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Monday, May 31, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 23-29 May 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather this week was pleasant, mostly warm and cloudy, but the sun burst through on Friday.

The Spam Storm has quieted somewhat, dropping from 1500 on Monday to 1150 on Wednesday and less than 500 on Saturday. This is down from the long-term average of something more than 4000.

We were all disappointed, even outraged, by the final episode of LOST, which did not provide the promised answers, the science, the physics, or the history that would have made it all make sense. We feel like we wasted six years. Maybe the actors cared about the characters, but we cared about the science behind the island.

The focus of Steve Cole's week remained on Captain's Log #41. The object was to get the pages to Jean so she could read them, and the last page went on Friday. (Funny, for one of the busiest weeks with the longest days, this is one of the shortest reports because everything we did was one thing: CL#41.) Steve Cole and Steven Petrick spend hours on the phone on Friday and Saturday getting Jean's proofreading reports, and by Saturday night she had finished 80 of the 120 pages. We expect to finish the book by June 1st. At that point, Steve Cole will move on to finish FC: War & Peace; Steven Petrick has already moved on to finish SFB Module R12.

We did send out the Star Fleet Alert on Monday. Thursday, Steve Cole made a surprise visit to TalkShoe (his first call) answering questions from listeners about the company, the games, and the industry. The company meeting on Saturday green-lighted the decision to move into PDF sales at a faster pace than we have been.

Sunday, May 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 PD20 and PD20M, 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.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Fleet Captain Gold

Hello, I'm Tom Carroll
Take your SSD and have a seat.

It's a foolish challenge,
you better pick your ship out while you pray.

Wake up on turn seven, See your shuttles start to go down.
Lousy die rolls. You're my prey. But I never weasel out.

Did I make you HET? Make you break down?
Shatter your illusions of fame?
It is over now. Break out the towel.
Pick up your counters and go home.

Hello, I'm Tom Carroll.
Follow those who stood where you are now.

Die rolls make bad mistakes.
You better put your plasmas up for sale.

Did I make you HET? Make you break down?
Shatter your illusions of fame?
It is over now. Break out the towel.
Pick up your counters and go home.

Parody copyright (c) 2010 Stephen V. Cole

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day: Remembering the Price of Liberty

Jean Sexton writes:

It’s the end of May and that means it is a three-day weekend! We hear and make plans for going to the beach and having cookouts and shopping at the big sales and sleeping late and spending time with family. However, do we remember the reason for this holiday?

While Memorial Day first began to be observed after the Civil War following World War I it expanded to include remembrance of all who died in defense of this country. Memorial Day was not officially created as a federal holiday until 1967.

But why should we continue to keep observing Memorial Day? It is to remember that the price of liberty is the lives of people willing to stand for their beliefs. The cost of freedom is never free, but is paid in the blood of those willing to defend it.

The fallen no doubt would rejoice that we are carrying on with our lives, carefree and happy. After all, that is what they died defending: our life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, let us honor those who died in our defense by remembering them. Take a moment to pause and think of those who made it possible for you to celebrate.

Thursday, May 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 pages on MySpace and Facebook 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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost about Lost

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Well . . . I have watched Lost from the beginning to the end, and all I can say is that I am left with a massive feeling of disappointment, and anger.

The disappointment is that they did not explain ANYTHING. The Anger is that they got me to watch a two-hour special before the final episode that was billed as explaining things, and it did not explain anything that anyone with a normal level of attentiveness and intelligence could not have figured out.

I did not watch the show because of the characters (although I liked a lot of them and probably would not have hung around if there had not been good characters), I watched because I was hooked on the mysteries about the island.

The show has ended, and I do not know: Who built the temple?

Who built the Egyptian looking statue, why was it staring out to sea, and why did they build it?

Where did "The Others" come from?

Was Jacob and the Man-in-Black's Foster Mother also capable of smoke monster abilities (if not . . . who or what wiped out the first village that was going to help the Man-in-Black leave the island)?

How did anyone figure out that you could build a wheel and steer the Island? Since the wheel was not installed by Man-in-Black and the first village, who did install it since the Dharma initiative found it there?

How did the Dharma initiative figure out how to find the island in the first place (and apparently continue to airdrop supplies onto the island decades after their original team was wiped out by The Others)?

What the heck is going on with all the characters in the flash sideways anyway? Were they all already dead?

I could continue to list things and probably easily cover several pages of questions that I was expecting answers to by the end of the show.

All I can really say right now is that you can pretty much expect me to never watch any show these two "geniuses" put on in the future as I resent having waited till the end of this series just to be told "the background does not matter, just watch the people, that is all that matters."

SVC has an idea that they should do a special with the actor who was the head of the Dharma Initiative on the Island answering all of the questions and explaining what really happened. I think that would be nice, and I would watch it, but I am not holding my breath.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Steve Cole muses:

Just thinking to himself.

