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Wednesday, November 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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Steve Cole writes:

People often try to convince me to publish some particular product. (It's how we select a lot of the products that get printed, but there are advocates for many more products than we can actually print.) Sometimes this is a gamer who wants to buy the product; sometimes it's an outside designer who wants me to publish the product.

The way you convince us to create and publish something is to prove that the sales (in dollars, not just units) exceed the costs. Some products are easier to do than others. (Federation Commander Klingon Ship Card Pack #4 took less than a day to do; the revised rules for Federation & Empire Fighter Operations or A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Book #1 took most of a year.) Obviously, you have to convince us that there are enough people who will buy it to generate enough money to pay us for doing it, but that number is key on several levels.

First, you have to meet the minimum print run. If you want die cut counters, that means 1000. If you just want laminated cards like Federation Commander, probably half of that. If you want PDFs, then the minimum run is one.

But, second, you have to sell enough not just for the minimum print run, but enough to be worth the payroll time to create the product. Obviously, I cannot do a month of work to create something that sells one copy, even if the minimum print run is one. And the time that my employees (and myself) have to do products is limited and finite. Doing one project literally means not doing another one (at least not yet). A project by an outside designer should take less time than one done by myself personally, but I've rarely seen that actually happen. We spend more time fixing and editing to make sure it works and fits inside the universe than you'd think.

Then third, you have to look at what is best for the specific product line. Doing any significant work on Federation Commander Early Years delays the already announced next project (Fighters Attack). Can anyone tell me that Early Years will outsell Fighters Attack? I just don't think you can. On the other hand, something that would take an hour to do won't slow down the next major product significantly.

Then, fourth, look at the whole company. Doing a product for Federation & Empire may mean not doing a product for Star Fleet Battles. A new module for Starmada might mean not doing a new book for A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, and so forth. We got a lot done in 2016, but some of its schedule remain unfinished and we will have no trouble finding more projects for 2017 than we can complete.

A key point is die-cut counters. Currently, the system that produces them produces four 8.5x11 sheets, which means that any product that requires counters either fits into the next sheet or waits for the one after that. All four sheets (which could be from two to eight products) have to be ready at the same time, which may mean that we have to stop everything and complete a low priority project so that the combined print run of counters can go to press. It might also mean that a very important product has to wait months or a year for a spot on a print run, or that adding a product that takes little work but needs counters means delaying a product that also needs counters.

And of course, sometimes my hands are tied. I cannot do a product which exceeds our license, or one that requires parts that cannot be economically produced.

Since we've just started work on Captain's Log #52 I should comment that sometimes the thing people want is not a product at all, just a few pages of the next Captain's Log. That makes the minimum print run irrelevant, but also means it cannot include counters. While Captain's Log is a zero-sum game (with 144 pages, anything we do means not doing something else) and cannot accommodate projects of more than a few pages, it does use work resources already on the schedule.

Monday, November 28, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 20-26 November 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was the week of the American Thanksgiving holiday. Between time off and family events, we only got half a week of work done. The weather this week was cooler.

Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #52 and other projects including thoughts about releasing scaled deck plans in PDF.

Steven Petrick worked on  Captain's Log #52, the Master Starship Books, and other projects.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Jean worked on deck plans, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,406 friends), managed our Twitter feed (208 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Master Starship Books, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, November 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.

