September  2023

Star Fleet Universe News


           THE BIG NEWS this month is the release of the updated SFB MODULE R6 rulebook. It has not been an easy journey.

           The first four months of this year went well with a newsletter and a new or revised product every month. Then May hit and we were sidetracked by a non-game situation which required Steve Cole and Steve Petrick and Al Beddow to focus on getting that done. It involved a lot of uncomfortable physical work cleaning up, sorting, and dealing with hundreds of boxes of Steve Petrick's stuff which had to be relocated or lost forever.
           June was complicated by the work to get StratCon 2023 up and running. Over a dozen SFU/F&E players had a good meeting in Amarillo.
           July was complicated by the whole office getting COVID.
           August was a mess due to various medical issues. All of this slowed down the revision of Module R6 but it never entirely stopped, and now it is done.
           As we did not do a newsletter from May, June, July, or August, this (September) issue of the newsletter includes all of the "lost" Hailing Frequencies extras such as new gunboats and ships and other things for several of our games.
           We also updated the FC: Gunboats Attack PDF originally released in February correcting two of the gunboat cards.

           Forged in the Fires of the General War: The Fast Warships!
           Star Fleet Battles: Module R6 - The Fast Warships has a 76-page rulebook that includes five new classes of ships and ten new scenarios. 
           With their hot-warp engines, fast cruisers flew at speeds other ships could only imagine. However, the price was a lack of heavy weapons attack power. Heavy war destroyers were modular, multi-mission ships that could serve as carriers, scouts, commando ships, escorts, or versatile light cruisers. The thankless task of bringing replacement fighters to front-line carriers fell to the unsung, aegis-equipped fast resupply ships. The previously unknown workhorses of the galaxy, police flagships had everything a cop on the beat would need: Marines, rescue, scout, minesweeping, and repair systems. Mobile carriers were based on war destroyer hulls and were swift and deadly. 
           It also has the following scenarios: Returning to the Scene of the Crime has an Orion Light Raider returning to loot a tramp steamer, only to find it guarded by the Federation in the form of a police ship and a police flagship. Playing Catch-Up has Klingons attacking a group of Hydran ships. Quick Steal has Orion ships lusting after some Gorn G-12 fighters; will the Gorns be able to fight them off? In Desperate Stike, there is a classic Lyran-Kzinti matchup. Will the Federation or Klingons win in the scenario Hasty Carrier? Andromedan Invaders attack a powerful LDR three-ship squadron in Strike Force. In Webfighter, the Seltorians hope that the addition of fighters will help them defeat the Tholians. The Orion in Question decided attacking a Federation convoy was a good idea. Which empire will have the "Long Legs": the ISC fast cruiser or the Romulan X-ship? Finally, The Price to Pay is a three-person scenario featuring the WYN-Usurper's squadron, the Kzinti Crown Prince's squadron, and a Jindarian squadron. 
           Of course, it also has the section of the Master Ship Chart that pertains to the ships included.
           This product provides additional ships for use in Star Fleet Battles.  You will need the SFB Module R6 SSD Book, SFB Basic Set, and SFB Advanced Missions to fly the starships.


Version 2.1 of the Vassal module for F&E is finally out!
This has been a long timecoming, and the scope has increased as it went. This is a major update, with new features: The units from TO are now included, reserves now have specialized fleet boxes where you lay out the force, home fleets get a bigger box, and a 'control panel' window has been added to control functions such as showing sector borders on the map, new extensions for the Carnivons and Paravians, as well as fixes for a long list of minor problems. It is advised to look over the user guide PDF after unzipping the package to see all the features. The package can be found here.

        Our website,, continues to grow and improve. You are welcome to send us your requests, comments, and suggestions. Simone Dale, our graphics director, continues to update the website, do covers for the new products, shut down pirate websites, help out around the company, and learn more about the game business.


        Jean continues to improve our page on Facebook, adding many new photos and other features.
        If you haven't seen the 1,000+ pieces of art in the albums, you should drop by and visit. You don't have to be a member of Facebook to see our page, but if you are, please become our friend so you can get information in your newsfeed.
        If you've already liked us on Facebook, but are not seeing our posts, then remember to check your new "Pages Feed" on the left menu. You can also go to our page and hover over the "Liked" button. Be sure that "Get Notifications" is checked.