1. The final episode of the Amazing Race was botched, as the only move that mattered was one team (at the very start of the episode) convincing the stewardess on that long China-to-California flight to let them move to the front so they could get out of the airplane faster. From that point, nothing any team did really mattered, and the team with the airline trick stays just that far ahead the whole way. The producers really should hold the teams at the gate until everybody has deplaned, then let them all start at once.

2. Many people do not know that "fail safe" does NOT mean "safe from failure". Nothing is safe from failure. Fail-safe systems "fail in a safe direction". Mostly these are automatic mechanical systems that, when nobody tells them what to do, do what some human sitting at a drafting table years ago decided was the "safest way to go". For example, computer-controlled valves that allow oil into a refinery will "fail closed" if the computer stops talking to them. Best case, the wires got cut and even if the refinery shuts down for a few hours all we lose is money. Worst case, the refinery is on fire, the computer controls (and humans) are out of action, and at least the "fail closed" valves will stop any more burnable stuff from getting into the fire zone.

3. The big problem with running a small business is that the same number of jobs need to be done, and by fewer people. While each job is smaller, you still have people with three or more of the ten or twenty jobs it takes to run a business, and it's hard for anyone to remember all of his jobs all of the time. It's just too easy to ignore the job you don't like, or to let one of the jobs take over all of your time and leave the other jobs undone.

4. Amazon's Kindle book reader allows you to bookmark and highlight passages you want to refer back to. It also tells Amazon what they are, so Amazon's computer can check to see what parts of any given book the readers are highlighting. One wonders what kind of marketing will come out of this? Will authors be told "readers underline this minor character a lot, maybe you should spin him off into his own series of books" or such things?

5. The US Constitution prohibits Bills of Attainder, a term that hasn't been used in this country since the Constitution was written, so nobody knows what they are. (I didn't, but when I heard it and was curious, Google had the answer.) A Bill of Attainder is one issued by the government which says "that guy who was convicted of a major crime is not only going to be executed, but all of his property will go to the government, not to his wife and children." (In Europe, this includes any titles of nobility.) I thought you'd like to know, since it made me curious. It's kinda cool that if a millionaire killed somebody and was caught and executed, his wife and kids would get the family fortune, not the government. The original draft of the US Constitution had a provision that anyone convicted of treason would forfeit his property to the government (except for a minimal amount for his family) but this was deleted before it was signed.

6. I remain worried about Elena Kagan, who has no experience as a judge, lost her only case in front of the Supreme Court, has never argued before the appellate court, wrote one brief for the Supreme Court (which was unanimously rejected as wrong by both liberal and conservative justices), and worked only two years as a real lawyer (the rest of her time being in government service or academia). Her only accomplishment is raising money for Harvard, and while there, she placed her personal agenda ahead of US law. Her paper trail is sparse, but she has written that the President should have more personal control over government actions and agencies.

7. Apparently, our new national policy for counter-terrorism is to assume that the terrorists are morons (so far, that's working) and to take credit for mistakes by terrorists and announce that "the system worked".

8. NATO is creating the new Courageous Restraint Medal for soldiers who risked their lives (or got killed or wounded) because of stupid Rules of Engagement designed to minimize Afghan civilian deaths (rules the Taliban use against them). At least the mothers of these dead soldiers will get a shiny medal to hang on the den wall next to their dead son's photo. The soldiers involved are unimpressed with the idea of getting a medal for avoiding bad press for their political masters.

9. The new health care law includes a virtually unknown tax code provision requiring every business to send in a 1099 form for anyone or any business you pay $600 (during the year, starting in 2012) for any product or service. So, for just our small business, that means issuing about 20-30 a year, for the cleaning crew, Office Depot, the three printing companies that do our color work, that guy who comes to fix our computers when they break, the place we rent the van for the trade show, the trade show for the booth, the place we buy paper, the place we buy toilet paper and other supplies, the place we buy boxes, and so forth. Presumably, that year's accounting package update will include a system to track all of this, since currently we don't, and if we had to collect that data after the fact it would require combing through the entire checkbook and credit card statement.

10. Ok, we all know that teachers' unions oppose spending tax money for private schools because that money goes not for teachers or education but for overpaid bureaucrats who don't do anything but got the job for political patronage, right? Ok, just so we're clear.

Monday, May 24, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 16-22 May 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather this week was pleasant, mostly warm and clear with a few clouds now and then and rain on Monday.

The Spam Storm has abated somewhat, with about 2000 on some days and as few as 400 on Tuesday.

My week started with the countersheets, which successfully went to press on Tuesday, and we cleared the proofs on Friday. I spent Wednesday cleaning up clutter on my desk, Thursday organizing the Captain's Log #41 project, and worked on that all day Friday and Saturday, reaching a point where 60 pages had been sent to Jean for proofreading. I did the Star Fleet Alert for Monday. I updated six FC cards for reprints and sent them to the staff. I worked out plans for Vudar mini production with Bruce Graw. I took a few hours on Sunday to attend the annual birthday party for Chaplain John Denton, which is the strangest birthday party you never saw.

