This Week at ADB, Inc., 22-28 June 2014
Steve Cole reports:
This week was
dominated by steady work on the Federation Commander Tactics Manual (FCTM);
we sent the cover to press and got it back on Friday. The weather this
week was hot, over 90F every day. The spam storm mostly remained at
something under 200 per day. We received copies today of the Japanese
version of the old JagdPanther game Siege of Leningrad.
New on Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault this week was
Steve Cole worked on the FCTM,
did a Star Fleet Alert, and approved two 2500-series battleships to
move to prototypes.
Steven Petrick worked on the FCTM and Captain's Log #49.
The Starlist Update
Project moved forward with two new entries.
Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
Simone did website updates, scanned
JagdPanther #8 so it will be ready, and created some graphics. She got a second
part-time graphics job a mile up the street from the office, and is
now a fully employed, grown-up adult Texan.
Jean worked on the
FCTM, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 2147 friends),
managed our Twitter feed (106 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt
with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, proofread the Star Fleet Alert,
managed the blog feed, took care of customers, and did some
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.
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 for Prime Directive PD20
Gary Plana for GURPS Prime Directive,
Richard Sherman for Star Fleet Battle Force,
and Andy Vancil for Star Fleet Battles.
Frank Brooks runs the play-by-email system as a volunteer. Paul Franz charges barely enough for the online game system (for SFB
to pay the server costs. Tenneshington Decals does made-to-order
decals for our Starline miniatures and is run by two of our fans: Will
McCammon and Tony Thomas.
Federation & Empire
would not exist without Chuck Strong (a retired 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.
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.
have other staffers and volunteers who do specific things (and
sometimes a wide variety of things) for us including John Berg,
Howard Bampton, and Mike Incavo (Galactic Conquest
Kast (Klingon Armada
); and John Sickels, Tony Thomas, James Goodrich, Mike West, James Kerr, and Loren Knight (Prime Directive
Some vital part of the product line would grind to a halt without each
one of them. Sometimes our volunteers become part of our staff; Jean
Sexton started out as a volunteer proofreader.
to this list are hundreds of others who, during any given month,
by email or BBS or Forum or our page on Facebook, 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.
Many years ago, we began awarding
medals, ribbons, and other "decorations" to staffers and others who
contributed to each product, and some other projects. These awards not
only recognize those who contributed to the various projects, but
encouraged others to begin making their contributions to future
projects. We have created the Wall of Honor at http://starfleetgames.com/ArtGallery/Wall%20of%20Honor.shtml
This is a tribute to over 30 years of volunteer work. We hope you visit
it to say thanks to all the volunteers and their efforts.
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. Our page
on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf
exists to put our products in front of other groups of potential
customers. You will find us on Twitter as ADBInc_Amarillo.
We also are releasing YouTube videos that show what you'll
find in "the box" and our latest releases. You can catch our videos on
our channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/starfleetgames
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.
Staff Meeting in a Game Company Far Far Away
Marketing Director: Ok, what have you guys got coming down the
pipeline that I can sell?
Game Designer #1: I have a new scenario for our strategic game Cosmos
Galaxy. I call it Cosmic Climate Crisis. Due to excessive asteroid
mining, a wave of ion storms erupts across the galaxy.
Marketing Director: Pass.
Game Designer #1: Okay, since that's approved, can I order cover
Marketing Director: I did not say "approved." I said
Game Designer #1: Pass, approved, green light, all the same. The back
cover will read "Oceans rise, comets fall, and billions die."
It will sell like crazy.
Marketing Director: Crazy would be the operative term, but "pass"
and "approved" are still not the same. I said I was going to
pass on that idea.
Game Designer #1: Pass it on to whom?
Marketing Director: To no one. It's not going to get printed. Half
of our customers would get upset and stop buying our products.
Finance Director: Which half?
Marketing Director: Does it matter?
Finance Director: I guess not.
Marketing Director: What else do you guys have?
Game Designer #2: I have More Starships for Cosmos Battles Volume
Marketing Director: Sounds promising. What new class of starships is
it built around?
Game Designer #2: The new Aggression Cruisers, which have full
firepower plus an entire Marine brigade. They can conquer anything. In
fact, they're named for great conquerors like Stalin, Hitler, Mao
Tse Tung, Genghis Khan, and Attila the Hun.
Marketing Director: Do you really think those ship names are good for
Game Designer #2: Certainly. They're historical figures who
conquered vast areas and slaughtered millions of people. What could be
better? The back cover will read "Kill billions of your enemies with
Marketing Director: Again, you don't see the problem?
Game Designer #2: Do you mean that we left out Alexander the Great? We
already named a Mangler-class cruiser after him three years ago. I
checked the list carefully and the rest of the names have never been
Marketing Director: Do you think there might be a reason why they have
never been used?
Finance Director: I can think of one if you can't.
Game Designer #2: We were saving them for something good?
Marketing Director: Let's continue to save them. Find another series
of names for these new ships. Who else has a new product?
Game Designer #3: I have the next book for our science fiction RPG
series using the D13 game system.
Marketing Director: Now we're talking sales dollars! What's the
title for the new book?
Game Designer #3: Love, Family, and Marriage in the Cosmos
Marketing Director: Interesting. How many pages is it?
Game Designer #3: The standard 144 pages, which includes 26 pages on
polygamy, 28 pages on forced slave marriages, 14 pages of Satanic
rituals for planet Purgatory, and 64 pages on same-sex and multi-sex
Marketing Director: Good God.
Game Designer #3: That's exactly how the same-sex marriage ceremony
begins on planet Arglebargle IV.
Marketing Director: I think we need to hold that one until they
resolve that court case in Oregon.
Game Designer #3: I haven't heard about a court case in Oregon.
Game Designer #1: Neither have I.
Game Designer #2: Me neither.
Finance Director: I have, and we do need to wait on anything dealing
with marriage issues until it is resolved, even if that takes years.
We will let you know when it's done.
Marketing Director: What else do you have?
Game Designer #1: Well, I was saving this for next year, but I have a
swell module for Cosmos Galaxy. It's about a new empire that invades
the galaxy and sweeps across the map.
Marketing Director: I can sell that. What's it called?
Game Designer #1: Cosmic Jihad. There is this religious movement that
inspires young warriors ...
Marketing Director: Pass!
Game Designer #1: Now, by that do you mean ...?
Marketing Director: You know exactly what I mean! Now, who has a
product that won't get us sued, banned, or bombed?