        ADB has a Twitter feed. We are ADBInc_Amarillo. You'll find news as well as links to pictures. Check us out and retweet news of interest to your own followers. We're excited and our next goal is to get 400 followers. Help us reach that, please.

        StarFleetGames has taken its act to YouTube and we now have a YouTube channel. Our goal is to create a video for the new product releases during each month. We have "In the Box" videos to show you what you will see when you unpack your new game. We have also done "Spotlights" on a single product or product line. So pull up a chair and join us at the movies! Our newest uploads are:

Star Fleet Marines Part 1
Star Fleet Marines Part 2
ADB Late May 2011
Starline 2500 Miniatures Review
Star Fleet Battle Force in the box

        A customer asked about posting "tutorial videos" for our games. We like it when people do that (and even give commendation medals) but you need to have us check the videos to make sure you aren't violating something somehow (or that you didn't make a rules error). Doing such videos to make money is not cool. Please drop us an email before you post the videos.

        Our StarBlog has moved to a new URL and all links on websites have been changed to match. The new site is
        The blog covers all aspects of the company.


         Star Fleet Legions isn't a new game; it is all of you who play any of our Star Fleet Universe games.
         For a game universe that is 36 years old, it seems odd (but very gratifying) that the number of active players is growing, not diminishing. We can tell this by the number of people on the fan pages, the number of Rangers and battle groups, the number of new Starlist entries, and of course by the sales numbers.
         Starlist is growing by an average of 10 new entries and five updates per month. There are 1,240 active names on the list (plus overseas, Canada, and those who last contacted us in 1991-2004). Not on Starlist? Fill out your application here:
         Battle groups have been forming up left and right. We started with one in Tennessee. Now there are battle groups in California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington. We've gone international with groups in Canada, England, and Taiwan. Battle groups are doing demos, tournaments, and game days in stores and conventions. Do you have a group you game with? Join us here:
         How have these battle groups been forming? Usually through the hard work of a Ranger. Rangers run demos, start game days, contact conventions, reach out to stores, and promote Star Fleet Universe games. Do you want to be a Ranger? Start here:  

        This month we feature Battle Group Hampton Roads, headquartered in Hampton, Virginia. CO William Phillips reports they play Star Fleet Battles and Federation & Empire. They also enjoy attending gaming conventions. Read more here:

         Do you have a battle group? Be sure to report your activities here:

         Do you want to see if there's a battle group near you? Check out the map here:

Facebook Fan Pages

         If you are on Facebook, you have no doubt heard of ADB's page on Facebook. Did you know there are fan pages galore? Fan pages are groups that are started and administered by fans. They are independent of ADB, so we may not know about all of them. These are ones we know about that support the Star Fleet Universe:

So join us on Facebook and get a fix of your favorite game there, too!


        As announced in Captain's Log #54, Jean Sexton Beddow's husband, Al Beddow has been appointed to take over the day-to-day of running the SFU Ranger demo team. He comes with a bit of experience both teaching various types of games as well as having been in quite a few demo teams (and ran/helped run a few). He is most familiar with GURPS Prime Directive but early on played ACTASF and spent Gencon 2012 demoing it in the Mongoose Publishing booth there.
        They announce: We have big changes coming to the program. A new handbook, suggestions for demoing our games, and vastly improved rewards. All we can safely say about the (already approved) rewards is they will include ALL physical products and PDFs – but nothing on
        To kick all this off we are verifying everyone’s email, plus getting their handles on the Federation Commander Forum and BBS. Our official comms will be the hidden Ranger section of the Forum, which are for handling business, answering questions, providing links to resources, etc. The Facebook group will be our more public social space, but no one is required to join FB if they don’t want to. 

        So, we are asking each of you to email Al at the address below with the following:

        - Name
        - Email (preferably the one used on DTRPG/Wargame Vault)
        - Forum Handle
        - BBS Handle

        Al will add you to the Ranger group on the forum once he has this info, which will let you access our area there. He is looking forward to working with all of you to spread the news of the Star Fleet Universe!

