NOTES FOR SFB PLAYERS: For the benefit of Star Fleet Battles players, we have included this brief list of the rules not used in Federation Commander so you won't be looking for them. We have also added some notes about rules that are in Federation Commander just so you'll know how they changed. Note that this document is being continually revised as we go forward and a few things are still marked "we have not decided yet".


Acceleration: The gritty acceleration and deceleration rules are gone. You pick a baseline speed (8, 16, or 24) and each impulse you can pay an energy token to gain an extra hex of movement.

Acronyms: SFB (Star Fleet Battles) is full of these, from the HET to the ED to EM to ECM to SSD. Generally speaking, I have tried to leave acronyms out of Fed Commander and just use the plain-English term. My theory is that with a smaller rulebook, and a lot fewer things to remember, you just don't need acronyms and it isn't going to hurt you to use the full term (and some non-technical players may find it easier to recognize the term than its acronym).

Active Fire Control: We eliminated this concept. It only really applies in three cases: surprise (handled as a scenario rule), saving power (eliminated as a game streamlining measure), and when cloaking (handled as part of the cloaking rules) or launching a wild weasel (and there are no wild weasels in Federation Commander).

Aegis Fire Control: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Andromedans: Their rules are just so bizarre that we decided to ignore them for now. If we ever do them at all, it may be with an entirely different set of rules.

Anti-drones: Kept as a direct-fire weapon but these are used only in the Defensive Fire phase, and only against drones (not against shuttles), and while fired at range zero have a chart that isn't really related to SFB.

Armor: Kept for older ships as in SFB.

Asteroids: Scheduled for Federation Commander: Tholian Border.

Atmosphere: We're not going to have flying through atmosphere rules and the landing on planet procedure will be much simpler. Firing through atmosphere will produce a die roll modifier which is in effect an ECM penalty but not labeled as such. As ships cannot generate EW you just take the penalty and move along.

Auxiliary Ships: Possibly a future expansion Federation Com-mander: Auxilliaries.

Balcony and Track: Eliminated to streamline game.

Ballistic Targeting: Not needed or included.

Bases: We will have such things, but they might be a different form than SFB. We might for example make the fleet scale starbase the same size as the squadron scale battle station.

Basic Point Value: I suspect we will end up with something like this but the numbers may or may not be the same as SFB.

Batteries: In Federation Commander, the only function of batteries is to determine how much of your unspent power at the end of a given turn can be held over to the start of the next turn. There is no "reserve power" function in Federation Commander, or perhaps, all power is reserve power.

Boom separation: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Carnivons: To be included in Federation Commander: Forgotten Enemies.

Catastrophic Damage: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Chain Reactions: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Cloaking Device: Scheduled for Federation Commander: Romulan Border.

Collateral Damage: Disappeared with Wild Weasels.

Crew Units: Accounting for these was eliminated to streamline the game system. By using "emergency transporters" you will be able to evacuate a whole crew from a disabled friendly ship in a single pass anyway. As such, concepts such as undermanned and uncontrolled won't apply.

Crippled Ships: This concept doesn't really apply to Federation Commander.

Critical Hits: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Damage Allocation: One die roll will give you a list of the next ten damage points, reducing die rolls for damage allocation by 95%. The rule about every third weapons hit being the best available was eliminated to streamline the game. In the end, it just didn't matter enough to keep.

Damage Control Track: Eliminated from the game system to streamline the rules and replaced by a single damage control number which is not reduced by combat damage. If using SFB SSDs in Federation Commander, simply ignore the Damage Control Track but use its highest number as the Damage Control Rating.

Death Dragging: Eliminated and replaced by the concept that the tractor just comes unstuck instead.

Deceleration: We won't have the limits. Each impulse, you can spend energy tokens to cancel some or all of your movement, but you'll be moving at the original baseline speed in future impulses anyway. Note that cancelled movement will count for turn modes.

Deck Crews: This concept was eliminated to streamline the game system.

Destroyed: It's a kinder, gentler galaxy now. We're going to disable things rather than destroy them.

Disengagement: This concept was eliminated to streamline the game system. Most battles will be on a fixed (often floating) map and if you leave you will just leave.