Game Designer #2: I have a module that is
based on the idea that the head of the guy who founded that big
computer company was frozen and then thawed out and he's now the
disembodied computer mastermind behind a race of robot ships.
Marketing Director: This would be that computer company that has no
sense of humor and sues somebody every week?
Finance Director: That's the one.
Marketing Director: Next!
Game Designer #3: Ok, I have one left in the file. This is about the
Frakly race in the Cosmos Universe. They're so hideously ugly that
even the Union Combine persecutes them, and allows the Kalaron
Dictatorship to come into Union space to kill them. Hunting them for
sport is a great ... well ... sport in the Union Combine, the Republic
Empire, and the Kalaron Dictatorship.
Finance Director: Sounds like racism to me.
Marketing Director: Me too. Pass, and you know what "pass"
means. Now get back to your offices and come up with something that
builds the customer base rather than destroying it.
Game Designer #2: I have a special series of ships for Cosmos Battles
that use limited rules so even women can play them. Ouch! Why did you
Marketing Director: Go away. Please. Just go away.
The Last Editor
This is Steven Petrick posting.
SVC is moving towards the completion of the Federation Command
tactics manual. Part of this involves having me run a more or less final proofread of the book as each chapter is finished.
As with any discussion of tactics, sometimes reading other people's concepts will trigger a thought and take you to something that is new, at least to you. I might soon be posting a Command Note of my own provided I do not find the idea has already been published. I cannot recall ever seeing it before, but I also regard it as quite obvious.
Also, sometimes you find a rules interpretation that is buried in someone's tactics that does not seem right. So reading the tactics manual draft has led me to perusing the rules for Federation Commander
to confirm things. In at least one case to the issuing of a rules clarification in the near future.
As the various articles making up the tactics manual have been read and reread and edited multiple times, it should come as no surprise that I do not find a lot as I read them. It should also not come as a surprise that being the last and freshest set of eyes to read them I have found a few items (in at least one case I caught a sentence worded such that it completely contradicted the point being made). Editing your own prose is always difficult because you tend to see the words you "know" should be there, even when they are not. It is always easier for someone else to hit the places where, for example, a given word is used twice (an example, a case where "the the" was in a sentence). Sometimes a word is used twice in a sentence, but not side by side, it would be correct in either place (better in one than the other) but should not appear twice.
But if you have read the document over and over again, sometimes the error you just caught keeps you from noticing the next error, which might even be in the same sentence. And editing for content can often get you so focused on the content that you actually miss the content (sort of failing to see the forest for the trees). Sort of a like a reference to all ships of a given empire having phaser-1s, when it is not true (some smaller ships of that empire have no phaser-1s). Thus while the empire does use phaser-1s, it would be factually incorrect to say all ships of that empire use them.
The project is nearing completion. I have a few more chapters to read and will do my best as the final editing backstop. The result over all I will hope will be a noble accomplishment for the players of Federation Commander
RANDOM THOUGHTS #195
Steve Cole's thoughts on general business.
1. I was watching Shark
Tank and some woman said that her business was not making money and
she desperately needed cash from the sharks to keep going. Let me get
this right. Your business is steadily losing money and your plan is
for us to give you money that you will use to cover the losses and
your living expenses until somehow your business starts to make money.
Do you actually have a plan to change what you're doing into a
profitable model? No? Then you don't need an investor. You need a
2. Here's a scam to avoid. A local radio
station calls up, wanting you to pay for "public service
announcements about missing children." Never do this! While
it's two steps above an outright scam, it is designed to make profit
for the radio station more than find kids. (If you want to donate
money to missing and exploited children, find an appropriate charity
and give them the money. The radio station is basically selling you an
advertising campaign that spends most of its time talking about
something other than your business.)
3. Here's another scam to avoid. If you
have to pay for your own trash service, expect to get a price increase
every year if not every six months. After a few of those, call the
company and pretend to be a new customer wanting to sign up. You may
well find that the "starting" price for a "new"
customer is the same you were paying years ago. At that point, tell
them who you really are and demand to be given the "new customer"
price before you call their competition.
4. In a lot of businesses, plans are
discussed for some future event months away. Such discussions are
often tentative, incomplete, and may well include casual thoughts that
would never be approved by a formal process. When it's time to
execute some plan discussed long ago, whatever status that plan had
way back then, it needs to be reviewed again (by everyone involved)
before it is executed. (This may include operations, logistics,
budget, legal, marketing, and other departments.) Things may have
changed, the plan may never have been finished, and people may have
said things in humor that were never intended to be taken
5. A friend of mine called for help after receiving a
rather "firm" phone call from a bill collector for a debt
she had no connection to. After doing some research, I called the
place back on her behalf since I know how bill collectors work and I
can't be bullied by them. I told them she wasn't responsible for
the debt and they needed to never call her again. The research I did
started with the 800-number left for a return call. In two seconds on
Google it turned up everything about the bill collecting company and
their illegal and unethical tactics. While this prepared me for
anything they might try, I did not jump straight to confrontation, but
remained calm and professional. I gave them what information we had
about the deadbeat (whom she had not seen in over 20 years) but
refused to give them any information about my friend. (I was not
surprised when the first thing they said was "We need to confirm
your social security number." They were surprised when I said
Join us on Facebook and Twitter
ADB, Inc.’s page on Facebook is now up and running, and we’re finding
a lot of new faces who haven’t been around the BBS or Forum. We have
pictures up of ADB, Inc. staff, links to many of our videos, snippets of
information, and interaction with our fans. Jean Sexton is the main
voice you will hear on our page on Facebook. If she doesn’t know an
answer, she’ll ask one of the Steves and ferry the answer back.
that is left is for you to "like" the page for Amarillo Design Bureau,
Inc. if you haven’t done so already. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf
people on our page on Facebook have not been on our BBS, so perhaps
our new outpost on Facebook will become the place for those who want to
keep up with current events without the intense atmosphere (and flood
of information) found on the BBS. If you are very busy on a given day,
checking our page on Facebook would tell you quickly if something
important has been announced. The page also has its own art galleries,
plus a place where you can post a review of our products. It also has
discussions where you can link up with fellow gamers.
We've also added a Twitter feed which you can follow at https://twitter.com/ADBInc_Amarillo.
Be sure to follow us for a quick look at what is going on!
We hope to see you there! For Facebook users, be sure to add us to an interest group to see all of our posts.
This Week at ADB, Inc., 15-21 June 2014
Steve Cole reports:
This was a
week of great progress on the Federation Commander Tactics Manual. The
weather this week was warm. The spam storm mostly remained at
something under 200 per day.