        Current stats: We have heard from 22 of our Rangers and have three new ones! We are excited to see the Rangers becoming active as playing in person and cons once again start up.

Jean Sexton Beddow
Ranger Commandant 

Al Beddow
Sergeant-Major for Ranger Operations

Ranger Email:

FB Group:

ADB Forums:




        Jean Sexton Beddow has succeeded in recruiting two ambassadors (Michael C. Baker and A. David Merritt) to carry the word of the Star Fleet Universe to other websites. They (and Jean) were awarded the first ever "Star Fleet Ambassador Badges" as well as appropriate medals for their service to date. These ambassadors do not just repeat press releases; they answer questions, encourage discussion, and help people find the relevant documents on our website. Contact Jean Sexton Beddow if you want to volunteer for ambassador duty.

        Take a journey with us to an ancient age, just one step up from carving game rules on clay tablets. The year 1973 was at the very dawn of the independent wargame publishing companies. Typesetting was done with a manual typewriter, print-on-demand meant the photocopier at the library, counters were printed on paper (and drawn by hand), page layout was done with scissors and cellophane tape, and two guys in a garage could turn out a wargame magazine that won two Origins Awards. The point was creativity, new ideas, and imagination. Production values would have to come later.
        That magazine was JagdPanther (Hunting Panther), created and run by the same Stephen V. Cole who later co-founded Task Force Games and then went on to found Amarillo Design Bureau. We found the ancient archives of this game company (which ran from 1973-1976, producing 15 magazines, about 50 games, hundreds of variants, and dozens of game reviews) and have placed them on Warehouse 23 so they are available to collectors. (Old issues have been selling on Ebay for over $100 each.) Issue #1, Issue #2, Issue #3, Issue #4, Issue #5, Issue #6, Issue #7, Issue #8, Issue #9, Issue #10, Issue #11, Issue #12, Issue #13, Issue #14 and Issue # 15 are uploaded.

Custom Decals for Starline ships



Tenneshington Decals continues to produce decal sets made to fit Federation starships in ADB's Shapeways 3788, 3125, 7000 "Elite", and 2500 "Prestige" scales. A wide selection of ships are available, with sets for the CVo operational ("flatbed") carrier, CVA heavy fleet carrier, CF fast cruiser, and DDF fast destroyer recently added. The 3788 scale decals are also great to use on ADB's metal Starline 2400 ships and the 3125 scale decals can be used on ADB's metal Starline 2500 ships. Tenneshington will also continue to offer their legacy decals for Starline 2500 ships as special orders, for customers wishing to match their existing minis.

As with all of their products, the names on the ships are up to the customer and all sheets are custom-printed to order.

Additional decal sets are available for shuttlecraft and to sets to detail any ship with additional window blocks, sensors, hatches, and even phaser scars.

For more information or to download the order sheet, check them out at Or if you prefer, email Will McCammon at: or Tony L. Thomas at: .





Update to Sapphire Star IX:

With Sapphire Star tournaments IX and X finished, XI is now running. The second Sapphire Crown tournament will kick off on 1 June with the four most recent winners.



        Due to the COVID-19 virus, many conventions have been cancelled. We encourage you to check out Star Fleet Battles Online where there is a free demo version. It is a good way to hang out with others who play Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander. Check it out here:

        Star Fleet  Battles games are  played regularly in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday afternoons at the Soldiery. Lee Hanna is the contact person.

Download Transmissions

       HAILING FREQUENCIES: This is our newsletter and will let you know all the news for all our games. You can subscribe here. Have you missed an earlier newsletter? Click here to get caught up!

       COMMUNIQUE: This monthly magazine repeated much of the same information that Hailing Frequencies does. December 2019 was the last month it was published. Old issues can be downloaded from the Commander's Circle.

       COMMANDER'S CIRCLE: We continue to improve the Commander's Circle. All of the ships and scenarios are available as separate documents (the ships are organized by empire) so you can quickly see what is available. The FC Scenario Database and Master Ship Chart documents are also here. Our newest project was suggested by our players and is uploading low-toner Ship Cards. The Commander's Circle is the best place to find free additions to Federation Commander!