Disruptor: Standard Klingon weapon to be in Federation Commander: Klingon Border. We will have one chart, not separate standard, UIM, and DERFACS charts.

Drogues: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Drones: All drones are speed 24 (a speed not actually used in SFB but which works nicely with the Federation Commander game system). All drones are single-space type-I explosive drones requiring four damage points to kill and scoring 12 points of damage. Drones must make an HET if doing so makes them hit their target, eliminating the dipsy doodle tactic of flying around the target then doing an HET to hit the down shield. This is the only time they can make an HET. All drones are ship-guided.

Electronic Warfare: Eliminated the concept to streamline the game. We will use some "direct effects" such as saying if you shoot through an asteroid hex you add one to the die roll, but the whole concept of ECM, EW, ECCM, just goes away and won't be missed. No loaning EW, no scouts, no special sensors.

Emergency Acceleration: An idea I'm considering that lets you spend a bunch of power to add movement pulses to an impulse and perhaps gets you a bonus movement.

Emergency Damage Repair: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Emergency Deceleration: We will retain this rule (including transferring power to a shield of your choice).

Energizing Phasers: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Energy Balance Due to Damage: Yeah, like any SFB players ever used this insane rule. Not in Federation Commander.

Energy Differentiation: As combat is now taking place at sublight speeds, there is no real need to keep track of warp power, non-movement warp power, impulse power, reactor power, etc. Power is power. We will retain the different boxes, however, as this manipulates the damage allocation system.

Engine Doubling for Orions: Some version of this might included, but limited to one engine at a time due to the abuse of calling it all reserve power.

Erratic Maneuvers: Different way of using the same concept. When fired at, you can spend energy tokens for "evasive maneuvers" which prevent you from firing offensively but give the enemy a +1 or +2 to the die roll.

Explosion: Eliminated (at least, it won't damage anything) as it is often abused. Might appear in a cameo roll as a monster scenario special rule.

Fighters and Carriers: Not included in the first products. May or may not include these in a future module. If we do (beyond the Hydrans of course) they may not have seeking weapons as that just complicates everything.

Fire Control: Always active unless you are using a cloak or a special scenario rule "hide in the asteroids". No firing on passive; if you're not active, you cannot fire. And no "low power" fire control either.

Firing Arcs: Those strange Klingon firing arcs are just not worth the bother. If you and your opponent agree to use them, go right ahead.

Gorns: To be presented in Federation Commander: Romulan Border.

Ground Combat: Maybe in a future product, but probably in Star Fleet Assault (which could be played in conjunction with both SFB and Federation Commander).

Gunboats: Also known as fast patrol ships. Maybe in a future expansion, but no promises we will or won't.

Hidden Deployment: Can be handled if needed by a special scenario rule.

Hidden Movement: Probably won't be used but we'll see how Romulan Border works out.

High Energy Turn: This will be used in Federation Commander but instead of a bonus you will just get to use it once per game period. Some klunky ships won't be allowed to use it at all, such as freighters.

Housekeeping Power: To streamline the game, we simply ignored the required energy costs of fire control, shields, and life support. Consider it a few extra points of power you get to use.

Hydrans: To be included in Federation Commander: Distant Kingdoms.

Identifying Seeking Weapons: Not needed as there is only one kind of drone and plasmas are noted by size anyway. All seeking weapons are announced as to type and target at the moment of launch.

ISC: Might or might not be in Federation Commander: Romulan Border.

Jindarians: Maybe in some future expansion.

Lab: Works more or less like SFB but there is no die roll; you get an automatic number of points based on closest approach.

Landing on Planets: Will be streamlined to something like "end the turn next to the planet, motionless next turn, landed on planet end of the next turn". For take-off from planets, spend turn "taking off" and reach hex adjacent to planet on the last impulse.

LDR: To be included in Federation Commander: Distant Kingdoms.

Life Support: See Housekeeping. Hint: it's free in FC.

Lyrans: To be included in Federation Commander: Distant Kingdoms.

Maneuver Rate: Concept is irrelevant to Federation Commander since you don't have mines or wild weasels.

