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Tuesday, May 31, 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.

Monday, May 30, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 22-28 May 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This week we released Captain's Log #51, F&E's Minor Empires, and A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Deluxe. Production began, wholesaler shipments were made, and work started on the FLAP list. The weather was hot.

New on Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault this week was the Captain's Log #51 Supplement.


Steve Cole worked on the Wall of Honor, the FLAP list, added Captain's Log #51 to the unpublished history book, sent over 40 ships for SFBOL3G, sent Jean some graphics for Facebook,

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #52 (battle groups, monster article, ships), and tried to catch up on the backlog of routine items not done in the previous two weeks.

 Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date while trying to launch the new Zencart to replace the old Mivacart.

 Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates from the FLAP list.

Jean worked on her PD20M Supplement (providing the species that were in GURPS PD4 but not in PD20M), managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,108 friends), managed our Twitter feed (191 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread various things, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

On Memorial Day

Jean Sexton muses:

This is Memorial Day weekend and my thoughts go to those who gave their lives in the service on this country. I am sorry for the losses, but I respect the choices and the consequences that led to that loss. I know that I owe my freedom to those who stood against the dark. I try to respect their sacrifices by each day living a life worthy of them. I try to live my life with honor. If one of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines who gave so much were to appear before me, I would want them to be proud of what I have done.

So please, remember those fallen each day in your life.

Wilmington National Cemetery

Saturday, May 28, 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.

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Ships that Were Never Built, part 4

LDR battleship Imperial Fealty
Lyran battlecruiser Feline Harmony
Lyran command cruiser Paper Tiger
Orion Battle Raider Benevolence
Orion destroyer 12 Step Program

Captain's Log #17, (c) 1995 Amarillo Design Bureau. Thanks to David A. Coulthurst, Jeff Laikind, Larry Ramey, Richard Brooks, Stephan Fassman, Scott Fridenberg, Jeff Zellerkraut, and Reece Watkins.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

A Scene That Might Appear in a Story

This is Steven Petrick posting.

When I was very active playing, sometimes events would occur that would seem to make a good climax to a story. I am sure I am hardly alone on this, and many (if not most) other players have had moments in a game where they have thought "this would be a great scene, if only I could write it."

A case in point.

A duel between a Federation cruiser (my ship, surprisingly) and a Klingon ship was coming to a close. Both ships were badly shot up (both were on emergency life support). On this particular turn the Federation ship was stopped, and its photons were unarmed (they might have been arming, but they would not be available this turn).

The Klingon ship turned and approached the Federation ship head on. One can picture the Klingon captain addressing his bridge crew of his intention to close to three hexes range where his ship's phaser-2s would not miss. Some member of the crew expressing the fact that the Federation ship's phaser-1s are effective out to five hexes range, and the captain noting that the limited number of phasers remaining to the Federation ship would force him to hold fire until three hexes range also to maximize their damage, but the then greater number of Klingon phasers and limited number of remaining Federation phasers would leave the Federation ship with almost no weapons while the Klingon ship would still have phasers to fire (on the next turn).

Surprisingly, the Federation ship fires its phaser-1s at Range 4. While this costs the D7 some of its remaining phasers with no answering damage (no "me too" firing in Star Fleet Battles), the Klingon Captain snarls that now they will be able to close to Range 0 before firing, which will almost make up for the lost phasers, and still leave the Federation ship at their mercy, it does not even have any shuttles remaining.

As the ship closes, the science officer, thrown to the deck by the phaser fire, rises and returns to his station. Something about the Federation ship is bothering him. There is an energy build up in the secondary hull.

The Klingon ship closes to Range 1. Suddenly the science officer cries out "Captain! They are arming a Pr . . .

Scene flashes to the damaged bridge of the Federation ship, where the weapons officer says (as if continuing a range countdown) "10,000." and the Captain says "Fire."

View switches to outside of the two ships as the anti-matter armed probe screams out of the probe launcher in the secondary hull and impacts on the Klingon ship, which again is unable to return fire.