Saturday, November 26, 2016


Steve Cole ponders thoughts on dinosaurs:
1. The Triassic was the first (oldest) of the three dinosaur ages (250 to 200 million years ago). During this period, dinosaurs first appeared, but they hadn't taken over the planet until the end of it. Lots of other animals, families that lost the war for Earth to the dinos, are also found.
2. The Jurassic is the middle of the dinosaur era (200 to 140 million years ago). It was a very wet, lush, green time for Earth. This period includes stegosaurus, allosaurus, and the duckbills. It also includes a chicken-sized predator Coelophysis who was the ancestor of Tyrannosaurus.
3. The Cretaceous is the last of the three dinosaur eras (starting 140 million years ago), and ended 65 million  years ago when the big rock hit Mexico and the Deccan mega-volcanoes messed up the whole planet. This period includes most of the dinosaurs we know, including T-rex, raptors, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus (armored tanks on legs), and the crested duckbills.
4. Dimetrodon was probably in your toy dinosaur set. It looks like a lizard with a huge fin on its back (which is called a sail). It was also in the original Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. Funny thing is, Dimetrodon was not a dinosaur, but a mammal-like reptile that died out in the Permian, long before the first dinosaur was born. We humans actually have Dimetrodon in our family tree. Say hello to your great-great-great-great-great-great-grandpa.
5. Spinosaurus was as big as a T-rex but had a huge sail on his back like the Dimetrodon (but was not related). Spinosaurus was found in Morocco and Egypt. The first one found was accidentally destroyed when the US bombed (1944) the Berlin museum that housed his bones. About 15 years ago I was reading Dinolist and asked the dinosaur scientists "You know where he's from. Why not go there and drive around until you find one sticking out of a rock?" Many laughed at my naivete but one of them (perhaps not because of what I said) actually did just that and found another one (and a lot of other new dinosaurs). I count this as my contribution to dinosaur paleontology. Spinosaur teeth are a unique shape with unique serrations on the edges, and lots of related "spinosaurids" have the same teeth of various sizes. Since teeth are the most common fossils found, scientists have a pretty good idea of where these things wandered, including north Africa and Brazil.
6. Recently, scientists working in Mongolia found a bone bed containing a flock of Avimimus (bird-mimic), a kind of dinosaur from the branch of the meat-eaters that spawned birds. Bonebeds are great because you get partial skeletons (or whole skeletons) of a dozen individuals, in this case of the same species. Most dinosaur skeletons are found in a jumbled pile missing half or more of the pieces, and scientists have to guess about the missing bones from similar species. (For example, they found half of a tiger skeleton but could tell it was enough like a leopard that since they had a whole leopard skeleton they could guess the missing bits.) Bonebeds sometimes have complete skeletons laid out nose to tail (a bunch of dinosaurs died in one place), and sometimes have random jumbles of bones (a bunch of dinosaurs died somewhere else and their bones were washed into a big hole by the actions of a river).
7. Words mean things. The word "described" means (to dinosaur scientists) that someone wrote a scientific paper in a peer-review journal which gave lots of lots of details about known bones of some animal. In theory, anyone who finds a random bone checks every published "description" to see if his bone fits into a known critter before he publishes his own paper defining it as a new critter.
8. Tyrannosaurus, Brontosaurus, Triceratops, and Stegosaurus are not species (e.g., tiger) but genera (e.g., big cat). Tyrannosaurus rex is a species, as is Tyrannosaurus bator, the Asian cousin of T-rex. Many think that bator is actually in a separate genera, Tarbosaurus bator, but that argument is not yet settled.
9. On Earth today there are 6,199 different species of amphibians, 9,956 different species of birds, 30,000 different species of fish, 5,416 different species of mammals (about half of which are rodents), and 8,240 different species of reptiles. Consider that we know of less than a thousand species of dinosaurs and those cover a period of 170 million years. Assuming a species lasts about four million years, that means at best we know of 25 dinosaur species alive at any given time. Even compared to the 2500 "greater mammals" alive today, you can see that our picture of the fossil record is murky at best. It's more likely that you will win the lottery than become a fossil for some scientist of a new species to study 25 million years from now.
10. It is looking more and more like the extinction at the end of the Permian (before the Triassic, the extinction that destroyed the proto-mammals and opened the door for dinosaurs) was caused by massive mega-volcanoes in Siberia. These erupted for a million years, covered most of Siberia in lava, and totally wrecked the environment.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday

We at Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. wish you the best of luck in your Black Friday shopping.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

We at Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving Day! We will be taking the day off to spend in fellowship.

Wednesday, November 23, 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.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Situation Normal At ADB

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Work is proceeding apace on Captain's Log #52. Various articles are coming together, and various plans and operations are proceeding as intended. The various tactics topics have been reviewed and the tactics sent out for grading.