Marines: Limited to hit-and-run raids only; no guards (built into results table). I wanted to eliminate boarding-to-capture as the rules are too messy and heck it never really works anyway but Petrick is campaigning to include it. We might (note, might not will) add that in a future module.

Mech Links: See gunboats.

Mines just aren't needed. Even the Romulan space mine is a trick that was only going to work once.

Miniatures: Ken Burnside wants to repackage these in sets that match the ships in each box. A box of 16 ships for $99.95? Is he crazy? Or crazy like a fox?

Modifying ships: Possibly a future module.

Monsters: A new one added to every boxed game.

Movement cost: Pretty much the same except that we can only have 3/4 and 1/2 and 1/4; there will be no 2/3 and no 1/3. Frigates get livelier and war cruisers get a touch slower.

Multi-turn arming weapons: You will spend power on one turn (during the first part of the turn) to buy a "pre-arm card" which gives you the legal right to arm the weapon next turn.

Mutiny: We will probably retain (but simplify) this. At least, it's in the game right now but there is a move afoot to simply eliminate it as unlikely to happen and not worth the bother.

Narrow Salvoes: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Nimble Ships: Eliminated to streamline the game system.

Non-Violent Combat: Replaced by a special rule in Damage Allocation.

Option Mounts: Scheduled for Federation Commander: Piracy Patrol, also known as Federation Commander: Cops & Robbers. Loren Knight is campaigning to get this back in.

Order of Precedence: Retained, but it will be simpler as there are no nimble units and fewer other units.

Orions: Probably include some of their ships (with fixed not optional weapons) in Federation Command: Klingon Border but not with cloaks. They will have stealth bonuses (a +1 to your die rolls). Full presentation is scheduled for Federation Com-mander: Piracy Patrol which is also known as Federation Commander: Cops & Robbers.

Paravians: To be included in Federation Commander: Forgotten Enemies.

Passive Fire Control: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Perversions (Photon Extended Range Very Effective Revised System Installed On New Ships): Eliminated to streamline the rules and allow me to keep a straight face.

Phaser Capacitors: They just took too much explaining and became just another big battery you could carry over to the next turn. So they went.

Phaser Directional Damage: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Phaser-G: The gatling phaser will show up when we do the module with the Hydrans in it. The Feds and pirates just don't have it.

Phasers: In all versions of Federation Commander.

Photon Torpedoes: In Federation Commander: Klingon Border (as well as Romulan and Tholian Border). Not sure yet about the proximity fuze version.

Plasma Torpedoes: Will be in Federation Commander: Romulan Border. We won't have pseudo torpedoes or ECPs or Sabots. We might have Carronades for the Gorns only. We probably won't have Fed ships with plasma-Fs at least until Federation Commander: Reinforcements.

Plotted Movement: This won't even be mentioned as few SFB players use it any more (and nobody should).

Positron Flywheel: Concept eliminated to streamline the game.

Probes: We will have these in Federation Commander.

Pseudo-Plasma: Eliminated as part of streamlining the seeking weapons interaction.

Q-Ships: Possibly a future expansion Federation Com-mander: Orion Pirates.

Races to be included: Klingon Border will have Feds, Klingons, and Kzintis, with a preview of Orions and Tholians, plus planets and a monster to be named later. Romulan Border will have Feds, Romulans, Gorns, and maybe ISC, plus a terrain feature and monster to be named later. Tholian Border will have Tholians, Neo-Tholians, Seltorians, and Webs, plus asteroids and a monster to be named later. Forgotten Enemies will have the Carnivons and Paravians, plus a terrain feature and monster to be named later. Distant Kingdoms will have the Lyrans, Hydrans, LDR, and WYNs, plus the WYN radiation zone and a monster to be named later. Piracy Patrol will have Orion Pirates and possibly other pirates.

Ramming: Not in SFB or in Federation Commander.

Range: Counted in hexes. We eliminated the concepts of effective range, true range, and so forth. When we get to cloaked ships in Federation Commander: Romulan Border we can handle the matter by simply doubling the distance. Basically, the way Federation Commander is working out, the need for other-than-effective range is so rare it is actually easier to just explain the effect (without defining it by rule) when we need it.