New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week: Federation Commander Tholian
Ship Card Pack #1.
Steve Cole worked on the
Federation Commander Tactics Manual, Captain's Log #49, the Starline 2500s, and took an hour to find all of the rest of the
JagdPanther magazines so they can be scanned and uploaded over the
Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #49 and began the
"fresh eyes" reading of the Federation Commander Tactics Manual.
The Starlist Update Project moved
forward with five new entries and two updates.
orders and accounting up to date.
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
Simone did website updates and some
Jean managed our page on
Facebook (which is up to 2,140 friends), managed our Twitter feed (104
followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam
assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread the Federation Commander Tactics Manual, took
care of customers, and did some marketing.
On Peace and Solitude and Work
Jean Sexton muses:
Sundays are usually a day of rest for me. I clean up the house, I catch up on some shows (I have all of Season 2 of Once Upon a Time
to watch and I need to start Grimm
so that I'm up on lunch conversation), I go on lots of walks with The Wolf, and I give my mind a day off. However, when we have a big project at work, sometimes it niggles at me, even on my Sundays. This Sunday it was niggling at me enough that I wasn't really finding any peace.
So here I am at work, having finished up reviewing Petrick's editing of the Federation Commander Tactics Manual
after doing some of the SVC-approved changes to the main manuscript. I can only work on Steve's computer (where the manuscript lives) when Steve isn't here. Otherwise he is doing things (using the computer) that I cannot do. I may not be as fast as he is, but every correction I can make is one he doesn't have to.
Working at ADB can be like working with your family. We love each other, but sometimes we need a break. This Sunday, there is no one here but me and The Wolf. As Wolf is snoozing, I might as well be by myself. If I want to crank up my music, I can without fear of disturbing anyone. (I like solitude, but I like some sort of noise to keep me company.) I've gotten far more done than I usually do in a similar time period during the week. No phone calls have come in (I am the primary phone answerer). People aren't trotting up and down the street, so The Wolf isn't barking at them. There are no deliveries, so The Wolf doesn't have to keep delivery people from killing us unawares (he does this by sounding his fearsome bark). In some ways, working today is more peaceful than staying home, worrying about getting the work done
And what have I gotten done? I have worked on the Federation Commander Tactics Manual.
Chapter 1 is finished.
Chapters 2-5 have had Petrick's changes (we've kept him off the project until now so he can read it with fresh eyes) reviewed from my end and the pages with changes flagged with my little colored flags so I can easily find them when it is time for me to kidnap Steve's computer. (I'm making the simple changes so he can save his time and energy for new projects and the content changes.)
[Chapter 6 is with Petrick.]
I'm now in the middle of re-reading Chapter 7, the "meat" of the book. It discusses the tactics of each empire. The "Jean stuff" has been done to the Federation and the Klingons on the main manuscript (I did the Klingons today). The Romulans are waiting for my changes to be reviewed by Steve. As soon as I finish this post, I'll tackle the Gorns and move on through the chapter. Then it will go to Petrick.
Oh yes, I also wrote this blog post. So as to use my mornings most efficiently (when Steve hasn't made it in quite yet and I can kidnap his computer), I will probably set up most of the week of blogs.
At some point one of the Steves will probably wander in. At that point I'll evaluate how I feel (if I go home now, will I let the undone work get to me?) and make a decision about heading home. But for now, I am enjoying the satisfaction of solitary work on a peaceful Sunday.
Playing Star Fleet Universe Games Long Distance
Playing games by email or by post 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.
When playing Star Fleet Battles
or Federation Commander
using the Play-by-Email (PBEM) system 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.
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. Moderating a game is also an excellent way to
learn more about the game's rules.
games can be played by posting on the Forum. The GM of the game gets
players, approves their characters, then sets up situations for the
characters to face. It takes a bit longer because the players are not
sitting around the table, but it also allows people who are spread out
across the world to play.
Players of all our games are
expanding the frontiers of playing long distance. Some are trying chat,
some are adding webcams to that, many are trying out VOIP so as to get
close to a face-to-face experience.
While there are
some disadvantages to playing long distance (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
For more information about playing long distance, drop in on the Forum (http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2
) or BBS (http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/
RANDOM THOUGHTS #194
Steve Cole's evil twin reflects on
his role as G.O.D. of the Star Fleet Universe.
1. I worry about
the health of my employees, especially the ones that roll their eyes
during staff meetings when I'm explaining my plans for the
2. I worry about
the physical well-being of my customers, but only the ones that argue
with me. Or complain.
3. Someone said I should close ADB
and retire to live on my savings. The problem is I don't really know
what I'm going to live on for the second week.
4. Jean and Leanna said I needed to sign up for
anger management classes. I told them that instead of that could they
just keep people from making me angry.
5. Jean said I had to confront my
demons. I said that I confronted them every night when I invited them
over to play poker after which we curled up together and snuggled.
6. If I take time out of
my busy day to rewrite your local campaign rules or the PBEM rules or
the tournament rules, a simple "thank you" will suffice. I
really do not need all of this "Who the heck asked you to butt
7. I can tell if Jean or Leanna are
angry by watching their hands. If they're smacking me in the head,
that's a pretty good sign that they're angry.
8. Nice publishers share the design
credits. Mean publishers don't credit with anyone for the ideas they
stole. I find it more efficient to share the design credits and then
execute the people whose ideas I stole so I don't have to share
9. Jean and
Leanna say I should embrace change but that instead I resist change. I
pointed out that I do not resist change. What I do is stop it cold in
its tracks with however much firepower that takes (and then some).
10. Successful people read
every day. Failures watch TV every day. Myself? I read while watching
TV every day. What does that get me?
Ever wished you could take a peek inside a shrink-wrapped box or look
behind the pretty covers of a book? Then these videos are for you.
brainchild of Mike Sparks, our YouTube videos are of three types. The
first is about a specific product line and you can hear Steve Cole (yes,
he is the talking hands in our videos) discuss the products that are in
one of the different games. The second kind is what ADB, Inc. has
released in a particular month. These are a great way to catch up
quickly on the new items.
It is the third kind that let's you see what is in the box. A boxed game such as Federation & Empire
is taken out of the box item by item so that you can see what's in
there. From rulebook, to charts, to maps, to counters, each item is
shown and discussed. It's a lot of information to pack into a short
clip, but SVC and Mike manage it.
Check out our channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/starfleetgames
and be sure to bring the popcorn!
