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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trade Between Galaxies

This is Steven Petrick posting.

The Star Fleet Universe has been in publication for more than thirty years. This has allowed it to develop a long and varied history, and one that has been guided by a single hand giving a very stable consistency.

As with most things, consistency can be both a blessing and a curse.

We value input from our customer base, but what is suggested has to blend with the universe's history, the known characteristics of the various empires, the reasons they do things.

This sometimes means that an idea can be proposed, and seem reasonable, but not be supported by the universe's existing historical background. We can (and sometimes do) try to get around this by publishing "conjectural" or "unbuilt" designs, but many of our customers do not like us to do so, preferring "real" (in the sense that they are actually built) ships.

This puts us into a balancing act, as we need to serve our customers or we will not be in business. This means that sometimes something will be done that does not appeal to me, but which seems to be of interest to our customers. And sometimes something I would like to do cannot be done because the universe history will not support it.

Some customers are more interested in expanding the boundaries than they are in actually playing the game(s) of the universe. And there is some divergence. An example is the Federation DDF. In Star Fleet Battles there was never more than one ship of the class and it was destroyed before the General War began. In Federation Commander the ship is available all through the game's history. Federation & Empire may allow Federation players to build more ships of the type in their own campaigns even though there was only one. The universe does expand and evolve, with the Klingon F6 and Federation FFB both going from "only four" to multiple production and variants in the last few years. And the Romulans have a ship that was done as an unbuilt variant, but then accidentally included in a historical scenario resulting in a change in its status from conjectural to real.

While ships are able to move at "warp," there are real game limits on how far they can reasonably get. The costs of moving further become prohibitive in a real sense. In a very real sense "trade" between the Magellanic Cloud and the Omega Octant with the Alpha Octant would be literally impossible. While the expense of waging war leads to a campaign to the lesser Magellanic Cloud, it is cost prohibitive to trade with the Magellanic Cloud. Freighters are slower than warships (for reasons of economy) and the turn around and time spent moving to and from the Magellanic Cloud (much less around "the Void" to reach the Omega Octant and return) would drive up the costs of any goods to the point that only extremely rare items (and thus in very low quantities) could compete with "local production." Mining dilithium crystals in the Orion Enclave for shipment to the Federation Capital would beat even the richest strike of such crystals imported form the Omega Octant because of the transportation costs.

So, as much as some players want a vibrant trade between these three locations, economically it would be too expensive. The distances are too far and too time consuming for tourists.

Basically there is not going to be "trade" between these three regions until a much faster warp (like that of the Andromedans in deep space) can be developed. And such is unlikely in the current milieu of the Star Fleet Universe. And thus Federation (or Klingon, or Romulan, or what have you) warships are unlikely to be involved in "local disputes" or even "major wars" between the indigenous peoples of the Omega Octant or the Magellanic Cloud (and vice versa).