about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Monday, November 30, 2009

This week at ADB, Inc., 22-28 November 2009

Steve Cole reports:

This was Thanksgiving week, and we were thankful for the huge volume of mail orders for the new products. It took us all of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to catch up, and we had more orders going out on Friday. (Even today, Monday the 30th, there are tons of orders to ship.) We did finish the CL#40 supplement and the CL#40 large print edition on Sunday, so those went out on time on Monday.

The weather was clear and cool all week (overnight temps dropped to freezing).

I continued my exercise program, doing two laps around the block with Petrick every day that I was at the office, and taking Ramses hunting on the days I stayed home.

More ships went to FCOL this week, including the Hydran CWS, Kzinti DF, and Old Galaxy Pirate Destroyer.

I found a new Sudoku site since the old one won't talk to my Mac any more. I'm running 5-7 minutes, but this one doesn't use the brute force, trial-and-error method; I have to solve them properly.

Eric got a bunch of stuff uploaded, including the Captain's Log Index (updated for CL #40), the Starmada ships from CL#40, the Fed Commander Scenario Database, Klingon Army enlisted rank insignia, the first draft of the Gazetteer, the all-aces list, and the ship cards from Communique #41.

I had a nice chat with Ross at Lion Rampant, resolving the issues that interrupted our Canadian distribution.

Tony Thomas sent the revised Juggy masters to Bruce, so we should have pre-production ships in time for your Christmas tree.

We were going to take a four-day weekend, but Petrick and I snuck in for an hour on Thursday, Leanna and I worked most of Friday, and we all worked most of Saturday.

We shot and uploaded our first two YouTube marketing videos on Saturday.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

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, Andy Palmer for Prime Directive d20, Gary Plana for GURPS Prime Directive, Richard Sherman for Star Fleet Battle Force, and Mike Filsinger for STAR FLEET BATTLES.

Frank Brooks runs the Play-by-Email system as a volunteer. Paul Franz charges barely enough for the On-Line game system (for SFB and FC) to pay the server costs. Mark Tutton does made-to-order decals for our Starline miniatures at a cost that barely covers his costs.

Federation & Empire would not exist without Chuck Strong (a real-world colonel from Space Command) in charge of the overall game system. He keeps his staff (Mike Curtis, Ryan Opel, Scott Tenhoff, 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 who do specific things (and sometimes a wide variety of things) for us including Jean Sexton (Vice President of Proofreading and Product Professionalization); John Berg and Mike Incavo (Galactic Conquest Campaign); and John Sickels, Matthew Francois, Jonathan Thompson, and Loren Knight (Prime Directive). 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.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Stephen V. Cole writes:

I see these things in TV Guide where they ask some TV star what he watches on TV. I think the idea is dumb since I don't really care what actors do (only what characters do). But since TV Guide does it, maybe my fans care what I watch on TV. Here goes:
Amazing Race: I watch this show, but Leanna does not. She stopped watching two seasons ago when the husbands and wives kept screaming at each other. I get tired of the PC requirement for assorted lifestyles and am annoyed that so few actually married couples are included.

Beckett: My absolute favorite show. A savvy and sexy female detective solves cases while being annoyed by her comical sidekick, a writer named Castle. Nathan Fillion is a hoot, and his Halloween costume was a much appreciated love note to the fans. Now, if we could just get Firefly back on the air.

Bones: I just to love this show, but after the "dream" episode, it just got annoying. Let the two of them fall in love and get married and it would be a better show. At least, let the rich lab guy and the artist girl get married; they deserve happiness and nobody can be blamed for wondering if the love of your live just might betray you someday under some circumstance.

Cold Case: One of Leanna's shows that I watch. The character I liked most (the black female detective) seems to have been dropped from the show. I try to like that skinny blonde who is the main character but I just cannot imagine a fragile porcelain doll like her as a cop. I stop watching and delete any of their civil rights episodes. I don't watch TV to be preached at about the country's racist past.

CSI: Miami: I like this show a lot after they got rid of that Russian-Cuba guy who was chasing Amanda Proctor and got a new actor who can actually act. Of the three, this has the best theme song.

CSI: New York: I like about half of the people on this show, and won't forgive them for kiling off Flack's girlfriend, Angel. It does seem better written than the other two.

CSI: Vegas: I like all of the characters and actors, but much of the zing has gone out of this show without Grissom, and I didn't even like him much. He was just the glue who held the show together.

Dave Ramsay: Leanna and I love his show, although Leanna refuses to watch the interviews or debt free Friday.

Deadliest Catch: One of my favorite shows, and I cannot wait for the next season.

Defying Gravity: One of the best shows on TV, but it died because the network never really wanted it and never even tried to promote it. That it wasn't moved to SciFi is more than a tragedy.

Destination Truth: A paranormal investigation show played more for laughs than anything. The hero is a joke, and not in a good way, but Jael saves the show.

Dollhouse: one of the best shows on television. It needs to get picked up by SciFi, which also needs to pick up Firefly and Defying Gravity. And no, I refuse to refer to that channel by that new logo they came up with.

Dragon's Den: The original British version of Shark Tank. I love shows about new business ideas and entrepreneurs.

Eastwick: I am annoyed that this excellent show with wonderful actors was canceled. It is particularly annoying that this show is labeled as a ripoff of Charmed, when in fact Charmed was ripped off from the original Eastwick movie that nobody noticed.

Flash Forward: The new version of Lost, but it hasn't gotten annoying yet. I always want to watch this, but Leanna only tolerates it.

Forgotten: One of my favorites, but I have two questions. First, shouldn't the stuff this bunch does have already been done by real cops? Second, the liability issues are horrific. The first time one of these people gets killed, expect a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the police department.

Grey's Anatomy: Once my favorite show. It hasn't gotten worse, but it is just like a well-worn pair of comfortable shoes. The "post-it note marriage" is just stupid. The Chief needs to call them in and say "HR insists that you actually get married" and they need to say "Oh, yeah, we did that a year ago, we went to the JP one afternoon."

