late 1941 and early 1942, the US
Navy was able to read only bits and pieces of Japanese coded messages,
but this included the address block that said who sent the message and
for whom it was intended. This "traffic analysis" provided a
wealth of data on where the Japanese would make their big push. The
codebreakers (Magic) were able to tell Admiral Nimitz that the
Japanese fleet had moved into the Indian Ocean, giving the American
aircraft carriers under Admiral Halsey a chance to launch some
nuisance raids on Japanese islands closer to Hawaii. After the first
raid, the codebreakers noticed that the Japanese radio bases became
very active, and the codebreakers gained a valuable "map" of
all of the Japanese bases (and their radio addresses). Nimitz and
Halsey were only too happy to "poke" the Japanese base
network, generating more copies of Japanese messages Thanks to these
raids, they had a lot of messages (which they knew were about the US
attacks) which allowed them to crack the code in time to prepare for
the Battle of Midway.
This Week at ADB, Inc., 8-14 January 2017
Steve Cole reports:
This was a week of steady work on current projects. We released
on schedule on the 10th. The weather
this week was cold, with snow and ice on Saturday.
The Starlist Update Project moved forward with 9 new entries and 3 updates.
Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #52, Communique, Hailing Frequencies,
sent to Jean's file), graphics for Jean's Prime Directive PD20 Modern Supplement
project, and other
projects. He received his new Nissan Rogue and spent a day figuring out
what all the buttons did.
Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #52,
the two newsletters, the Lyran Master Starship Book,
quality control of 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 worked on some graphics.
Jean worked on the Prime Directive PD20 Modern Supplement
, managed our page on Facebook
(which exceeded 3,500 friends this week at 3,519), managed our Twitter feed (209
followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam
assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread the Lyran Master Starship
took care of customers, and did some marketing.
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
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 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
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
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.
RANDOM THOUGHTS #277
Steve Cole's thoughts on the
game industry in general and on ADB in particular.
1. I often have people offer to do something for ADB,
some kind of research or rules writing or indexing or something.
Sometimes, the answer is that it would take more time to check what
they did than to just do it myself. (An example here are the Ship
Information Tables for F&E, which I refuse to allow the staff to
edit or maintain because I would never be able to tell if they changed
something and I know those guys and they want to change things I do
not want them changing, like the conversion costs of escorts.) The
response to my comment is often "Then if you can do it faster
than checking the one I did, go do it, now." But the problem is
that there are only so many hours in the day and I already evaluated
the priorities and decided that something else is more important.
someone noted a minor one-character typo in an FC ship in an E-pack.
He modified the PDF and sent me the revised ship for me to share. I
appreciate the enthusiasm but it's always less time for me to fix it
myself than to check to see if someone else fixed it correctly.
That's just the nature of the beast. Because, some years ago, one
person tried to sneak his personal "improvements" into the
ship when "fixing" one minor item, we cannot release to the
customers any "official" ship done outside unless we check
every single character and box. That's a couple of hours of work
compared to a minute to fix the typo and spin up a new PDF. It's a
darn shame that one person so many years ago created this mess but the
months I spent fixing that problem aren't an experience that I can
risk repeating. So if you see a mistake in a published PDF (or any
published Federation Commander ship) let me know and I'll fix it. The same
thing applies to any official document, from an F&E SIT to
the SFB Sequence of Play. We need to fix the master archive file not
use a file someone else modified. The fix won't appear until the
next reprint or reload, but it will get taken care of.
3. Recently, we were working on
Captain's Log #52, and I turned to the new tactical papers for
one of our games. One of these was marked "part one of three"
and I asked Steven Petrick where the other two parts were. He said they
had never been sent in. I told him to contact the author and get them,
as I would not print a "part one" of anything without having
the entire thing in hand. There are several reasons for this, but
mostly we want to be sure we can finish what we start. As it happened,
the paper was found to contain many flaws, and the only email address
for the author was invalid. As no one had heard from him for 18
months, we had no choice but to put his paper into the reserve file.
The way it is written it need the other two parts, and it cannot be
turned into a stand alone article as the whole thing sets up the
situation for part two. This applies to everything. We cannot start
something unless we know we can finish it. If we're doing it then
finishing it is just a matter of managing the "to do list",
but something that depends on an outside author must be
"controlled" (i.e., finished) before it starts.
Answers to the Top 10 Questions that a Starship Captain Never Wants to Ask, Q6
6. "What do you mean 'he went to the bathroom'?"
Sir, I didn't say the Tractor Chief left his post. The warning labels didn't say the system was vulnerable to leaks ...
(c) 2002 Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. Captain's Log #25
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
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
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.
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.
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.