The Klingon player in this case had completely forgotten that crippled ships can arm anti-matter probes as weapons (which the Federation ship started to do on the previous turn) and did not consider it when he began his approach, and could not imagine that the Federation ship would hold a weapon back when he fired at Range 4. He simply regarded the Federation fire at that range to be a mistake and changed his intention to fire at Range 3 to Range zero. He was so committed in  his own mind to the Range zero shot that of course he was not prepared for the concept that the Federation ship might have a "pretty present" for him (borrowing from "Enemy Below"). Thus as the Klingon ship approached, the Federation player asked if he would fire at Range 3, then Range 2, then Range 1, and announced his own fire at Range 1. The last chance to fire the probe, and still with a 16.667% chance of a miss, but you have to picture the captain trying to look calm in his command chair as he was pulling off this bluff that might very well have failed. The Klingon commander sees his last phaser-2s reduced to scrap by the Mizia effect (having destroyed some of his phaser-2s with the Range 4 shot, I probably would not have gotten all of them if the Anti-Matter probe had been fired at the same time, and since it was all I had, I needed to wait for that point blank shot that got the chance of a hit up to 83.333%).

I laid the trap, and the Klingon captain walked right into it. It was perfectly reasonable for him to believe I would hold my remaining phaser-1s to Range 3 and fire them at that range at the same time he fired his phaser-2s, but the odds were that if I did so, he would knock out all of my remaining phaser-1s, and I would not get all of his remaining phaser-2s. On the next turn his remaining phaser-2s (after that exchange) would destroy my ship. And I needed him to come as close as possible (preferably Range 1) to maximize the chance of the probe impacting. So fire the remaining phaser-1s at Range 4, getting him to decide to fire his remaining phaser-2s at Range Zero, and gamble on the Mizia effect to strip most (in the event, I got them all) of his remaining phaser-2s from his ship. The upshot is that on the following turn, I may not have had any photons (I did not, I did not have the power to arm them and do what I was doing), but my remaining phaser-1s were undamaged and the Klingon was dead meat.

But that would probably make a great scene at the end of a tense and well told battle story.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thoughts on Strokes

Tuesday, May 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.

Monday, May 23, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 15-21 May 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was the week we scheduled to clean up the mess caused by Captain's Log #51. The weather this week was nice. Leanna suffered a mild stroke on Wednesday but got to the hospital in time and was sent home Friday with no permanent damage. All of us (except Leanna) attended the annual company picnic (the Business Connection Trade show at the Amarillo Civic Center where we picked up lots of office supplies and candy and a few new ideas).

New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week was Federation Commander: Vudar Ship Card Pack #1.


Steve Cole finished up Captain's Log #51 (we were waiting for a few last pieces of art to come in), worked on the Captain's Log #51 Supplemental File, the Captain's Log #51 FLAP list, and the Star Fleet Alert for Captain's Log#51 + Federation & Empire: Minor Empires + A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Deluxe.

Steven Petrick worked on the final elements of Captain's Log #51 and its Supplemental File and the first parts of Captain's Log #52.

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

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Wolf hunted a squirrel.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did advertising materials for Captain's Log #51, website updates, and some graphics.

Jean worked on the PD20M Supplemental File, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,095 friends), managed our Twitter feed (190 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread the Captain's Log #51 Supplemental File, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, May 22, 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/).

Saturday, May 21, 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!

