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Saturday, August 01, 2015

I Am Becoming My Parents! Oh! The Horror!

Jean Sexton muses:

Once upon a time, I promised myself that I would remain forever young in spirit, understanding of all youthful indiscretions, and exploring new ideas and concepts. For the most part, I think I have succeeded. Still sometimes I open my mouth and my parents' words fall out. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing as they frequently had words of wisdom. But still I hear myself sounding like them and it is a shock.

"Just pick it up and put it away." I have a bad habit of getting distracted and laying something down on a flat surface close at hand. Eventually things become cluttered and I need to have a round of cleaning. To this day I find myself muttering my mother's phrase. Remarkably, it still helps.

"Don't litter. Throw it in the trashcan." I find myself wondering about this on walks around the apartment complex. I wonder why people cannot put cigarette butts, empty drink bottles, used food wrappers, and (my pet peeve) chewing gum somewhere other than the ground. We share this earth; let's not litter it.

"The music today ..." As I look at my music collection, I see the genres of my parents: classical, Christmas, folk, and musicals (all with over 50 hours of music). Now, I have added some other genres and performers who are new (Lindsey Sterling, Peter Hollens, Pentatonix, Eben Brooks, and Wild Oats come to mind), but the majority are performers I heard as a child. Some of that is because I inherited my father's CD collection and Mom gave me a lot of musicals, but I added on to those. I suppose as long as I add on new people, then I haven't utterly stagnated.

"When I was that age ..." I do have to be careful of this one. There are so many choices for activities open to people today that weren't when I was young. Video games, smart phones, and computers all provide different avenues of communication and play. When I am in a restaurant and see people texting on their phones or playing games while their companion does the same, sometimes I cannot help but wonder if we will lose the ability to hold conversations with others.

There is one good thing to all of this; I don't get to use some of my "parentisms" on my dog. Well, if I do, he just grins his doggy grin and continues on his merry way. And when I find myself feeling as though I am stagnating, I use Facebook to connect with some of my younger friends, listen to something new on YouTube, or read something new to me. "Get out there and live your life." Oh no! It is my parents' instructions again.

Friday, July 31, 2015


In previous installments of this series as found in various Captain's Logs, we presented the class histories of some of the most famous Federation old-series destroyers in Star Fleet. Their tales of valor and glory, of missions accomplished and victories won, of worlds explored and civilizations contacted reflect the highest standards of the Star Fleet. Destroyer crews were, it would appear from those earlier entries (particularly Part 2 and the DDG sub-class), the hand-picked elite of the best space navy in the galaxy.

USS AMAZON: Crewed entirely by Alpha-Centaurans, this ship was known as a hellcat in combat. The captain once told a Klingon admiral: "You just don't get it, do you?"

USS FRISBEE: Apparently another ship resulting from incomplete database records of obscure terms, this ship disappeared in Y165 after suffering a breakdown during a high energy turn (the warp engine was torn completely away from the hull) and tumbling out of control. It was last seen in the jaws of a large space monster which literally ran away with the ship.

USS TITANIC: Destroyed by the impact of an uncharted comet during its maiden cruise. The ship was considered so invulnerable to damage that it had no internal air-tight doors.

(c) Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

In Praise of Our Volunteers

The adventure game (wargame+roleplaying game) industry is a small one, and there isn't the kind of money inside of it that other industries have. The industry consists of creative game designers willing to work 60 hours a week for half the pay they could command outside the game industry, all because they get to BE game designers.

Even at that, the only way the game industry survives is by the hard labor of unpaid volunteers who (for honor, glory, and rarely some free games) provide no end of valuable services to game publishers.

Mike West answers rules questions on Federation Commander. Mike Curtis does the same thing for Federation & Empire, Jonathan Thompson for Prime Directive PD20 and PD20M, Jean Sexton for GURPS Prime Directive, Richard Sherman for Star Fleet Battle Force, and Andy Vancil for Star Fleet Battles.

Frank Brooks runs the play-by-email system as a volunteer. Paul Franz charges barely enough for the online game system (for SFB and FC) to pay the server costs. Tenneshington Decals does made-to-order decals for our Starline miniatures and is run by two of our fans: Will McCammon and Tony Thomas.

Federation & Empire would not exist without Chuck Strong (a retired real-world colonel from Space Command) in charge of the overall game system. He keeps his staff (Mike Curtis, Ryan Opel, Scott Tenhoff, Thomas Mathews, and Stew Frazier) busy moving projects forward.

Very little would get done on any of our games except for the Playtest Battle Labs run by Scott Moellmer in Colorado and by Mike Curtis and Tony Thomas in Tennessee. And all of the other playtesters are invaluable to us.