How to Find New Opponents
Steve Cole writes:
Many gamers are looking for new
opponents. This is nothing new. When I was a teenager, there were maybe
four war gamers 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).
the concept of contacting other gamers has had decades to mature, works
much better, and there are a lot of ways to do it. For best results,
you should do all of them.
If you play Federation Commander,
then 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-ins every day, and since it's free you
can try it every month or two and find out if somebody nearby has
signed in. http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/Commanders%20Circle/
Primarily for Federation Commander
players, the Forum has a topic where local stores and groups post
announcements and invitations. Players can let other players know
they'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.) http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2
can to go to a local store and ask them to let you post a notice
looking for opponents. You could also run a demo of your favorite
game(s) and "grow your own" opponents. If a person already plays the
game you are demoing, he'll doubtless drop by just to swap phone
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. There is
also Craigslist, but you should use the normal caution you would for
meeting a stranger.
The quickest result, probably, is Starlist. Go to http://starfleetgames.com/starlist.shtml
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
5,000 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 a 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
You can find opponents for all of our games on our BBS. Go to http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/
and you'll see "Seeking Opponents" on the main menu. 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.
Friends of our page on Facebook can post to see who is out there. Not a friend? Become one here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf
With more effort, you can post opponent wanted notices in a whole lot of boardgame sites (see http://www.starfleetgames.com/links.shtml
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
cars who got emails from other gamers in their home towns who were
You can go always go to SFB Online (http://www.sfbonline.com/index.jsp
) and play Star Fleet Battles
and Federation Commander
online with live opponents from around the world for the princely sum
of $5 per month. You might even stumble into somebody local.
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.
On Guarding and Barking and Learning
Jean Sexton muses:
After experiencing Markie "Barkie" Dog Sexton's guarding, protection, and barking inclinations, we decided to all go to choose the next office dog. Wolf (then called Chaz), was a quiet little dog. He might have some chihuahua in him, we were told, but as he was one or two years old, his quiet personality was what we would get. We rejoiced at how quiet he was. He barked a couple of times, loved everyone in the office, and showed every sign of being The Perfect Office Dog.
On his second veterinarian visit, we discovered The Wolf was only six months old and was probably a purebred long-haired chihuahua. He was also slowly bonding with us all and very closely with me. As he did, he began to guard "our den," otherwise known as my office. People he knew were allowed in. Strangers were warned away with barking. It was never the frenzy barking that Markie had, but people walk outside the building frequently as there are a bar and convenience store fairly close.
Barking is fine for a dog outside in the country. I never stressed over Ralph or K'Ehleyr barking at any stranger. Who knows how many break-ins they deterred. But in an office and an apartment, it can be a distraction. The Wolf has a very high-pitched bark that carries.
In some ways it is flattering to have such a guardian. True, an assailant could dropkick him like a football, but it is Wolf's willingness to defend me that is always amazing. I can walk late at night around the apartment in the midst of the night and I fear no violence, for The Wolf is with me.
Still, The Wolf needs to learn not to bark after I tell him I have the encounter handled. I need to learn how to tell him that I have it handled. So tomorrow The Wolf and I will be getting training from a nationally accredited professional dog trainer. Our first goal is to let Wolf alert me to the situation and then be quiet when I let him know he's done his part. Our second goal is to let strangers come into the building or during walks and to greet them appropriately. Our third goal is to let him meet strange dogs without barking so enthusiastically. If we have time, our fourth goal is to teach him to pick up his toys.
This should take some time, both for lessons and for homework. The end result will be a quieter Wolf and less frazzled office mates. We have high hopes for success as The Wolf has learned "Wait," "Sit," "Stay," Dance," and "Walk with me." He's also learned a lot of behavior on his own, such as barking at Petrick earns Petrick ignoring him but a quiet bark at Steve gets Steve's attention when he's on the computer.
Learning anything requires that you first admit that you don't know how to do it, not properly. It took a bit to admit that I needed help working with Wolf. But once I admitted it, I think I am ready to learn.
This Week at ADB, Inc., 8-14 June 2014
Steve Cole reports:
This was a week of steady work on new projects. The weather
this week was not as hot as last week, but in the 80s most days. The
spam storm mostly remained at something under 200 per day.
New on Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault this
week was the Advanced Missions SSD book (in color and in black and
New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week was Captain's Log
worked on the Federation Commander Tactics Manual, making Jean's fixes and doing
some missing graphics. Steve moved his pistol target box to his office
so he could practice marksmanship without getting out of his chair.
Steve finished Communique #102 (with help from Steven Petrick, Jean, and
the staff). Progress on the 2500s this week included resolving the
stand issue (sending the B10 and Vulture to prototype), posting new
ships (Slaver, Kzinti BB, and Gorn BB), and sending the BATS to prototype.
He also wrote some blogs, did a three-page article for Captain's Log #49, helped a
fiction author, and organized the sale of some obsolete F&E counters.
The F&E soft pledge experiment worked, sending Fighter Operations
2014 into the print que for early fall. Steve used the nice weather to
get a lot of exercise walking Wolf and Ramses (but not at the same
Steven Petrick worked on
Captain's Log #49.
The Starlist Update
Project moved forward with five new entries, two updates, and one
older entry moved to the archive.
Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
Simone did website updates, finished the
My Day archive page that was never finished before, created and sent
out Hailing Frequencies, and did some graphics.
Jean worked on PDF
uploads, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 2129 friends),
managed our Twitter feed (103 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt
with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed,
proofread Federation Commander Tactics Manual, took care of customers, took one of the Steves to
a Chinese buffet, and did some marketing.
Steve Cole drove Leanna and Jean to
Lubbock so they could see "Driving Miss Daisy" while Steve
went to Joe's Crab Shack.
Free Stuff for Star Fleet Universe Players!
Steve Cole writes:
We have a lot of free stuff on
our website. Let me point you to some of the most popular things. Doing
this in alphabetical order we start with Federation & Empire.
They have play aids and countersheet graphics here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/index.shtml#FNE
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). First Missions
will give you enough of the game that you can try it out. Go here to download it: http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/Commanders%20Circle/first-missions.shtml
that's just a start. Commander's Circle has lots of free resources such
as various formats of the Master Ship Chart, Ship Cards, the current
and back issues of Communique
, scenarios, and playtest rules. If you register, then you can find other Federation Commander
players can find a treasure trove of play aids, including medals,
insignia, maps, the timeline, and lots of other goodies to spice up a
game. These can be found here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/index.shtml#PD
Want to introduce a friend to the Star Fleet Universe? Try the free download of Introduction to the Star Fleet Universe: Prime Directive and Roleplaying
Star Fleet Battle Force
has new cards and play aids as well. These are located here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/sfb/sfin/index.shtml#SFBF
Star Fleet Battles
players have the Cadet Training Manual
and Cadet Training Handbook
. These were done as a way to get players into the complicated Star Fleet Battles
game system. You can download them for free here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/CadetTraining.shtml
Also available on the same webpage are lots of SSDs for the game.