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Ships that Were Never Built, part 3

Jindarian battlecruiser Hard Rock Cafe 
Klingon battlecruiser IKV Daisy 
Klingon penal frigate IKV Insubordination 
Kzinti battlecruiser KHS Feline Brotherhood 
Kzinti battlecruiser KHS Vegetarian 
Kzinti light cruiser KHS Hairball 

Captain's Log #17, (c) 1995 Amarillo Design Bureau. Thanks to David A. Coulthurst, Jeff Laikind, Larry Ramey, Richard Brooks, Stephan Fassman, Scott Fridenberg, Jeff Zellerkraut, and Reece Watkins.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Steve Cole's thoughts on time travel.
From time to time, Steven Petrick and I (usually over dinner) will propose tactical challenges from historical battles. Some of them involve time travel, and the idea of: "Your mission is to take X to this battle and change the outcome. How are you going to do it?"
In one recent exercise, I imagined waking up in March 1940 with no directives or preparations for what I was supposed to do. Being a patriotic American I decided that I wanted to see Hitler defeated at a lower cost in lives, and perhaps leaving America in a stronger position in Europe after the war. How would I do that?
1. The first thing I have to do is contact someone in the US government who will give me a chance to prove that I am not insane. I decided to approach Wild Bill Donovan, a man of vision who would later create the OSS and CIA. I know that he traveled a lot (mostly to England) and that he had a business in New York City. It would seem that a phone book would get me to his office, and assuming he was not out of town, I would have one chance to get an audience. My plan was to craft a document listing lots of things I know from history (about him, FDR, Churchill, and the US), and a few predictions. With luck, that would at least get me a meeting. Then I just flat tell him that I'm a time traveler, that I know he thinks I'm crazy, but if my predictions come true for a German invasion of Norway and then France, I might be taken more seriously. I could mention the Manhattan project, Ultra, Magic, Bletchley Park, and a few other super-secret things no one knew about. Presumably, if he didn't know, he knew someone who could say "get this guy under lock and key." Sooner or later, I would be taken seriously as a known time traveler.
2. Then it becomes a matter of what to tell them. I would of course tell them anything they wanted to know, but we'd have to discuss that. For me to just reveal every surprise attack and tricky move and lucky break might change the war in unpredictable ways, and might even let Hitler win. (It was absolutely necessary that nothing happened to make Hitler less ineffective. I have resolved in my own mind to save lives by telling them about technological and tactical improvements that would make the war less deadly and more efficient.)
3. For the Army, I would start by telling them that the BAR was not going to work, and neither was squad musketry. They needed to put a real machinegun into every rifle squad, even if they just copied the German MG34. (I would warn them not to use that awful Bren the British stuck themselves with.) They also needed to skip tank destroyers and just put a decent gun and decent armor on a slightly bigger version of the Sherman. I would also mention that the light tanks would end up being of no real use and that the Army would do better to build pure battalions of Super Shermans. I would tell them to double the amount of infantry in the armored divisions. Most of all, I would explain how the replacement system wasted tens of thousands of lives and explain the idea of a "replacement battalion" where every new soldier would spent the first few days in the division (learning how to not get killed). I would also tell them to let black men serve in combat if they volunteered for it.
4. To help the Marines, I would explain that the Reising rifle could not be maintained in the field and they should just buy M-1 Garand rifles.
5. To help the Navy, well, the first and most painful thing I have to do is ask them to cancel all of the Iowa-class battleships. While they are things of beauty, they won't ever fight another battleship and cheaper ships can do other missions. I would explain the snorkel concept to the submarine service, and angled-deck carriers to the aviation boys. I would also warn them to mount battleship radar dishes where they have an unrestricted 360° view with no blind spot. (Such a blind spot on the USS Washington almost caused us to lose Guadalcanal.)
6. For the Army Air Forces, I could advise them to start building P-47s and P-51s faster, and recommend that maybe the B-25 and B-26 were just as good as each other and it might be cheaper to pick one of them. I would also tell the Army Air Forces that the book (by the Italian ace Douhet) saying that air power can win a war without the Army or Navy is just wrong. Worse than wrong, it's total nonsense. The Germans learned that when Goering (another disciple of Douhet) failed to destroy the British Army at Dieppe.
7. I would then tell Eisenhower that he needed to let Patton close the Falaise gap, force the British to cut off the German 15th Army on the Sheldt instead of letting it escape, cancel Market-Garden, and make Monty clear the river so that the port of Antwerp could be used to support the entire war effort.

