HAPPY TRASH DAY
When I came into work this morning, I was expecting to get a phone call sometime between 1pm and 5pm to go meet a truckload of landscaping stuff at my house. So, not wanting to start any big projects, and knowing that my list of SLJs (silly little jobs) was long and distinguished, I decided to declare this TRASH DAY when I would kill the 50% of my List of Things to Do which only involved 10% of the total work. That would make a lot of people happy, shorten my list, and no matter when I got "the call" I wouldn't be interrupted in the middle of some big thing that would be hard to start later. The call has yet to come. (Rumor has it that the truck will arrive at 7pm; I'll be happy if it shows up at all.) So I just kept doing one little thing after another, waiting for "the call".
I sent the box of convention door prizes and the gift certificates ordered by Council of 5 Nations.
I ordered the art for Omega Module #5 from Adam Turner.
I finished reading FYEO and passed a few bits of this to my nearest and dearest friends.
I reviewed a report on the Tholian Heavy Web Tender scheduled to be in Module R11 and ordered changes made.
A returning player said he had a 1993 rulebook for FEDERATION & EMPIRE and that Captain's Log #21 (published in 2000) said there was a file on the web site listing the changes to that rulebook to become the 2000 rulebook. He couldn't find it on the site, and neither could I. Checking my hard disk, I found it, and sent him a copy, then PDFed it and sent a copy to Matt to upload when he gets back Monday.
I Updated the SFU timeline file with the dates of coalition assaults on Kzinti and Hydran capitals. A Player had noted that these events were not listed.
I worked on that "pending folder" of 300 messages that accumulated while I was finishing CL#35. It's down to about 40. I answered 10 emails, processed 4 starlist requests, and read 4 daily compilations of dinosaur stuff.
Our warehouse guy noticed that the stock of F&E STRATEGIC OPERATIONS was lower than it should be and we reviewed the inventory and figured out when we were going to have to reprint this, which also drives the date to print the ISC War counters.
I reviewed the inventory on ship cards for Federation Commander and decided I could sell Ad Astra Games some space on our next laminated sheet, meaning they would have a product to sell at Origins they couldn't afford otherwise. (Much cheaper to print a lot of small things on one sheet of stock.)
I spent an hour working on the Capitalization Project. We have never had a coherent set of rules on what to capitalize or not, so Jean Sexton and I have compiled ten rules. The problem is rule #9, which requires 14 pages of examples.
I called the Canadian wholesalers about their orders for recent products.
I sent the F&E Early Beginnings map to Avalon so we can have one copy made for Origins.
I finished the sloppy quick and dirty version of the D7 deck plans file and sent it to Matt to post when he gets back Monday.
I asked Neale Davidson, the artist doing LEANNA'S FIGHTING STARSHIPS, to contact me. I nagged Gary Plana about GURPS PRIME STARSHIPS, John Schneider about the Seltorian miniatures, Jonathan Thompson about PD20 Modern, John Sickels about PD Feds, Loren Knight about PD Tholians. I asked Gary Plan to send me the GPD Errata sheet so Matt can post it and Andy Palmer to send met the PD20 errata sheet so Matt can post that as well.
I closed the Dec 06 miniature painting contest and set up files for the next six.
I finished the Revision Five Robot Rules for FedComm and sent them to Matt to post when he gets back Monday.
And, I posted this BLOG. Trash day is kind of cool.
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.
Even at that, the ONLY way the game industry survives is by the hard labor of unpaid volunteers who (for some free games) provide no end of valuable services to game publishers.
Mike West answers rules questions on Federation Commander. Nick Blank does the same thing for Federation & Empire, Andy Palmer for Prime Directive d20, Gary Plana for GURPS Prime Directive, and Mike Filsinger for Star Fleet Battles.
Frank Brooks runs the Play-by-Email system as a volunteer and Paul Franz charges barely enough for the On-Line game system to pay the server costs.
Federation & Empire would not exist without Chuck Strong (a real-world colonel from Space Command) doing scenarios, or without Jeff Laikind in charge of the overall game system and the Ship Information Tables.
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.
We have other staffers who do specific things (and sometimes a wide variety of things) for us including Scott Tenhoff, Chris Fant, and Stewart Frazier (the F&E staff); John Berg (Galactic Conquest Campaign); John Sickels, Matthew Francois, Jonathan Thompson, and Loren Knight (Prime Directive); and Jean Sexton (proofreading). Some vital part of the product line would grind to a halt without each one of them.
