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

Sunday, January 31, 2016

On Work and Planning and Volunteers

Jean Sexton muses:

I love working for ADB. The work is challenging enough to keep my interest. It varies from day to day, so it isn't boring. Much of it is interacting with people on various social media and forum platforms. A good amount of it is making our products a better experience for gamers.

I've worked part-time for ADB since 2007, transitioning to full-time in 2013. I started with proofreading and moved more into copy editing. I took on administrating the BBS and the FC Forum. Slowly I took on more responsibilities, easing the more mundane tasks away from the Steves and Leanna. Planning for the StarBlog posts was one of the first things I took on. I pushed for a page on Facebook and we got that. We added a Twitter feed. We started posting PDFs on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault. I looked at how to get the word out and started making posts in appropriate places. Little did I realize that my little empire was growing.

I believe in planning. Before I left my position in North Carolina, I did a lot of training so someone would know how to do what I did. I left instructions on how to do a bunch of reports I was responsible for creating. All the personnel reports were done prior to my departure. Everything important was on a flash drive that I gave to my supervisor.

At ADB I made a mistake. I was healthy except for a few well-controlled problems. I had taken things over from other people, so I "knew" they knew how to do them. I had written some guides and had them on my computer in case I needed them. Where I failed is I forgot to tell people how to find the guides. The password to my computer had gotten lost except in my head, so no one could get to the documents.

The consequences were that blog posts weren't made regularly, publicity didn't get out, PDFs didn't get uploaded regularly, Facebook and Twitter didn't get updated as frequently, and spam got through to the BBS and FC Forum. I am already taking steps to make sure some of these don't happen in the future.

Still, the problems were alleviated by some people who volunteered to help us get the word out about the newsletters, who minded the BBS and Forum, alerted me when a problem had to be dealt with, and reminded us when things were slipping through the cracks. I am so thankful for the people who stepped up.

What can you do in your own workplace? Take the time to create guides to what tasks you do and how you accomplish those goals. Then kidnap someone and have them use the guide while you sit there. Maybe the task needs to be done on your computer or perhaps you need to include a website and login information. It is easy to skip something because you know it all too well. If there is something in your personal life that needs taking care of (bills, homeowner's rules, etc.), try to have a list of those in a calendar where others have access when needed (everything you need is in the turquoise calendar by my recliner). While your family and friends can "get by" in an emergency, it is a weight off your mind if they don't have to stress and neither do you.

Learn from me; don't go the hospital for two weeks to figure it out. Tackle something each week until it is done.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

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 for Prime Directive PD20 and PD20M, Jean Sexton 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 and FC) 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.

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 and volunteers who do specific things (and sometimes a wide variety of things) for us including John Berg, Howard Bampton, and Lucky Coleman (Galactic Conquest campaign); Daniel 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.

Added 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.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Why Petrick Is Slowly Going Mad, Mad I Tell You, Mad

This is Steven Petrick posting.

SVC is working on Romulan ship graphics for the Romulan Master Star Ship Book, and a trickle of reports on the book itself continues to come in.

One report noted that the fighter squadrons in the carrier/escort data tables is hard to understand, saying that previously the different groups were delineated by "or" but now "or" appears all over the place.

In an effort to clear this up I am going to use the Romulan SUB as an example.

In Y182 the fighters are listed (currently in the book) as

12xG-III, 12xG-SF or G-FSF
or 12xG-SF or G-FSF, 6xTrib
or Trib-F
or12xG-III, 6xTrib-D or Trib-K

The carrier can have 24 spaces of fighters. The first group listed says that the 24 fighters are usually one squadron of torpedo fighters (G-III) and one squadron of superiority fighters (either 12 G-SF or 12 G-FSF in this year). Note that the comma after G-III splits the two squadrons, the "or" between 12xG-SF and the G-FSF entry is not followed by a number (whether 6x or 12x in this case, but in other carriers it might be 2x or 4x or 8x).

So the first line is one possible "fighter group" that might be operated in this year (technically two since the second squadron can be either G-SFs or G-FSFs).

The second line begins with "or" and is immediately followed by a numeral, i.e., "12x". So it is starting a new fighter group. It notes that the first squadron could be either 12 G-SFs or 12 G-FSFs, ending in that comma which is followed by another numeral, i.e., "6x" for the second squadron which is composed of heavy fighters. Now, note that space limits have forced the "or Trib-F" down to the next line. There is, however, neither a comma after 6xTrib (so it is not a new squadron), nor are the Trib-Fs started with a  number, i.e., 6xTrib-F. So the Trib-Fs are part of the second group and the second group's heavy fighter squadron could be either six Tribs, or six Trib-Fs.