Wednesday, May 18, 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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Battle Group Articles Need Help

This is Steven Petrick posting.

As has been noted on the board, I am trying (and doubtless to some being very trying . . . sorry) to get things started for Captain's Log #52. Part of that means getting the "Battle Groups" topics going. The problem, as has been noted on the board, is coming up with something that will be new, interesting, and a challenge.

So far, the only ideas I have had have not passed muster with SVC (I try to make sure someone besides just me is involved in this because even I have my blind sides, and while I considered some of the ideas I had worth pursuing, SVC shot some holes in them).

I do not like using battle groups to push people to buy products. Thus a proposal to have the players submit battle groups and then surprise them by having their opponent be the Borak (Module E3), and everyone has to come up with how they will fight their Mega-phasers and hunter-killer fighters is a non-starter. I have no problem with a player proposing a Borak force as one of the battle groups, but I am not going to try to force every player who submits a battle force to purchase Module E3 so that they can figure out their tactics against the Borak. They are in playtest, and not everyone normally buys a playtest module of a new "empire."

I am leery about using the Omega Octant or the Magellanic Cloud (or even the simulator empires) as a "general opponent" for similar reasons. Some players do like to delve all across the Star Fleet Universe, but a goodly number are (not in any way meant to be disparaging) "Alpha Octant Homebodies." They are comfortable with the existing technology in the Alpha Octant and do not really want to expand into the larger Star Fleet Universe. Trying to force them to do so is not what the Battle Groups are about. They are about giving players the opportunity to show their own tactical skill and knowledge, not about forcing them to buy other products. Even in the Alpha Octant not all players like carriers and fighters, but they usually know enough about them to be able to deal with them tactically.

So battle force articles are generally designed to cast the proverbial "big net." To allow as many players as possible to have their moment to shine and be published, and not to exclude them because they do not play in the Magellanic Cloud.

So if you have an idea for a Battle Group scenario, drop me an E-mail and make the suggestion. Keep in mind that we have settled on 550 BPV as allowing the maximum number of players to be published, and have enough BPV to allow as much flexibility as possible without the complexity of larger battle forces that require so much exposition that only a few can be published.

Monday, May 16, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 8-14 May 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was the week we scheduled for overflow on Captain's Log #51. Because of any number of good and bad reasons, things dragged. Every day we thought we'd be done, but things were late arriving (because we were late asking for them) and Jean's proofreading was pernicious. The weather this week was nice. Right in the middle of working on Captain's Log #51 we had to take time to do the two newsletters.

New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week was Captain's Log #20.


Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #51, Hailing Frequencies, and Communique.

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #51, Captain's Log #52, the SFB Module C2 update, and the Master Starship Book project.

The Starlist Update Project was on hold as we focused on Captain's Log.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates and some graphics and released the two newsletters.

Jean worked on the battle group reports, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,095 friends), managed our Twitter feed (187 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Captain's Log #51 again and again (always finding another comma to add or remove, say, wait a minute, is she just removing and adding the same ones?), took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, May 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 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

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.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

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.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Working on Captain's Log through the Years

Jean Sexton muses:

One of the first items I ever proofread for ADB was Captain's Log #35, released in May 2007. Steve Cole would send me a PDF, I would proofread it, and send line item reports. Those turned out to be pretty long. We moved to me calling in corrections and Steve Cole and Steven Petrick taking turns sitting at the computer and making changes late into the night. That continued until I moved to Amarillo.

Finally I could read the pages, mark what needed to be changed, and someone would make those changes. People being human, mistakes were sometimes made. I might mark that "the Bridge" should be "the bridge" and the correction might come back "thebridge." Some of these mistakes were more embarrassing than the original error. So we instituted a "check changes" step where I would check the changes made to make sure that they weren't skipped and that nothing peculiar happened. Sometimes that was more hit-and-miss than we liked. Sometimes an article slipped by me or by Petrick.

With Captain's Log #51, we started a new procedure.