Hell's Kitchen: One of my favorites. If Hitler could cook, he'd be Gordon Ramsay.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent: If I could figure out when this thing is on, I'd watch it more often, but only the episodes without that D'nofrio guy. That actor has too big an ego for me.

Law & Order: SVU: My favorite of the three, mostly because of Olivia.

Law & Order: Very enjoyable.

Lobstermen: They're trying to cash in on the Deadliest Catch craze, and it's not really working, but I do watch it.

Lock and Load: I will watch anything R. Lee Ermy does, but this is one of his better efforts.

Lost: Please tell me that this annoying nightmare will end soon! I cannot stop watching it, but I stopped enjoying it a very long time ago.

Mary Queen of Shops: One of my favorite shows. I love her and I love the business turnaround format.

Mentalist: One of the best and cleverest shows on TV. This is of course a ripoff of Psyche, but done as a drama not a comedy, and it's just a lot better. I like Lisbon almost as much as Beckett.

Monsterquest: If they'd just find a monster, this would be a better show. I hate how they drag out the investigation as it produces underwhelming results.

Mysteryquest: An attempt to get more mileage out of the Monsterquest format. Watchable, but you know that they aren't really going to find anything. I understand that they have to play to the paranormal audience since the skeptics won't waste their time watching this kind of stuff, but I do wish they'd just come out and say "This is a load of nonsense promoted by people who write and sell books about the paranormal."

NCIS: LA: I tried to like this show, but I do not like a single one of the characters on it, and most of this first season is stacking up on Tivo unwatched.

NCIS: Used to be one of my favorite shows, but it has been on too long and I'm tired of it. I love Ziva but the plot lines around her simply make no sense.

Nostradamaus Effect: I watch this mostly for laughs. I know they have to play to the gullible people who eat this nonsense up, but it's still nonsense.

Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares: I love both the American and British versions. I'd never eat anything that guy cooks, but I love how he turns businesses around.

Sanctuary: I quit watching this mess on the third episode. I mention it here only because I want this badly written and badly concepted mess canceled so that Amanda Tapping will be moved to a better show.

Shark Tank: The pale American copy of Dragon's Den, it's still very watchable.

Smallville: Once Leanna's favorite show that she had to drag me to watch, we finally started on this season (eight episodes were in Tivo) and Leanna herself says that this season is just stupid.

Stargate Universe: I just don't like anybody but the colonel, and just hate the concept of the show. The two part time-loop show remains on Tivo and I'm not at all sure Leanna and I will even finish it.

Survivor: I still watch it, but am years beyond enjoying it, and I cannot wait for it to be canceled.

Suze Ormon: Leanna and I love her and her show, and just want to strangle these idiots who got into so much debt. Leanna and I could qualify to buy anything, because we didn't spend more than we had.

Swords: They're trying to cash in on the Deadliest Catch craze, and it's not really working, but I do watch it.

V: I am really liking this show, far more than the original, but then, Morena Baccarin is a dish. Leanna still likes the original better. The new plot twists are making it very interesting.

Friday, November 27, 2009

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. 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 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.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Sometimes we get in a hurry in our passage through life. When we do, we may become so focused on a goal that we don't see anything but the goal and the fact we haven't made it there yet. Perhaps it is a good thing that we have a holiday which reminds us to slow down (who could hurry when he's stuffed full of turkey?) and notice all the good things in life.

I wondered what people in ADB, Inc. would give thanks for and asked them.

Steven Petrick responded, "I am thankful that there are still men and women who will step up and defend the United States from those who would do it harm."

Steve Cole quickly answered, "I am thankful for my customers, the staff, my employees, my family, my friends, and most of all Leanna."

Mike Sparks also had friends and family on his mind when he wrote, "I'm thankful for my friends, for those that I have met through this year, and my family -- those that live close and those that live far."

Eric Olivarez wrote, "Just wanted to give my thanks to all the wonderful people I work with here at ADB, Inc., to all who serve our country and fight for our freedom, and to all my great friends who always keep a smile on my face. I'm thankful for having a loving and caring mother, and a brother who will always be there for me no matter what. I'm thankful for having a roof over my head, and the awesome food my mother cooks for me every night, but most of all I am thankful for being able to live one more day with good health and a bright future ahead of me."

And me? This year I have looked at the world through a different lens. I'm thankful for my friends and family, for having a home for me and my furkids, for my health, and for the joy that I feel each day when I see something that is right in the world, be it the smile of a child or the look of enlightenment when a student sees the answer.

What about you? Reach out and tell someone that you are thankful they are in this world. By sharing that, you will brighten another person's day.

We at Adb, Inc. hope that you enjoy this day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Steve Cole reports:

Whenever we finish a product (that is, hand it over to the printer and start shipping orders), we do the FLAP (Finish Like A Pro). This originally began as a self-defense system, in that customers were convinced that the day after one product was released was the perfect day to bombard us with requests for various things, submissions of various items for future products, or general requests for attention to whatever thing mattered most to them. The FLAP list meant that we could push aside those requests in order to truly "finish" the product. Quickly, however, the FLAP list evolved in a serious professional management tool and a part of our marketing and management system.

On 16 November, we released Captain's Log #40, Squadron Box #25, Squadron Box #26, Border Box #9, and the Klingon F5W Squadron. These were, in some ways, complex products, since each had many parts.

For the miniatures, we had to make sure that we had enough clamshells, foam packing, and stands. We had to actually get the new and existing minis produced and sent to us. That was complex in that we had to calculate how many we might need for the initial sales, and how many of each we already had (if any). We had to get the cover art done (and done over when we found out that we used the old list of ships instead of the revised list, which also caused problems in that we ordered some of the wrong ships and had to get more ships ordered and sent in).