Mini of the Month
         Every month we will feature one or more of our miniatures. If you paint miniatures, submit pictures of your minis and they may be selected for the next Mini of the Month!

This is the 3788 Scale Lyran Java Tiger Heavy Command Cruiser (CCH) painted by Nick Samaras.

Help us pick the mini of the month on our page on Facebook. The mini with the most likes and shares will become the mini of the month. Vote for the ones you like!

New Releases



209 SFB Klingon F5WS scout destroyer
211 SFB Klingon R1 gunboat
212 SFB Romulan K1 gunboat
213 SFB variants for R1 and K1 gunboats


209 Federation Commander Klingon F5WS War Destroyer Scout
210 Federation Commander Orion DWS War Destroyer Scout
211 Federation Commander Klingon R1 gunboat
212 Federation Commander Romulan K1 gunboat


210 ACTASF Demo Tokens to play game without minis

You can look at Hailing Frequencies Extras here.

Click here to see our previous issues of Hailing Frequencies.


Recently Released

The Star Fleet Battles Module R6 Rulebook 2023, SKU 5617-2, $13.95
Federation & Empire: Advanced Operations 2022
, SKU 3209, $39.95
The Star Fleet Battles Module R1 Rulebook 2023
, SKU 5606-2, $7.50
Federation & Empire: Strategic Operations 2022
, SKU 3211, $24.95
Cadet Training Handbook Reprint Edition
, SKU 5620, $9.95
Federation & Empire: Tactical Operations
, SKU 3216, $36.95
Starmada Battleships Armada Unity
SKU 6135, $16.95
Star Fleet Battles: Module R2 Rulebook Revised for 2021
, SKU 5607-2, $7.95
Federation & Empire: Combined Operations 2021
, SKU 3207, $29.95
SFB: Module R4J –Shadow of the Eagle
, SKU 5638, $17.95
SFB: Module R4T – Tholian Will
, SKU 5637, $25.95
GURPS Romulans 2021 SKU 8404, $24.95
GURPS Klingons 2020 SKU 8403, $24.95
SKU M30002, $29.95
Tholian Master Starship Book
SKU 5437, $24.95
SFB: Module J – Fighters! 2020
, SKU 5604, $19.95
Distant Armada Unity
, SKU 6134, $16.95
Gorn Master Starship Book
SKU 5436 $23.95
Captain's Log # 54
, SKU 5754, $24.95
Captain's Log # 54 SSDs, SKU 5754-2, $3.50
Captain's Log # 54 Supplement, SKU 5754-S, $4.00

       We’re now offering some of our miniatures and some new designs on Shapeways.
       You can check out the store here:

Click here and you can see all of the products we have avaliable as PDF and Ebooks.



SFB: Module R6 Rulebook 2023
SFB: Module R1 Color SSDs 2023

SFB: Module R1 B&W SSDs 2023
SFB: Module R1 Rulebook 2023

Federation Commander: Gunboats Attack

Federation & Empire: Strategic Operations 2022 Rulebook

Federation & Empire: Advanced Operations 2022 Rulebook
Captain's Log #51

Captain's Log #51 Supplemental File
Captain's Log #51 Color SSDs
F&E Romulan Civil War Playtest Counters

Captain's Log #50

Captain's Log #50 Supplemental File
Captain's Log #50 Color SSDs
Captain's Log #34

Federation & Empire: Tactical Operations Rulebook

SFB: Module R2 Rulebook Revised for 2021
Federation Commander: Klingon Ship Card Pack #5

Federation & Empire: Combined Operations 2021 Rulebook

Federation & Empire: Planetary Operations 2021 Rulebook

Captain's Log #33

SFB: Module R4J - Shadow of the Eagle - Rulebook 

SFB: Module R4J - Shadow of the Eagle  - Black/White SSDs
SFB:Module R4J - Shadow of the Eagle - Color SSDs 
GURPS Romulans Revised

