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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Steve Cole muses:

Just thinking to myself.

Could somebody adapt that system that trains use (that stop the train if the engineer falls asleep) to my Tivo? I get tired of waking up when it "gongs" at the end of the show that I slept through.

Nobody is going to convince me that the blonde Galactica chick on 24 could have gotten her fake identity approved to work at the Counter Terrorist Unit.

There is a big stink in Texas over "keeping politics out of the textbook selection process" but what never showed up in the media is that the textbook committee is actually removing liberal political propaganda from the books and returning previously deleted stuff like the US constitution and the founding fathers.

Republicans were hardly obstructionist about healthcare reform, calling again and again for tort reform and interstate sales (things the Democrats rejected as that is where their campaign contributions come from). Republicans supported the portability, non-cancelability, and preexisting conditions concepts. What Republicans tried to obstruct was the takeover of the insurance industry by a government bureaucracy with a proven track record of failure.

Can you believe that the people who promulgated the Global Warming Hoax still think they can convince people that it wasn't all a scam to change the way society works?

I can understand that Stephen gets shortened to Steve, and can sort of understand how Anthony becomes Tony and Robert becomes Bob, but why does Richard get shortened to Dick?

Did anybody notice that this year on Kitchen Nightmares uber-chef Gordon Ramsay acts more like a sad and disappointed grandfather than a raving lunatic dictator? There is a lot less screaming and cussing. I think somebody told him he'd be more lovable this way.

Did you ever notice that North Texas is southeast of the northernmost part of Texas and that West Texas is northeast of the westernmost part of Texas? If you really want to insult a Texan, tell him that he's from Baja Oklahoma.

I am a big fan of Dave Ramsey (the get out of debt guru) but then I paid off my last debt about the same time he went bankrupt (over twenty years ago). That is when he learned that debt doesn't work, something my parents taught me a long time earlier. I support his "baby steps" concept to a point, but think you should pay off the highest interest rate first and that every month ten percent of your "Baby Step Two extra money to pay off debt" should be added to the Baby Step One emergency fund.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In Praise of Our Volunteers

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

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

Mike West answers rules questions on FEDERATION COMMANDER. Mike Curtis does the same thing for Federation & Empire, Jonathan Thompson and Jean Sexton 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. Bob Pomroy 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, Thomas Mathews, and Stew Frazier) busy moving projects forward.

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

We have other staffers 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); Daniel Kast (Klingon Armada); 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.

Monday, March 29, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 21-28 March 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather was decent this week, mostly in the 40s and 50s. We had an inch of snow Wednesday night, but it was gone by Thursday afternoon. It did rain all day Saturday, which should be good for local farmers.

This week, I reviewed some PD FED stuff for Jean, and worked on the Andromedan rules for FC. I did most of Communique #52 and some work on CL#41. I did Romulan insignia for Jean's PD page.

We are working on contracts to print and distribute games for two more smaller companies, and to bind books for a local printer.

Steven Petrick worked on R12, CL#41, and other things.

Leanna and Mike mostly did orders and inventory work. Mike came up with the idea of doing three more Fed Fleet Boxes and another Klingon box. I came up with the idea of carrier group boxes and empire boxes. Leanna is working up cost figures, but she did the income tax stuff this week so that's still pending.

Joel got a bunch done, including the cover for CL#41 and some website updates.

Jean made great progress on PD FEDS.

The painters took all week to paint the 2/3 of the house that isn't finished remodeling yet, but at the end of the week, everything was done but the kitchen and some electrical work in the den. Leanna and I spent the week camping out in the already finished master suite.

My health remains OK, but I get very tired very fast and for the second week was deaf in one ear due to a wax problem that the doctor said would go away in a few days.

Sunday, March 28, 2010



Can you hear the war, Rolandus?
I remember long ago another frantic fight like this.
In the firefight Rolandus
You were humming to yourself and quickly launching your plasma.
I could hear the distant screams,
And sounds of hailing calls were coming from afar.

They are closer now, Rolandus.
Every hour every minute brings them close to you and me.
I am so afraid, Rolandus.
I am young and full of life and not at all prepared to die,
And I'm not ashamed to say, the roar of warp and plasma almost make me cry.

There were fighters in the air that night, the fires were bright, Rolandus.
Men were dying there for you and me, For sovereignty, Rolandus.
Though I never thought that we would lose, there's no regret.
If I had to do the same one more, I would, Uncle Rolandus.

Now you're old and grey, Rolandus.
And since many years I haven't seen a phaser in your home.
Can you hear them come, Rolandus?
Do you still recall the frightful night we crossed the Neutral Zone?
I can see it in your eyes
How proud you are to fight for control of in our home.



Parody copyright (c) 2008 Stephen V. Cole

Saturday, March 27, 2010

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 and Facebook pages exist 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.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Steve Cole reports:

Here are a few simple ways.