As you can see, an article moves along the "clipboard trail" from Petrick to me to Steve Cole. Then the revised article and the marked-up copy come back to me for re-checks. That article may go back and forth between Steve and me until all the problems have been resolved. Finally it moves to the "Finished Pages" clipboard.

At the very end we will print off a new copy and go through the pages one by one. Is the art right? Did a line get covered by the art? Did a line drop off the page? Is there a hole that needs art? Does the table of contents match the contents? Did we get all the artists listed?

Only then does the inside of the book get printed. It gets bound into its cover, packed up for distributors to send to the stores, and major contributors get their copy. Those of us on the Design Team use this week to pull together the Supplement so it can be bought with the magazine.

So you can see that over the years we've gotten better at getting you a good issue. We hope you will enjoy Captain's Log #51 and the next 49 issues!

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Ships that Were Never Built, part 2

Hydran cruiser HMS Forgiveness
Hydran destroyer HMS Cowardly
Hydran light cruiser HMS Lukewarm Dedication
ISC destroyer Assault
ISC frigate Veteran of Ten Battles
ISC strike cruiser Vengeance

Captain's Log #17, (c) 1995 Amarillo Design Bureau.
Thanks to David A. Coulthurst, Jeff Laikind, Larry Ramey, Richard Brooks, Stephan Fassman, Scott Fridenberg, Jeff Zellerkraut, and Reece Watkins.

Thursday, May 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 (older Captain’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 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 products on Wargame Vault.

We are expanding into Kindle books through Amazon. Our first book, For the Glory of the Empire, was released there recently; more will follow. 

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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Blog From Steven Petrick

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Hard as it is to believe, this has been on my mind since last night, and I still do not have a real cogent thought of something to say to make it interesting.

The Romulan Master Starship Book is waiting on final reports and graphics. Most, but not all, of the graphic requests have been generated (new ones from the current issue of Captain's Log have not been generated, and the Generic List has not been completed), and some "alibis" have crept in requiring fixes to supposedly completed graphics (when does that never happen?). I am hesitant to send out the Lyran Master Starship Book for checks until the Romulan Master Starship Book is deemed ready for publication. I want the checkers focused on the Romulan Master Starship Book until then in hopes of keeping the error rate down.

Module C2's scenario graphics have been requested, but there are still a few reports to incorporate before I try assembling the book to see what "crashes."

I have a "Battle Group" scenario in mind (for both Federation Commander and Star Fleet Battles, but it might also work for A Call To Arms: Star Fleet), but keep forgetting to discuss it with SVC. More a problem that we are both busy and when both of us are not busy, that is when I forget to talk to him about it.

Captain's Log #52 is getting some attention already (not just the Battle Group article). I have started work on the Monster Article, and there is already a selection of SSDs done (six so far) for consideration for that issue. There is also a selection of scenarios already done, and doubtless more will be done between now and then. I know a lot of you think everything is a mad rush at the end when we do a Captain's Log, but I do make some effort to do material in advance so that I am available to work on other things. Does not always work out, and Jean is never satisfied with my efforts, but she has too many things to do herself to check the stuff that comes out early. She is soon going to be completely engrossed in final edits of the Romulan Master Starship Book, and then probably bombarded to get the Lyran Master Starship Book edited.

Tuesday, May 10, 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:

Monday, May 09, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 1-7 May 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was the week we scheduled as the third and final week for Captain's Log #51, but that issue remains unfinished because of some unavoidable delays of small pieces of the package. We will wrap it up in a few more days.

 Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #51, then took off for three days at the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico. Leanna went with him and both returned saying their spirits had been uplifted and renewed.

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #51.    

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 worked almost entirely on Captain's Log #51. She managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,088 friends), managed our Twitter feed (188 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, took care of customers, and did some marketing. 

Jean celebrated the third anniversary of her move to Texas.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Star Fleet Universe Downloadable Art

Simone Dale writes:

Many do not know that we have a page where you can download backgrounds and covers with Star Fleet Universe art. We have art that will work on Facebook, iOS7 iPhones, Android devices, and computers. You will also find art you can use as binder spine cards.