Note that while there is space, nothing follows the "or Trib-F" on its line. That is because every new squadron arrangement does begin on its own line.

So the "or 12xG-III" is the start of the third possible fighter group. This one composed of (12) size one torpedo fighters and one squadron of (6) size-2 superiority fighters, either tribune-Ds or Tribune-Ks.

There are two other issues defined by the rules and not shown in the tables themselves. The first is that no carrier can operate two squadrons of heavy fighters. Thus there can be no group of "6xTrib, 6xTrib-F".

The second is that the rules provide that you cannot (NOT) increase the number of torpedo fighters (there can be 12xG-III, there cannot be 13 or more G-III). You CAN however, replace torpedo fighters with superiority fighters (always bearing in mind that there cannot be more than one squadron of six heavy fighters in either case). Thus it would be perfectly legal to operate the SuperHawk-B with a group of 24xG-SF, or 24xG-FSF, or 12xG-SF and 12xG-FSF.

All of this applies to the tables for the Federation, Klingons, and Hydrans. No Federation ship can have more than 12 A-10s, and only if it is configured to operate those fighters normally, but a Federation ship configured to operate A-10s could choose to replace them with F-18s.

Beyond the above, I have a pretty complete initial draft of the Lyrans, but I need to review their use of fighters against the Klingon book, and I am making a stab at integrating the Lyran Democratic Republic into that book.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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.

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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Steve Cole's thoughts on several incidents in military history that no one outside of the military remembers today.

1. During the Dieppe raid, Lord Lovat's commandos captured a German artillery battery. A flight of German fighters (called in by the battery officers as their position fell) roared into to seek revenge. Lovat, perhaps thinking these were British fighters, stood up and waved. The fighter pilots assumed that German troops must have recaptured the battery and did not fire. Presumably the pilots reasoned that the original report had been inaccurate, that fighting had continued until a German victory. After all, no British soldier would stand up in a gunfight with plenty of Germans all around. He must be a German officer signaling that all of the British commandos had been eliminated.

2. During the naval battles of Guadalcanal, two Japanese battleships found themselves in a close-range gunfight with two American heavy cruisers that were one-third of their size. The Japanese ships switched to high-explosive shells since they reasoned armor-piercing shells (designed to be fired at other battleships) would go straight through without exploding. The massive shells blew the upper decks of the American cruisers into scrap, but exploded on contact and did not cause holes in the hull that would sink the ships. (One Japanese battleship was actually sunk by the cruisers because the range was so short their smaller guns could penetrate the battleship armor.) At the next battle, the remaining Japanese battleship determined that the enemy was an American battleship, and loaded armor-piercing shells. The problem was that they shot too high, and the armor-piercing ships hit the upper parts of the South Dakota and went clean through, causing extensive but non-fatal damage. The second American battleship (Washington) used radar to accurately hit and sink the second Japanese battleship.

3. Tanks in World War II fired more high explosive ammunition at infantry, buildings, bunkers, anti-tank guns, trucks, or other such targets than they did anti-tank ammunition at other tanks. Tank-fired high-explosive ammunition was not as good at that function as artillery fired ammunition because the gun had to fire at a higher velocity to stabilize the shell. While modern students of history love the Sherman-Firefly because of its superb (British) 76mm cannon, the crews didn't like it much because the 76mm cannon was actually less effective firing high-explosive ammunition than the old 75mm gun that wargamers hate.

4. The US went into World War II with the idea of lightly armored tank destroyers to kill enemy tanks and tanks with a gun designed to fire high explosive round to kill non-tank targets. They learned the lesson that the best tank destroyer was another tank, one with a really nice cannon. US tank destroyers were armed with a 76mm gun instead of something else because the US Navy had warehouses full of such guns intended to be installed on submarines. Half of US tank destroyer battalions were towed anti-tank guns which were almost useless in offensive operations. Those battalions that could not be re-equipped with armored vehicles were used for rear area security, guarding prisoner cages and ammo dumps. These battalions were constantly harvested for replacements for the tank destroyer battalions in combat.

Monday, January 25, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 17-23 January 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady progress. The weather this week was cool.

New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week was the Federation Commander Romulan Ship Card Pack #2.