1. Write checks. Seriously, you owe the money, and you cannot even bankrupt your way out of the debt, and it just keeps adding interest, so just cut your lifestyle and put every dollar you can into paying them off. Most of them are structured for twenty years, so an extra dollar paid today is going to save you at least an extra dollar in interest over the payment schedule. It's just like a mortgage. Pay a few dollars extra, or a lot of dollars extra, and the final payment date starts accelerating toward you.

2. Avoid big student loan debts in the first place. For the first two years, live with your parents and attend community college. You'll get better versions of the same general "everybody has to take them" courses. Go to a state school, one close to home. State schools do a fine job and are much cheaper than private schools. Sure, for the top 1/10 of 1% of jobs, Harvard and Stanford may make sense, but you're not going to get THOSE jobs anyway, so get the same degree at State University or State Tech and save money. If you can go to a four-year school and still live with mom and dad, do it. A lot of student loan debt is living expenses. Too much student loan debt consists of living it up expenses. Here's a hint. If you spend more time at parties than in class, you're doing it wrong. Live simply and modestly. Don't put four trips to Cancun on your student loans!

3. Get a degree that is going to get you a job. Basket Weaving and History of Polka Music are not going to get you a job, and are going to be regarded as a soft easy course you took so you could just party, party, party and avoid being a grownup for as long as you could. Get a degree that gets you a job. If you just don't have a passion for medicine, engineering, law, or accounting, get a business degree, which at least has some skills you can use to (wait for it) get a job. Some degrees are considered to be of little use unless you're going to be a teacher of those subjects. Other degrees are considered useless at the bachelor degree level and require a masters or doctorate to be considered serious degrees that get you a job. The worse possible thing you could do is spend $100,000 getting a job that will pay you only $25,000 a year. If your passion is for a noble but low-paying job, get a low-cost degree for that job from a state university and live at home.

4. Have a part-time job during college. It pays some of your bills, gives you some work experience, looks better to a future employer, and keeps you out of those money wasting parties where you're more likely to get an arrest record or an unplanned pregnancy than anything worthwhile. You might even consider ROTC or the National Guard, which provide college money in exchange for some honorable growing experiences.

5. Get a scholarship. Spend a whole summer before college doing nothing but applying for every grant, aid package, and scholarship you can find. Make this a serious full time job, or at least a part-time job. Consider a few years in the military (resulting in free college at a time you're a little older and less likely to waste your four years in college on stupid stuff like endless parties and degrees in underwater basket weaving).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today's Activities

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

Not much to report today. SVC reviewed one of the projects I am working on and directed a bunch of changes and fixes that I spent the afternoon getting done. Leanna was out of the office most of the day taking care of appointments. Joel Shutts did not come in today (normal). Mike Sparks spent the day binding books and packing products and developing a list of proposals for some new products that he ran down with the company at the daily meeting. SVC worked on some Federation Commander projects in addition to checking my work. He reported that Jean Sexton is getting closer to finishing the Prime Directive: Federation book.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Dirty Little Jobs and Interruptions

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Most times when a call comes in the person answering the phone is myself. This is a simple matter that the office staff is small (SVC, Leanna, Mike Sparks, Joel Shutts, and myself), and someone has to be the person who answers the phone. So it is one of my duties. Mind you, I do not want people to not call, but of course every call is just one in a series of interruptions that happens throughout my day. (Again, I am not trying to keep people from calling, we do try to serve our customers as best we can.) Sometimes the call is an order, sometimes it is a rules question, sometimes it is asking for advice on how to start a game company or get a game published (these latter I usually have to pass off to SVC).

My day, however, is not just interrupted by phone calls (the majority of which are computers trying to sell us something, the occasional wrong number, and various personal calls, i.e., reminders of appointments to see the dentist). While I am busy in my office, Mike Sparks is frequently busy packing orders, or packing products to pack in orders. In an effort to keep mistakes down, whenever Mike has products packed, he has to come get me, dragging me from my office and computer, to do spot checks to make sure the products are properly packed. Mike does good work, but he is only human, and sometimes I find something. (This is because even Mike sometimes gets interrupted and can lose his place and not get properly back on track.) An example was a spot check of Klingon Borders where I found that Mike had forgotten to put in the rosette maps. But then neither of us is perfect, and it takes both of us for something to be packed incorrectly. (Mike seldom makes a mistake, most of those I catch, but sometimes something manages to slip through.) At one point I (no one else, the error was entirely mine) packed eight Federation & Empire sets, but managed to leave out the rulebooks (out of about 64 games I was packing). Those were only caught because the weight of the rulebook is noticeable, and when you pick up a box for shrink-wrapping, it is noticeably lighter than the one just before it.

As noted, Mike also packs orders. And when he has all of the orders pulled (or as many as he can fit in the packing space without getting them confused), he again has to come get me and drag me to his "kingdom" to individually inspect each order. Again, Mike does good work, and I catch most of his mistakes (few as they are), but even so, sometimes the system fails (recent example, a customer ordered some rulebooks, but Mike pulled SSD books, and I did not notice, so we had to ship the rulebooks when we found the error).