Added to this list are hundreds of others who, during any given month, by Email or BBS or Forum, 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.
Steve Cole writes; It's tough to operate a game publishing business, because the only way to do it is to work 6.5 days a week (and most holidays, such as yesterday) 10 or more hours a day, and that gets tricky because so many "real" businesses we depend on are not open on weekends or evenings.
We normally ship new products on Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday, so that all of the wholesalers get the product on Friday, and get it into their inventory before the retail stores (who do most of their selling Friday-Saturday-Sunday) call in on Monday morning to order stuff to be in stock and ready for sale by the next weekend. And since we print things ourselves, that means we start printing on Friday and if the printers break down we cannot get a repairman before Monday morning.
The copier company that has the support contract for our print engines works with us (they get huge checks from us every month, we're big enough to be loved and not big enough to be feared) and when we have a big print job, they send over their repair crew on Friday morning to make sure the engines are totally tuned up, and go ahead and schedule emergency repairs for Monday morning. (The engines were designed to print about 5,000 pages a day and we use them for 13,000 pages a day when we print at all, so they "take a hit" and need to be "dialed back into the proper range". The repair guys get them back up in an hour. Yes, I know that Brand X has fewer repairs than the Kyoceras (they aren't better machines, they're just designed for the heavier work load), but I also know I can buy seven of the Kyoceras for the cost of a Brand X machine. (I have three kyoceras instead of seven because I cannot afford the other four yet, nor do we have space to put them.) We built that relationship with three things: pay our bills on time, LEARN how the machines work so we can minimize problems, and cooperate as well as we can with them (treating them as a partner, not a vendor). We stock the favorite drinks of the repair guys in the fridge, and we allow the copier company to use our print room to train new repairmen. We have three engines and if we're not in the middle of a mass production run when one goes down, we call the repair guys to come "whenever its convenient" because we have the other two machines to use and we know their other customers have only one machine and if it's down, they're down. At the annual trade show in Amarillo, I spend time in their booth explaining the "down and dirty real way these things work" that ain't in the manual or the sales brochure.
Another key relationship is with our printer, Cenveo, who do the color printing we cannot (so far) do for ourselves. They also sell us the pallet loads of paper the Kyoceras use. (Think about buying books by the pallet load and you understand buying blank paper by the pallet load to print the books on demand.) We have a wonderful first-name-basis relationship with Vickie (our printer representative) and Tony (her boss and one of the three highest-ranking guys at the printing company). On Memorial Day, Tony (the senior VP of a multi-million-dollar corporation who probably spends more on sunday dinner than I make in a day) left a family gathering to personally go get us a box of paper out of his warehouse. (His crew had accidentally sent us a brand of paper that the Kyoceras cannot print on. Vickie would have done it herself, but she was out of town, and offered to drive home early if she had to.) Today, Vickie (who dresses like Prada, and yes, the Angel Wears Prada, too) went out into the noisy dusty print shop floor to get us the first box of the new print run of maps so we could pack and ship the last of the ACADEMY initial orders today instead of tomorrow. We built that relationship with hard work and effort. We pay our bills on time (always a good thing, don't even try asking for favors if you don't pay your bills), we listen and learn how their business works (so that we send them print jobs in whatever way least disrupts their business), we plan ahead (with them, no surprises!) to schedule print jobs, we find ways for them to do things that minimizes the grief and hassle we put them through (and minimizes what they have to hire outside subcontractors to do), and we don't ask for favors unless we HAVE to have them.
You don't have to be rich or smart to run a business, but you HAVE to have friends. You have to have friends at other companies who will steer you to good deals and call you up, even when they know it's going to piss you off, to point out mistakes. (GAMA President Rick Loomis, knowing how touchy and defensive I get about my press releases, called up one day to point out a major stupid GOOF that I had made. He didn't do so to gloat, but because he cares if my business is successful. I have known Rick longer than I have known Leanna.) Be a friend, make friends. Ask people who sell you things "just how to do you do that" so you know ways to make it easier for them to do your projects and save your bacon and do favors for you.
Jean Sexton (our proofreader) writes: This is Memorial Day weekend. Many people look at this as a three-day weekend, filled with cookouts and with the running of the Indianapolis 500. We have more time to spend with family and friends. We can relax in the lovely spring we are having.
But our freedom to do so comes at a cost that we have not paid directly. We may have friends, family, and ancestors that paid the price, but we live on.