Steve Cole was back to work on 3/4 days, keeping up all administrative tasks and getting some work done on projects. Among other things, he did 11 ships for SFBOL3G, walked at least 1/4 mile every day, did 29 ships for the Romulan Master Starship Book, wrote several blogs, got Communique #121 finished, and found a piece of fiction that might work for Captain's Log #51.

Steven Petrick worked on the Star Fleet Battles Module C2 update, Captain's Log #51, the Romulan and Lyran Master Starship books, and fiction reviews.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with six new entries and two updates.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates, uploaded Communique #121, created and released Hailing Frequencies, and did some graphics.

Jean rested at home most of the week (getting blogs for the week posted) but on Saturday made her first visit to the office since mid-December. She spent the time training Simone to take over PDF uploads and publicity during an extended absence.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

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.

All 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.

Many 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.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

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.

Every FC or SFB 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.

Prime Directive 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 soda).

For more information about playing long distance, drop in on the Forum (http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2) or BBS (http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/).

Thursday, January 21, 2016


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:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lights! Cameras! The SFU Hits YouTube!

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.

The 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!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Steve Cole's thoughts on things to beware of when getting calls from a business.
1. Now and then, I answer the phone and hear something about this being a "courtesy call." This should set your radar on high alert. A "courtesy call" is code for "we want to get you to agree to something." When I was a kid, companies would send products to people uninvited, including instructions to pay for the products or send them back. The US Congress then passed a law that unrequested products were free samples and you did not have to pay for them OR send them back. And so it stayed for decades, until somebody figured out that if they called and said "We're sending you our product on approval; please review it and then you can either pay for it or send it back" they legally had you on the hook to do one or the other. (When you hear that, be very careful not to include the word "yes" anywhere in your answer. Tell them "I don't want it. Do not send it.") A variation of this is when a company that provides a service makes a "courtesy call" to offer you the service (such as mail order prescriptions). Be very careful that you know which company you are talking to.
2. Something that caused me constant trouble when I was the legal guardian of my aged mother was the home health care companies. An elderly relative in a nursing home is entitled (thanks to Medicare) to have regular visits from a nurse trained to provide home health care. The trick is, Medicare will only allow one such service to be used, and they do not all offer the same range of specific care. (I used the one I used because they did something my mother needed which none of the others did.) This is a good thing since it means more care and often better care than the retirement home offers. There are several home healthcare agencies in each city, and some of them are very pushy (and even unethical) about marketing their services. They might call you and pretend that they already are the service you use and offer you some free extra service "the next time we visit your mother." Say "yes" and you just agreed to change to their service. Also be sure to tell the doctor of record for your relative to never give out medical records without your written consent. Needless to say, you need to pick the right service and remember who they are. If one of the other services calls you need to very specifically say that you use the other one and don't want to switch a new service. Another thing that happens is that one of the agencies will go to a retirement home and offer them a bounty for every patient they sign up, or some other inducement. (One I encountered offered to base a nurse inside the retirement home which meant a real medical professional would be on-site during business hours, but only if they signed up 80% of their patients. The nursing home then handed each "responsible relative" a form to switch to that service without telling them that signing the form meant they were switching to another service. This was swell for the nursing home but meant some patients lost specialized care they had been getting.)
3. Generally speaking, I just hang up on cold calls or don't accept them in the first place. If I want to buy a particular thing (investment, insurance, or whatever) then I know I want to buy it, I can find someone locally (with good references) to sell it to me, and I probably want to get at least two bids before deciding who to buy it from. The last person I want to buy anything from is a cold caller who is just working his way down a list and reading from a script.
4. If you start getting high pressure sales tactics, just hang up. One of my favorites is: "So you're ok with paying too much?" meaning that I need to buy what this guy (who has no idea what I pay for it) is selling. Another (a scripted response when I say I want my lawyer to read the contract first) is: "Well, if you need his permission, perhaps you're not the business leader I thought I was dealing with."
 5. I think one of the biggest lies in the business world is "I am the guy who takes care of ... for your company and I need a decision on something." No, he is not the guy who takes care of that; he's a salesman for a company you never heard of. Another lie is "I called earlier and was told that you had to confirm the order."

Monday, January 18, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 10-16 January 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of returning to normal. The weather this week was cool. No PDFs got uploaded because Jean wasn't here.

Steve Cole was back to working at least half a day every day, and walking Wolf a quarter of a mile. He even took Wolf to the dog park for the first time in two months. Steve reviewed a fiction submission and worked with Petrick to show the author what had to be fixed. He caught up on FYEO, Starlist, dinosaur news, and email. Steve did Communique #121 including a new ship and scenario, did some art for SFBOL3G and the Romulan Master Starship Book, blogs for Jean, and other things.