We have downloadable art for your computer and iPhone so you can show your SFU
pride. Those are here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/wallpapers.shtml
Don't forget Hailing Frequencies
, our free monthly newsletter. Covering all our games, you can read back issues here: http://www.federationcommander.com/Newsletter/past.html
Don't forget to sign up to get the link delivered straight to your email box each month. You can "opt in" here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/newsletter.shtml
are many historical documents which are available for download. Maps,
deck plans, assorted graphics, and much, much more can be found here: http://www.starfleetgames.com/historicaldownloads.shtml
Browse our master index to find all sorts of interesting information: http://www.starfleetgames.com/masterindex.shtml
As you can see, you could spend days browsing. We hope you enjoy what you find.
RANDOM THOUGHTS #193
Steve Cole ponders the curious
origins of interesting words:
1. NIMROD, a biblical name noted as
mighty hunter. Today nobody remembers this, but a few generations ago
the term was used to refer to anyone who who was a great hunter.
2. NOON, or 12
o'clock, or the middle of the day, or lunchtime, was originally at 3
o'clock in Greek and Roman society. (More or less, if one assumes
that sunrise was always at 6 o'clock.) In that earlier time, the
workday lasted for nine hours from sunrise. Then everyone ate a big
lunch, napped during the heat of the afternoon, and partied
("supped") in the evening. This was known as nona hora or
the ninth hour from sunrise. Nona hora eventually became noon hour and
then just noon. This lasted until the 1300s and was the time of the
principle meal of the day or "dinner". (After 1360, one was
expected to eat lunch a little earlier and then work until dark.)
3. OMELET, a fried
creation including eggs and usually other foodstuffs, originated as
lamina, the Latin word for a type of small thin plate. (Laminar and
laminated also come from this source.) In French this was la'lamelle
and since a fried omelet looks something like a small thin plate that
was what French chefs called the item. When it came into English this
became l'alamelle and from there alamelle and from there
4. OSTRACIZE, to shun or ban someone who
said or did something socially offensive, comes from the old Greek
word ostrakon, which was a fragment of a broken pot. Because there
were always broken pots laying around, ostrakons became the scratch
pads of the day (as paper and papyrus were very expensive). Once a
year (under the constitution of 508BC) Athens asked the assembled
citizens if anyone was acquiring too much power and might overthrow
the democracy. If the crowd said that this was so (no one was named)
then a second meeting was scheduled for two months later. People came
to the second meeting with their ballots written on an ostrakon (the
only ballot done in writing); if the citizen felt no one was being a
problem he cast a blank one. If a majority of the ostrakons named
someone as having too much power, that person was banished for ten
years as "ostrakon-cized."
OSCILLATE, to swing back and forth, comes from the Latin verb oscillo,
which means the same thing. That word came from "os-cillo"
which were small faces of Bacchus that Romans hung in grape vineyards
(twirling in the wind) to scare away birds.
6. OTTOMAN, the empire that is now Turkey and
the small backless sofa that was its most memorable export, came from
the name of the leader (Osman) who led the warlike tribe from Persia
7. PAGAN, someone who is not Christian,
came from the Latin words pagus (village) and pagani (anyone who did
not live in a major city). Since Christianity grew most rapidly in the
major cities (where the missionaries found the most people they could
try to convert) the rural villagers often remained non-Christian for a
century after the city dwellers converted.
8. PALACE, a large house for
the ruler of a nation, comes from Palatine, the most central of
Rome's seven hills and the center of its government. Augustus built a
great house there that was used by several generations of emperors. As
it was on the hill of Palatine, it was known as the palatium, and a
few mispronunciations later that became palace.
9. PARABLE, a story that illustrates a
fundamental point, come from the old Greek words "to throw"
(ballo) and "beside" (para). The term para-ballo remains in
the language as a type of geometric curve, but the Greeks used the
term to mean "a story that compares two things" which comes
to use a parable. (This is why paramilitary now means an armed force
beside the military but not part of it.)
10. PALAVER, an extended
conversation including much polite small talk and a few serious
points, comes from palavra, the Portuguese version of parable.
Portuguese traders landing in Africa used the term to refer to the
long-winded conversations with African leaders, who expected to
exchange much small talk before getting to the point. English traders
later encountered the descendants of these African traders and leaders
who expected to "hold a palaver" before any money or trade
goods changed hands.
Klingon, Gorn, WYN, and Hydran Bumper Stickers
I DON'T BRAKE FOR ANYTHING.(I don't have to.)
Klingon Ship on the Hydran Border:
NOT the rear shields!
PLEASE, Not the rear shields!
Several Gorn and WYN ships:This ship makes WIDE turns!
If you can read this, you have made a serious tactical error.
We have continued our long-awaited move to offer more of our products
as PDFs by way of the Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG,
and Wargame Vault
websites. So far on Warehouse 23, we
have released a lot of stuff for Federation Commander,
including the Revision Six Reference Rulebook
, the 72 ships from Federation Commander Briefing #2
(divided into six packs of 12 ships and a separate rules pack), and
more than a dozen Ship Card Packs. Our ebook PDFs are in color and high
resolution. PDFs of most books are searchable (older Captain’s Logs
way Warehouse 23 works, once you buy a product, you can download it again for no
cost if you lose it or if we upload a revised version of that edition.
Thus, the people who bought Reference Rulebook Revision 5
were able to obtain Reference Rulebook Revision 6
for free (and to download it again when we discovered we had accidentally left out rule 4S).
Our Prime Directive PD20 Modern
books are sold as ebooks exclusively through DriveThru RPG. We have
started offering general RPG books there as well as some of the general
gaming materials that Steve Cole has written. We are also listing Federation Commander
, Federation & Empire,
and Star Fleet Battles
on Wargame Vault.
must note that these products are copyrighted and are not to be
uploaded or passed around to your friends. Doing so is piracy, a
criminal act, and may result in us deciding not to offer any more PDF
products. We have already uploaded many Starmada, Star Fleet Battles, Federation & Empire,
and Prime Directive
products. We have created a new page that allows easy access to our PDFS for sale through the various venders. From here
you can see what we currently have posted and have links to those products.
check them out! Many people like the fact they can search our
rulebooks for a keyword and find everything that pertains to that issue.