The celebration of Memorial Day started after the Civil War. The Northern states were impressed that the South had "Decoration Day" when graves were decorated in memory of those who had died in the war. After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to include all those in the military who died in war.
While written on a British war memorial at Rohima, India in 1944, these words should resonate with us all:
When you go home
Tell them of us, and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today.
We should not neglect to remember that sacrifice. It was made for us and for those who come after us.
This is not just about the war on terrorism currently being fought militarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Horn of Africa. We remember those who fought in the Civil War, no matter the side. Each side thought it had right on its side and what matters is the people were willing to die for what they believed. Over 3,000,000 men fought in that war and over 600,000 of them died, more Americans than died in World War II.
Got any Marketing Ideas?
ADB is always interested in great marketing ideas, ways and places to sell our products as well as new products to sell. We are developing a line of non-game products (Calendars, paperback books, ship books, plus Cafe Press). We have an Amazon store (not to make money so much as to put our products in front of other groups of potential customers), and the MySpace page exists for that reason as well. 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 web sites, 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.
ALL ideas are welcome, although some ideas have already been tried (without success) and some have various obstacles to being used. Even so, it's better to send us an idea you are sure we cannot or won't use than to not send us one that, just maybe, we would use. Just don't get upset if there are valid reasons we cannot. We admire the courage of all who send ideas, even ideas we cannot use.
Steve Cole writes: My good friend Aldo over at Impressions Advertising came up with a tremendously good idea. He has dozens of RPG publishers sending him thousands of RPG books. Some are old books that didn't sell, others are new books, most are small print-on-demand books created out of existing material just for Free RPG Day. He is collecting all of the books at his secret headquarters, and in a couple of weeks will ship a box of mixed RPG books to 300 stores. These stores will then hand out the books for FREE (hence the term "Free RPG Day") to anyone who wants them. Thousands of gamers will get free books, and will get to see the offerings of publishers they never heard of.
We did a book for this project, based on the "follow the numbered paragraphs" adventure THE TEMPLE ON TERILEK PRIME, including sample characters (with stats for both GURPS 4e and d20v3.5) and the rules for phasers and tricorders. This was supposed to be EASY for us to do (it's all material from three other books) but turned out to be harder than expected. We had to integrate the d20 and G4e stuff into a cohesive paragraph structure, and we had to write new character backgrounds (as well as some data for the Klingon officer and the Orion Pirates) since the people getting the free booklet would not have the whole rulebook. We had to write a new introduction and a new advertising page. All in all, it took me three entire days, but if 1,000 giveaway books gets us 100 new customers, it's worth it. I could not have done it without the help of Jean Sexton, Steve Petrick, Andy Palmer, Gary Plana, and Jonathan Thompson.
You can find out more about it at http://www.freerpgday.com/FreeRPGDayFactSheet.pdf if you want. It's 23 June, and there is a list of the 300 stores smart enough to sign up for this bonanza on his site. If your store did not sign up this year, make sure they get on the list for next year. Aldo started the project for 100 stores but had 300 sign up before he could shut down the sign up page.
This day in history
Today, 25 May, was quite a day in history. Of course, every day of the year is the anniversary of something.
On this day in 1961, JFK proposed sending a man to the moon. On that same day in 1961, the X-15 rocket plane reached 100,000 feet. On this day in 585 BC, Thales was the first man (in recorded history) to predict an eclipse. (There are claims, with only the vaguest of documentation, that somebody in China predicted an eclipse within a century or so either way of 585BC.)
On this day in 1787, the US opened a convention to write a new constitution. (Most Americans don't realize that we had a country, a government, and several presidents before George Washington.) On this day in 1925, the Scopes Monkey Trial began. (Most people do not know that this was a publicity stunt by the ACLU. Scopes had never taught evolution and volunteered to be the defendant. The town did the trial in the hope of tourist dollars.)
There were two Civil War battles on 25 May, one in 1862 (Winchester, Virginia) and one in 1864 (New Hope Church, Georgia). But then, it's hard to find a day without some Civil War skirmish, or the birthday of some Civil War general.
Naval history scored two notable points today. In 1878, Gilbert & Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore" premiered in London, and in 1919, the US Navy completed the first trans-Atlantic airplane crossing (using flying boats that landed at sea to refuel from warships stationed for the purpose).