Reports have been coming in on the Lyran Master Starship Book, and a head start has been made on the Kzinti Master Starship Book. The Lyran Democratic Republic Master Starship Book is waiting in the wings to swoop down and seize a position for publication. So far only one checker has looked at it, however, and he was a special case. I do not want to flood the checkers with another book until they have finished the Lyran Master Starship Book. I do not know which book will be next after the preceding.

We have an operational plan in the works for Thanksgiving. We will see how that works out, but we all know that Mrs. Murphy's darling little boy is just waiting to throw a spanner into the works. Mrs. Murphy's darling little boy is always waiting to toss spanners into the works (sigh).

We do, however, continue to make progress.

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/).

Monday, November 21, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 13-19 November 2016

Steve Cole reports:

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

New on DriveThru RPG and Wargame Vault this week was Captain's Log #25.


Steve Cole worked on Captain's Log #52, Federation Admiral, blogs, demotivationals, and other projects.

Steven Petrick worked on Master Starship Books, Captain's Log #52, and other projects.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with five new entries.

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 Captain's Log #52, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,389 friends), managed our Twitter feed (206 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Captain's Log #52, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, November 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!

Saturday, November 19, 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.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Answers to the Top 10 Questions that a Starship Captain Never Wants to Ask, Q3

3. Why is the cook leading the Marines?

Errr, Sir, he isn't leading them, unless you count being in front leading. I believe he feels the enemy will be more merciful than the Marines after what he served them for lunch.

David Kass
(c) 2002 Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. Captain's Log #25

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Computer Wars Continue (and I am losing)

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Having an interesting time with computers of late.

Computer "A" will not work with Pagemaker at all, but I have a page maker file that must be operated on.

Computer "B" says "Pagemaker . . .? No problem . . . but you cannot PDF Pagemaker files on me."

But computer A will not do anything with Pagemaker

Computer B: "Not my problem, you made all of your edits, work it out, I am done."


I finally had no choice but to convert the Pagemaker document on Computer B to a "Word" document.

So that ends the problem, right?


Computer "B" now says "Oh, you want to PDF that Word file? I do not do that anymore either."

Fortunately I can take a Word file from computer "B" to computer "A" and computer "A," which says there is no such thing as "Pagemaker" is perfectly happy to PDF any Word files I give it.

