Monday, September 16, 2013

3rd Edition Star Fleet Battle Manual Back On Track & Mini Question

I want to thank all of you who spoke to Lou Zocchi at Origins and GenCon this summer about his Star Fleet Battle Manual. I received a call from him after the conventions telling me how many people had asked about the game. He didn't realize that there was that much interest still in it. He then asked me how soon I could have the new edition ready for print.

So I am back on task of writing up the 3rd edition with the updated rules and new lay out. The only difficulty is that Lou only wants do a hard copy of the game. He is still afraid of pirating and believes that only way to keep the game safe is not to do an electronic copy. He keeps forgetting that the game is currently only (legally) available in his original print edition as a hard copy. The edition that I have been working on is designed to take advantage of the current electronic publishing capabilities - with full color photos/graphic examples of play, color playing aids, and color diagrams for ease of understanding; as well as large font and increased page count. Knowing Lou's frugal (cheap) nature I am not sure he will go for the final product in its current form. I have a feeling I am in for a long and frustrating struggle. Hopefully we will see a new addition in time for Origins 2014.

And in regards to SFBM here is an image of some of the original miniatures Lou had for the game. The Federation Heavy Cruiser is one of his plastic models that is still available. The Romulan Warbird and Tholian Patrol Craft are what we can't find -these minis are the only two we still have. Lou did not make these, but only resold them. I purchased the pair from him back in the late 70's/ early 80's. He no longer carries these particular models, but resells larger one from Amarillo Design Bureau. He doesn't remember who produced these. I believe that the Romulan is a Snipe frigate that is still available, but I can't seem to locate the small Tholian. These ships are much more in scale with the original McMaster's plans for these ships from the time that Lou designed the original game and fit his ship cards. The Tholian is also a much nicer casting that is currently being produced, much more like his plastic ships. So I would like to see if these are is available if anyone knows.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Federation Space II

Back in the 1980's my friends and I spent many hours playing Task Force Game's Federation Space. It was not a great game, even then, but we still enjoyed it. The game was simple way to fight galaxy spanning battles in the Star Trek universe. True, the game was weighted in favor of the Federation forces, but it just made it that more challenging to the Klingon and Romulan players.

Lately I have been missing the type of game Federation Space filled - large scale strategic space combat, simple rules, short playing time, and set in the Star Trek universe. Federation and the Empire (the replacement for Federation Space), doesn't interest me or seem to truly fill the void.

One of my new hobbies has been taking older games that I enjoy and updating them with new graphics, boards, pieces and rules. (see my Victory In the Pacific and Liftoff!).  Since I am currently not working on the Star Fleet Battle Manual update, until Lou Zocchi decides to allow it to be published online, I have been making a new version of Federation Space - sort of.

New Map

It is only Federation Space in the fact that it is a strategic combat game set in the Star Trek universe, using a simple combat system with a quick playing time. I decided to set it in FASA's Star Trek universe rather than Star Fleet Battles'. I have always felt that that has a more Star Trek feel, especially without the carriers, attack shuttles, and missiles. I have also liked that ship designs from FASA better.

For the basic combat system I chose to base it on War At Sea/ Victory In the Pacific; a clean and proven system that I am familiar with. The map is also based on that system. I added an economic and construction system similar to Axis & Allies (an other simple and proven system), since I didn't want to go with a predetermined fleet build up. Of course there are additions that make it Star Trek - cloaking device, the use of scouts, fleet repair docks, and Orion pirates.

Sample Markers

The game is set for a maximum of 10 turns, with the possibility of the Organians returning early and ending the game - making victory a changing factor. Each turn represents six months with technology advances happening by way of improved ship models becoming available.

Right now I am in the process of finishing up the graphics and working on balance. I'll keep you updated on the progress.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Star Fleet Battle Manual 3rd Edition Progress

For the many of you who have contacted me  with your enthusiasm for this project here is an update.