The meeting Wednesday went over the Origins Game Fair list for the first time this year and scheduled Captain's Log #41 to ship on 7 June. The meeting Saturday made plans to reprint some FC ship cards with War & Peace and approved the extra booster cards. At Game Night on Wednesday, we playtested the Star Fleet Munchkin deck that the guys in Murfreesboro did.

Steven Petrick was working on R12 and on CL#41. Leanna was doing orders and accounting. Mike and Joel were mostly doing warehouse stuff. Jean spent the week proofreading and going crazy about the RPG phaser pistol rules, which are a mess.

Sunday, May 23, 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.

Saturday, May 22, 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 http://www.StarFleetGames.com/pbemgames and we will be happy to help you.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Who'll Stop Their Drones?

Long as we have been here, we've come under attack.
Hordes of fighters coming, and circling round our back.
Frigates blow like popcorn, trying to get back home.
And I wonder, still I wonder, Who'll stop their drones?

I went on to Kzintai, seeking victory or death.
Caught up in the battle, I struggled for my breath.
Battle plans and orders, shake me to my bones.
And I wonder, still I wonder, Who'll stop their drones?

Heard the warriors praying, how we called for war.
We rushed into the battle, how we begged for more.
Still the Kzintis fought us, tried to save their homes.
And I wonder, still I wonder, Who'll stop their drones?

Parody copyright (c) 2010 Stephen V. Cole

Thursday, May 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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This We'll Defend

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Most civilians are probably not aware of the Army motto inscribed on the seal of the Army Department. It simply states "This We'll Defend". I had cause to remember and think about that recently due to a syndicated comic strip Red and Rover, that our local paper runs. In the current run the boy, Red, has sharpened a stick and is practicing using it to defend against invading Martians. In one of the strips the dog asks (paraphrase, not an exact quote) "What is so worth defending that you would try to fight off Martians with a pointed stick?" Red's one word response: "You".

Soldiers in many lands give an oath that they will defend their nations (or their leaders). U.S. Soldiers do not actually do so. While they swear to obey the "lawful orders" of the President and the officers appointed over them, what they actually swear to defend is the Constitution. That document inherently embodies the nation and the people, but it is an idea and an ideal rather than a fixed object. We are not actually going to allow the nation to burn down while we gather around a piece of paper. We defend what the Constitution establishes.

To do that, there has to be a love of country and a willingness to place ourselves between "home and war's devastation". For us, to literally be willing to defend it with, if necessary, sticks and stones. To never give our lives because it is the easy way out, but to make anyone or anything that would harm those we are sworn to defend pay the maximum possible price, and if at all possible to make them fail in their goals.

This We'll Defend. These United States of America as constituted by the Constitution of the United States of America. Against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Tuesday, May 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.

Monday, May 17, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 9-15 May 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather was decent all week, mostly in the 60s. It was cooler and raining on Friday and Saturday. In this part of the country, rain is rare and much appreciated.

Spam was about 4000 on Monday, dropping to 500 on Tuesday and Wednesday, 1000 on Thursday, 1700 on Friday, and back over 2000 on Saturday.

My (SVC's) week was hectic, trying to get the countersheets finished, which in some cases meant doing a lot of design work on the product itself. I got the Basic Set sheet converted to the new format, and did the half-inch sheet for FC War & Peace. I started work on Communique #54. (I stayed home Sunday to spend time with Leanna, probably the last Sunday at home until after Origins.) I got some bad news on Monday; the doctor says the hearing loss in my right ear is permanent, but that a hearing aid will work. I had dinner with Chaplain Denton, who cheered me up. I did the first few sessions on the exercise bike in months.

Petrick spent the week working on CL#41 and R12. He is picking a replacement for the retired SFB Q&A guy.

Petrick was in a minor traffic accident Tuesday when some moron pulled out in front of him without looking; no one was hurt, but the other guy's insurance company is being a pain in paying off the claim.

Leanna worked on accounting and orders, and helped me with some graphics for the countersheets.

Jean defeated a spambot attack on the BBS that started Sunday and ran for a couple of days. Jean has finished primary work on PD Federation and is working on some other projects. She went to visit her father, who is recovering nicely from surgery.

Joel reorganized the Demotivation Page, putting the posters in alphabetical order and fixing some typos in them.

The staff meeting on Saturday rescheduled CL#41 to May 31st due to workload on countersheets.

We had the annual visit of the insurance inspector, who gave us approval for fire safety.

We got the new bookbinding machine (codename: Castle) on Tuesday. It should be twice as fast as the old machine (codename: Gibbs), and is very automated (so that someone who knows how to use it but hasn't done it in months can do books with just as high a quality as someone who does it every day). The problem is, the truckline dropped it somewhere en route, and it doesn't work, so it had to be shipped back and replaced, which cost the truckline over $3000. It pays to pay attention, guys.

