February 2013


Ask Admiral Vanaxilth (Continued)

Crew, Boarding Parties

After an 11-year tour at the Academy, Admiral Growler has returned to active duty. His successor is Admiral Vanaxilth, a visitor from the Hydran Kingdom. Although well-versed in military theory, rumor has it the Royal Family had him sent to the Academy on the theory he would do less damage there, after his fleets were devastated by the Klingons.
     Admiral Vanaxilth is assisted by Kommodore Ketrick and many staff officers, including Stewart Frazier, Troy Latta, Gary Carney, John Wyszynski, William Wilson, Ken Humpherys, Alex Lyons, and Terry O'Carroll.

      Sean Hunt asks: A strict reading of rule (G9.431) tells me that disbanding boarding parties is only an option when there are two boarding parties remaining. Surely this is not correct, and you can do that whenever you need a skeleton crew?
      ANSWER: There is no enabling rule that lets you convert boarding parties into crew units, except for (G9.431), which lets you convert the last two boarding parties to satisfy the minimum crew requirement. In fact, (G9.432) specifically prohibits converting boarding parties to crew units on enemy ships for purposes of creating a skeleton crew under (D7.51).

      Sean Hunt asks: Can boarding parties or deck crews be killed by (G9.21) or other rules that kill crew units without specifying which sort of crew, such as radiation zones? If so, does the owning player allocate the casualties?
      ANSWER: The crew of your ship consists of general crew, boarding parties, deck crews, and possibly other specialized crew units. Rule (G9.21) does not require you to take the losses on any specific crew unit or crew type. You could take one general crew unit, or two boarding parties, or two deck crews, or one boarding party and one deck crew, etc. You could not take the last general crew unit or either of the last two boarding parties as a casualty here; however, you could by (G9.22). For example, a ship with four crew units and two boarding parties remaining would have to take the crew casualty from (G9.21) on a general crew unit, even though it reduces the crew below the minimum.
      The same applies to the (P15.1) losses from radiation zones, except that radiation can kill the last crew and boarding parties. Other crew damage rules, such as (D7.21), have to be applied to specific crew types.

      Roch Chartrand asks: At what point does radiation zone damage start affecting boarding parties in a ship that has some of its shields down? Is it one crew unit only even if there is more than one shield down? How does it affect boarding parties? What is the ratio of boarding parties that will die due to radiation?
      ANSWER: The radiation zone will kill one crew unit on each dogfight resolution interface when the ship has one or more down shields (P15.11). Having more than one down shield will not increase the casualty rate. This does not use the procedure from (D7.21). The player owning the ship can choose which crew unit to take as a casualty. He could take one general crew unit, or two boarding parties, or two deck crews, or one boarding party and one deck crew, etc.
      The crew units shown on the SSD include the boarding parties and the deck crews. For example, a Klingon D5 shows 40 crew units and eight boarding parties, but really has 35 general crew units, four crew units consisting of the eight boarding parties, and one crew unit that is the two casual deck crews (J4.814). If a Federation NVS, with 42 crew units, eight boarding parties and 12 deck crews shown on the SSD, drops its shields in a Radiation Zone, it would become a contaminated derelict (P15.12) in 10.5 turns (42 dogfight resolution interfaces) later.

      Robert Russell Lender-Lundak asks: The rules state that there is no "technical" limit to the number of crew units that a ship can hold (save for the limitations given for fast patrol ships and some vague references in some scenarios and ship descriptions). However there does seem to be an indication that surviving crew units (regardless of how many) can hitch a ride on a ship until they get back to base etc. This does not go in depth at all as to how long an overabundance of crew on a ship can live on board on an extended trip. (The print seems to infer that it would be a temporary matter in any case.)
      I know that I am asking a vague question that technically is not covered since the number of crew units on a ship is covered only as a vague overview. Is there any reason a Federation police cutter could not temporarily house 125 crew units for a period of six months? (Say to transfer survivors or badly needed crew to other ships elsewhere in a campaign setting.) If not, then what about a cruiser? I know this is not a question that can be answered by someone pointing me to rule number (XYZ.123), but can I get at least a consensus as to whether or not this is feasible or not?
      ANSWER: Short term, there is no limit to the number of crew units. (Common sense says there is, but for game purposes, no limit has been defined.) Long term (over a week), you are out of the province of Star Fleet Battles combat rules and into campaign rules. An overcrowded ship would probably have hampered operations, higher maintenance cost, less strategic range, etc.
      The Star Fleet Battles rules give us limited guidance. Per Annex #6, any ship could purchase four extra crew units, 14 extra boarding parties (10 regular, two commando, and two heavy weapons squads or engineer squads), and possibly four extra deck crews (if it were a carrier), as Commander's Options. So it can be assumed that a ship can operate normally with this many extra people. Per (G28.31), each barracks box can hold 10 boarding parties, or about 50 individuals. The Federation Starliner pod has 22 hull and 12 cargo boxes, and a total of 340 crew and passengers. There is no rule for converting cargo or hull boxes to passenger quarters, but it would not be unreasonable to assume that a cargo box could be made into comfortable quarters for a crew unit, or tight quarters for five crew units. Shuttle overcrowding rules let us put double the usual number of crew units, but with restrictions. One can assume that a shuttle is already pretty crowded at normal transport rates.