Captain's Log is of course a gigantic jigsaw puzzle, and we had to get all of the elements and articles not simply done, but tested, proofread, and reviewed. Part of finishing a Captain's Log (usually on the last day) is to figure out the term paper promotion ranks and the campaign ribbons for who worked on the product. After we select the Term Papers, Command Notes, and Tactical Notes for publication, Steve Petrick takes the "approved but not used" papers and puts them into the file for the next issue. (After the new papers are graded for the issue, they are mixed into the file with the previously approved papers, in order of highest grades and then in order by how long they've been in the file. If you had a paper graded for CL #40 which got approved, it might not have been published if you already had an approved but unpublished paper with a higher score or an earlier date in Petrick's file.) He also sets aside the rejected papers (both those that failed due to rules errors and those that were not illegal but just didn't get a high enough grade to be published) for me to use in the Supplemental File.

Somehow, it all came together, and all five products were released on time, on 16 November. That, however, was only the start of "finishing" the products.

We normally put new products on the shopping cart the day that we send them to wholesalers. This is partly a self-defense system, in that if something caused a delay of the products, we don't want orders sitting around not getting sent. We ship mail orders seven days after we ship the wholesale orders, so that in theory no one could get it faster by mail order than in their store. (Retailers are fussy about that; they don't want us stealing business from them.) We don't take orders weeks in advance because it confuses the bank software (we don't want to charge your card until we know positively that we will ship the product on a certain date). As soon as the product is on the printers, we start loading it onto the web store.

Getting new products into the web store is not a simple thing, or a single action. First, we have to create the basic product listing (which is held in an inactive state until finished). Somebody (usually me) has to write the product description. Eric (the Graphics Director) has to upload cover art or other photos. Leanna (who knows more about the shopping cart than I do) then has a ton of work to do. She has to set up the special things, like loose-leaf and hole-punched editions, the large-print edition, packs of separate pages, and so forth. She also has to edit the cart front page to list the new products, and double-category them into the "new products" button. Leanna also files the copyright documents.

I actually have a bunch of work to do in the five or six days immediately after "finishing" a product (and before mail order shipments begin). First, I have to write the "just released" press alert and have Mike Sparks send that to the media, retailers, and gamers. Even though the next issue of Hailing Frequencies won't be sent for two or three weeks, I have to write the "big news this month" part right now and send that to Eric. I also have to send an updated listing of our entire product line to the Greater Games Industry Catalog. They only print four times a year (and we release new products and send them an updated file ten times a year) but at least they always have a file that's less than a month old.

In the case of a Captain's Log, I have to do the large print edition (which takes about a day) and the Supplemental File (which takes at least three days). Those have to be ready to be printed before "Mail Order Release Day". Somewhere during those first frantic days, I upload the text version of the table of contents, and the list of published Term Papers, Command Notes, and Tactical Notes. (People want to know if they got published and got promoted.)

Somewhere in this first post-release week, I have to figure out who gets a free copy or a check, and issue vouchers to have those sent, and confirm shipping addresses. This time, I did that after doing the Supplemental File and large print edition, which caused most of the staff to send frantic emails asking why they had not received an email about their free copies yet.

Somewhere around the end of the first week, we update the website's Just Released page and Product Schedule page.

In the second week, I have more to do. (Some of it even gets done during odd moments in the first week.) I have to update the index of Captain's Log articles and have Eric post the PDF. (This got done on the 24th, 8 days after the "release" of the product.) I have to prepare the Table of Contents, the Input Guide, and the SFBF pages for uploading as PDFs. (This time, those three got uploaded during the first week). I have to update the F&E Ship Information Table and the Federation Commander Master Ship chart and upload the new versions. I prepare any errata and rulings files from the issue and post them (or give them to Eric to post) in the relevant areas. The low-resolution version of the Supplemental File is given to Eric to upload. The text version of the catalog has to be updated and given to Eric to upload.

Just after the product is sent to wholesalers (i.e., just after the official release date), Mike Sparks (who is the Customer Support Director) emails the various magazines and websites that do game reviews to check on the previous products we sent them. If they have reviewed the last products we sent them, we send them the new product. If they haven't, we don't.

All during the two weeks before and the two weeks after the release of a Captain's Log, we're actually starting the next issue. Articles and other items that get "bumped" are moved to the file folder for the next issue as we finish this issue. After it is finished, I set up the page layout files in the computer for the next issue, and go ahead and place in there any bumped items, or overflow items. I also set up things like "ten questions" so that I can accumulate any good questions that show up during the next six months. Traditionally, on the Saturday after a Captain's Log is released (two days before Mail Order Release Day) we have the first planning meeting for the next Captain's Log.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Stephen V. Cole writes:

We have merged the two websites. The combined site now has a new front page, site map, and index, making it a lot easier to use. You are welcome to comment on the changes, but more importantly, please suggest changes, and check the changes we make.

Here is my e-mail: Design@StarFleetGames.com or you can comment on either forum.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This week at ADB, Inc., 15-21 November 2009

Steve Cole reports:

This was the week that we shipped wholesaler orders for Captain's Log #40, Border Box #9, Squadron Boxes #25 and #26, and the Klingon F5W squadron. Getting these things out was a chore that overwhelmed Mike, so Petrick and I chipped in to pack minis and fold covers. Orders were very heavy.

The weather all week was clear and chilly.

During this week, I worked on the FLAP list for CL #40 and the four new minis. I put them on the shopping cart, had Eric upload photos and cover art, and had Leanna add the options for various formats of Captain's Log. I completed the Supplemental File and the large print edition of Captain's Log #40. I sent staffers and contributors notice to claim their freebies, and had Leanna send checks to artists and writers. We sent out the "just released" alert to stores and the media. Eric uploaded the table of contents, the Input Guide, and the SFBF playtest cards. I updated the MSC for FC and sent it to Eric to upload. I updated the online text catalog and the GGIC catalog listing. I had Eric update the product schedule page and just released page on the website.

I set up all of the format files for Captain's Log #41. Petrick had me read the Battle Group set-up notes so that he could start this project and finish it early.

