View Full Version : Signing up for Starfleet

12-01-2011, 05:25 PM
When I was in high school I enjoyed playing Starfleet Battles ... except games took so freaking long. Mongoose's upcoming A Call To Arms: Starfleet has re-awakened my interest in ship-to-ship battles ... but Amarillo Design Bureau offers Federation Commander and two starter products based on Starmada.

Can anyone with experience in those three systems advise me which would suit my needs? To be clear, I'm looking for something:

based on ship-to-ship or squadron-to-squadron combat
easy to learn and to teach
fast in play, with relatively little bookkeeping
little or no randomness (dice, cards, etc.)
tactically interesting with lots of replay value

Any help would be appreciated.

12-02-2011, 01:04 AM
Glad to find some one interrested in SFB. I have all the commander stuff plus lots of the expansions from the 70s, 80s, 90s. No one to play with thou. This Starmada stuff is new to me. I check with game stores occasionally and have not seen Starmada. Guess I gotta check again.
In case you are interrested, I do have an outline set-up to do free-lance stellar exploration and all the rest to do entire champaigns, including monster scenerios and treaties. And Tech research.
Let me know if you are interested in the old stuff. Now that I have heard of it, I'm gonna check on this Starmada stuff.

12-03-2011, 02:28 AM
I alway thought that Star Feet Battles series was an interesting game series.

12-04-2011, 12:09 PM
Used to play SFB, but you are right, they took forever to play. Don't play any longer but I do know our local gamer convention takes over one of the rooms to play most all weekend long. If you want to come to Colorado to join them, I am sure they would enjoy your company.

12-05-2011, 02:44 AM
That's a poser. I haven't dragged out the ST minis in many a long year. I never got into the Task Force SFB, but a variation on the older System. I still have the old Game Science book in fact.

Come to think of it it does meet your criteria. minimal dice or cards, easy to learn, light book keeping. You would only need to write the whole book on all the ship stats, and good luck finding a copy.

12-06-2011, 08:38 PM
FWIW, I'm leaning toward Starmada; it's a general, flexible system with simple core rules and lots of options. Starmada doesn't use power allocation: engines determine movement only, and shields and weapons operate at full capacity (until they're destroyed). Even a streamlined power-allocation system might be a pain in practice. So far I have the Admiralty Edition core book, with the Rules Annex currently downloading. I'm leaving the Star-Fleet-specific supplements for later.

There's a free demo of Federation Commander I've yet to read through, though. It might win me over.

12-06-2011, 08:46 PM
Power allocation system never made sense to me. Why didn't the ship designers take the ships power requirements into account in designing the power sources? DUH!

12-06-2011, 10:12 PM
WOW. More intrest in SFB around here than I though t. This Starmada stuff sounds like something worth trying but vI hav'nt found a copy yet. And Tes, you're right. That power allocation was badly set, thou it did make one think strategicly and tactically in the same game. Unfortunatly, it made the game horribly slow from waiting on others to fill out their sheets. The Ogre/G.E.V. system works much better.
As soon as I get a copy of Starmada and study it, I'll comment on it.

12-07-2011, 02:02 AM
Ogre is one bloody system. Stuff dies fast and furiously. I need to pull out my Ogre minis and finish the paint jobs.

Let me know where you find starmada.

12-07-2011, 10:18 AM
Power allocation system never made sense to me. Why didn't the ship designers take the ships power requirements into account in designing the power sources? DUH!

First, in the Original Series the Enterprise would frequently have insufficient power for the phasers, shields, or engines, usually at a dramatic moment during the battle. Second, wargamers like fiddly bits. Third, I can imagine that battle damage to engines or auxiliary power plants would require the commander to ration power. (IIRC, during the Apollo 13 disaster power usage became an issue: they couldn't run the heater *and* the radio *and* instruments necessary for landing. Granted, that's three guys in an experimental tin can, not the result of centuries in space, but still ...)

12-07-2011, 03:42 PM
Yes, due to damage, but they never had those problems when the ship was cherry. The usual thing with most power allocation systems is the ship never had enough power to run engines/shields/phasers before being damaged. From an engineering point of view a sorry state of affairs that smacks of lousy design. I can understand dealing with power issues due to battle damage.

I am an old wargaming Grognard. I was playing Seapower weekly before D&D was ever invented. I have played power allocation systems and my inner engineer is disgusted with the concept. Actually I'm rather successful with same. I've killed a lot of ships over the years.