At least I will not have future problems with the Pagemaker file, since I have converted it to Word, but it is just one more of those things that prove to me that computers do not like me, and they are all out to get me, or at least drive me out of what is left of my mind.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Steve Cole's thoughts on preparing for the apocalypse.
When the apocalypse comes, and it will, it probably won't be something we expected, predicted, or prepared for. Lots of everyday disasters (a storm, power lines down for a few days, a train derailed into a oil terminal, a deep water oil well blows out and pollutes the ocean) will happen before then.
Apocalypse scenarios come in various kinds (mega-volcano, asteroid, plague, solar storm, gamma-ray burst), and various speeds (developing over weeks or minutes), and may happen when you are at home, at work, in your car, on vacation, or whatever. A six-month stockpile of food and ammo in your home or a remote cabin won't help you if you're at work and cannot get to your cache. Your cache won't be of much use if others can get to it and steal it before you get there.
Preparation should cover every possibility (to the extent you can afford). It's about surviving the first 30 minutes (when you get away from the fire, the zombies, or whatever), the first three days (by which time you will run out of the food normally in your house), and the first three months (by which time you should have reached or formed some kind of group in some defendable area.)
So you need to plan for short-term survival (get out of danger), medium-term (last for three days to a week), and long-term (building a new society from the ashes).
1. No matter what happens, no matter where you are when it does happen, you will have your body with you at the time. You need to get your body healthy and keep it that way with proper diet and exercise. Smoking and other drug habits will be fatal flaws during the apocalypse, so break them. Exercise to build strength, stamina, and speed. Five extra pounds is part of surviving that first week, but any more than that will fatally slow you down.
2. No matter what happens, no matter where you are when it does happen, you will have your brain with you at the time, so prepare your brain by learning as much as you can about survival. Read a few books, watch a few TV shows, learn some skills. (Seriously, how many of us have ever made a fire by rubbing two sticks together? The guy who can do that will be the guy everyone wants to hang with and protect.) Learn enough about cars to keep one running. Take the Red Cross first aid and CPR courses. Actually learn how to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together. (It can be done.)
3. When it happens, wherever you are, anything you habitually carry in your pockets may be the key to your survival. Put one of those mini-flashlights in a pocket. Hang a multi-tool in a pouch on your belt. Get one of those bracelets of parachute cord. Fold up a $20 bill and tuck it into the darkest corner of your wallet; if you walk three miles to safety you can at least buy a meal while waiting for rescue. Most people my age carry a small folding knife; if you don't, you should. A friend of mine carries a lighter even though he doesn't smoke. (Carrying a firearm is a massive responsibility; be sure you have all proper licenses and training and obey all laws.) You cannot walk around your whole life with a 40-pound backpack of survival supplies, but a few simple items won't be too much. If your life depends on medication, you may want to get some kind of small plastic container and keep a few days of pills (a week if you can) in your pocket at all times. Unfortunately for you ladies, fashion designers decided you will carry all of that stuff in your bag and that will be the first thing you lose when fleeing the first crisis of the long-term apocalypse.
4. The simplest and most common disaster is a power failure, which is also part of many apocalypse scenarios. If you put a flashlight in your desk at work, beside your bed, in your car, and beside the chair where you spend most of your time at home, you'll at least be able to find your way around without tripping over something and breaking your ankle. (That would be fatal during the apocalypse and inconvenient if the disaster is minor and the lights come back on an hour later.) Make one of those a hand-cranked light (the kind that don't use batteries). The one I have includes a port to recharge my cell phone. A gasoline-powered generator in your home is expensive, the fuel has to be stored properly, and when you have the only lights on for miles you may attract hungry neighbors and wandering bandits, but if you want one, go for it.
5. Food and water are needed for even short-term survival. It wouldn't hurt to buy a box of power bars and put a couple in your desk at work, a few in your car, and the rest in your home. (Replace them every three months; you can eat the old ones as snacks.) Having a bottle of water on the bookshelf in your office comes in handy for no end of problems. (I last used mine when I had a mouthful of pills and suddenly discovered my drinking cup was empty.) A bottle of water and a power bar will get you through a day and a night. They aren't enough, but your body's reserves will make up for the shortages, if only for one day. Even Wolf has a survival plan. He has hidden Milk Bones all over the office and Jean's apartment. If a disaster strikes while we're out, those will keep him wagging and barking for a week, long enough for us to get to him.
6. Keep a "go bag" of essentials in your car. (If you don't drive to work, see if there is a place you can keep the bag at your office, and keep an identical bag at home.) Include key items like some food (power bars and a can of beef stew), a sealed metal water bottle, a water filter, a multi-tool if you don't want it on your belt, extra ammo if you carry a pistol, toilet paper, wet napkins, a small quantity of money, a first aid kit, a flashlight, a good hunting knife, local maps, matches, a metal pot to boil water, and whatever else is appropriate to your area (rain gear, winter clothes, etc.). You might also include a change of clothing and an old jacket. (A pair of dry socks in your desk drawer at work may come in handy on an ordinary rainy day.) A good pair of hiking boots could be kept in the car with the bag. You can go overboard and pack the trunk full, including a tent and an inflatable boat, but let's not. Instead, just stock 10 times the contents of your go-bag inside your home.
7. For medium-term survival, say a week, you need more supplies, and that means storing them at home. Buy two or three big three-gallon water bottles, fill them, and put them in the bottom of some closet. (They'll come in handy if the water system goes out and you need to flush a toilet. We have them in the office for just that reason.) While every home has an average of three-days of food, you need to store at least a week if not two. (Obviously, this must be canned or dried food that won't go bad.) The simplest way is to assemble one week of food for your family and store it somewhere other than with the food you just bought and plan to eat this week. Then replace it every couple of months and move the original supply into the pantry for use this week and next. (It is really too complicated to go through every week's groceries and swap some of them into the reserve and reserve items into the pantry. You'll end up forgetting to replace something. Better to replace the whole cache all at once.) Pick a variety of items, including chicken noodle soup which is a good supply of fluid to drink if it comes to that. Remember that things like Raman noodles require a dependable supply of water and fire.
8. For long-term survival, you'll need a way to grow your own food and purify water found naturally. Buy one (or more) of those "water filter straw" things and keep it where you can find it. (It's easier to purify water from a puddle than to find a stock of bottled water somebody abandoned.) You will also need to grow your own food, which means buying $20 worth of vegetable seeds and putting them into a waterproof container in a dark closet. (Write the date on the box and in two years replace the seeds and donate the old ones to a charity.)
9. For a true apocalypse scenario, you need trade goods. Gold and silver coins might work in a scenario where it is obvious that the world is going to return to order in a year or two. If 99% of the population is dead (or undead, as the case may be) you'll get more trade value with medical supplies, food, ammunition, hand-cranked flashlights, small cheap pistols, or other immediately useful items. Just remember when making a trade, that the guy you're trying to trade with may not be above robbing you at gunpoint.
10. I am not a big fan of building a big bunker full of supplies three states away. It could be hard to get to, and in a true apocalypse you'll get there only to find that the local contractor who built it for you has moved in and brought his gun collection with him. When the apocalypse happens, lots of people will be trying to move, jamming the roads. If you aren't ready to survive for the first week right where you are, you aren't ready to survive at all.