Captain's Log #32

Star Fleet Marines Battle Manual

SFB: Module R4T - The Tholian Will - Rulebook

SFB: Module R4T - The Tholian Will -  Black/White SSDs
SFB:Module R4T - The Tholian Will - Color SSDs
Captain's Log #31

Captain's Log #49

Captain's Log #49 Color SSDs


SFB: Module R6 Rulebook 2023 (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R1 Color SSDs 2023 (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R1 B&W SSDs 2023 (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R1 Rulebook 2023 (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation Commander: Gunboats Attack (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation & Empire: Strategic Operations 2022 Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation & Empire: Advanced Operations 2022 Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #51 ( DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #51 Supplemental File (DriveThru RPG or  Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #51 Color SSDs  (DriveThru RPG or  Wargame Vault)
F&E Romulan Civil War Playtest Counters ( DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #50 ( DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #50 Supplemental File (DriveThru RPG or  Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #50 Color SSDs  (DriveThru RPG or  Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #34  (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation & Empire: Tactical Operations Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R2 Rulebook Revised for 2021 (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation Commander: Klingon Ship Card Pack #5 (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation & Empire: Combined Operations 2021 Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Federation & Empire: Planetary Operations 2021 Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #33  (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R4J - Shadow of the Eagle - Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R4J - Shadow of the Eagle -  Black/White SSDs (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB:Module R4J - Shadow of the Eagle - Color SSDs (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
GURPS Romulans Revised (DriveThru RPG)
Captain's Log #32  (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Star Fleet Marines Battle Manual (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R4T - The Tholian Will - Rulebook (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R4T - The Tholian Will -  Black/White SSDs (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
SFB: Module R4T - The Tholian Will - Color SSDs (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #31  (DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #49 ( DriveThru RPG or Wargame Vault)
Captain's Log #49 Color SSDs  (DriveThru RPG or  Wargame Vault)

For the Glory of the Empire


Ask Admiral Vanaxilth


           Shawn Hantke asks: If a Klingon D6 and six fast patrol ships dock separately inside a module they take up (7+6=) 13 docking points. A D6P also takes up seven docking points. A tug with pods docked generally does not take up more space with the pods. Does a fast patrol ship tender take up more space with patrol ships docked to it?
           ANSWER: No, there is no provision that patrol ship tenders with patrol ships docked to them take up more space. Each patrol ship would take up one docking point if docked separately, but not if docked to the tender.

           Shawn Hantke asks: A severely crippled ship is docked to a base and the base extended its shields to protect the ship. Some damage gets through the base's shields (e.g., Spearfish drones or the leaky shields rules) and scores enough damage to cause the ship to explode. Does the explosion hit the base without its shields since the ship (and the explosion) is now inside the extended shields?
           ANSWER: There is no special procedure given for this (fairly arcane) situation under (C13.731) or (C13.74). Therefore I would have to say the unit in question is treated as being outside the base's shield. (Even though the shield is enveloping the unit, it is still also protecting the base, as the rulebook says.) The explosion would be applied to that shield by (C13.74), doing double shield damage per (C13.7311).

           Roch Chartrand asks: I have a frigate that is externally docked to a battle station and I would like to have a clarification on the rule (C13.761) in relation to (D6.68): Would my frigate's fire control be "disrupted" for four impulses for every turn it is docked to the base?            ANSWER: Fire control is disrupted as long as you are docked, and for four impulses after undocking, per (C13.762). However, due to (C13.7621) you will be able to hold a lock-on. You can also use labs, tactical intelligence, electronic warfare, and aegis. Also, because of (C13.761) you may fire your frigate's weapons (under passive fire control) but you cannot launch or control seeking weapons.

           Roch Chartrand asks a follow-up question: By (C13.761) you may fire weapons and launch/control seeking weapons offensively, or only defensively at incoming seeking weapons?
            ANSWER: If your fire control is disrupted, you may not fire weapons, even under passive fire control, or control seeking weapons, except that you can fire direct-fire weapons at seeking weapons within three hexes (D6.682). The text of (C13.761) does not change this. It is merely meant to show that there is no additional restriction on firing weapons because you are docked. You can fire weapons, but your fire control is disrupted, so that limits what you can fire at.