After the Sudoku site I was using updated (and my Mac 9 can no longer read it) I found another Sudoku site so I can keep up the doctor-ordered Alzheimer's prevention plan. I kept up reading FYEO. Petrick and I increased our daily walk to include two laps around the block.

Leanna and I had more meetings with the contractor who will (sooner or later) build her new bathroom.

At the Thursday meeting, Mike Sparks brought up the never-pursued idea of doing YouTube videos to promote our products. During that meeting, Leanna said she thought that the CapLog Supplemental Files should no longer be free uploads, starting with CL #41. Too much work goes into them, and they have too much good stuff.

We finally got the new rollers installed in the booklet maker so it will run properly again.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Finishing Captain's Log #40; Starting Captain's Log #41

This is Steven Petrick posting:

Today is Sunday, the 22nd of November. Somehow we have completed all of the Captain's Log #40 items (the book itself, the supplement, and the ten-point edition) in time to ship begin shipping tomorrow. It gives us the satisfaction of a job well done, and we know as soon as things go out someone will find a typo.

Still, we are happy to have provided this product to you, our customers. And surely soon the Fed Commander players will see Romulan conversions of Klingon F5Ws, just as the SFB players are about to see them in this issue. And surely they will wend their way into Romulan Armada down the road. While we have not asked Paul Franz to add the ships to the online games, I have no doubt he is already making his own plans.

I have to wonder if the Space Manta will, itself, undergo further development, perhaps providing a challenge for battleships (that weak HET ability will really hobble them in action against the Space Manta right now).

We are, of course, already "dragging our nets" (to use an old fishing term) looking for a good fiction story (we would actually like to have two or three in the can so that, not only can we do Captain's Log #41, but provide the art for Captain's Log #42 as early as possible, and be able to start begging for a story for Captain's Log #43). Good fiction stories are always a problem.

Good scenarios are a problem too. Too many submitters think all that is necessary is to put so many ships in the scenario that no one will play it. We need small and well thought out and easy to play scenarios -- something more than just "these five ships fought these five ships" since any player can set that up under (SG2.0). So what is needed is something to make it interesting and provide a challenge, preferably for both players, or a least a good solitaire scenario.

Well . . . as you can see my thoughts are already directed towards Captain's Log #41, so much so that I intend to have the battle group instructions up within the next couple of days (if they are not already up by the time you read this).

Saturday, November 21, 2009



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 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 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 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 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.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Stephen V. Cole writes:

Our website is vast and full of fun, useful, and interesting documents, charts, play aids, illustrations, and other things. Most of the best stuff is found at: http://starfleetgames.com/playerresources.shtml which has lists of resources and links to other lists of resources. Take a look down the list and see if there are documents you always wanted and could never find or documents which you never knew you were looking for.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Steve Cole reports:

One morning of late, I came to work to find a lady's purse laying on the sidewalk in front of the building. There is a bar next door, and I presumed some woman had dropped it on the way to her car. I picked it up and took it inside, intending to look for a name and contact her to come get it.

The purse was empty, so I could not proceed with my original plan. A full purse with money in it is a lost-and-found situation, but an empty purse is probably evidence of a crime. The strap on the purse was torn, which could have been wear and tear, or perhaps the owner discarded a worn-out purse and it somehow landed here, but my guess is that this was the end of a trail that began where a crime happened (assault or purse snatching) and ended on my doorstep. I called the police, who sent a patrol car to pick it up. They did not tell me if there were some nearby crime and I did not ask. It wasn't any of my business to supervise the police. I gave them all of my information, as my fingerprints have been on file since I joined the military in 1971. If they check for fingerprints, mine can be easily excluded, although I joked with Leanna that I'd probably end up in jail for whatever happened to the poor lady.

On its own, an empty purse isn't much. It's not even proof that a crime actually happened. (Perhaps the worn-out purse was discarded honestly, and someone saw it in a dumpster and thought he had gotten away with something, only to find it empty and leave it on my doorstep by happenstance.) The purse was found with a lady's magazine, which makes me think that the purse was either dropped or stolen. (The purse was easily large enough to hold the magazine.) Combined with other information not known to me (but presumably known to the police) this may be important. Or maybe it's just a big waste of time.

The point is that in such cases, the proper thing to do is call the police. This may be nothing, but it may be something, and the only people who would know are the police. If a crime was committed, they already know where and when it happened, and knowing where the purse ended up (presuming that the speculative victim identifies the purse as hers) may at least tell the police which direction the mugger/thief went. Maybe CSI Amarillo can find the criminal's fingerprints on the bag? I don't know; it's not my business. But I did the responsible thing. I called the police, and (having disturbed the evidence) gave them enough information to eliminate any problems I caused and create a chain of custody.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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 website 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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


ADB, Inc., has released FIVE new products.

CAPTAIN'S LOG #40, SKU #5740, $19.95
Space Manta: A previously unknown monster appears, and the Federation X-ship Colin Powell is fighting for its life and the lives of millions of colonists. The issue also includes new ships, scenarios, and updates for Federation Commander, SFB, F&E, Starmada, and SFBF.

KLINGON F5W War Destroyer SKU #0397, $19.95
The powerful destroyer that the Klingons introduced late in the General War is now introduced to your gaming table. Ready to guard a flank, protect a convoy, or slip through a gap in the lines to strike hard and deep behind Federation lines. Sold in a three-ship package.

Squadron Box #25: SKU #4325, $34.95
Three more Lyran ships (CL, NCA, DW), along with the Klingon F5W and the WYN FF.

Squadron Box #26: SKU #4326, $34.95
Five more ships for the Hydran fleet: Ranger, Tartar, Iroquois, Rhino Hunter, and Buffalo Hunter.

BORDER BOX #9 SKU #4409, $99.95
Play to Win! Here to support the expanded Hydran, Lyran, WYN, and Klingon fleets from Hydran Attack and Booster Packs #25-#27, this box includes 24 pewter starships from the Alpha Octant's always turbulent western theater. The Four Powers War never ended.