Others like the fact they can carry around multiple books on one
device. Some Ship Cards are available exclusively as PDFs. Whatever
your reason for using them, we hope that you enjoy them and rate them.
The Federation Master Star Ship Book Nears Publication
This is Steven Petrick posting.
The long awaited and eagerly demanded Federation Master Star Ship Book is nearing completion. It currently only awaits the final graphics for some of the ships, and a few design decisions on what all it will include, at which point the "publisher's notes" page can be done and a final cover created. This book strings all of the ship descriptions (for Federation ships) together end to end in rule number order, incorporates all known errata for the ship descriptions, and includes those items of information that it has been requested be included with the ship description (known names, whether the ship is a true scout or carrier or PF tender, and so on), to include what product a given ship was published in and what product its counter can be found in (covering those few cases where a counter was not in the same product the ship originally appeared in). All base hulls list the variants in their rule with the rule number, so if you are looking for the heavy fighter carrier variant of the heavy cruiser, you need only check the list under the heavy cruiser to get the rule number and then go to that rule number.
HAILING FREQUENCIES and COMMUNIQUE Released
Steve Cole reports:
We have released this month's issue of the Hailing Frequencies
newsletter and this month's Communique
. Hailing Frequencies
has the latest company information and covers all of our games. You'll
find news on the latest releases both in print and ebook, information on
the company, and even serialized fiction. Hailing Frequencies
also has links to the latest Star Fleet Alerts
, which are press releases about new products and when they will be available for order. From Hailing Frequencies
, you can link to Federation Commander
specific news in the latest Communique
, a free PDF newsletter which is full of good things for Federation Commander
players, including a new ship, a new scenario, and updated schedules and rules.
You can subscribe to Hailing Frequencies
at this link:
This Week at ADB, Inc., 1-7 June 2014
Steve Cole reports:
This was an eventful week, starting with the
Steves getting food poisoning on Monday, highlighted by the cattle
drive on Thursday, and North Carolina weather at the end of the week.
The weather this week was warm to hot, with rain over the final
portion including tornado sirens on Thursday and a power outage on
Friday night. The spam storm mostly remained at something under 200
New on Warehouse 23 this week were the Gunboat Deck Plans.
New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this
week were the Gunboat Deck Plans, Captain's Log #35, and the F&E ISC War rulebook.
Steve Cole worked on the Starline 2500s (we got the
first six new ships from the master mold), blogs, and the Federation
Commander Tactics Manual.
Steven Petrick worked on
Captains Log #49 and dealt with the last few reports on the Advanced
Missions SSD update and the Federation Master Starship Book.
Update Project moved forward with four new entries.
orders and accounting up to date.
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
Simone did website updates, sank pirates,
and some graphics.
Jean managed our page
on Facebook (which is up to 2126 friends), managed our Twitter feed
(103 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam
assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread more of the Federation Commander Tactics Manual, took care of customers, and did some marketing.
Wolf made his on D-Day landing
on 6 June in the park across 10th Street from the office, his first
Simone Pike writes:
Many do not know that we have a page where you can download backgrounds and covers for Facebook with Star Fleet Universe
Check out what we have on http://www.starfleetgames.com/backgrounds.shtml
monitors, small monitors, we have something for nearly everyone. 800 x
600, 1024 x 768, 1680 x 1050, even 2560 x1600. If you need a different
size, we'll see what we can do to fill that desire. We even have backgrounds for the iOS7 iPhone.
there are any other sizes or any other images that you would like to
see turned into downloadable art, please feel free to contact us at
graphics@StarFleetGames.com and we'll work your request in.
Steve Cole writes:
I constantly see things on industry mailing
lists and in my Email where people want advice on entering the game
business. The best advice I have is my free book which you can find at
www.StarFleetGames.com/book as a nice multi-chapter PDF.
one recent case, an individual wrote to say: "I just lost my job and
have decided to be a game designer for a living. I need a stable income
of $4,000 a month. How long would it take me to get there? Three months?
I laughed and cried at the same time. For one
thing, I don't make $4,000 a month now and I've been in the industry
over 30 years. (A few years I have made that much, barely, but not in
the current market.) The sad fact is that except for the lucky three or
four, game designers won't ever make that much. Worse, you probably
cannot make a living as an independent game designer at all, since game
publishing companies were (99% of the time) created to publish the
owner's games because no other company would publish them.
another case from some time ago (I'm going to blur some facts here so
that nobody can tell who I'm talking about), a young game enthusiast
decided to quit his day job and focus his full time efforts on game
design and publishing. His wife said that she would allow this only if
he "brought home" a paycheck of a defined amount each month. He had some
money from an inheritance which was separate property and his wife
allowed that he could use this. Well, he went through the nest egg,
borrowed money from savings without telling his wife, maxed out the
credit card he got for the business, and then got two more cards (those
offers in the mail) without telling his wife and maxed them out. All the
time (his company lasted 18 months and did a dozen products) he was
"bringing home" the required paycheck. His company was making a profit
beyond expenses, but not enough to cover the paycheck, but the paycheck
continued because (a) his wife insisted and (b) he was sure he would
start making more sales any time. One of the credit cards was a $5,000
cash advance spent on advertising (which produced few if any new sales).
Every month, he wrote that paycheck but came up short elsewhere. He had
established credit with the printers and with the companies that sold
him advertising pages so he ended up deeply in debt to the printer and
to advertising publishers. Worse, his first product (which sold well
enough) ran out of print, but it was going to cost $20K to reprint it
and the dwindling rate of sales (nowhere near as good as it had been 18
months earlier) would not support the debt load, but he "had" to reprint
it to avoid looking like a company on the way out. Finally, with no
more places to borrow money and creditors threatening legal action, he
took the case to his wife for a home equity loan. She, of course, had no
clue that his company was $40K in debt (for which he was personally
liable) or that most of the family savings account was gone. It's a
wonder she didn't kill him or leave him, but she did force him out of
the game business immediately. He sold out for what he could get and
applied that money to the debts. Moral of the story, if you are married,
make your wife a part of every business decision and do not keep
secrets from her about family money.