Check out what we have on http://www.starfleetgames.com/backgrounds.shtml.

Big 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.

If 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.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

How Not to Get into the Game Business

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.

In 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? Six?"

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.

In 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.

Friday, May 06, 2016

The Ships that Were Never Built, part 1

Andromedan Negotiator Class Cruiser
Federation battleship USS Gandhi
Federation destroyer USS Good Ship Lollipop
Federation heavy cruiser USS Defiler 
Gorn battleship Barney
Gorn frigate Alligator Belt

Captain's Log #17, (c) 1995 Amarillo Design Bureau.
Thanks to David A. Coulthurst, Jeff Laikind, Larry Ramey, Richard Brooks, Stephan Fassman, Scott Fridenberg, Jeff Zellerkraut, and Reece Watkins.

Thursday, May 05, 2016


Steve Cole ponders various television shows he saw:
SCORPION: I love the show but I'm already sick and tired of the worn-out "couple that can't admit they are in love" meme. That and some of the technology is utter nonsense.
CASTLE: In this fall's season opener, Rick's daughter pointed out that he did not have Beckett's skills or experience, and he certainly does not. The question is, why doesn't he? (Well, beyond the fact that the writers need to keep him a lovable dunce.) He's rich, so couldn't he hire an ex-cop to tutor him in tactics, procedures, and techniques? He has connections with the city government, so why hasn't he used them to get a commission in the police auxiliary?
GRIMM: I think that Monroe and Rosalee would not have allowed the orphans to go into foster care but would have called the pastor of the vessen church. That pastor would have arranged for private adoptions to keep the vessen community safe.
SUPERGIRL: If I were a super hero, I would not have a secret identity or a job. The secret government agency that supports me can set up a safe house and pay me a salary. No effort will be wasted protecting a secret identity. If I am needed I don't have to find a way to sneak out of work. I would be available 24/7 for emergencies and could spend my non-emergency time training and studying.
YOU, ME, AND THE APOCALYPSE: A lovable romp as a plucky band of idiots stumble their way into the bunker where they can survive the impact of a comet. Problem is, nobody really knows what happens when something that big hits a planet. We have run endless computer simulations (with varying results) and while we know that a comet hit Yucatan about the time the dinosaurs died, they may have already been on the way out due to the eruption of volcanoes in India (or maybe the impact caused the volcanoes, nobody is sure). Whatever happens, it almost certainly won't be everyone outside of the bunker dies in the first instant. The best guess we have is that the comet 65 million years ago killed every dinosaur in North America, and then screwed up the planet so much that the rest of the dinosaurs starved to death in the dark of a gigantic Comet Winter event. A couple of billion people are still alive outside the bunker, and they're desperately fighting for whatever food they can find (a struggle that will get worse every year for a decade). Humans aren't dinosaurs in that we're smart enough to figure out solutions to problems. When the people come out of the two bunkers (and there must be a lot more bunkers, don't the Russians have several and the French surely have a big wine cellar or something) they will find millions of armed, hungry, and angry survivors.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

An Error That Was Not an Error

This is Steven Petrick posting.

We got to the point in the Captain's Log #51 process where I needed to do the final review of the Federation Commander battle groups. These had all been submitted months earlier, reviewed, formatted and placed into a file just for this moment.

So what could possibly go wrong?

As I was re-reading the first one (to thus confirm that any corrections Jean had called for had not somehow changed the meaning), I ran into references of about the use of phaser-4s.

Wait a minute, phaser-4s . . . on a mobile base?

How had I failed to catch that when I originally formatted the file? Maybe Federation Commander mobile bases have phaser-4s? A quick check of the card and . . . no, no phaser-4s.

So I had to go to SVC and tell him that the a battle group was wrong, and if I could not get the author to submit a replacement by Saturday, we were going to have to drop a couple of pages of the article and  have to find something to fill those pages.