           Francois Lemay asks: A frigate is docked to a battle station with its #1 shield facing outward from the battle station's #1 shield (i.e., the frigate's #4 shield is facing the battle station's #1 docking station). As I understand (C13.72), the frigate's shields #3, #4, and #5 are not in arc of any fire at all, but are protected by the mass and bulk of the battle station. The frigate's #1, #2, and #6 shields, however, can be hit by enemy fire.
           ANSWER: You are correct.

(End of Admiral Vanaxilth)



        Q: I am confused between rule (501.5) which says I get free replacement fighters every turn (for carriers in supply) and rule (431.74) about free fighter factors. Does (431.74) limit the number of free replacements? Do I pay for the rest?
           A: Fear not! All lost fighters on carriers in supply are replaced for free every turn in Step 2B4 of the Sequence of Play, as provided by rule (501.5). The free fighter factors mentioned in (431.74) are for construction of new carriers. The confusion is caused by the limitations of Federation Standard, which has only one word for "free" while Orion has 27 words for "free."

        Q: The initial exchange of Klingon D5s for Romulan SPs (539.8) and conversion for free to KDRs and RKLs is clear. The rule mentions "subsequent exchanges" agreed to by both empires. Do these also get free conversions?
           A: Sorry, but only one exchange comes with free conversions. (This is reflecting a historical incident and some F&E players ignore it as you don't really gain anything other than a chance to use a weird counter. But then, weird counters are half of the fun in F&E.) Further exchanges require you to pay the cost provided on the SIT to convert the ships.

        Q: In that initial exchange of D5s for SPs, are all conversion costs paid?
            A: Other than a variant that cannot be unconverted (e.g., a mauler) any SP variant becomes an RKL and any D5 variant becomes a KDR, and the "free" conversion covers changing a variant into the base hull. Now, in theory, if you had an agreed-on SIT entry for a variant and could provide your own counter, you could convert a variant of one into the same variant of the other (e.g., a D5E into a KDE, or a D5S into a KDS). This would not be possible in the case of technology unavailable to the new owner, so a D5D would become a standard KDR as the Romulans do not have drone variants.

(End of F&E Q&A)

Cool Stuff on the Website

       In this section we will provide links to various web pages and items that we think you will find "cool".
       We have recently updated the look and design of the Rangers Page, check it out here: Rangers Page
       Here are links to various flyers you can use to advertise your Demos and Game Days: Ranger Resources
       Here are links to the new pages of Starline 2500 miniatures pictures.
       Starline 2500 Battleships page
       Starline 2500 Federation Miniatures
       Starline 2500 Klingon Miniatures
       Starline 2500 Romulan Miniatures
       Starline 2500
       Traveller Prime Directive
       Call to Arms Star Fleet

       We have also uploaded new Xander wallpapers to our Wallpapers section on the website: Wallpapers
       We have new images of our game Star Fleet Marines posted on our BBS topic page.


       These are the press releases we send to the wholesalers, retailers, and media. You can get on the mailing list for them by asking to add you to the list. (Obviously, they are free.) They are uploaded to the Star Fleet Alert page

Alert 190709 CL53 (Adobe Acrobat Required)
Alert 190309 Distribution (Adobe Acrobat Required)
Alert 170327 CL52
(Adobe Acrobat Required)
Alert 160531 Cart
(Adobe Acrobat Required)
Alert 160518 Captain's Log #51 (Adobe Acrobat Required)
Alert 160317 For the Glory
(Adobe Acrobat Required)
Alert 150331 Captain's Log #50
(Adobe Acrobat Required)

Cadet Joseph Riggs, USS California

        The hellbore is an unusual weapon for two reasons. The first reason is its well-known ability to reach around and do the most damage to an enemy ship's weakest shield. It's also unusual in that it uses two dice when rolling to hit instead of just one as most direct-fire weapons do. The upshot of this is that any time direct-fire weapons are affected by a change in the chance to hit their target, hellbores are less affected than other heavy weapons. A change of one point in a to-hit roll modifies the probability that your typical direct-fire weapon will hit by roughly 16%. That same one point change has a lesser effect on a hellbore due to the fact that it rolls two dice (and due to the two dice the exact percentage varies).

