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Saturday, December 31, 2016

This Year at ADB: 2016

It was a good year with many new products. In hindsight, we always feel like we should have gotten more done, but a lot of work went into projects which didn't reach completion. That's fine, those are the seeds of next year's strong schedule.
Steve Cole and Jean Sexton steadily recovered from last year's surgeries. Security Director Ramses transferred to the Black Fleet in July after 17 years on duty. He is sorely missed.
We attended the local AmaCon convention in July and learned many valuable lessons. We look forward to next year's show.
We released Captain's Log #51 in May. It was a good issue, and not any kind of let down after the spectacular 50th issue. Jean would tolerate nothing less than "zing!" for every page and drove the Steves to create it. No end of boring pages ended up on the floor of her office, replaced by more exciting material. A lot of work has gone into Captain's Log #52 which will appear in January 2017.
Steve Cole and the staff completed F&E Fighter Operations 2016 in March and Minor Empires in April, which moved that game system a giant step toward the fabled F&E Warbook. Stephen did all of the art for the Romulan Master Starship Book and started on art for other books. Stephen worked tirelessly to recruit and edit fiction stories so that future Captain's Log issues won't be delayed by that, and did a lot of work on Captain's Log #51 and #52. Stephen completed (with the massive help of Tony Thomas) the Deluxe version of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Book 1.2 in April. Stephen wrote nearly a hundred blogs and did numerous graphics and demotivationals for Jean to post. At least one of his Friday Funny graphics was actually funny, but Jean made sure most of them never saw the outside of the office. Stephen did a lot of work on the Federation Admiral campaign book, but ultimately determined that the combat system provided by the original author was unworkable. He assigned the creation of new combat systems to two independent outside designers and moved on to other projects including the mysterious Star Fleet Stalingrad project. He did briefly review the Merchants of the Federation train game and (with Jean) came up with a plan to run a Kickstarter for it next year. In hindsight, Stephen really should have finished Captain's Log#52 and Federation Admiral; his productivity needs to improve next year as his health steadily improves.
Steven Petrick updated SFB Module C2 and is working on C3. He worked mostly on the Master Starship project. He released the Romulan book in November and at the end of the year had the Lyran and LDR books complete except for art. We really should have gotten at least one more book released, and Stephen Cole should have finished the Romulan art months earlier. Steven Petrick wrote nearly 50 blogs.
Jean Sexton kept our page on Facebook growing; it had reached 3480 friends by year's end. Jean uploaded many documents to the PDF stores, kept the Rangers busy, supported conventions and the battlegroups, made sure we always had a daily blog uploaded even if she had to write it herself, and did a lot of marketing. Jean worked on only one RPG project this year, the PD20M Supplemental File that will add the "missing" species to that game system. She should have gotten started on new game systems for the PD Core book but it just never happened. That's somewhere we need to improve, starting with Traveller.
The Starlist Project continued to help people find local opponents for all of our games, with hundreds of new entries and updates. The two newsletters, Communique and Hailing Frequencies, shipped on time every time with a lot of new items and good content. SFBOL effectively completed the conversion to the far superior Third Generation graphics. Several new ship card packs were uploaded to the PDF stores including the Lost Empires Preview Pack and the free North Polar Pack. We also did the first SFU Coloring Book just to see if there was any interest. In early February we released the Kindle version of our first fiction anthology. We should have released more fiction anthologies on Kindle but had too many other projects. We did publish the PDF of a quick little zombie apocalypse story.
Leanna Cole kept orders and accounting up to date. She suffered a mild stroke in May but got to the hospital in time for a miracle drug to give her a full recovery with no damage at all. During June, Leanna completely replaced our old Miva shopping cart with a much superior Zencart. Leanna and Stephen celebrated their 39th anniversary in September.
Mike Sparks kept orders going out and continually rebuilt the inventory. Sales of all of the Starline series continued to be strong and we released the 2450 D7K, the first step in converting the highly detailed 2500s to the 2400 scale. The new 2425 jumbo and heavy freighters have been sent to production but we're still waiting for the casting house to deliver.
Simone Pike (who became Simone Dale on 26 March) did website updates and many graphics.
Wolf continued to stalwartly guard the office and kept serial killers and zebras at bay with the power of BARK!