We have other staffers and volunteers who do specific things (and sometimes a wide variety of things) for us including John Berg, Howard Bampton, and Lucky Coleman (Galactic Conquest campaign); Daniel Kast (Klingon Armada); and John Sickels, Tony Thomas, James Goodrich, Mike West, James Kerr, and Loren Knight (Prime Directive). Some vital part of the product line would grind to a halt without each one of them. Sometimes our volunteers become part of our staff; Jean Sexton started out as a volunteer proofreader.

Added to this list are hundreds of others who, during any given month, by email or BBS or Forum or our page on Facebook, contribute in some way to the company and its product line. They may report a glitch in an existing product, playtest a product in development, suggest a new product, point out something another company is doing what we may want to take a look at emulating, look up a rules reference for another player, report on somebody who using our property improperly, comment on a posted draft of a new rule, or simply ask a question nobody else ever dared to ask.

Many years ago, we began awarding medals, ribbons, and other "decorations" to staffers and others who contributed to each product, and some other projects. These awards not only recognize those who contributed to the various projects, but encouraged others to begin making their contributions to future projects. We have created the Wall of Honor at http://starfleetgames.com/ArtGallery/Wall%20of%20Honor.shtml. This is a tribute to over 30 years of volunteer work. We hope you visit it to say thanks to all the volunteers and their efforts.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

This is Steven Petrick posting.

More progress has been made on the Klingon Master Starship Book. Jean Sexton has found several typo and format errors that the staff checkers had missed (it has a lot of information that has been added by the Master Starship Book format).

Like the Hydran Master Starship Book, the Klingon Master Starship Book is somewhat different from the Federation Master Starship Book, and also from the Hydran Master Starship Book.

While all three follow the general format, the books are inevitably different.

The Federation has few "hybrid carriers," but almost half of the Hydran ships are hybrid carriers, and thus text defining fighters on those ships had to be inserted into the format that was not really needed for the Federation.

The Klingons are the first "disruptor" empire we have done. Like the Federation there are few "hybrid carriers," but many (not all) of their ships have access to UIMs (requires Range-22 or greater disruptors and there are some "political" considerations which deny the system to some ships nominally allowed to have it). This gets into some ships (such as the D6 series, D7 series, F5C leaders, dreadnoughts, etc.) are in service before UIMs are available, but some of these (D7Cs, F5Cs, C8s, C9s, etc.) have UIMs as standard equipment, and most that have UIMs available as a refit, can also purchase additional UIM modules as part of their commander's options. So every ship includes a UIM line in the format. DERFACs on the other hand is handled as the straight refit it is (there is no allowance for using commander's option points to purchase additional DERFACS back up systems).

Another evolution is that the Klingons, more than the Federation, have "separation." So every ship that has a boom able to separate includes notes (where appropriate) about the change to the boom's weapons arcs, and (a problem not found on Federation saucers) the fact that if the boom has a shuttle bay, that bay can be used to lay mines only if the boom has separated.

All stasis field generator variants are covered with their own listing (SBA, B11A, B11VA, B11SA, B10A, B10VA, B10SA, B10TA, etc.).

The carrier escort tables have been relaid out to show all escort groups in order from the larger escort to the smaller, and the background of all of the escorts has been scoured to make sure the escorts appear where they are appropriate with a tighter view. Not only is the lone AD6 accounted for, but also the lone E5E. FWE escorts have been more restricted in availability in concert with their ship description (the FWV is no longer eligible to have one in keeping with the ship description of the FWE for example).

And while all this is going on, the Romulan Master Starship Book is itself being worked on. It has not gone to the staff yet (pending publication of the Klingon Master Starship Book we do not want to divert their attention). The Romulans, of course, do have "hybrid carriers" (if no where near as many as the Hydrans), but do not have disruptors. They do have cloaking devices, and whether a given ship has a cloak or not is noted. (Mostly auxiliary ships and a few police ships do not.) Format problems identified in the Klingon Master Starship Book are being addressed in the Romulan Master Starship Book at the same time, which should (along with the smaller number of fighter types over all compared to the first three empires) make the book easier for the staffers to check.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Monday, July 27, 2015

This Week at ADB, Inc., 19-25 July 2015

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week from heck, as we discovered that the Federation & Empire counters we had sent to press were full of mistakes. Lots of hard work by the F&E staff and in-house staff and by the end of the week the counters were fixed and back on track. The weather this week was hot. The spam storm mostly remained at something under 300 per day.

New on Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault this week was the SFB Basic Set Rulebook. New to DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault was SFB Commander's Edition Volume III.

Steve Cole worked on F&E counters, art for Klingon Master Starship Book, Captain's Log #51, and other things. Various minor injuries limited his walking with Wolf to under three miles.

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #51, Klingon Master Starship Book, Romulan Master Starship Book, and other projects.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with three new entries, one update, and perhaps the first person to ever ask for the archive list of names prior to 2005.

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 2,667 friends), managed our Twitter feed (153 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread the Klingon Master Starship Book, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

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.