We received the Fed OCA miniature from Will McCammon and are just waiting on Igneous.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Steve Cole reports:

It's an axiom of faith that all 250 adventure game (wargame, RPG) publishers are game designers who could not find publishers. As such, we are constantly amused by other designers looking for publishers. Rarely, we publish a game by an outside publisher. Most of us just delete such emails, but sometimes we reply to them with information that is helpful.

Remember that YOU think you designed a great game that millions will enjoy. The sad truth is that the last few hundred people who contacted the same publishers you are contacting felt exactly the same way about their games. The game-playing population simply doesn't buy as many games as are designed, and a lot of good games never get published.

The HOBBY industry can be broken into the toy industry, the craft-collecting industry, the sports industry, and the game industry. Games are by far the tiny part and the junior member of the group. The game industry includes three kinds of publishers: BIG ones like Hasbro and Milton Bradley, which are offered about 2000 games a year, review maybe a dozen or two, and buy maybe one or two. The FAMILY game publishers print in decent-sized runs, but always have boxed games, physical parts, very simple rules, and a nice production value. There are a bunch of companies that do this, but they don't buy a lot of outside designs, and are (like the BIGs) hard to get a reply from. The Adventure Game Industry (a combination of the wargame industry and the RPG industry) includes a few "big" companies (big for adventure gaming, but a fraction of the size of Milton Bradley). You can usually find all of the above in "hobby stores", but only "game stores" (run by players of adventure games) carry the other 100 or so adventure game publishers who do physical products. (The remaining 100+ sell only PDFs.) Being gamers first and always, it's more likely that somebody who designed a new game and wants a publisher will get an answer from one of us, but we're in no position to help them publish a game designed for Milton Bradley standards. More is the pity.

I can offer some advice for people who have designed a game for Milton Bradley production values and cannot get Milton Bradley to answer. I wish you all the luck in the world in finding a publisher. I don't think you will, but that's nothing personal against you and no insult to your game design. It's just the numbers. Look at how many new games a company like Milton Bradley markets per year. (You can find that out by some web searches or a few visits to a hobby store.) What you did not know is that they get at least 2000 games offered to them every single year. They don't even bother replying to most of those.

While I encourage the designer hunting a publisher to try anything and everything that even remotely looks like a publisher, you'll have more luck with a publisher who your research shows already does your kind of game. (Today, a guy with a fantasy game approached me, and a look at my website shows nothing but science-fiction games. Not a good fit, but he should have and did give me a try anyway.)

You designers hunting for publishers might also want to go read my (free) book on the game publishing industry. www.StarFleetGames.com/book
Read this chapter first: http://www.StarFleetGames.com/book/3-the_industry.pdf

Adventure game companies don't print the kind of game that Milton Bradley prints because we don't sell enough copies to afford the minimum economical print run of the kind of games Milton Bradley prints.

Sadly, lots of very good games never get published, and most of those that do get published fail to succeed. I suspect you designers not going to find a lot of publishers interested in your games. Don't take that personally. It's just that there are too many games looking for publishers. I'd suggest that you NOT try to publish a Milton-Bradley type game yourself. You'd spend tens of thousands of dollars and probably end up losing money because the doors to the markets you need are not going to swing open for an unknown single-game publisher. If you won the lotto and want to blow your winnings publishing a game, then go for it, dude! But do NOT get a home equity loan to publish ANY game.

Milton-Bradley type games are VERY expensive to produce. If you're looking at 32 "chess" type pieces, the economics of production mean that ONLY way to print the game is to print a LOT of them and to print them in China. Don't try that unless you can afford to lose every dime you invest and unless you have someone who knows how to do it help you.

WARNING: There are companies out there that will do a "turnkey" job for you, taking your money and delivering to you 5000 very nice copies of your game. They will charge you more than you could get it done for elsewhere because they prey on people who know nothing about production. The problem is, they have ZERO access to the markets, know full well that you'd end up throwing away 95% of what you bought from them, and they do not care. I see new publishers at the Origins Game Fair every year, having mortgaged the house to print 5000 game boxes, and flabbergasted that they spent a week at Origins and sold 23 copies. Worse, people who printed 5000 games and THEN tried to find a wholesaler to buy them did not have any clue about the industry discount structure and find out that the manufacturer will pay them so little for the few games they will buy that the guys who went this route lose money on what they do sell.

You can find a company that will produce a few "prototypes" for you so you can show them around. That way, you won't lose too much money before you find out that selling the games you paid to print is not easy or automatic.