Army history is not left out. On this day in 1940, the German invasion of France reached the English Channel, cutting the armies defending that country in half and trapping the British at Dunkirk. What most people don't know is that 2/3 of the troops rescued from French beaches were French troops who promptly went back home and surrendered. (DeGaulle, then an insignificant two-star general, stayed in England with a few thousand "Free French".) On this day in 1949, the Chinese Red Army occupied Shanghai, and on this date in 1953, the US Army's huge 11" atomic cannon fired its first and only nuclear artillery shell. Non-nuclear ammunition for these cannons was still in the stockpile during the Reagan Administration, and plans existed to have Navy 16" guns fire the shells with special fiberglass sabots (fillers) for extended range. Never happened, but heck, it's a fun story.
All in all, I think I like the Eclipse thing best. It was the time we decided we were going to understand our universe, not just wait to be surprised by it.
I WANT YOUR COMMENTS!
Graphics Director Matt Cooper writes:
As the Graphics progress here at ADB, I am learning about new things every day, and drive SVC crazy because I do my list of things to do before he is ready to give me another list.
We are in the middle of making serious changes to both web sites (the legacy site now has a new front page, site map, and index), and you are welcome to not just comment on my changes, but suggest changes and check the changes I make.
Here is my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can comment on either forum.
CAPTAIN'S LOG LARGE TYPE EDITION
For the first time ever, we are offering players the option (for $2 extra) to have your copy of Captain's Log printed in larger type to make it easier to read. Standard editions in stores are 9 point type, but the Large Type Edtion is in 10 point. This makes it 28 pages longer, but it's exactly the same in other regards. Leanna has also given you, for the first time, the option to get your Captain's Log bound or unbound, or hole punched. See the Shopping Cart
for these options.
FRANK BROOKS WRITES: Federation Commander Play-by-Email
Playing Federation Commander by email 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.
The basic gist of the Federation Commander Play by Email (PBEM) system is that you and your opponent submit your orders for the turn to a moderator via E-Mail. The moderator then processes them, and sends a "Sitrep" (Situation Report) to the players via E-Mail. 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 Federation Commander 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 of Federation Commander. Moderating a Federation Commander PBEM game is also an excellent way to learn more about the Federation Commander rules.
While there are some disadvantages to PBEM (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 to 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 Federation Commander PBEM, please visit the Play-by-Email section of ADB Inc.'s website at www.starfleetgames.com/pbemgames and we will be happy to help you.
How to find opponents
STEVE COLE WRITES: Many gamers are looking for new opponents. This is nothing new. When I was a teenager, there were maybe four wargamers 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, and works much better, and you have a lot of ways to do it. For best results, do all of them.
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-in's every day, and since it's free you can try it every month or two and find out of somebody near you has signed in.
You can go to the forum and find the area where local stores and groups post announcements and invitations and let people know you'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.)
Feel free to go to your local store and ask them to let you post a notice looking for opponents. You could also run a demo of Federation Commander (or any of our games) and "grown your own" opponents. If anybody already plays the game you demo, they'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.
The quickest result, probably, is Starlist. Go to our Legacy site and look for the button that says Player Resources. Under that menu is a link for Starlist. 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 five thousand 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 your 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.
The original web site has a bulletin board system and the 8th item on the main menu is "seeking opponents". 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.
Many of those on Starlist and StarFleetGames.com/discus will be players of Star Fleet Battles, but most of those can be convinced to play Federation Commander. Indeed, over half of the names on Starlist are people who quit playing Star Fleet Battles for lack of opponents (or because SFB was too complex for them or their opponents) and most of those are ready recruits for the faster cleaner Federation Commander game system.
With more effort, you can post opponent wanted notices in a whole lot of boardgame sites (see the links list on our site).
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 cards who got emails from other gamers in their home towns who were seeking opponents.
You can go always go to SFB Online and play Federation Commander on-line with live opponents from around the world for the princely sum of $4 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.
Captain's Log #35 is finished
Hard to believe we have done 35 of these books, but we just finished what may be our best issue ever. Great fiction, cool ships, lots of tactics, exciting scenarios, two pages of new ship names, a new Federation heavy fighter, articles on everything from what happened to the Tholians when they first arrived in our galaxy to what happened to all those General War surplus gunboats when the war was over, and everything else you expect from Captain's Log.
Federation Commander players will be especially thrilled. Four new ships (in both scales), two new scenarios, lots of tactics, and an entirely new rule introducing a major new combat system: special sensors.