Then there is SVC. I am his sounding board, so from time to time he will ask me to come over to his office to discuss a proposal or a rules question. Or discuss art submissions or story submissions. Or various other problems in the day.

Sometimes Leanna will need me to do something. I am, for example, the guy who does the mail runs (sometimes five times a week, sometimes just two or three times a week) taking orders that have to sent by post office, and often the bank deposits (usually combined with a mail run). Frequently the mail run is combined with a visit to our off-site warehouse to make sure that it is secure (no one has broken in), a few extra minutes out of my day, but only on days I do a mail run, and only if Mike Sparks has not had to go by the warehouse himself that day. I am also often the guy who goes out to deliver a Federation & Empire map to be laminated, and later pick it up (not always, Leanna did the most recent one for example). I also serve as Leanna's backup to process orders.

And, often when the door opens to the outside world, I am the one that responds to see who is entering our building. Often it is the guys from Unicopy coming to work on the printers, and I may need to speak with them in regards specific problems (usually a result of a briefing by Leanna if she had to leave to run an errand).

And of course I get tasked to write blogs and am always trying to think of something to say even during otherwise quiet moments.

At least three times a week (a schedule we try to adhere to) we have company meetings at the conference table. There are "monthly" responsibilities also (making sure the van still starts and running it for fifteen minutes twice a month for example).

Add in the occasional trip to the "facilities", various Emails (both questions out of the blue and my own begging for reports or responding with how reports were dealt with, processing scenario submissions, etc.) and a lot of my day is tied up not working on new products.

It is all stuff that has to be done (we have to serve you, our customers, or there is little point to doing any of it), but doing real productive (as in new products) work is often something that has to be done in the loopholes between the various interruptions. And sad to say, sometimes the interruptions break my train of thought (like being in the middle of working on an SSD, and when I get back, I have to scan the whole SSD trying to figure out where I was at the time I was interrupted, or being in the middle of writing a monster article, and now I do not know what it was I was about to cover in it, or where I was in a scenario background, or what problem I just spotted in the fiction story I was proofing, or . . .)

They are all jobs that have to be done, someone has to do them, but often the interruptions cost productive time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 13-20 March 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather was ok most of the week (cold mornings, mild afternoons), although it snowed on Friday night which made getting to the office Saturday sort of an adventure.

I spent more or less the entire week working on the Revision-1 version of the F&E 2010 rulebook, which was officially finished and unveiled on Friday, the 19th. I had an earache all week, which cost me some work, but eventually the pain went away, although I'm still deaf in my right ear. The doctor said that would clear up in a week as the medication killed the infection. I did reorganize the leftover Zocchi parts and create new Zocchi Parts Bags. I also got a haircut.

Steven Petrick spent the week working on CL#41, R12, and C3A. Leanna and Mike spent the week processing orders, which remain unusually strong. Joel got some web work done but mostly helped Mike.

The contractors remodeling our house moved all of the furniture (except for the bedroom and addition, which are completed) into the garage, covered everything with plastic, and got busy re-texturing the walls, which took all week, but really shouldn't have.

Sunday, March 21, 2010



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.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


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.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Joel Shutts has just uploaded the errata pages for the F&E 2010 Revision-0 rulebook. The F&E staff worked night and day for the last two weeks to make sure we found everything of any real significance. Staffers were assigned to check 2010 vs. 2000 rule by rule looking for missing rules, and to hand-check every cross reference in F&E 2010. While the staffers do most of the checking on any book, only ADB, Inc., is responsible for items found after the books are printed.
We regret that no matter how much work goes into any book before the presses roll, some things are not found until the pressure of a looming deadline is gone. It is our practice to work with customers who buy the first print runs of a new product to find everything we missed, and to ensure that these early purchasers have a great product.
There are standard print and large print versions located here:
There are about a page and a half of line items, 90% of which are just improved or corrected cross references. There are some significant errors.
1. The Sequence of Play has been updated to match the Step numbers in the Planetary Operations version. The updated version is included in the errata page file.
2. Jean Sexton updated the Index, correcting many errors which had gone unreported for a decade. The updated version is included in the errata page file.
3. Rule 203.55 did not match the examples in the 2000 or 2010-R0 rulebooks (the examples were right) and was fixed in Revision-1.
4. The Gorn off-map fleet activation rule (506.5) was accidentally left out of the Revision-0 rulebook and is included in Revision-1.
5. Pod data was left out of Revision-0 but is included in the errata page files and in Revision-1.
There are some other minor errors, such as are listed in the errata page file under (432.24), (509.1A), (509.1B), (511.52), (515.53), (602.42), (602.43), and (70x.3).
Also, some players asked that we provide replacement pages to separate rules 512 and 515 so they could integrate the expansions. Such pages are in the Revision-1 rulebook and in the errata page file. (The large print edition does not have this problem.)
New Revision-1 rulebooks began printing today (19 March 2010) including corrections of all of the listed items, plus a small number of obvious but unlisted typographical errors.
Uploading the errata page files fulfills our obligation to keep any product you buy from us up to date, but we will go farther. If you bought a 2010-Revision-0 rulebook (or get one in a store-bought boxed game you buy months from now), you have three options.
A: Download the errata page file. Print it out, and put it with your rulebook. Make a small colored mark next to each rule in the rulebook which has a line item so that you will know to check the errata page file.
B: We will provide anyone who bought a Revision-0 rulebook with a replacement Revision-1 rulebook at our cost, which is $4 for the book plus the cost of shipping ($5.95 for a priority mail envelope, or added to your next order at no shipping cost).
C: We will print the key replacement pages (there are about 30 of these, the ones with significant errors, not just cross reference items) and provide them to you for our cost which is $1.50 (plus postage, or added to your next order for no shipping cost).
While ADB, Inc., wishes that we had managed to produce a perfect book on the first try we knew that goal was a high one. It is still one that we regret missing. What matters to us is that you, our customers and fans, are satisfied with your purchase, and we hope that one of these options will accomplish that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