Most game designers (who see and play Milton Bradley games and think that all publishers do those) do not realize the economics. The problem is that the wholesaler is only going to pay the publisher 40% of the retail price, and our production cost has to be less than half of that, preferably a third of that, to make the kind of money that pays for offices, a customer service person, utility bills, advertising, and so forth. That means that a $30 game bought in a hobby store netted the manufacturer only $12 and he had to get it printed for about $4 if he was going to make a profit and pay the designer a royalty. (Even then, the royalties on anything less than Milton-Bradley sales figures are not going to be much. The money is in publishing games, not designing them. Sigh.) That's how I can survive as a game designer, because I get the manufacturer's much larger percentage of the profit. Most of you designers will have to become manufacturers in order to see your games published at all, and if you don't know how to run a business, please do not start a publishing business. Go read my book. Even then, don't start a company. See if you can scrape up the money for the printer and before you spend it, ask an existing publisher if he'd warehouse and market your game for you for a percentage of the sales.

Saturday, May 15, 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!)

Friday, May 14, 2010


Guide me now, Captain, here as I am.
Let me fight, and die, and understand.
War is hunger is the fire I breathe;
Battle's a banquet on which we feed.

Come on now, try and understand,
The way I feel under your command.
Take my hand, as the ship descends,
They can't hurt us now, can't hurt us now, can't hurt us now.

Because the might belongs to warriors,
Therefore the right belongs to us.
Because the might belongs to warriors,
Therefore the right belongs to us.

Have I a doubt, Captain, when I'm alone.
Fear is a death in a heavy drone.
War is an angel, covered in blood.
Here in our heart 'til the victory comes.

Come on now, try and understand,
The way I feel under your command.
Take my hand, as the ship descends,
They can't hurt us now, can't hurt us now, can't hurt us now.

Because the might belongs to warriors,
Therefore the right belongs to us.
Because the might belongs to warriors,
Therefore the right belongs to us.

With death we sleep,
with doubt the vicious circle turns, and burns.
Without you, oh I cannot fight,
forgive the bloodlust burning.
I believe it's time to fight and die,
so lead me now, lead me now, lead me now.

Because the might belongs to warriors,
Therefore the right belongs to us.
Because the might belongs to warriors,
Therefore the right belongs to us.

Parody copyright (c) 2010 Stephen V. Cole

Thursday, May 13, 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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Yesterday morning, at 9:42am, Steven P. Petrick was driving north on Western Avenue in Amarillo, having just picked up the company’s mail. While he varies his route every morning, he has to stop at the Post Office, giving a one-block zone through which he always passes. This proved a near-fatal breach of security, and it is now being arranged for Steven P. Petrick to pick up the mail at a different Post Office each day.
A green Mercedes S-class sedan, driven by Abdulla O’Malley, listed on the "No Fly List" as a known member of the Tamil LTTE terrorist group from Sri Lanka, pulled out from a stop sign just past the Post Office and attempted to ram Steven P. Petrick’s 1972 Honda Accord. Deftly maneuvering to avoid the onrushing juggernaut, Steven P. Petrick avoided being struck directly. The Mercedes grazed past the front of Steven P. Petrick’s Honda, tearing open the side of the Mercedes and damaging the left turn signal of the Honda. The impact, however, was enough to detonate the shaped-charge warhead mounted in the grillwork of the Mercedes, and the molten copper "flame dart" blasted into Western Street, striking a government vehicle driven by an IRS Health Care Enforcement Agent, destroying it completely. A later investigation showed that Abdulla O’Malley had rented the Mercedes at the Amarillo Rick Husband International Airport after arriving there on Dubai Jazeera Airlines earlier this morning.
Steven P. Petrick stepped from his car, reaching for his wallet and driver’s license. Abdulla O’Malley leapt from the Mercedes with an RPG-18 rocket launcher, extending the tube and firing it at Steven P. Petrick. While the rocket missed Steven P. Petrick (causing burns to his shirt collar) it went on, striking a government vehicle from the Acorn Census Bureau, destroying it completely. Abdulla O’Malley then drew an AKR compact assault rifle from the back seat, and made as if to fire this at Steven P. Petrick, who deftly threw his wallet like a frisbee into Abdulla O’Malley’s face, startling him and causing him to drop the rifle.
Petrick drew his .45acp Colt Model 1911 from his shoulder holster, intending to defend himself. Noting the considerable number of civilians in the area, Petrick instead advanced on Abdulla O’Malley and struck him over the head with the weapon, earning the NATO Courageous Combat Restraint Medal for risking his life to avoid causing civilian casualties.
Police arrived on the scene, issued a traffic citation to Abdulla O’Malley for causing three accidents, and directed him to report to traffic court on Thursday. They were unable to arrest him because Texas, unlike Arizona, has no law allowing local police to arrest someone who was on the No Fly List or who committed a terrorist act while in the country on a tourist visa.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Steve Cole muses:

Just thinking to himself.

1. Obama's insane idea to end threats of US nuclear response to chemical and biological attacks is bad enough (since it will encourage the proliferation of such weapons), but worse is his crazy idea to end US promises to use nuclear weapons against a massive conventional invasion of an allied nation. This is telling those allies to buy their own nukes and ending 40 years of one of the few things that all Democrat and Republican presidents agreed on.