The End of Captain's Log #40

This is Steven Petrick Posting:

The worst of Captain's Log #40 is past. Shipments to wholesalers are basically under control, although much work on that score, and later shipments to mail order customers, will still have to be done.

SVC is busy getting everyone to submit their contributions to the supplement, and I have just created and provided the last elements of mine that he has asked for. Most of what I needed to give him already existed, so there was little to do on my end.

Tomorrow we will get out the last of the wholesaler orders and be able to take a big breath. We might actually get caught up on TV shows (we have hours of it backlogged on our various systems).

We are, however, already looking forward to the next issue. Some design elements decisions have already been made, and perhaps a new fiction piece will appear soon (or SVC will carry out his threat and write another one himself).

I have already set up the running files for Term Papers, Tactical Notes, and Command Notes, I do not know if I will need to set one up for Klingon Armada, right now SVC seems to want to leave that to the designer of Starmada.

At least we are now in a position to go home at more reasonable hours . . . for a little while at least.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This week at ADB, Inc., 8-15 November 2009

Steve Cole reports:

This was the final week of doing Captain's Log #40 (which is printing down the hall as I compile this summary at 4pm on Sunday the 15th). We had a lot of long nights, mostly due to one of my hard disks rolling over and being dead, but it got done, and it's a very good issue.

We began the "viewpoint experiment," creating a topic on the BBS where only Liberals can post, and one where only Conservatives could post. The theory is to keep people coming back to the site by allowing them to post their views and read the views of those with a similar viewpoint, without getting into arguments. There was a lot of stupid questions by people trying to pretend they didn't understand the rules, but it seems to be working, for now. We did maintain the ban on gun control, abortion, and gay issues.

On Monday, I found an empty lady's purse on the front step and called the police, who came and picked it up.

The weather was good all week. Steve Petrick decided to join me on my daily walk around the block, and by today we decided to start doing two laps. My health has been pretty bad and I'm trying to build it back.

The website where I played sudoku every day for a year stopped talking to my Mac-9, but I found another one.

I began a project to rotate the chairmanship of the company meetings. Petrick did this on Tuesday; Leanna, on Wednesday. I did it on Saturday.

We did get Communique and Hailing Frequencies done on time (the 10th) and the new products press release went out on Thursday.

On Wednesday, we got the biggest Alliance restock this year. Got a surprise phone call from an old State Guard buddy (Bill Dyer).

Getting the three boxes of miniatures out was a circus or maybe a crisis. We kept having to have the art done over but finally got all three covers Friday afternoon. Somewhere along the week we discovered that we had mis-ordered some ships and had to have two emergency boxes sent for delivery next Tuesday. (We have enough to do the Monday shipments.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Free stuff for FEDERATION COMMANDER players!

STEVE COLE WRITES: 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). Go to 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 gauges and firing arcs for the tabletop rules.

o Sample Ship Cards.

o Wallpapers 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 (Steve Cole) 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 Communiqué which includes scenarios, tactics, and new ships. You can also access a database of FEDERATION COMMANDER players looking for new opponents (you!).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Captain's Log #40 Approaches Launch

This is Steven Petrick Posting:

Yes, SVC and I are still here plowing away. We might get out of here by 2130, but I would not count on it.

There exists at this time a complete, printed out, draft of the book, but of course in paging through it a few errors are found here, and a few errors are found there, that have to be corrected.

Yes, I know we have never printed a perfect error free book, but it does not stop us from trying to keep the error rate down to as low a roar as possible.

SVC has tried a few new things here and there, and is pleased with the results (we think you will like them too).

Mike Sparks spent much of today making the final preparations for a busy day tomorrow. Things are bagged, stacked,and staged for optimum production. We have problems (a mistake was made in the miniatures we ordered, which has left us short handed on what we need, but it was discovered and an emergency restock of the short items was sent, and we have every reason to believe that we will have the required miniatures on time to fill all of the wholesaler orders next week . . . which in turn means we will have plenty for the mail orders the following week.

Eric Olivarez and Leanna have done their bits to keep things rolling and to insure that all that needs doing is done.

Jean Sexton has threatened many long range Gibbsing's if we do not make the schedule, so much fear is felt in the design offices.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Captain's Log #40 Nears the Finish Line

This is Steven Petrick Posting:

Well, we lost time due to SVC's hard drive giving up the ghost (fortunately we were able to recover the data), so despite our best efforts, here we are again, working late hours to try to finish Captain's log and get it to press. We really, really, really did plan on having about a 100 copies already printed by now, but instead we are trying to finish it. We have all 120 pages in draft, but there are still final bugs and edits and reports to deal with. SVC is on the phone with Jean Sexton even now running corrections on files that were sent to us.

I am going to avoid discussing what I have been doing, principally because it would sound too much like I was bragging about things that took far, far, far more work and time to do than they should have.

I do want to make sure that a thank you goes out to all the authors, both of the fiction stories, and the tactics articles, however small they were in many cases, that make Captain's Log possible, and sometimes surprise even me with things about the game that I did not know.

The Supplement for Captain's Log #40 is coming along better because we have a better idea of what we are going to put in it, and set those things aside as we go. We might even have it out for Christmas.

Mike Sparks is here, working on checking miniatures and getting them packed so that they will also ship (yes, even Mike Sparks has to put in late hours). We have to send Leanna home before dark, so she is not here except in spirit (and our memories of the threats of many "Gibbsings" if we do not get our jobs done).

Looks like we will make the shipping schedule right now, by dint of hard work and late hours.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Stephen V. Cole 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. Cafe Press creates and sells products with designs provided by various companies. So upon learning about Cafe Press, Leanna set up an account and we have uploaded several designs for T-shirts, coffee mugs, Christmas ornaments, mousepads, etc.

See www.CafePress.com/starfleetuniv for these items. And take a look at our new I-heart-Klingons T-shirt!