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 "grow 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 eighth 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 $5 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.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Greetings bloggers,
My name is Joel and I am the new webmaster and graphics director here at Star Fleet Games. For the past week I have been helping out here by updating the various sites, uploading images, and updating the Hailing Frequencies newsletter for the company.

I am having a lot of fun while I work here; I find the job to be entertaining and challenging, providing me with an opportunity to put my graphic design skills to good use.The people I work with now are fun, engaging, and I enjoy working with them so far. Even though I am the webmaster I do find it enjoyable to work in the warehouse section and package the differing products that go out to you, the consumer.

As I have said I find this job to be a challenging yet rewarding experience that will continue to provide me with graphic design experience and an enjoyable experience in the field of web and graphic design. Good luck during your day, enjoy life, and above all: stay cool:).

Over and out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

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

Monday, March 15, 2010

This week at ADB, Inc., 7-13 March 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather was mild all week, in the 50s and 60s. We had some rain early in the week.

The spam storm continued most of the week, with the on-deck filters stopping up to ten thousand of them per day. Saturday, it suddenly stopped. At the office, the floors were cleaned and polished this week.

I spent most of this week doing after-action reports for the F&E 2010 project. I did get Joel everything he needed to send Hailing Frequencies on Wednesday and we got Communique uploaded. I was sick most of Monday. I set up the file for Communique #52 and started doing stuff for it, such as updating the Gorn BDD.

We had a lot of mail orders this week, which kept Leanna and Mike Sparks busy. Leanna had cataract surgery on Friday; it went well and her vision is much improved.

Steve Petrick worked on CL41, R12, and C3A.

Joel Shutts got the newsletter released, Communique uploaded, the pull-down menus fixed on the Commander's Circle, and some stuff uploaded.

The contractor working on our house finished Phase Two (remodeling the master bedroom) which involved replacing the carpet with ceramic tile, removing the popcorn, repainting, replacing all of the woodwork including the doors, turning Leanna's old bathroom into my new walk-in closet and gun room, and added a modern ceiling fan. Next week, he begins Phase Three, which will remodel the rest of the house.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Training: Good Lessons and Bad

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

The passage of time sometimes gives one chance to sit down and review past events of one's life from a new perspective.

As a kid, I wanted to be the best soldier I could be, but it happened that my introduction to Army ROTC was at the end of the Vietnam War. During my freshman year in college level ROTC, going to the woods for training was a "field training exercise" (FTX). We carried M-14 rifles (with blank adapters) and worked on learning to patrol and handle tactical problems. Between my Freshman and Sophomore years, things changed. The program was revamped more with an eye towards encouraging cadets to just remain in the program than actually teaching them useful field craft. Going to the woods was now called an "adventure training exercise" (ATX). No weapons were carried, and the emphasis was on fun and puzzles (leadership challenges).

This leads to the point.

My Freshman year I actually learned how to use an M-14 rifle. Between my Junior and Senior years when I attended my Advanced Camp, I was issued an M-16 rifle. While we were sometimes shown these weapons during my sophomore and junior years, we did not practice on them.

The result. At a key point in a battle my M-16 jammed. I had absolutely no knowledge of how to clear a jam in an M-16. For precious seconds I was helpless while trying to figure out how to make the weapon operable again, only to have the weapon immediately jam a second time without firing. I managed to get it cleared a second time and shoot a nearby opponent before she could shoot me. But the only reason I shot her first was she went into shock when she finally spotted me and saw how close I was to her. If she had not frozen she could have easily picked me off.

And that was the other training point.

I could very easily have been marked by that one incident to consider women worthless under fire. She did, after all, literally just stand there and watch me clear my rifle the second time (in the same extremely clumsy and time consuming manner in which I had cleared it the first time). I knew that any male cadet would have shot me first.