SFB players get three (really four) new scenarios, Victory at Origins, ten (really 14) new ships (including two new Juggernauts), and much more.
F&E players get a major new scenario, ship data for the 14 new ships, lots of tactics, and a final decision on overbuilding those Federation "sort of a PFT; sort of a carrier" ships.
But, just because we finished it, are busy printing it, and will ship it Monday, does not mean we are done with it. There are pages to extract and load on the web site, staffers to send free copies to, artists and authors to pay, copyright forms to file, and lots of other records and accounting to do.
And of course, other products and projects to completed. I have to start next week on the final stages of Federation Commander: Battleships Attack, and Petrick is demanding a meeting to discuss the final ship selections for SFB Module R11: Support Ships.
And the conference table still needs to be cleaned off, and the new office building in a corner of the warehouse still needs to be erected.
Free stuff for Fed Commander players
STEVE COLE WRITES: Some people do not realize that you can download what amounts to a free copy of part of the FEDERATION COMMANDER game (enough to play a few battles). Go to our Legacy site (www.StarFleetGames.com/fc) and you will find a lot of stuff you can download. Some of those downloads include:
o The free First Missions packet (demo version of Federation Commander).
o Turn guages and firing arcs for the tabletop rules.
o Sample ship cards.
o Wallpaper of game covers.
o Frequently asked questions.
o Information for Retailers.
o The original theatrical trailer (ok, not that, but it WAS the original flyer handed out at trade shows).
o Notes from the game designer (me) on what parts of the older game Star Fleet Battles we decided to include in Federation Commander.
But that's just a start. If you join the Commander's Circle, which is free, you can download the monthly Communique which includes scenarios, tactics, and new ships. You can also access a database of Federation Commander players looking for new opponents (you!).
Graphics Director Matthew Cooper writes:
Have you ever heard of Cafe Press? Cafe Press is a website where you can open up a free online shop and promote products on your website. CafePress creates and sells products with your designs. So upon learning about Cafe Press, Leanna set up an account and I have uploaded several designs for T-shirts, Coffee Mugs, Ornaments, Mousepads, etc.
If you have any questions or comments or would like to see something on CafePress to buy, Let me know , I will set it up for you!
Products Move Forward
Work on Captain's Log #35, Module R11, and Federation Commander Academy continues apace. SVC has nearly completed the exciting fiction story for Captain's Log, and the covers for the three products are through their initial reviews (the art work has a lot of action).
With all of this, the company continues processing orders thanks to Michael Sparks who works tirelessly in our warehouse. He is in many ways an unsung hero of the company, doing that behind the scenes work that allows the design staff to create the products he packs and ships.
SFB Module R11
Steve Petrick writes:
Most of the SSDs for this product are basically done. They are an eclectic selection of ships, including for most races the "Fast War Cruiser", as sort of light cruiser with power to burn and a somewhat reduced weapons array. There are also small PF tenders, which were the first PF tenders fielded by most races at about the same time they deployed Interceptors. Everyone needed to work out the kinks in just what this new class of ships (Interceptors) would be and how to use them. These test beds led to the better designed true PF tenders, although they themselves remained in service as long as they survived. There are also various other units (like the Federation DWER, i.e., the War Destroyer Escort designed for the Romulan border) for the different races.
Federation Commander Wallpaper
Graphics Director Matt Cooper writes:
Many do not know that we have a page where you can download Federation Commander Wallpaper.
Klingon Border, Romulan Border, Klingon Attack, and Romulan Attack are currently available in the following sizes : 800x600, 1024x768, and 1280x1024.
If there are any other sizes or any other images that you would like to see turned into wallpaper, please feel free to write me at email@example.com and I will get it set up for you.
The Company Picnic
Today is the day, once a year, that we shut down the office and go to the local business-to-business trade show. This show is larger than Gencon, and has hundreds of local businesses offering no end of products and services (and no end of swag, also known as loot, including office supplies, bottled water, pens, note pads, candy, cookies, coupons, assorted free samples, pet toys, discounts on local hotels for romantic getaways, etc.). We look forward to this show every year and, no matter how busy we are, shut down the office and go to the show! We meet a lot of businesses we already do business with and hang around their booths giving testimonials, and meet a lot of businesses that we don't do business with yet, but will by next month! It is the ultimate networking show, and the 12 shopping bags full of loot mean we rarely buy office supplies (although the chocolate lasts only about a week). Steve Petrick and Steve Cole hang around the US Army booth, swapping stories with the recruiting sergeants.