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #51, the SFB Module C2 update, the Romulan Master Starship Book,, the Lyran Master Starship Book, and fiction reviews.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with two new entries and an update.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates and some graphics.

Jean rested at home, but managed to proofread Communique and do some social media posts.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

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).

These days, 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

You 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 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. 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 Starlist.

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 for suggestions).

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 cars who got emails from other gamers in their home towns who were seeking opponents.

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.

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.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

On Life and Death and Life Again

Jean Sexton muses:

Sometimes I think we take our life for granted. Plans may be made for when we die, but most of the time those plans are for a remote possibility. I was no exception. The sun rose and fell, I walked The Wolf and went to work, I came home and goofed off with Wolf. Yes, I had a procedure that led to surgery and a diagnosis of cancer, but the surgery took all the cancer out of my body. I expected to have more frequent doctor visits, but assumed my life would return more or less to normal.

All of that changed early on December 28. I couldn't catch my breath and finally called 911. The fact that the hospital admitted me proved the call wasn't frivolous. They pulled fluid off from around my lungs and we thought I was on the mend until it all went dreadfully wrong on Wednesday morning. My nursing team and surgeon saved my life, the nursing team by calling my surgeon and my surgeon by bringing me back twice. I was fortunate that he has experience in internal medicine and critical care medicine in addition to gynecological oncology.

I am lucky to be alive. Part of me is scared by how closely the Angel of Death came to me that day. I know that I must have more to do and more to learn since God saved me and granted me life. I just have to figure out what all that entails. I believe it includes sharing with all of you, including the fun parts of the Star Fleet Universe. I also believe I have much to learn from you.

For now, my activities are limited. I am tethered to oxygen for as long as it takes for my lungs to heal. I am not driving until we determine if what caused me to stop breathing was a one-time thing controlled by medicine, or something more permanent. (The MRI gives me hope that  I'll be driving in a few months as there is nothing structurally wrong with my brain.) There are a lot of studies and appointments scheduled to see if there is an underlying issue that needs fixing.

Am I frustrated by the slow progress? Yes! I want to be working and bringing the SFU to you. I need to do more cross-training, so you are not left high and dry in the future. I want to walk Wolf. And I want it all right now. But part of my lesson is to learn to accept baby steps in my progress. I spent over two days in ICU and over a week more in the hospital. Now I have spent a week at home, resting, recovering, and learning to cope with the restrictions. The important thing is I will recover.

Thank you all for the support and understanding you have offered during this extended situation. It is greatly appreciated.

What else would I like from you? To continue helping each other by giving answers to gaming questions either on our page on Facebook or on various fan pages. To offer a kind word to those who need it. To hug someone you love and share that love. In short, I want you to be the wonderful, kind, terrific people I believe you are.

As for me, I will appreciate this second chance at life. And I will be back with you as soon as I am able. Stay with us; there are great things coming.

Friday, January 15, 2016

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 theFederation Commander game (well, enough of the game to play a few battles). First Missionswill 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

But 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.

Prime Directive 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 found here:http://www.warehouse23.com/products/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.shtmlAlso 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

There 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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Life in the Office

This is Steven Petrick posting.

I am not sure when Jean will take up full time monitoring the blog, and I try to remind myself to check in here and do something. It is,  however, difficult for me as I do not want to keep repeating myself (which it seems I often do, mostly like right now where I am noting how hard it is for me to come up with something to say that is not a repeat . . . sheesh).

As usual of late, I went by Jean's and picked up the dog and brought him to the office. We do this as Jean cannot really walk him when he needs to be walked during the day, and this makes sure he will get his walks at reasonable times. The first time being the moment we get to the office, i.e., once I get here the first think I do when I open the door of my car is start walking the dog. The dog, being a creature of habit, has learned that this is what will happen when he rides to the office in my car. He is also, doubtless annoyed, that I will make him sit and wait before he can go into the office at the end of the walk (and of course I make him sit and wait before I take him out of the office). On the plus side, others in the office are picking up on parts of this drill and even SVC makes the dog sit and wait before he can go out the office door.

The dog does know the difference between when he is allowed out of the office and  not. He knows he cannot go out the door if he does not have a leash on, although sometimes he will get excited and run out (like to kill the mailman . . . how does this dog know to kill mailmen? He does, and he is fanatic about it).