         Most modifiers are either things that the player can't control (such as Orion Stealth), or things that make it impossible for one of the players to fire back (such as Evasive Maneuvers), but similar results can be achieved by carefully adjusting the range brackets that the Hellbore is fired at. For instance, at Range 3 a disruptor hits on a 1-4 (67%) and a Hellbore hits on a 2-9 (83%). At Range 2 a disruptor hits on a 1-5 (83%) and a Hellbore hits on a 2-10 (92%). Changing the range from two hexes to three hexes causes the equivalent of a +1 die roll shift, which hurts the disruptor player more than the hellbore player as the disruptor is 16% more likely to miss, while the hellbore is only 9% more likely to miss. The disruptor is affected almost twice as much as the hellbore is by a shift in the range of just one hex. Similar results can also be achieved through the careful use of asteroid hexes.

(End of FC Tactic of the Month)

SFB Tactic of the Month
Commander Michael Grafton, USS South Carolina


         There is a good reason why the Ryn were never conquered despite all of their disadvantages. Yes, they can hop around the map and play games with your seeking weapons, but that is not the real reason they are to be feared.
         The reason is their offensive boarding party operations.
          Consider the following all working together:
         1. When they are within their own space they can buy boarding parties as Commander's Option Items without regard to the normal "maximum of 10 extra boarding parties" limit.
         2. Their transporters have a range of 15 hexes.
         3. They do not have shields (they have armor instead) so they do not have to telegraph their intentions.
         4. Finally, and most frightening, they can use their quantum transporter boxes (their equivalent of engines) as transporters on a one-to-one basis.
          So a lowly destroyer can send over 25 boarding parties in a single wave if you give it the opportunity. Few empires have ships capable of resisting this kind of assault.
        Of course, the Andromedans can and did, so it is no wonder the Ryn evacuated their space when threatened by them.
(End of SFB Tactic of the Month)

F&E Strategy of the Month


        Colonies give a player one economic point per turn but cost three economic points to produce plus the cost of the ship or convoy to build them (446.0). But there is a way to build a colony for free.
         Once an empire reaches the point where the survey cost of a new off-map province is 30 points per province (505.21) it takes an average of nine turns of die rolls for a single ship to discover a new province. If you bring a survey vessel back onto the map to conduct on-map survey (542.34) in a safe area of your territory, your empire can receive five economic points in the same time frame. With this your empire can use the points to pay for construction of a new colony.
         Using this method in five turns, the time needed to survey a new province, you have produced one new colony and earned two economic points and completed two turns of production toward a second colony, all for the cost of the units to build them.
         Assuming your empire only builds one colony at a time over 20 turns this gains an additional 33 economic points - at a time when the discovery of off map provinces becomes slower.

(End of F&E Strategy of the Month)

A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month

        Due to the movement and fire nature of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet some thought should be given to fleet formation and setup positions. [Unlike SFB or FC, there is only one firing opportunity per turn. You can fly right through the spot where the best enemy weapons are pointed and end your movement on the other side of the kill box without him being able to fire. This very different game system requires some very different tactics.]
         One important thing to remember is whenever possible maintain a four-inch gap between ships because exploding ships in A Call to Arms: Star Fleet have a blast radius that will damage surrounding ships any nearer than 4".
         Command ships are usually the biggest and baddest ships in your battle force. Your first instinct might be to protect them by setting them up in the rear, but if you have multiple ships with the Command trait there is really no reason to hold them back. You should seriously consider allowing them to lead from the front. This holds especially true of dreadnoughts and battleships which tend to be able to use the Boost Energy to Shields! special action raising their shields score by at least three dice a turn.
        Typical screen ships, like frigates, destroyers, and light cruisers, will serve you better by setting up on flanks or slightly behind your big hitters. This enables them to use their weaponry in defense of the larger (or more valuable) target without the small ships become a more tempting target themselves.

(End of A Call to Arms: Star Fleet Tactic of the Month)