If you have any questions or comments or would like to see something on Cafe Press, let me know and I will try to set it up for you! Email me at: Design@starfleetgames.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering and Thanking Our Veterans

Jean Sexton writes:

Another Veterans Day is upon us. This holiday is one of the “forgotten” holidays it seems, since it hasn’t been moved to add on to a weekend. It means far more than just great buys at the mall, though. It is a day to honor those men and women who have served in our military. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the ideals of those services.

"Always Ready, Always There"
-- US National Guard Motto

Founded in 1636, the National Guard is frequently overlooked, except in time of disaster. These "weekend warriors" train hard to be ready and have been called upon more and more in recent years. Their unique civilian skills are highly appreciated in countries where they are helping rebuild the infrastructure. In these countries and at disaster sites, they risk their lives helping others and they know that they could lose their lives so that others might live. We should honor the veterans of this service by reaching out, not only to our neighbors and co-workers, but to others in need.

"This We'll Defend"
-- US Army Motto

Through the years, members of the armed services have sworn to "defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". It is a lifelong oath. The Constitution defines the best of the United States, what our founders wanted our country to be. Many members of the armed services have given their life to defend our country; others stand ready to if they are called to stand between our country and enemies. We should honor the veterans of this service by striving to make them proud as we defend our country to the best of our own abilities, be it by word or deed.

"Honor, Courage, & Commitment"
-- US Navy Core Values

The people who have served in peace and in war, in cold wars and shooting wars have made a commitment to their service. They have served not only in fair weather, but in the stormiest of times. Most have served with honor and courage. We should honor these veterans by committing to make these values part of our personal life.

"Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful)
-- US Marines Motto

In many ways this motto is symbolic of the brotherhood of the Marine Corps; it is a way of life. As an outsider looking in, I have noticed that the kinship of the Marines seems to transcend all of the services. The people who have served carry the responsibility of the oath they swore. We should honor the Marines by being faithful to our country.

"Integrity First, Service before Self, Excellence in All We Do"
-- US Air Force Core Values

These values are indeed hard ones to live up to and challenge us to soar. Integrity, service, and excellence seem to slide in this day and age where speed and "getting by" seem to be the norm. And yet the people who serve in the armed forces take on these obligations, even though it could it mean death. We should honor these veterans by striving day by day to make sure these core qualities are reflected in our work and are a part of our life.

"Semper Paratus" (Always Ready)
-- US Coast Guard Motto

It sounds easy, being ready. And yet, there is the "always" part to make it more difficult. The people who serve in the armed forces do so not when it is convenient, not when it is fun, not when it is fair sailing, but "always", even if it means giving up life or health or being with family. We should honor the veterans by trying our best to be worthy of the sacrifices they have made and will make.

We cannot let what veterans have given be forgotten, for if we do not remember and honor those sacrifices that were made and will be made, we do not diminish those who went before, we diminish ourselves. So take a moment to thank the veterans around you, the people who served; teach your children to honor them, since the sacrifices they have made make it possible for us to be who we are today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Steve Cole reports:

We have released this month's issue of the Hailing Frequencies newsletter and this month's Communique. The newsletter has the latest information on release schedules and company news, as well as lots of other useful content. It also has links to the new Communique, a free PDF newsletter which is full of good things for Federation Commander players, including new ships, a new scenario, and updated schedules and rules. The newsletter also has links to the most recent Star Fleet Alerts, the press releases that tell your store when to expect new products.

Monday, November 09, 2009

THIS WEEK at ADB, Inc., 1-8 November 2009

Steve Cole reports:

This was the first of the final two weeks of working on Captain's Log #40, and most of the week went into that project. We did well early in the week, but ran into some snags on Friday and by Sunday were just beyond 72% finished. (The goal for that point was 80%, and there are going to be some long days in the subsequent week.)

The weather was pretty good for November. Most days reached the 70s but a couple of mornings were in the 40s.

I managed to keep up on Email and FYEO this week. I did manage to get an Alert out on Marketing Monday, some play aids and the new FC MSC done on Customer Request Wednesday, and the iPhone contract finished on Contract Friday. I took a walk around the block a few times to try to build up enough stamina to actually exercise, and Petrick joined me a couple of times. The week's three staff meetings were very brief as we all knew what we were doing.

John Sickels stopped by on Tuesday during his annual trip to Arizona, and we enjoyed a nice dinner. Petrick and I played Space Hulk again on the second Wednesday Game Night. Leanna, Petrick, and I went to the T-party on Thursday but did not stay very long as we had work to do.

Leanna and I met twice with the architect who is planning her new bathroom. My score on long-range off-hand target shooting remained in the low 70s.


Stephen V. Cole 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 graphics@StarFleetGames.com and I will get it set up for you.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Another Day at ADB, inc.

This is StevenPetrick posting.

There is little to report except that SVC and I spent much of the day working on things Captain's Log.

One unusual event was that one of my father's brothers (i.e., an uncle) called to say high. He lives in Tennessee, and would like for me to come visit. Tennessee is where he has chosen to retire, having spent most of his life in Pennsylvania in the Quakertown and Allentown area (my father grew up in Quakertown, mom got to Quakertown a little later in life after her father left the Navy).

One of the things that has always been part of America is that we are a very mobile society. Most of us have people relatively close to us in blood relation who are very distant from us (in terms of real miles, not in terms of relations) in day to day life.

One of the good things to report on Captain's Log is that the cover art arrived today, and SVC and I both approved it, so the cover should go to press tomorrow, and hopefully we will get it back in time (properly scored and trimmed) to meet the schedule.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Work on CL#40 Continues

This is Steven Petrick posting:

Work continuous apace on Captain's Log #40. Our biggest fear was that we might not get the art for the cover on time, and we have just heard from the artist that we will have it tomorrow or Monday (which will make the big #1 crush to get it to the printers).

We are doing our best to meet the revised schedule.