Tuesday, November 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.

Monday, November 14, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 6-13 November 2016

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of steady progress. The weather this week was decidedly cool. National elections were held on Tuesday and by Wednesday morning we had a new president. We released Communique #131 and Hailing Frequencies for November on the 10th.

Uploaded to the e-vendors this week were revised versions of Federation Commander: Klingon Ship Card Pack #4 and the Romulan Master Starship Book. Printing began for the print version of the
Romulan Master Starship Book.

Steve Cole worked on Hailing Frequencies and Communique #131, blogs, the new combat system for Federation Admiral, replacement ships for Federation Commander: Klingon Ship Card Pack #4, and new ships for Federation Commander: Klingon Ship Card Pack #5 and Federation Commander: Romulan Ship Card Pack #4.

Steven Petrick worked on Hailing Frequencies and Communique #131, a blog, Captain's Log #52 battlegroups, and various Master Starship Books.

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 Hailing Frequencies and Communique #131, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,374 friends), managed our Twitter feed (207 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Captain's Log #52 battlegroups, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Saturday, November 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.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Answers to the Top 10 Questions that a Starship Captain Never Wants to Ask, Q2

2. "You loaded the photons with WHAT?

Sir, the Doc had some bio-hazard material to dispose of and the photon containment chambers were the only place the regulations did not prohibit storing it.

David Kass
(c) 2002 Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. Captain's Log #25

Thursday, November 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:

Wednesday, November 09, 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.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

I Voted! Did You?

Jean Sexton writes:

Today is Election Day in the United States. It is an election day which has gotten a lot of attention as the President of the United States will be elected. Even more importantly, local races, referendums, proposals, and bond issues that affect people directly are on the ballot. Now is not a time for apathy.

As citizens of the United States, we choose our leaders. This is both a right and a responsibility. At ADB, Inc., we are not pushing you to vote for a particular candidate, a particular stance, or a particular belief. We are simply urging you to vote. Vote as your conscience dictates and do your duty as a citizen.

My father always said, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain about anything that happens. You gave up that right when you didn't exercise your responsibility and vote."

If you have already voted, well done! If not, then what are you waiting for?

Monday, November 07, 2016

This Week at ADB, Inc., 30 October - 5 November 2016

Steve Cole reports: 

This was a week of steady progress. The weather this week was cooler, dipping into the 50Fs.

There were two new ebooks up this week, Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault added a major title: the Romulan Master Starship Book. It is also available in print, direct from ADB.


A Halloween surprise was the Federation Commander: Klingon Ship Card Pack #4. It is available from Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault.


Steve Cole worked on blogs, Federation Admiral, Merchants of the Federation, Captain's Log #52, new Federation Commander ship card packs, Communique, Hailing Frequencies, and other projects.