I learned, during that Summer, the correct manner in which to clear an M-16 rifle, and learned it well enough that in later times the motions were programmed. (My issued rifle during my basic course jammed on the range, for example, and I cleared it automatically and so quickly that I COULD have still taken the shot, but assumed, wrongly, that I was out of time.) But it was very easy for me now, to understand what can happen with poorly trained but aggressive troops. (I was being aggressive to be where I was to shoot the girl, but that was "native" field craft as opposed to military training, my military training proved to be sorely lacking in a key component that could have "cost my life").

To this day there are a lot of things that I learned that stick (and make watching TV hard). In the first half of this year's "Leverage" season finale, I listened to the bad guys spray the detective's car with bullets, and could only note that the weapon could not fire that long with that magazine, and that the car had more bullet holes (with Tivo, I actually stopped the screen and counted holes) than the magazine could hold, details like that drive me nuts. Not to mention the idea that the detective was not also made into Swiss cheese since his car door would not have stopped the bullets from penetrating.

But at least I know that a woman with a firearm is as dangerous as a man (I did not learn the bad lesson from that one female cadet).

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Steve Cole comments:

Some television shows seem to do a poor job of getting all of the information presented in a logical order. Obviously, information is missing, and I wonder how many (like me) try to figure out what's really going on.

On STOSSEL on Thursday, 11 March 2010, they took Louisiana to task for having a license requirement for florists, which seems silly. They derided the state for using the license system to limit competition, despite the head of the trade association pointing out that it did nothing of the kind, anyone could take the test and 90% passed it. The two nice blonde ladies did not pass, probably because they did not study and practice. (The general subjects and some of the specific skills required are public knowledge.) To be sure, some of those skills are silly and outdated, but the purpose of the license (and arguably a dumb one) is to preserve a body of skills and knowledge, even if (especially if) that specific knowledge is no longer used. One might argue that the test should be updated, and one might argue that the whole point of licensing florists is just nonsense, but not that the test limits competition. I must wonder if the real reason that Louisiana licenses florists is to collect the license fees.

On an episode of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, Gordon Ramsay went to a restaurant in Indiana which was over a million dollars in debt and sinking fast. (Naturally, he fixed the problems and made the restaurant a thriving success; the guy really is good at that.) The restaurant was owned half by the on-site manager, and half by a couple who owned another (successful) restaurant 200 miles away. The three complained that they had put their savings, their inheritance, their retirement funds, and everything they could borrow into keeping the failing restaurant afloat. The real question, one nobody asked, is why the couple who had another restaurant cashed in their retirement accounts without fixing the problems. Why did they need Gordon Ramsay? Couldn't the husband just have told his wife "Run our place for a month while I go figure out why John is failing to run out other investment at a profit?"

The recent KING TUT UNWRAPPED show included the theory that the boy-king had become a strong ruler who was beyond the control of his advisors by the time he died. I find the evidence for this very suspect. (It's more like the show's producers and guest historians just wanted to think better of Tut than others have heretofore.) They base this on the "newly discovered" data in the tomb of Huy showing Tut involved in the Libyan campaign (which is mentioned in Egyptology books I have that are twenty years old) and newly discovered blocks that might show Tut's chariot in the Syrian campaign a year before Tut died. This is not really unlikely. The Saqarra tomb of General Horemheb (carved during Tut's lifetime, and Tut would have been told if Horemheb was exaggerating) details both of these campaigns, notes that Horemheb was under command and had been SENT on the campaigns by Tut, who remained in the capital.

Friday, March 12, 2010


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

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Philosophy of Surrender

This is Steven Petrick Posting.

I have commented that I have a tendency to take a "no surrender" attitude towards combat. I thought I would take a moment to discuss why, even that, is subject to variation.

No surrender applies to me, personally. I very much would rather go down fighting than give up. I am comfortable saying that because I did, one time in my life, face the concept of "maybe if I surrender he will not kill me", and chose to if necessary die rather than yield.

But, again, that is a personal choice, and it can be overridden in a number of different ways.

I am subject to my superiors' determining that we will surrender. I can, in such case, ask for permission to try to escape or take some other action, but I am honor bound to obey a lawful order, particularly when my desire to continue to resist could get others killed.

I am subject, if I am the man in command, to keeping my subordinates alive if I can. If resistance seems hopeless, or if there is no purpose to it (for example, holding a choke-point as long as possible to allow other forces to escape or establish a new line), then I have an obligation to consider surrender to save the lives of the men under my command.

There are still other factors.

I would never surrender to Al Qaida terrorists, nor surrender men under my command to such a group, under any circumstances. We would all only be killed in any case.

I would think long and hard about risking a surrender to any communist group, but this is because I have studied history, including the fates of POWs in the hands of communist groups, and I would rather die than accept a possibly lingering death with bouts of torture. (Real torture, not what is defined nowadays as torture to gain political points.)