2. The HUMAN TARGET episode about the British royal family was crazy. For one thing, a female heir is never given the title Princess of Wales (females are the heir presumptive, not the heir apparent). (The eldest daughter is customarily, but not automatically, made the Princess Royal as Anne was designated. Elizabeth was made the Princess Royal as her aunt held the title until 1965.) In any country except England, the heir-prince is simply known as the Crown Prince, but England gives the Crown Prince the title Prince of Wales for historical reasons.

3. The theory that Justice Stevens stayed the same and the Supreme Court moved right is just silly. Look at his voting record, which steadily moved farther and farther left over the years. He originally said only blacks got minority preferences (due to slavery) but later said all minorities did. He also voted against anything even remotely religious, putting the lie to the notion that he was the only Protestant on the Court (unless being an atheist is being a Protestant).

4. I wonder, after one season of Undercover Boss, will every location of every corporation have a photograph of the CEO in a coffee break room?

5. So, we're now considering a VAT sales tax again, despite opposition by 77% of Americans. Hasn't anybody checked to see what happened in Europe when they added VAT to income taxes? The governments got LESS revenue, not more, because the economy was depressed by the extra taxes! Can Liberals never grasp the dynamic model? That adding taxes lowers revenue? Yeah, we gotta pay the debt, but you pay debt with tax revenue, not tax rates.

6. If you put down less than 20% on your mortgage, then you're paying PMI, an insurance premium for Private Mortgage Insurance. Once you reduce the principle (by monthly payments and your down payment) to the point that the amount still owed is less 80%, you can have this removed and save a few bucks a month. The mortgage company probably won't point this out. A better idea is to check your statement, figure out how much money it takes to reach this point, and pay it in one lump sum and get that PMI removed. While you are at it, notice on your mortgage statement that the amount of principle in your first year or two of payments is peanuts. Kick in an extra hundred bucks a month and take YEARS off the back end of your mortgage.

7. FLASH FORWARD has gotten around to giving us the science behind the history years faster than LOST did. Thanks for that.

8. Dave Ramsey recently said that a married woman did not need a separate savings account in her name only. (A single woman had asked about this because her stepfather was abusive to her mother, who was trapped in the marriage because the stepfather controlled the money.) Dave said, as he so often does, that "now you are one" means you have to totally trust your spouse. Just personally, I think if a woman wants to have a couple of thousand bucks in a separate account just so she feels better, she should be allowed to have this. If for no other reason, joint bank accounts may be frozen upon the death of her husband, and she'd need a couple of thousand bucks for groceries and household expenses until the lawyers straighten it out. Now many how nice a husband is, if a wife wants to have a couple of thousand bucks of "get out of this marriage" money in her name just so she feels safe, let her!

9. I support Arizona's new law, dealing with the illegal immigration problem that the Federal government ignores. Frankly, I don't have that much trouble with police stopping anybody, all the time, to ask for ID (since I'm legal and don't commit crimes), but I can understand that getting stopped two or three times a day every day could be annoying. Even so, it seems obviously to me that the opposition to racial profiling is just a smokescreen for destroying the US by allowing lots of immigrants who do not share American values to become part of the melting pot. That said, I think this is an issue that's a loser for the Republicans.

10. I read a fascinating article the other day proving that, in Star Wars, the empire is the good guys and the rebels are the bad guys. It's called THE CASE FOR EMPIRE if you want to Google it. The general idea is that the Republic was too large to govern and the Senate was more interested in splitting up the loot than the common good. The Jedis are in fact a hereditary warrior elite dedicated to keeping the corrupt Senate in power (so the corrupt Senate can spread some money in the direction of the Jedi).

Monday, May 10, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 2-8 May 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather was decent all week with pleasantly cool spring days. The daily spam bombardment of my email continued, averaging over 3000 per day that got through the filters and server firewall. On Tuesday, most of it was stock market stuff, but the rest of the week, it was mostly Viagra ads as always.

The BBS glitched again, as it does every year or two, and randomly deleted 600 users. The Discus people know that this happens, but have never been able to find out why it does, or how to stop it.

My own week (Steve Cole) was dominated by the SFB Module R12 ship selections. These have to be done NOW so that the counters can go to press in time for the Origins Game Fair. I went through hundreds of proposals and worked with Petrick to narrow the list to just over 100. I spoke with sculptors who are racing to get ships into the master mold we will make in June. I did manage to finish Communique #53 and the May Hailing Frequencies. I made a little progress on CL#41, but mostly, doing the R12 counters is keeping me from working on this. GAMA confirmed our booth location for Origins, our participation in the retailer thing, and our exclusivity. I did about 1/3 of the posted updates for the Gazetteer (the rest will have to wait until after Origins). I did two reserve blogs for Jean. I did a round of target shooting for the first time in weeks, scoring a 99. I remain deaf in my right ear due to wax, but Leanna made an appointment for a surgeon to remove it. I had my annual eye exam (where they check the insides for diabetic damage) and my eyes were pronounced clear and healthy.