Steven Petrick finished the Romulan Master Starship Book, continued reviewing line items on the Lyran Master Starship Book, and continued finishing the draft of the Kzinti Master Starship Book. He also worked on the Star Fleet Battles Module C3 update, quality control, and proofreading other people's projects.

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 managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 3,354 friends), managed our Twitter feed (207 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread the Romulan Master Starship Book, took care of customers, uploaded PDFs, and did some marketing.

Sunday, November 06, 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.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

On Walking and Falling and Walking Again

Jean Sexton muses:

Many of you know that my doctor has told me I need to walk to stay healthy. I've slowly increased from walking about a quarter of a mile a day to about two miles a day. It isn't easy for me to do, but I am not ending up exhausted as I did when I started back in January, 2016. That's only taken 11 months. Still I am proud of my accomplishment. Wolf usually walks with me, so it isn't a fast walk, but it gets the job done.

And you know what they say about pride -- it goeth before a fall. Well, just before Halloween, I went for a walk without Wolf (Steve had taken him to the office for company). I wanted to see how fast I could cover our "long walk" of three-quarters of a mile without Wolf checking every bush (at least it seems like every bush) for other dogs' messages. I was moving along and my toe hit an uneven spot in the sidewalk. I tripped. I couldn't catch myself, but in my attempt to not fall, I got to a spot where I mostly hit grass: very hard grass, but grass, not cement.

I lay there for a bit, taking inventory. My glasses had fallen off, my face felt a bit raw as did the heels of my hand, I had a sore spot where a tooth met the inside of my lip, and I was so embarrassed. Nothing felt broken and my clothes weren't torn. So I got up. I had two choices: take a shortcut back to the apartment (about a building's length) or go the four-building square that would finish up the planned walk.

I opted to finish the walk. I thought maybe I would be able to better tell what was damaged. I added a sore ankle and thumb, raw-feeling elbows, and a stiffening shoulder to the count. When I got back to the apartment I got some ice on my then elevated ankle. Steve dropped off Wolf that evening. I decided to walk Wolf, who obviously wanted his evening walk. We went on our long walk, albeit a lot slower and more carefully than our wont. (The path we take is such that I'm never more than five building lengths away from my door and frequently it is a shorter distance, so I could cut the walk short if need be.) We made it! On Halloween, Wolf and I didn't walk much outside, but I walked inside using the Wii Fit program and went for a solid 30 minutes. I was tired, but I made it.

If you've ever fallen, you know that the pain tends to get progressively worse for about three days. All those wrenched around muscles tighten up and hurt. I noticed it some this time, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the last time I fell over a year ago. I don't know if walking and exercising helped keep the muscles looser, but I know that the only things that were still sore three days after were my lip and shoulder. And I didn't take any medicine to accomplish this.

They say you should get back up and ride the horse that threw you. If it means not hurting as much for three days, I'll have to walk after I fall and try not to coddle myself excessively. I'll also try to be more careful so I don't fall again.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Answers to the Top 10 Questions that a Starship Captain Never Wants to Ask, Q1

1. If you didn't put the drones in the SP, where are they?

Well, Sir, the drones are in the scatterpack, but they don't have warheads. The Marine commander felt his boys weren't sufficiently serious abut training, so he borrowed some live nukes from the weapons officer and they didn't get put back before the, um, action started.

David Kass
(c) 2002 Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. Captain's Log #25

Thursday, November 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.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Romulan Master Starship Book Nears Release

This is Steven Petrick posting.

The Romulan Master Starship Book is going through its final checks. Basically Jean, Leanna, and SVC are turning the pages to see if anything hits them as not right. This is not changes in text, but formatting issues.

I spent last night, before I went home, tracking down "jumps." This is something where the page layout keeps changing (it looks like it fits the page, then suddenly it does not). The only way this can be beaten is to do a PDF, go through the PDF looking for these problems, then go back to the word document and insert a blank line where the problem occurred. Sometimes it is more complex requiring paragraphs to be moved around (because suddenly the graphic does not fit at the bottom of a column but is jumping to the top of the next column, or next page, so you have to move text from below the graphic to above the graphic to fill in the white space).