If I was engaged in battle with the British, I might be more inclined to surrender (the British Army is hardly free of atrocities, but has an overall pretty good record when it comes to prisoners of war . . . not perfect, but pretty good).

So, while I would myself do all I could to avoid becoming a prisoner of war, there are circumstances where it could happen. (This includes being knocked out in hand to hand combat, or by a nearby explosion, or debris from such, etc.)

But as a rule, I would rather die than be taken.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


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.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


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.

Monday, March 08, 2010

This week at ADB, Inc., 28 February - 6 March 2010

Steve Cole reports:

I was sick and stayed home Sunday and Monday, and might as well have done so on Tuesday and Wednesday. I got some work done later in the week.

The weather was better, cool mornings and the afternoons in the 60s.

Strange Email events continued. Over Wednesday night and Thursday morning, my on-deck filters blocked 32,000 spams. I was getting several hundred more per hour, and found another 6,000-7,000 in my spam trap every morning.

As I said, I got some work done. I did a reserve blog for Jean, updated the PD FED page count, approved some FC rulings, did quality checks on 1200 map panels, sent some art to Jean for ADB's page on Facebook, worked up a list of Starline 2300 minis (thanks to Nick Samaras for the help!), tried to get GAMA to confirm the Origins events, resolved a problem between a store and a wholesaler, did all but one page of Communique #51, sent the Captain's Log #41 art to the cover artist and interior artist, and did a two-page thing for that issue.

I also went to my annual medical checkup, which said that my lab work was perfect but I needed to exercise and lose weight.

Steven Petrick was working all week on various parts of CL#41, including the battleforces and the Juggernaut stuff.

Leanna and Mike continued dealing with huge mail orders. Mike also did quality checks on hundreds of restock miniatures.

We hired Joel Shutts to replace Eric, and he spent Saturday doing a lot of website updates.

Jean made some progress on PD FEDS and reported that our page on Facebook was up to 209 fans.

The contractor working on our house moved on to Phase 2 (remodeling the master bedroom), getting the woodwork done and stained.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Klingon Warrior

I've been walkin' these decks so long,
Singin' my battle song,
I know every hatch in these dirty bulkheads of my ship.
Where battle's the name of the game,
And cowards get washed away like the mud in the rain.
There's been a load of strong emotions,
On the road to my promotions.
But I'm gonna be where the Emperor's smiling at me.

Like a Klingon Warrior!
Cruising fast on my ship just as far out as I can go.
Like a Klingon Warrior!
Getting commendations from admirals I don't even know.
And orders comin' over the phone.

Well, I really don't mind the pain.
And I've lost, as much as I've gained.
But you're doomed when you're bombing the plains
Of some distant planet.
And I dream of the things I'll do,
With a fighter squadron and a mauler cruiser or two.
There's been a load of strong emotions,
On the road to my promotions.
But I'm gonna be where the Emperor's smiling at me.

Like a Klingon Warrior!
Cruising out on my ship just as far as I can go.
Like a Klingon Warrior!
Getting commendations from admirals I don't even know.
And orders comin' over the phone.

Like a Klingon Warrior!
Cruising out on my ship just as far as I can go.
Like a Klingon Warrior!
Getting commendations from admirals I don't even know.
And orders comin' over the phone.

Parody copyright (c) 2010 Stephen V. Cole

Saturday, March 06, 2010


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.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Learning About Reserves

This is Steven Petrick Posting:

One of the more difficult aspects of military operations to learn from games is the concept of the reserve. This is because most games (whether boardgames or computer games) are set up to put a premium on massing your forces to attack, or simply pick a good defensive line. In both cases the strategy is "all in". There is rarely an inherent advantage to having "uncommitted troops". Players rarely have to worry about things like exhaustion, or morale recovery after a bad defeat. In most games a battle starts and is decided before any "uncommitted" troops could be moved up, so holding out troops is a waste. The result is that by the time many players are adults, they tend to not think about reserves (although some do learn something of the concept from Sports where teams do have "reserves" to feed into the game).

Federation & Empire employs both a strategic reserve, and a tactical reserve, concept. When establishing defenses, players can look for opportunities to use "reaction movement" to bring unengaged forces to nearby battles (Tactical Reserves in effect). But the players are also allowed a limited number of "reserve counters" which they can use to designate "strategic reserves". This is a good example of teaching players to think about possible future enemy moves (one of the reasons to have reserves), and to use their reserves to try trap the enemy (reinforce that weak spot the enemy thought they would break through).

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Steve Cole reports:

For a small publisher, getting into distributors is a tough battle, but it's the only way to get into stores. They have so many publishers to pick from, they don't want to be bothered with one great product from one tiny company. Their cost of accounting makes the deal not worth it. The consumers and stores only spend so much money a month, and the wholesalers are already getting all of that and don't need your game to get it, so they don't care much. The wholesalers don't need your game to make as much money as they make, and carrying your game just means some stores are going to buy fewer of games the wholesalers already carry.