Federation Commander MySpace!
Federation Commander brings you...Federation Commander MySpace!
Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. has a MySpace page! Be our friend and find us! Make comments, and see what's going on with Amarillo Design from another side! Our MySpace page is ran by Matthew (the Graphics Director) so you will get different interaction with Amarillo Design Bureau than you have in the past.
Lies and Damned Lies
An Epublication that I highly respect issues a daily list of military history events.
Today, they listed "1985, Ronald Reagan honors German war dead at Bitburg".
Well, that is a LIE, he honored US war dead at a cemetery that included German war dead in a different section. At least it's better than last year, when they said he honored German SS war dead. That one was a DAMNED LIE and I called them on it and they seem to have reduced the entry in the 5 May list to a mere lie. What is it with people insisting on lying about Republican presidents?
Such as their entry from a few days ago where "George Bush declares mission accomplished". No such thing happened. Bush declared the end of major combat operations. He was (his staff must have been drunk) standing on an aircraft carrier under a sign that said "mission accomplished" which was a statement by the aircraft carrier to its own crew about THEIR mission. But the media hates GWB and must repeat this lie until everybody believes it. After those of us who know it's a lie all die, history books will just record the lie.
Makes you wonder about history books, doesn't it?
Federation Ship Names
In a massive project consuming two entire days, we have updated the Federation ship list, assigning hull numbers to ships that never had them and names to no end of missing ships. A complete list of the new additions will be in Captain's Log #35.
FEDERATION COMMANDER: PLAY IT ON LINE
Many people do not know that you can play Federation Commander on-line in real time against live opponents, any time, night or day, for under $4 a month.
Eight years ago, http://www.sfbonline.com/, was created to provide players of Star Fleet Battles with an on-line gaming experience. It was a smash hit as hundreds of gamers joined the battles. Tournaments and other competitions, plus general opening gaming, have gone on around the clock since then.
This successful operation has now been expanded to include Federation Commander!
Now you can play with real live human opponents all over the world in real time 24 hours a day! The computer automates many functions and acts as a friendly assistant for mundane chores.
For the modest subscription fee of less than $4 a month, you have access to all of the ships in the Federation Commander Game System as well as new ships still in playtest and development. The Java Runtime system is compatible with Windows and Macintosh systems.
Never worry about a lack of opponents. Never worry about opponents who don't show up for games day because of silly reasons like family reunions or their own weddings. Don't be cut off from your regular gaming group while on vacations or business trips.
Even better, you can join in on-line tournaments and campaigns, and your victories will add up to a higher and higher average score!
The system also allows you to chat with friends, taunt your enemies, and watch other players fight their own savage battles. (Why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from someone else's?) This "observer" system allows players of either game to learn the ins and outs of the other game before deciding to invest time and money in it.
So come to www.sfbonline.com right away. You can even fly the Federation CA or Klingon D7 as a free trial, or watch any game in play. Legendary SFB aces and new Fed Commander aces strut their stuff in combat arenas all the time, and you can learn from the best.
The other web site
Steve Cole writes: Matt has done an incredible job with the old web site, making it easier to use and just prettier. If you haven't been there in forever, go try the new front page (www.StarFleetGames.com) and notice the button for the site map. The site map is a collection of buttons to interesting pages, and the master index (accessible from the buttons down the right side) is a list of every single thing anywhere inside the site with a direct link. No more trying to figure out where that chart or reference document you want is hiding; you have it's home address.
There are a bunch of new "pages under construction" and these will get done when we can.
Back when I worked as a military intelligence analyst, May Day was a big event as we got to see the new Soviet airplanes and tanks. Nothing really new (from my sources I had seen it all years before) but it was fun to see what they wanted to show off, what point they wanted to make.
This May Day morning, I happened to watch Doctor Strangelove on one of the movie channels when I woke up too early and couldn't sleep. I will say what I have said before; this is two movies. The "war room" is basically a comedy, but the "bomber crew" is one of the best war movies ever made. Men doing their jobs under impossible conditions. The final scene when the pilot climbs into the bomb bay to rewire the door motors and allow the bombs to drop was what being a professional military officer is all about. Sure, the cowboy hat was silly (if you were going on a suicide mission would you care what anybody thought about your hat?) but watch that crew do their jobs when the plane was hit and almost shot down.