Leanna and Mike stayed busy doing orders all week. They shipped the entire print run of Dread Pirate Aldo to the distribution point on Monday.

Joel kept updating the website and the war on copyright pirates. He did another Demotivation poster and the one-inch counters for War & Peace. He uploaded Communique and sent Hailing Frequencies on Saturday, two days early.

Jean says she will have PD20M FEDERATION ready to print in July and will be ready to send GURPS FEDERATION to Steve Jackson at the same time.

We got revised TK5 and LTT masters from Bruce and all issues have been corrected. We will now schedule these as Origins releases.

Monday was Isis's birthday, and she had shrimp. Ramses had shrimp and bunny rabbit.

Tuesday was the annual company picnic. For those who don't know, this is a local trade show (Business Connection) which is bigger than Origins and Gencon combined. Hundreds of businesses in booths giving away keychains, food, water, flashlights, office supplies, knickknacks, pens, and so forth.

Sunday, May 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.

Saturday, May 08, 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.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Listen to the ships blow. Watch the drones rise.
Run under their guns... Damn your plan, damn your lies!
And if we don't take them down, We can never fight here again;
I can still hear you saying, we'd quickly kill their base.
And if we don't take them down, We can never fight here again;
I can still hear you saying, we'd quickly kill their base.

Listen to the ships blow. Here they come in the night.
Run under their guns ... Damn your plan; damn your lies.
Target the starbase, Damn the ships; damn the drones!

And if we don't take them down, We can never fight here again;
I can still hear you saying, we'd quickly kill their base.
And if we don't take them down, We can never fight here again;
I can still hear you saying, we'd quickly kill their base.
And if we don't take them down, We can never fight here again;
I can still hear you saying, we'd quickly kill their base.

Parody copyright (c) 2010 Stephen V. Cole

Thursday, May 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.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Tactical Games need Quirks

This is Steven Petrick posting.

One of the things about designing ships for a game is the dangerous habit of deciding that the "quirks" of your design is that there are no quirks. Many players submit ship designs that are nothing more than fixing a quirk (there are quite a few submissions that consist of little more than adding or subtracting a box from the SSD of the Federation NCL and declaring that this "improved the ship's breakdown rating" for example). Some submissions of Federation ships include enough AWRs that the ship can use all of its warp power for movement, while continuously arming (albeit usually only to standard levels) their photons. There is also a constant push to "Kzintize" the Federation (add enough drone racks to Federation ships so that class for class they have the same number of drone racks as the Kzintis).

For the Klingons, there is a constant flow of "upgrade all phaser-2s to phaser-1s" and "improve all disruptors to range 30 (some want them all improved to range 40), and, oh yes, add drone racks equal to the Kzintis.

The Lyrans have their own oddities. Some are so offended about having to work with drone armed fighters (never mind that in a mixed Lyran-Klingon task force they would have to work with drones in any case . . . See Cavalry Charge for example), that they would rather have direct-fire only fighters (no matter how weak those would be against the Hydrans and Kzintis) then have drone-armed fighters.

Part of Star Fleet Battles is dealing with the fact that things are not perfect. And trying to ignore that means you miss much off the tactical flavor. Don't ignore the quirks, work with them to find the best tactics to overcome and triumph. And try to exploit the enemy's quirks.

If there were no quirks, then the game would just be everyone has a Federation CA with a different heavy weapons suite. They all maneuver just like each other, have the same vulnerabilities, and require no real tactical imagination to employ.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Steve Cole writes:

Have you been turned down for a job (or some other deal) you applied for? Have you submitted applications and never been called for an interview? It's entirely possible that the people you are applying to are dong a background check on you, and finding out something that makes them NOT want to hire you. This may be inaccurate information, or information about someone with a similar name.

So do a background check on yourself.

Start with just a Google search, but be sure to use every variation of your name. Tom Jackson, Thomas Jackson, Thomas J. Jackson, etc.

You should be checking all three of your credit reports every year. Don't use one of those sites that makes you sign up for some $10 a month service to get the "free" report. You can go to annualcreditreport.com and get your reports free (once a year, so do one of the three every fourth month). Never give you credit card number to get a free credit report; you are signing up for some kind of service you'll have to cancel.

Another possible place to search is: http://consumerist.com/2010/02/get-all-your-reports.html which has links to various place that compile data. One of them may have data about you, data a prospective employer (or landlord, or date) doesn't like.

And while you're thinking about it, go down to the office copier, take everything out of your wallet, and photocopy both sides of it. (Ok, not the money or the family photos.) Then put the photocopies in a safe place. If your wallet gets stolen, at least you'll know what to cancel and who to call to cancel it.

Monday, May 03, 2010

This Week at ADB, Inc., 25 April-1 May 2010

Steve Cole reports:

The weather was cool all week. Not rainy, but cool and often cloudy. The 4000+ per day spam storm relented briefly, dropping to a few hundred and then slowing building back to over 2000 per day.