In another case
(actually, there are four or five of these I have seen, all about the
same), an enthusiastic game designer who knew nothing about the industry
but was sure his game was the next big thing got a home equity loan,
printed thousands of copies of his game, and THEN (and only then) asked
other game companies how to contact stores and wholesalers to sell his
game. He had no clue what size the market was (few games sell over a
couple of thousand copies) or who the wholesalers were or what it would
take to get them to buy (some now demand that you pay them $500 for
advertising before they will carry your game) or even what the discount
structure was (which meant that his cost per game was fairly close to
the 40% of the retail price he had printed on the games). Moral of the
story, learn as much as you can about the industry before you spend a
dime getting into it. GO READ MY BOOK FIRST.
I see lots
of gamers who think that running a retail store, and online discount
store, or a game publishing company involves low work and high reward.
It does not. If it did, a lot more people would be in this business.
Romulan and Kzinti Bumper Stickers
Romulan BattleHawk:If you can read this, I am in really big trouble.
Romulan King Eagle:
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU DON'T.
NOW YOU SEE ME, NOW YOU'RE DEAD.
I'll bet YOU taste good on toast!
THIS SIDE TOWARD ENEMY
Who is Right on "The 100"
This is Steven Petrick posting.
Last night's conclusion of the first half of the season finale of "The 100" had a choice between the two "leaders" of the landed teenagers.
Bellamy wanted to stay and fight.
Clarke wanted to run.
Clarke (as of the last words in the first half of the two-part episode) seems to have won out. In the final analysis, it being a TV show, whether she is right or wrong will be determined by the "needs of the plot." In the real world things are not that simple.
Clarke apparently believes that if the 100 simply leave the territory of the Grounders, the Grounders will leave them alone. She believes that if the 100 move east towards the sea they will meet another tribe led by Lincoln's friend who will allow the 100 to enter their territory and leave in peace. Clarke is at least right that the 100 cannot stay in their camp forever, as the camp cannot survive a siege. Eventually the need for food and water would force the 100 into the open to oppose the Grounders. Clarke also is now aware that the Grounders they have faced have more resources and a larger organization (the arrival of the Commander of "the Rangers" even if she has no idea how many "rangers" there are). The few words spoken revealed that Anya is only a "local" commander of some sort, and she is under a higher authority that has additional resources of manpower.
Bellamy, however, is correct that in order to survive the 100 must win the current battle and they cannot do that on "open ground" in a "fair fight." The 100 is composed of teenagers (except perhaps Bellamy), but they are people who have spent much of their lives confined. It is doubtful they are anywhere near as physically fit as the Grounders we have seen, much less possessed of the stamina of the average "combat Grounder" we have seen to date. There is virtually no chance they could outrun the Grounders if nothing was slowing them down. And something is slowing them down: Raven. Raven's wound means she either cannot walk as fast as the others, or someone will be carrying her; either means they would be moving slower. There is also the lack of woodcraft among the 100, or knowledge of the terrain, meaning their pursuers are likely to know short cuts, or the fact that a path the 100 is following will lead to a dead end. And we do not know how many horses the Grounders have, but we do know they have some. There is no question that the Grounders could easily track and overtake the 100 if they "marched out" of their "fort."
Further, the Grounders, even the "local" troops (as opposed to the newly arrived "elite" rangers) have demonstrated an adeptness at camouflage that enables them to get very close to members of the 100. They are skilled with their bows. Added to the speed and knowledge of the ground, getting past the 100 while they are on the mach and setting up an ambush is not improbable. And a marching column "in the open" is far, far easier to destroy than the same group in an entrenched defensive position.
Neither choice is very good, but with the arrival of "the rangers" it is already too late to run. The time to run was immediately after they blew the bridge, but they did not know at the time that there were more grounders, or even a direction they could run with a hope of safety (and Lincoln's friend is only a hope, not a guarantee).
Standing and fighting now at least presents the possibility that you might again give the Grounders a bloody nose and make them draw back to lick their wounds, and perhaps under cover of night (with the Grounders predisposed to believe that you are going to stand your ground after the fight because you have before) you can then make a break and push hard through the night. But that might not be possible as the battle might leave you with even more wounded that you cannot afford to carry.
Trying to run now, as Clarke wants, in the real world would simply lead to a massacre on the Grounders' terms.
RANDOM THOUGHTS #191
Steve Cole debunks 10 more popular
1. Myth: Columbus
believed the world was round when everybody else believed it was
Truth: Everybody knew the world was round; the argument was
about just how big it was (and how far away China was if you went west
instead of east). Turns out, Columbus was the one who was wrong, and
the diameter that the Greeks calculated in 300BC was right after
2. Myth: The nuclear bombing of
Hiroshima was the most devastating single attack of World War 2.
Truth: The bomb that hit Hiroshima killed (by the most
realistic estimate) 79,000 people. The one that hit Nagasaki killed
far fewer. In contrast, the biggest fire-bombing raid on Tokyo killed
over 100,000 and the three-day fire-bombing assault on Dresden killed
135,000. While not a "bombing raid," the Japanese "Rape
of Nanking" is known to have killed at least 150,000 and perhaps
as many as 300,000 people.
Hitler's wonder weapons would have won World War 2.
Truth: The V1 and V2 were able to hit European cities that
German bombers could no longer fight their way through to, but this
was not enough to have won the war. There was no one reason for the
German defeat; they did a lot of things wrong and were outnumbered to
Myth: Senator Joe McCarthy never found a communist spy inside the
US government during the infamous witch hunts.
Truth: He actually found quite a few (over 50). This was proven
by the Venona transcripts which became available after the fall of the
USSR. But then, he didn't find them, he just reported that the
government already knew where they were and didn't take steps to get
rid of them.
Thousands of Iraqis were killed on The Highway of Death during Gulf
War I (also known as the Kuwait War).
Truth: Fewer than 20 Iraqis were killed there, almost all of
whom got on TV (posthumously) from multiple angles. When the aircraft
attacked, the Iraqis parked, got out of their trucks, and ran for the
ditches at the side of the road.
6. Myth: Nuclear winter
could plunge the world into decades of sub-zero temperatures.
Truth: The study that proposed nuclear winter left a few things out of their calculations (oceans,
rain, the rotation of the Earth, and sunlight, among others). Several
well-documented volcanic explosions had exceeded the "Sagan
threshhold" for atmospheric dust without causing extinction
(although mega-volcanoes, which are about ten thousand Sagan
threshholds really messed things up a few times). A study by the US
National Academy of Sciences found that the real effects were a 10-degree temperature drop, that was only in the center of each
continent, which would last for only two years. The same study noted
many other effects which would have made post-nuclear life extremely
difficult and miserable.
7. Myth: Helicopters were
invincible in the Vietnam War.