SVC now takes him on his afternoon (1500 hrs) constitutionals.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Exploring Excellent Ebooks

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 (olderCaptain’s Logs are not).

The 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 boughtReference 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 products on Wargame Vault.

We 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. 

So 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.

Monday, January 11, 2016

This Week at ADB: 3-9 January 2016

This was a week of steady work and some good news on the medical front. The weather this week was cold, with snow.

Steve Cole finally was able to work almost full days, although most of what he did was catching up on things since his surgery in November. He did finish the staff reports on Fighter Operations and we're ready to upload a new PDF. He also reviewed some submissions including fiction. He was also able to resume walking Wolf, but only short distances every other day.

Steve Petrick worked on fiction, Captain's Log #51, the update for Module C2, and the Master Starship project.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with 12 new entries and two updates.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates and some graphics.

Jean was in the hospital until late Saturday afternoon so no PDFs got uploaded.

Friday, January 08, 2016

And So the Story Goes

This is Steven Petrick posting.

We are still trying to get things back on a steady footing. Orders are going out (and have continued to go out all through as both Leanna and Mike Sparks have worked to make that so). The problem is the disruptions of Jean. It is not just a matter of keeping her spirits up in this time, but trying to cover those aspects of the company that were normally her balliwick. You can see this in the missed posts, as she normally coordinates those.

Sure, we used to keep this blog going before she came here full time, but one of us has since forgotten how to access the site, and all of us have forgotten that it needs to be done daily. So, for the nonce, I have tried to take over on a daily basis.

We have had a couple of people asking about doing fiction, so perhaps we will soon have a story around which to build Captain's Log #51. We shall see.

We are, today, keeping an eye on the weather. We are not expecting a blizzard this time, but a light snowfall is possible, but with luck not until after normal business hours. We are, however, all happy that it will not be preceded by a rain turning to ice.

SVC is gaining more strength and spending more time at his desk getting things done. I have had the cough from the last iteration of "office plague" return, but do not otherwise seem to be sick, just a lot of coughing (sigh).

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Confusion at the Office

This is Steven Petrick posting.

With Jean in the hospital, things have gotten a little off.

I normally look at the Blog once a day, even if I am not scheduled to post on it. I have been busy and distracted and have not come here to look on my normal schedule.

I was advised that Jean would be checking on and running the blog from the hospital Tuesday, and so did not come around on Wednesday or Tuesday.

Today I visited and . . .

Well, that at least explains why there have been no posts for a few days.

SVC is getting a little stronger and spending more time at his desk in the office.

Leanna had some car trouble, but it has been resolved. (Something went haywire with her brake lights and they kept draining the battery until the battery just totally died, i.e., it could not take a charge at all anymore.) The period where her vehicle was down has resulted in some additional confusion around the office (she called me yesterday to see if I would take SVC home, forgetting that SVC had his own car at the office and did not need a ride).

I am going through a few report line items that have come in for the Romulan Master Star Ship Book. Mostly minor things.

Monday, January 04, 2016

This Week at ADB: 27 Dec 2015 to 3 Jan 2016

     This was a week we would have just as soon skipped. The weather this week was cold as the snow on the ground slowly melted.
     Steve Cole was able to work only a couple of hours a day as his surgical recovery continues to make slow progress. He spent those hours on backlogged emails. He managed to finish Hailing Frequencies and Communique without Jean and Simone uploaded them on the 29th.
        Steve Petrick worked on various projects.
       The Starlist Update Project moved forward with 15 new entries and six updates (as Steve processed requests pending since mid-November).
Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.
   Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.
   Simone did website updates and some graphics.
   Jean went into the hospital again with various post-surgical issues (pneumonia, bleeding) but despite a few days in intensive care she was sitting up and eating in a regular hospital room by Saturday.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

3 January 1016

This is Steven Petrick posting.

SVC came into town to visit Jean and give the dog some "people time."

Both of us came to the office with goals to try to clear up some back log that is not directly related to the company (I spent most of the time I was here reading back issues of FYEO that I had not read before).

Tomorrow will pretty much be the first real workday of the new year, and both of us are looking forward to it.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

A Slow Day Today

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Today was a quiet day in the office.

SVC and Leanna took some time to visit Jean in the hospital, who is doing better, while I worked around the office and kept the dog company.

After they finished visiting with Jean, SVC and Leanna came to the office and did some catching up on files.

Simone arrived and worked on a few of her projects.

Kind of a slow day, but things should start picking up on Monday.