My free book on the industry may give you some information: http://www.starfleetgames.com/book/
One common mistake a lot of publishers make is to just pick some"discount terms" out of thin air, and the wholesalers don't like the terms and ignore you. I've seen several companies fail that way without their ever realizing why they failed. My book has a term sheet that is used by a lot of other companies (I got it from somebody ten times as big as me) which wholesalers will accept (if they accept your games).

If you can get into Alliance (the toughest sell of all) you don't really have to have the others (but they're nice to have). They might talk to you on a flooring basis, which is basically consignment. ACD is almost as good. Either will make your games available to every store.

Basically, you just keep phoning one wholesaler at a time, send them a sample, call back, and ask them nicely to pick up your game.

If that doesn't work, your only way into distribution is to get somebody else to get you in there on the back of their system. You have two roads there.

1. Consolidators. I never used them and don't keep up on which ones are still in business, and the ones that are probably have all of the manufacturers they want. Basically a consolidator is a company that fits into the tiers between manufacturers and wholesalers. They represent a lot of little companies. A wholesaler can buy the "one great game" from ten or twenty companies all in one box on one invoice. The consolidator will take a percentage. They'll hold some of your inventory, but not much, and they won't pay you until something sells, and they might even charge you for storage. Some consolidators went out of business without paying manufacturers. You should join the GPA as those guys can tell you where to find consolidators. Pitching to them is only slightly easier than pitching to wholesalers.

2. Find another game company that is already selling into distribution, make friends with them, and have them slip your game into distribution through their books. My company, Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc., did this for Majestic Twelve Games as part of a wider deal involving the use of their game system and my background. Alliance took the deal because I have flooring with them and they don't care if I send them a few copies of an oddball product because they don't pay me until the games sell. Maybe there is somebody who is a friend of yours and would do it. A friend of mine who runs a much smaller company than mine has a deal with Mayfair and gets his game into wholesalers through their system. I have no clue how he managed to make that deal, but it works for him. I am not saying that "oh, sure, I'll handle that for you" but you can always email me off the list and maybe I might (after I know what your product is) suggest somebody who might help you.

One warning. Getting into a wholesaler does not automatically get you into any stores. The stores are going to have to ASK the wholesalers for your game. (When a store makes its once-a-week call to the wholesaler, the wholesaler might have one minute to pitch two or three of the 75 new products that came out that week. You won't be one of them.) You can pay Alliance to put an ad for your game into their "music on hold" system so the retailer hears your ad while he's waiting on hold for his rep to pick up the phone. It might work. You can mail things to stores, but they get ten of those a day from us manufacturers and may or may not read them (think "not" in this case). You can buy expensive, full-color ads in the trade magazines that stores read, but my experience is that stores do not read the ads. Your best bet is to get a booth at GTS where you can talk to 150 or so stores. The second best bet is to join GAMA, get the free list of retailers, and start making phone calls. Cold calling is a painful task but does get you a new store or two out of every 50 or so calls.

Good luck!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


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.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Some Background

This is Steven Petrick posting.

In response to a few E-Mails.

When I entered service the table of organization and equipment for a light infantry rifle platoon was 43 bodies. (This would change while I was in, but was what was authorized at the time.)

This consisted of (on paper) three rifle squads, each of ten men:
One Staff Sergeant (E6) Squad Leader armed with an M16 rifle and a squad radio set,
two Sergeant (E5) Team Leaders armed with M16s,
two Specialist 4th Grade Grenadiers (armed with the M16/M203 grenade launcher combination),
two Specialist 4th Grade "automatic riflemen" (armed with M16s, but designated as being able to operate their M16s on full automatic and often equipped with a detachable bipod for their rifles), and
three Specialist 4th Grade riflemen (armed with M16s).

There was also a Weapons Squad which consisted (on paper) of ten men:
One Staff Sergeant (E6) Squad Leader armed with an M16 rifle and a squad radio set (this would supposedly be the Senior E6 in the Platoon),
Two Machinegun Teams each of three men: One Machinegunner (armed with the M60 Machinegun and a M1911A1 Automatic), one Assistant Gunner (armed with an M16 and generally supposed to carry the tripod mount and equipment bag), and one Ammo Bearer (armed with an M16 and carrying additional ammunition for the machinegun).
Three Anti-armor specialists (each armed with an M16 and carrying the M47 Dragon Medium Anti Tank missile).

The Headquarters section consisted of three men: One Lieutenant (armed with an M16 and a squad radio set), one Platoon Sergeant (an E7, armed with an M16 and a squad radio set), and one Radio Operator carrying the PRC 77 radio and armed with an M16.