Refits: This concept was eliminated to streamline the game system. There will in effect not be a timeline in Federation Commander.

Retrograde: We kept this in the rules but reverse movement costs twice as many energy points as forward movement. This eliminates the retrograde tactic, which players often mis-use in scenarios that have no consequence of such use. We may even add this rule to SFB!

Scanner Track: Eliminated from the game system to streamline the rules. If using SFB SSDs in Federation Commander, simply ignore the Scanner Track.

Scatter-Packs: Eliminated as part of streamlining the seeking weapons interaction.

Seeking Weapons: In the overall balance of seeking weapons, we tried to maintain the flavor without the gritty mechanics. We eliminated pseudo-plasmas, strange drones, heavy drones, wild weasels, scatter packs, and electronic warfare. We also eliminated fighters (at least temporarily) which did a lot toward cutting down on the number of seeking weapons flying around and the kinds of seeking weapons you had to have to deal with them.

Self-Destruction: Possible only after crew is evacuated by transporter. No method will exist to block self-destruction, but as no explosion will result, that's not a big problem.

Seltorians: We plan to include these in Federation Commander: Tholian Border.

Sensor Track: Eliminated from the game system to streamline the rules. If using SFB SSDs in Federation Commander, simply ignore the Sensor Track.

Shields: Work the same as SFB except you don't pay to power them, there is no minimum shielding, there is no general reinforcement, all shields are leaky (one point of volleys bigger than 10 points which don't otherwise penetrate), and the only kind of reinforcement is that when you get hit you can pay one energy token to block one damage point (up to the limit of your batteries). In cases where you have to decide which shield was hit, skip two pages of rules and let the defender pick which shield takes ALL the damage.

Shock: Eliminated to streamline the game, along with any ship which needed it.

Shuttlecraft: Admin only, no weapons on shuttles. No wild weasels. Suicide shuttles will be allowed. No MRS or SWAC. No fighters (at least not yet).

Sideslip: Will be used.

Sit and Spin: See Starcastle.

Stacking (multiple ships in one hex): Possible, but we intend to penalize this in some way, perhaps by a collateral damage rule.

Starcastle: Given that you cannot allocate power to a shield and cannot use warp tactical maneuvers, this tactic is going to become unworkable.

Surprise: Can be handled if needed by a special scenario rule.

Tactical Intelligence: Eliminated to streamline the game.

Tactical Maneuvers: We kept sub-light maneuvers just in case your ship is stuck in the swamp or something but we eliminated warp tactical maneuvers as that just makes you want to starcastle and we don't want you to do that.

Terrain: We will introduce one terrain feature in each box, starting with planets in Klingon Border and asteroids in Tholian Border.

Tholians: Scheduled for Federation Commander: Tholian Border. We will include one Tholian ship in Federation Commander: Klingon Border as a sort of preview. We will certainly include the Neo-Tholians in Federation Commander: Tholian Border.

Tractor Beams: All of that goofy vector stuff will be replaced by taking speed of unit using more energy to move and ignoring the other units. Tractors will have most use in defensive fire against drones. Negative tractor will be used. Pull closer will probably be used, push away won't be, rotation won't be. Tractor auctions will be possible.

Transporters: Retained more or less as in SFB, but one point of power handles all transporters for one turn, and emergency transporters not on the SSD will let you evacuate an entire crew in one turn. Emergency evacuation will result in self-destruction. You won't be able to "board to capture" an enemy ship, just raid it.

Tugs and pods: Will be in a future expansion, but we may not have battle pods and the like. No decision yet.

Turn Modes: Will be linked to baseline speeds but otherwise will work much like SFB. Turn modes will not be specifically equal between the two games.

Weapon Status: Simplified. Either everything is ready to go or you (under a special scenario rule) got caught with your guns unloaded.

Webs: Scheduled for Federation Commander: Tholian Border.

Wild Weasels: Eliminated as part of streamlining the seeking weapons interaction.

WYN: Perhaps we will add them in Federation Commander: Distant Kingdoms.

Copyright 2004-2005 Amarillo Design Bureau, All Rights Reserved

Updated 18 September 2005