So there is a complete book with all known corrections made. Now we just have to get everyone to sign off on it.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016


Steve Cole's thoughts on the philosophy of life.
Growing up, there were lessons that stuck with me from the moment I first heard them.

1. You can get more done with first-rate people and second-rate equipment than the other way around. I found this out in the military and working as an engineer.  The TV show GOLD RUSH proved both sides of this. The first few seasons the miners had no idea what they were doing and no matter what equipment they had, they failed. A few years later they had learned their trade and could do amazing things with less expensive equipment.

2. Just because something CAN be done does not mean it SHOULD be done. There often isn't time or resources to do everything you can think of. Some things that are possible will cause more trouble than benefit (or no benefit at all). Sometimes you find yourself negotiating a deal that makes no sense just because you don't want to fail to reach an agreement.

3. Most of the time, the have nots can be traced back in time to the did nots. People tend to sow the seeds of their own destruction.

4. Just because it's in a book doesn't make it true. Authors often make mistakes or have axes to grind. Sometimes authors make outrageous and even outright false claims just to get publicity or sell to a certain market segment. Sometimes an author says outrageous things just to increase book sales. Then again, sometimes a book published decades later has access to records that the earlier books didn't even know to look for. Every history of World War II written before the revelation of ULTRA and MAGIC is seriously incomplete.

5. The dynamic model is something too many people ignore and too few understand. The basic idea is that if you change one factor of an operation, other factors may change on their own in unpredictable ways (or ways the manager could predict but didn't want to admit). Say the manager of a hamburger restaurant calculates that meat costs more than lettuce and replaces half of the meat in his products with extra lettuce. Assuming he sells the same number of burgers, is profits will increase. In reality, customers will reject the lettuce burgers and the restaurant will make far less profit. This often happens with government policy. A few people have a problem so a new government program gives them money. After all, do the math, there are just a few people who have the problem so only a few dollars are needed. The problem is that lots of people will see the free money and suddenly decide to voluntarily get the problem so they get the money.

6. It's not about this time, but the next time. Why does the military conduct a major operation and get several people killed trying to rescue one man? Because you will never get anyone else to do whatever that one man did that got him in trouble. You won't convince pilots to fly over the enemy if you won't do everything you can to rescue the one who got shot down. How you treat one customer today will determine if any other customers do business with you tomorrow.

7. Sometimes hard is just as good as impossible in stopping people from doing the wrong thing. No lock is perfect but a strong lock encourages burglars to go break into somebody else's house. A 50-foot wall might encourage the sales of 50-foot ladders, but it will discourage a lot of people from climbing that high. In any case, someone carrying a 50-foot ladder is moving slow and easy to spot before he reaches the wall. Sure, cyber security just slows down hackers, but it may well convince them to go hack someone else.

8. Excellence is possible and worthwhile; perfection is impossible and pursuing it leads to frustration and failure. Said another way, a thing worth doing is worth doing well, but not worth trying to do perfectly.

9. Russian Army Proverb: Better is the enemy of good enough. Said another way, a thing worth doing it worth doing as well as the needs justify, but after that, you're just wasting resources better spent on another thing worth doing.
10. Sometime early in school the teacher was explaining the strange combination of months (28, 29, 30, or 31 days) that made up our year. One student said he had just read that "they" were talking about changing the year to 13 months of 28 days, adding the month of "Solaris" to the existing 12. I and everyone in the room assumed that "they" were some powerful committee who had control over printing calendars and that this was at least 50% likely to actually happen. I couldn't decide how I felt about it so I asked the other student to show me the source for this. I was somewhat shocked to see that "they" were just a bunch of guys who had an idea and that they had no authority to change the calendar. Further research (remember that I was very young) determined that the question of calendars was not in the hands of any given panel or governmental body, but was determined by the entire body of civilization. Since that time, every time I hear someone say "they say the government will change the tax code next year" or something similar, I know it is very unlikely that "they" have any authority to change anything, and that whatever it is, there are just too many people involved in deciding to change it for anything to actually change.