Three of these platoons, plus a weapons platoon and a Headquarters section (which included the Company supply train, an M35A2 2.5 ton truck shared by the Supply Sergeant, Chemical NCO, Signals NCO, and unit armorer, plus a Jeep for the Company Commander and one for the Company Executive Officer) made up a rifle company. (The Weapons Platoon had three 81mm mortars carried by three M561 Gamma Goats and two TOW missile Launchers carried on M151 Jeeps, with two additional Jeeps as ammo vehicles, plus a Jeep for the Weapons Platoon Leader.)

Three of these rifle companies and a Combat Support Company (A heavy mortar Platoon of four 4.2''/107mm Mortars carried by M561 Gamma Goats, an anti-tank platoon of 16 jeep mounted Tows and 16 ammo jeeps, a Scout Platoon mounted on Jeeps, and initially an Anti-Aircraft Platoon of Redeye Missiles, but these last were consolidated up to the Division ADA battalion in 1981) and a Headquarters Company (which included the Maintenance Platoon, the Medical Platoon, the Communications Platoon, and the Staff) made up a Battalion.

As noted, my platoon was woefully understrength. It was organized as just two squads, each with just two NCOs. With so little, each included one machinegun with no designated assistants and carried one of the dragon launchers. The only units that were near full strength were the specialist units (the Weapons Platoons of the Line Companies and the Combat Support Platoons of the Combat Support Companies were kept up to strength, if necessary at the expense of the Line Platoons). Further, most of the Headquarters (except for the various platoon headquarters) were generally overstrength, and were generally trying to steal more bodies from the line platoons than they already had (the 197th Brigade Headquarters was at 200% strength, the Battalion Headquarters of my Battalion and the company headquarters of my company were both at about 150% strength). I know that in the case of my Battalion and my Company, the excuse was the amount of paperwork that had to be done, I am unclear why Brigade needed its manning doubled.

The reason I had only one squad with me in the Exercise (Bold Eagle 80) was because as part of the exercise my platoon was attached to the Armored Cavalry Troop (A/15th Cav) of the 197th Brigade for the first three days. This was because the Cav was also understrength, having barely enough personnel to crew all of its vehicles and man its mortars, and having no "dismounts" to do the foot patrolling. Even with my "platoon" attached, one of the three platoons of the Cavalry wound up operating with no infantry. As the Cav was operating widely dispersed, my Plt Sgt was with one of my two squads, and I was with the other.

Yes, the squad I was with was led by the NCO I had administered the embarrassing defeat to. And yes the men in his squad were the specific individuals who were "killed" assaulting the hill under his command (the men who ultimately refused to attack the hill after seeing the first squad had been wiped out were in the other squad) I was defending.

Monday, March 01, 2010

This week at ADB, Inc., 21-27 February 2010

Steve Cole reports:

This report was written on Saturday the 27th but posted on Monday the 1st of March, so by the time you read this, next week will be this week.

It was cold and cloudy all week, and we had a little snow on Sunday night and Monday afternoon. Monday evening, Jean called the office and forced me to drive home before the snow got too bad, and followed me home on the traffic cams. Talk about Big Brother!

This was mostly a week of rest and recovery. The week of 14-20 February had a lot of very long days finishing F&E 2010, and that took a lot out of me; I apparently started coming down with the cold that Customer Service Director Mike Sparks has had. Even so, I got a lot done. I turned in the Origins events list, did the FLAP list, did the large print edition of F&E 2010, updated the Greater Games Catalog listing, took Ramses rabbit hunting for the first time since the blizzard, went and got the blood tests done for my annual physical next week (the 4th), called the last wholesalers to round up their orders, and got ADB, Inc. signed up for Free RPG Day. Saturday I was pretty sick and went home to rest and get over this cold.

Next week, I have to tackle Romulan Armada, review Battlestations Star Fleet, and push Jean to finish PD Federation.

Sometime Tuesday the 23rd, somebody somewhere invented a new kind of spam, which came through the filters like they weren't even there, dumping 2000 spams a day into my inbox. It took two days to get new filters installed to stop that.

As mentioned in last week's report (14-20 February), I finished the F&E 2010 rulebook on Sunday night (21 February) at 7pm and we started printing. I spent most of Monday (22nd) and Tuesday (23rd) working on the assembly line, helping get the very large wholesaler orders shipped.

Mike Sparks and Leanna spent the whole week getting F&E 2010 shipped. Steve Petrick helped some on that, and spent a bunch of time discussion the new stellar fortress on the BBS.

The addition to our house is finally finished, which pleases Leanna to no end. The contractor got the bricks finished (they had temporarily turned a window into a door so the construction people could come and go), and blew in the ceiling insulation, but some of the Ethernet wires were messed up and didn't get finished until Saturday the 27th. We began Phase Two on Thursday the 25th. This phase is the remodel of the old master bedroom, and so far all they have done is to remove the old carpet and plumbing and patch the drywall. That will take more than a week, then we move on to Phase Three, a less-elaborate makeover of the rest of the house.

Jean was busy with PD Federation but reported that Facebook has passed 200 fans.