The heating element on one of the bookbinders burned out. After reviewing the cost of the new (much better) model (half the cost of the models we have) and the cost of refurbishment, we decided to trade it in for one of the new ones. We should have the new one next week.

We did not like the quote for die cutting and are evaluating other combinations of products to print and the size of print runs.

My week was less productive than it should have been. I seem to be coasting, recharging my batteries for the two months of hell between now and Origins. I did get the last of the medal pages done, at least, to the point I stopped. The CL#41 stuff of course isn't done, and the lower awards on older products aren't done. I packed 48 more Zocchi plastic part bags. I did the Seltorian BB and BBL. I got almost all of Communique #53 finished.

Petrick and I reviewed the TK5 and Fed LTT minis and talked with Bruce about getting them ready for Origins release. Petrick continued work on CL#41 (he's about done with his part) and R12. I did win an argument with Petrick over a point of history (thanks to Google). That's only the third time in twenty years that I've been right and he's been wrong about a historical fact. Over Tuesday night supper, Petrick spun a Klingon tale of murder, espionage, a tawdry affair, and betrayal. I rushed home to type it into the home computer before it was lost. Jean liked the story.

Jean is closing in on PD FED and wants to have at least prototype copies of it for Origins. The Fralli remain a problem but Jean is working on that. She did finish the Dread Pirate Aldo booklet (sixteen pages of PD FED which will come out for Free RPG day).

Leanna and Mike were busy all week with orders. Joel helped them while he was also doing website improvements and stuff for Jean. Joel did most of the binding on Dread Pirate Aldo.

The remodeling of our home is now officially finished. The last details were completed (by me) and we paid the contractor the final check. There is one other project (replacing the 30 year old windows with modern energy star models) but that's a one-day deal. Leanna and I forced ourselves to take time off to go see a play (a legitimate date for us old married people) on Friday night.

Sunday, May 02, 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.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


Steve Cole reports:

Like all people, I have a daily routine. In my case, it's a written list (well, a WORD document) listing things to do. This list gets edited (as the day goes by) into the infamous MY DAY blog.

The first thing in the list is to record the time I got to the office and the temperature and weather at the time I get here. This is semi-boring information for the customers, but my doctor has me doing a lot of this stuff to keep my brain clear so I don't get Alzheimer's as fast as I would otherwise. Family genetics say that I will, eventually, get it. Oh well.

The next thing is the first pass at my Email. I clear out the spam. Because my email address is on the company website and press releases, it's also on every spam list in creation, and I get thousands of them a day. The filters catch all but three or four hundred. Some of the real email requires more than a quick response and gets left in the in-basket. The email always includes Jean's BBS report so I know if somebody broke the rules and if I need to go answer a question in a topic I normally ignore. She also reminds me to take my medication. Like everyone on medication, if you miss a day, it screws you up for days. One fun part of my daily email is the DinoListServe where real paleontologists discuss the latest finds. Always something interesting there, and the five minutes I may spend reading a dinosaur report is what passes for a hobby.

Then I check the BBS and the Forum. This is the primary way that I interact with customers and an important part of every day.

The next step is to clear out the attachments file, which includes dozens of things from the spams, most of it porn, most of that being pretty gross. This doesn't get reported in the MY DAY post but it is something I do every day.

The next step is to clean out my email out-box. I use the out-box to keep track of things I am waiting for other people to do, so the number of such items indicates the number of people who haven't done what was asked.

Then I check the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day. I often learn things about our universe that I didn't know.

Then I go to a website and solve a Sudoku puzzle against a time clock. My doctor has me doing this to push back the date that Alzheimer's fries my brain.

I have a Dilbert calendar and everybody wants to read today's Dilbert as soon as I do, so I have a note to read it, tear off the page, and put that into my physical out-basket.

My WORD form has a number of other items at this point which are part of my web crawl. On a rotating basis, I check some websites that have been problems in the past. This step doesn't get reported (the notes in the WORD document get deleted as I do them), but it does get done. Once those are done, I note the time that I finished my web crawl. This is important as reviewing the previous week gives me an idea where my time is going.

I then get into the next section of the list by processing any Starlist requests and noting the zip code of any requests I processed. Sometimes people see a zip code near their own and ask for contact info.

I have a number of once a week things, and the thing of the day is on the list at this point. That could be cleaning out part of a box of clutter, cleaning some topics out of the BBS, doing "carpenter" work around the office, and so forth.
I report where I had lunch as kind of a joke, since the theory is that if I have a bad lunch, all proposals that day get rejected.

I have a line item to send some stuff to Joel to do, such as things to upload, covers to do, or whatever.

I read FYEO every day to keep up with modern technology.

In theory, I'm supposed to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, but hit the limit at 10 minutes (and many days am not well enough to do that much).

The next block of the WORD list has me check what each person is doing, but this usually is about the same every day.

On Monday, I do marketing. On Wednesday, I do customer requests. On Friday, I review where contract projects stand.

Then I get down to primary work (on new products) and spend as much of the day as I can on that.