I went back to my office, asking myself over and over again how I had not noticed those references to phaser-4s when I formatted and reviewed the article six months earlier. I had a vague memory of checking the mobile base ship card back then for some reason; had I noted the error then and forgotten to ask the author for a revision when there was plenty of time?

With the battle forces obviously going to be a problem, I chose to skip ahead and read the battle force scenarios. And in the scenario for the battle force article was a note that for purposes of the scenario and to make sure everyone was facing the same problem, the mobile bases in the scenario would have 360° phaser-4s in their two option mounts.

In short, I thought I had found an error, but I was mistaken.

At least I got to go back to SVC and tell him there was no problem with the Federation Commander battle group article. Better having seen the mention of the phaser-4s in the option mounts, it triggered my memory that I HAD looked at the mobile base card back then, it was why the phaser-4s were there because I had noted the option boxes and settled on the phaser-4s as a simple solution for the scenario (rather than telling each player to pick some weapons and then having to tell his opponent what weapons he had picked).

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Play Online

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/Federation Commander 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 business trips.

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 release.

Monday, May 02, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 24-30 April 2016

Steve Cole writes:

This was the second week of work on Captain's Log #51, and we were almost 2/3 finished at the end of it. (We won't finish it next week because of the annual wolf trip.)

Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #51.

Steven Petrick worked on Captain's Log #51.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with two 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 worked on and proofread Captain's Log #51, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,076 friends), managed our Twitter feed (185 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, took care of customers, and did some marketing.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

On Three Years, Two Years, and One Year

Jean Sexton muses:

One of the things Facebook does each day is allow you to see what you did on that day through the years. May is always a special month for me. It is when spring is solidly here. Flowers are blooming. It isn't too hot. When I was in academia, it was the month when graduation happened. In the slow time between graduation and the start of summer school, I would sometimes go on trips to the beaches or mountains of North Carolina.

Three years ago, I started on the biggest trip of my life -- one that altered my life. I retired from the job I had for 30 years. Friends packed up my belongings and the Steves and I headed out to Amarillo, Texas. I had rented my apartment sight unseen, based on the Coles' recommendation and the floorplan. Would my stuff even fit in it? (Not at the start, but within three months the storage area was cleared.) What would I be doing, exactly, at work? There was so much to absorb. The biggest question was if I could be happy and make Amarillo my home. This became The Year of the Move.

(Texas or Bust!)

Two years ago I had gotten Wolf and we were still learning about each other. I had no idea his coat would be so long in spots. He had no idea I could be trained to take him on walks and look out for His Royal Furriness. There was so much to learn about having an inside dog. I think upon it as The Year of The Wolf.

(Wolf and I)

A year ago I got the first sign (although I didn't know it at the time) that something was going wrong with my body. That led to the well-documented Year of Ill-Health.

(I am recovering in February)

The main benefit from my experiences is that I learned and grew from each of these years. Yes, I could still survive all on my own. It is sometimes lonely, but I have friends in Amarillo. Wolf has taught me more patience and helped me lose weight. He's also helped with the loneliness -- it is hard to feel lonely with a little dog snuggling up or doing something to make you laugh. The final year taught me the value of taking good care of my body and made my enjoyment of life even more intense now.

Some people say to never look back, to only look where you are going. I think it doesn't hurt to review where you were so you can realize how far you have come and to consider if you should make any course corrections. When I get frustrated with things, I think back and usually my "woes" are so minor compared to what was, that I shake my head and turn things loose. I weigh less than I have done in years. I have a car that will likely last me until I can no longer drive safely. (One of the reasons for that is I don't have to drive 10 or more miles to a grocery store, pharmacy, or any other store.) My old place was broken into at least once a year -- I knew the locksmith by name. Here, there hasn't been an issue. I am healthier, happier, and more content than I have been in years.

Have I accomplished everything I wanted? No, I still have more to do. But I can look back over the years and see that I am on track to have a healthy and happy year that is also productive for ADB. And life is good where I am.

Here's to the start of another year in Texas!