Truth: Helicopters proved seriously vulnerable to ground fire
and it was often impossible to use them in the hottest battles. They
could, however, move troops around quickly just outside of hot battle
8. Myth: US guards at Guantanamo flushed a
Koran down the toilet.
Truth: The Koran was flushed by a Muslim inmate who had used it
to record information of intelligence value which he did not want US
guards to get.
9. Myth: The Nazis and
Japanese nearly invented a nuclear bomb.
Truth: The Nazis abandoned their nuclear bomb project,
believing it impossible to sustain nuclear fission. The Japanese were
working on a bomb and may have been within a few months of
10. Myth: Sarah Palin said: "I can see
Russia from my house," thereby proving she was an idiot.
Truth: She said no such thing. The line was uttered by an
actress playing Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live and trying to make
her look like an idiot.
Many people do not know that you can play either Star Fleet Battles
or Federation Commander
online in real time against live opponents.
Ten 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. It since 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 $6 a month per game system, you
have access to most of the ships in the Star Fleet Battles
game systems 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
Even better, you can join in online 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.
We continue to develop Federation & Empire
for an online environment and have
playtesters working out the kinks. We'll let you know as soon as it is ready to
This Week at ADB, Inc., 25-31 May 2014
Steve Cole reports:
a week of steady work. The weather this week was warm, often hot. The
spam storm mostly remained at something under 200 per
New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week were the Federation Commander Kzinti Ship Card Pack #1, Distant Armada (both Nova and Admiral editions), and Captain's Log #35.
A staff meeting set the schedule for the rest of the year
starting with the Federation Commander Tactics Manual in June. July releases will include ACTASF1.2,
Captain's Log #49, and three new 2500 ships.
Steve Cole worked on the Federation Commander Tactics Manual, wrote some
blogs, coordinated continued progress on the 2500s (several ships were
sent to be prototyped), and did two new Federation Commander cards for Communique
Steven Petrick worked on
the Advanced Missions SSD book, Captain's Log #49, and the Federation
Master Starship Book.
The Starlist Update Project moved
forward with five new entries.
orders and accounting up to date.
Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the
Simone did website updates and some
graphics including the back cover for the Federation Commander Tactics Manual.
Jean worked on uploading PDFs
for download, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 2120
friends), managed our Twitter feed (99 followers), commanded the
Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed
the blog feed, proofread Federation Commander Tactics Manual, took care of customers,
and did some marketing.
On Weight and Walking and The Wolf
Jean Sexton muses:
All my adult life I have struggled with my weight. Sometimes I think I simply smell good food and the calories waft into my body. I like food, to be honest. I was going to list the categories I like, but I like them all. I eat to celebrate and as I am generally a happy person, I celebrate frequently. I eat when I am sad and that generally cheers me up, leading me to celebrate. It is a vicious cycle.
I also like to cook and bake. Unfortunately, most of my recipes are inherited and are designed for a family of four, two of whom are fairly active, and there would be leftovers for another day of eating for that same family. That makes eight meals at a minimum. I was trying to make sure it wouldn't spoil, so I'd eat large portions. Others who lived in the same household would also eat even larger portions, so I thought I was doing well.
Add to that my job (and my inclination) is generally sedentary. At the library, if I were wandering around, I wasn't doing my job. At home I relaxed by reading. Once I got a home computer, I spent hours working on databases of daylilies and movies, playing SFB Galactic Conquest
, and exploring the wide world of online information. I proofread things for ADB and maintained peace on the BBS.
Excess food and lack of exercise meant I gained weight, far more than was good for me. And I wasn't happy toward the end of my time in North Carolina, so my sanctuaries were my office at work and my home office at the house. Even less exercise and eating more "comfort food" added up.
When I moved to Amarillo, I promised myself that things would change. I couldn't have a cat, not easily, because the apartment door opened directly to the outside and a cat could (and would) dart out to explore. A young, healthy cat would also be able to escape at work, directly out to a busy street. However, I could get a dog. I would be forced by the apartment rules to have the right sized dog for an apartment -- no Great Danes or other large dogs with the 50-pound weight limit the apartment complex imposed.
But before I could have a dog, I had to have an apartment, not a collection of boxes that made my living space look like a room surrounded by a warehouse. It took three months (through July) to empty the storage unit of even more boxes and it had to be my highest priority as it was money added to my rent and the half-price deal for storage ended in July. By August I had cleaned out the "public" part of my home. It was time to get a dog. By October I found a dog at the Amarillo SPCA.
I started walking with my fierce little Markie. I walked him regularly, around my apartment building. Sometimes I included going around two buildings. Markie earned the nickname "The Official Pace Dog of ADB" as he was much, much faster than me and would haul me along after him. I added in one walk around the apartment complex and struggled with that walk. I'd get a stitch in my side about halfway around. Slowly I started losing a little bit of weight.
When Markie got sick and passed away, I was devastated and fell back into the "eat food and feel better" habit -- not the best idea. Still, I soon adopted a long-haired chihuahua named Chaz who quickly informed me that his name was really Wolf, he was to be referred to as "The Wolf," and I could maybe call him Wolfie en famille. We started walking around the couple of buildings and around the short block at work. Once a day I would struggle with the walk around the complex, but I noticed it was getting a little easier.
Then I noticed that some of my friends were posting how many steps they were taking each day. I felt sure I was walking a lot; not as much as they were walking, as I knew they were healthy and active, but still a lot. So I ordered a pedometer and proudly looked at my steps. With all of my walking, I was taking around 7,000 steps with fewer than 2,000 of those being aerobic. I quickly realized that without The Wolf and Markie I had been taking far fewer than 5,000 steps a day. I found out that was indeed "sedentary" and decided to try to walk 7,500 steps and then 8,000.
Now I am trying to take at least 10,000 steps a day. I don't always make it, especially if the weather is bad. (Rain makes Wolf very unhappy and I can't bring myself to make him miserable.) I find if I exercise, it lowers my appetite, thus cutting back on what I eat. The Wolf is amiable to walking with me, even if he doesn't really need to "go." I feel safe walking at night with him at my side. Slowly the pounds are going away.
It is hard work for me. I like reading and listening to music. I like working on the computer. I don't like exercising. However, I have the reason now of "The Wolf needs a walk," and that seems to be the motivation I needed. I post my steps on my page on Facebook each day so as to keep myself honest. Exercise will always be a struggle with me, I suspect. However, when The Wolf looks at me and I know he wants to go on his "Long Walk," how could I deny him that? As a result, I may never be thin, but I will be thinner and healthier. And that means that I'll be around ADB longer, and probably more productive. Happy dance!