I just finished cleaning up and checking the battle groups. Sadly, I had to reject one, rather than letting the author have an opportunity to try to fix it, because there is just no time to get a revision and then check it again on the schedule (my original schedule gave me half a month to do things like that, I do try to work with the submitters).

Both SVC and I are pretty stressed out, and worn out, and are heading home now. We will try to get a fresh start tomorrow (what is this rumor we keep hearing that there are people that do not work on Saturday and Sunday?).

Friday, November 06, 2009


Steve Cole writes:

I constantly see things on industry mailing lists and in my Email where people want advice on entering the game business. The best advice I have is my free book which you can find at www.StarFleetGames.com/book as a nice multi-chapter PDF.

In one recent case, an individual wrote to say: "I just lost my job and have decided to be a game designer for a living. I need a stable income of $4,000 a month. How long would it take me to get there? Three months? Six?"

I laughed and cried at the same time. For one thing, I don't make $4,000 a month now and I've been in the industry 28 years. (A few years I have made that much, barely, but not in the current market.) The sad fact is that except for the lucky three or four, game designers won't ever make that much. Worse, you probably cannot make a living as an independent game designer at all, since game publishing companies were (99% of the time) created to publish the owner's games because no other company would publish them.

In another case from some time ago (I'm going to blur some facts here so that nobody can tell who I'm talking about), a young game enthusiast decided to quit his day job and focus his full time efforts on game design and publishing. His wife said that she would allow this only if he "brought home" a paycheck of a defined amount each month. He had some money from an inheritance which was separate property and his wife allowed that he could use this. Well, he went through the nest egg, borrowed money from savings without telling his wife, maxed out the credit card he got for the business, and then got two more cards (those offers in the mail) without telling his wife and maxed them out. All the time (his company lasted 18 months and did a dozen products) he was "bringing home" the required paycheck. His company was making a profit beyond expenses, but not enough to cover the paycheck, but the paycheck continued because (a) his wife insisted and (b) he was sure he would start making more sales any time. One of the credit cards was a $5,000 cash advance spent on advertising (which produced few if any new sales). Every month, he wrote that paycheck but came up short elsewhere. He had established credit with the printers and with the companies that sold him advertising pages so he ended up deeply in debt to the printer and to advertising publishers. Worse, his first product (which sold well enough) ran out of print, but it was going to cost $20K to reprint it and the dwindling rate of sales (nowhere near as good as it had been 18 months earlier) would not support the debt load, but he "had" to reprint it to avoid looking like a company on the way out. Finally, with no more places to borrow money and creditors threatening legal action, he took the case to his wife for a home equity loan. She, of course, had no clue that his company was $40K in debt (for which he was personally liable) or that most of the family savings account was gone. It's a wonder she didn't kill him or leave him, but she did force him out of the game business immediately. He sold out for what he could get and applied that money to the debts. Moral of the story, if you are married, make your wife a part of every business decision and do not keep secrets from her about family money.

In another case (actually, there are four or five of these I have seen, all about the same), an enthusiastic game designer who knew nothing about the industry but was sure his game was the next big thing got a home equity loan, printed thousands of copies of his game, and THEN (and only then) asked other game companies how to contact stores and wholesalers to sell his game. He had no clue what size the market was (few games sell over a couple of thousand copies) or who the wholesalers were or what it would take to get them to buy (some now demand that you pay them $500 for advertising before they will carry your game) or even what the discount structure was (which meant that his cost per game was fairly close to the 40% of the retail price he had printed on the games). Moral of the story, learn as much as you can about the industry before you spend a dime getting into it. GO READ MY BOOK FIRST.

I see lots of gamers who think that running a retail store, and on-line discount store, or a game publishing company involves low work and high reward. It does not. If it did, a lot more people would be in this business.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More Comment's On Game Night

This is Steven Petrick posting.

A little more about Spacehulk.

SVC and I both are having a hard time trying to figure ways around being "butchered in column", which seems to be the only thing that happens. I can only see one real way to advance, and that is to put the gatling gun at the front of a column, followed by the psychic master (whatever he is actually called). Hopefully that would be enough firepower to take a "T" intersection.

The problem is . . . then what?

I may get around the "T", but then I am subject to attack from two directions, and still limited pretty much to just one man firing. With my firepower reduced that much, the ability of the Genestealers to charge into hand-to-hand combat is greatly enhanced. (Quite literally, if it was not for the crossfire I had set up on the hatch SVC was trying to get through, which towards the end included four bolters, the gatling, AND the Psychic guys brain storms (or whatever they are called) I could not have held that room. Again and again I had just barely enough firepower to stop SVC from breaking into the room. I can imagine the disaster that would befall the space Marines if I had only one man able to fire against a column of genestealers. Particularly if they can avoid long range fire by waiting for me to advance towards an intersection (meaning you should only try to advance to a corner, advancing towards the "T" intersection in the middle would have been suicide).

The best plan I can see for the Genestealers right now is to stack up "blips" on all three of the avenues of advance, and then hit all three at the same time. Late in the battle my central position only had two guns (technically the left flank only had two guns also, but it also had the heavy flamer) and two hand to and experts.

Perhaps a simultaneous rush down all three corridors, after stacking up blips outside my line of sight, would lead to victory for the genestealers? The column charge on one end of the line put a lot of pressure there (I seriously thought SVC was going to make it at the rate my weapons would jam), but the limited pressure on the middle and end ultimately allowed me to redeploy the Psychic guy to the right flank in time to "save the day". Seriously, I think if I had not moved him over there when I did, SVC might have broken in and it would have been "very bad".

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Amarillo Design Bureau Game Night #2

This is Steven Petrick posting.

SVC and I conducted the second "Game Night at Amarillo Design Bureau". We again did Space Hulk. Once more, the Space Marines managed a victory. It was all the more dramatic in that the only Genestealer that made it to hand-to-hand combat lost to a common Marine who was not even prepared for hand-to-hand. His weapon jammed, and as the Genestealer closed in, through the hail of storm bolts and gatling bolter fire from the supporting positions (all of which missed), he raised his bolter and brought it down on the Genestealer's head, killing it instantly. (The Marine rolled a 6, and the Genestealer did not beat it with its three dice, a complete surprise to both of us who thought sure the Marine was a goner.) All through the action, that Marine held the most exposed defensive position in the sector under assault, and while his hand-to-hand victory was not the concluding moment of the battle, it was clearly the decisive moment, breaking the morale of the remaining Genestealers. (Okay, so there is no morale factor, but given that two complete hoards of Genestealer assaulted the Marine positions and not only failed to kill a single one, but lost the one and only hand-to-hand fight they achieved . . .)

While there were two hoards, they were going up against the full contingent of Space Marines, and the Marines managed to set up a strong defensive position, and by dint of luck, managed to hold it right to the end (the Gatling was down to just one shot).

Great fun was had at the expense of the most powerful Marine, who earned the immortal name of "Sir Jams A Lot" (his bolter jammed about every other shot it seemed).

We noted the usual problems. The restriction of only one figure in a passage way makes advancing extremely difficult. The Genestealers literally threw almost every Genestealer they had at the Marine right flank, only to see them mercilessly gunned down (towards the end, there were four Marine Bolters blazing away on covering fire at the hatch the Genestealers were trying to come through, the Gatling blazing directly down the corridor hitting any Genestealer trying to enter the room (except the famous one) that the bolters missed, and Sir Jams A Lot using his psychic powers to bombard the Genestealers (he had only two psi points left at the end of the fight, and the Gatling, as noted, had only one shot remaining when the fight ended).

Seriously, neither SVC or I have been able to figure out how to advance with the Marines. The Genestealers, if they opt for defense, can pretty much mass just around the corners until the Marines are close enough they can charge into contact against the lone Marine that can shoot, and things will just go down hill from there for the Marines very fast. I am so aware and fixated on this that I tend to just try to find someplace to dig in and hope the Genestealers attack.

SVC and I discussed that perhaps in this last fight the Genestealers should have redirected the attack towards my left flank, it certainly appeared weaker, even if it did have the heavy flamer.

While I initially sent four marines to each of the three rooms that would make up my front line, eventually having to shift to my right (as I grew increasingly concerned about the intensity of the Genestealer assault) put five men there, four in the middle (only two with bolters), and three on the right (again, only two with bolters, but SVC was very concerned about the Flamer over there on the right). And the set up in the middle room allowed converging cover fire down the corridors from the two flanking rooms across the front of the defenders in the middle room.

My best guess is that he should have attacked on my left, simply because the Flamer, while an area weapon, is not a guaranteed death weapon, and has fewer shots than the Gatling. He might have been able to run it out of fuel sooner, and then overrun the two bolters present before I could shift forces back to that side.

It does seem to comedown to the Genestealers have to trade bodies to run the Marines out of ammo (what SVC was trying to do on the right, and there were times when almost every storm bolter on that side was jammed, but never when it would do him any good).

To be fair, I did offer to take the Genestealers tonight, so that I would have a better chance to see the problems on "the other side of the hill".

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Many people do not know that you can play FEDERATION COMMANDER on-line in real time against live opponents.

Eight years ago, 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 (not to mention Klingon, Romulan, Kzinti, Gorn, Tholian, Orion, and other) 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 FEDERATION COMMANDER aces strut their stuff in combat arenas all the time, and you can learn from the best.

Monday, November 02, 2009

This week at ADB: 26-31 October 2009

Steve Cole reports:

This was the first of the final three weeks of finishing Captain's Log #40. Of course, many pages of this book have already been done, but this is the first week of serious focus on this product. Much of it was spent organizing and inventorying the pages already completed, and seeing what else needed to happen. We finally got the fiction story on Friday night, and that allowed us to order the art for the cover and interior. We seriously must do something better about getting fiction done earlier, but my attempts to write it myself are not always successful and I cannot control what outside writers do. We did reach 42% completion of CL#40 by Saturday night.

The week was clear and cool, usually in the 40s in the morning and warming to the 60s or 70s in the afternoon.

Visitors this week included my cousin Justin Kersey (an engineer) and his lovely wife Cindy. Leanna and I were in New Mexico on Sunday the 25th at the wolf sanctuary.

Eric was busy all week, adding many new documents to the website, including the sublight page, Xander Fulton's countersheet art, and the new Hydran Attack page. I sent out two Star Fleet Alerts and QCed 1100 map panels for Mike.

We got the new masters for Starline 2400. We ordered the F5W into immediate production, and had masters of the metal Juggernaut sent to Tony Thomas for some fixes.

Hydran Attack, Klingons PD20M, the fighter miniatures, and Boosters #25-#27 shipped to mail orders.

The Ship Cards for Booster #92 were finished and sent to the first round of staff checks. I also did the Communique for 10 November and sent it to the staff.

Hounded by my doctor, my wife, and by Jean, I began taking a daily walk around the block. This is supposed to lengthen over time, but right now I'm only lasting five minutes before I have to sit down. My long-range off-hand target shooting score climbed to 81. Petrick and I had the first of the re-started series of Wednesday Game Nights, playing Space Hulk.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Work at ADB, Inc continues

This is Steven Petrick posting.

We are currently focused on Captain's Log #40, which we hope to have completed over the next two weeks. Randy O. Green has provided a fiction story loosely based on the GVX example article that was in Captain's Log #39. We also have an Omega Octant scenario by Scott Moellmer involving the Branthodons. Player requests have led SVC to order that Klingon F5Ws be converted for Romulan service as K5Ws, and SSDs of the two pirate ships of the Tholian Home Galaxy (with much updated rules) have also been done. Battle group tactics articles are being submitted (and are all supposed to be in by tomorrow), and the grading pools of tac notes, term paper, and command notes are also due, so there is much work to be done in the coming days.