The good news is that the graphics, rule changes (mostly the Romulans and Tholians), and layout have been going well. Color pictures and rule explanations are being used throughout - oh the joys of PDF's.

The bad news is Lou has forgotten our discussions and plans that we worked on. He is back to having an almost paralyzing fear of the Internet and pirating. So he is doesn't want to put the new (or old for that matter) edition up on RPGNOW.

What I do have is permission (in writing no less) is to have a small print run made of the new edition and to sell them at any event I demo Star Fleet Battle Manual. This will not be happening.

While this would have been a dream-come-true 30 plus years ago to a young Star Trek fan and gamer it is not something I am interested in doing now. The purpose of this project was to update a much loved game and to get it out to a new generation of gamers - and to help Lou make some money off of his work that is being pirated anyway.

So for right now the new edition is on hold. For those of you who see Lou at conventions this summer, let him know that you'd like to see the game become available - and try to make him understand how internet pirating works.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Liftoff! Astronaut Cards

Here are the last of the card sets for my deluxe version of Liftoff!. The first two sets are for the American and Russian space programs. The green set of cards are for the fictitious, sci-fi space program. While the equipment is primarily created with the Kerbal Space Program, I decided to use astronauts that are from television and movies either set or made during the space race - for the most part. It was fun to find ones to use; see if you can figure out where they came from.

The files can be found here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Liftoff! Equipment Cards

Next up for my deluxe version of Liftoff! are my equipment cards. At this point I only card sets for three players: American, Russian, and Sci Fi. The original game has Americans, Russians, European Space Agency, and China. The US and USSR were fairly easy to find images for since these were the two nations that actually took part in the space race. True, not all of the images I used are the actual piece of equipment, but I tried to keep with what was or might have been available at the time.

China and Europe were a different story since they didn't have much of a space program at the time. Even now there are no lunar landers or shuttles for them.

So for the third player I went with imaginary vehicles. At first I tried to use equipment from movies that were made around the time of the space race. Unfortunately most of the image quality was inconsistent, or the vehicles were to advanced. If a movie or television show was set during the space race the equipment was usually based on US spacecraft. What I did was capture images from Kerbal Space Program. The spacecraft you see on these cards are ones I constructed and then flew. They make for a consistent set of images for this space program.

The Simulator cards are ones I have added to the game. They are something that I thought was missing, that actually played an important role in the space program.

As with my Event cards, these have been reduced in size and resolution from my original ones so that the file is not too large. On these you will notice some odd borders. I had mine professionally printed, so the edges were trimmed.

These cards can be found here. Have fun.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Star Fleet Battle Manual 3rd Edition Record Sheets

Well progress on Lou Zocchi's 3rd Edition of Star Fleet Battle Manual is slowly happening. I've gotten a lot done on the extras for the game; ship compass cards, markers like the new plasma bolt and nuclear devices, and the Tholian webbing template. The updating of the rules is going well also - lots of work on the alien races, especially the Romulans. The ship record sheets are what I am most happy with. With all the years of playing, feed back from players at conventions, and Lou's latest inputs, I think they are almost finished.

I am making the file of them available to everyone to look at, and if you happen to have a copy of the game feel free to try them out and give me some feedback. They can be found as on the gaming files' page.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Liftoff! Event Cards

I have finally gotten around to putting the Event Cards from my deluxe version of Liftoff! in a form I can share - without being too large of a file. They have been reduced in size and resolution from what I used to have them professionally printed (on linen stock), but they should be fine for getting ideas of your own version. And a word of note - I am not a graphic artist.

I was a little hesitant about posting these, but I realized that unless you own the game they are of no use to you. But if you have a copy then feel free to use these instead of the basic ones that are in the game. Hopefully we will see a new version published someday.

I had fun finding image that I thought matched the event. I tried to stay with in the time period of the game, but it wasn't always possible. Most are serious images, but some were include just for fun.

The cards on the first eight pages are events that are actually in the original game, and the correct numbers of cards. Page nine are optional cards by John Seaman that can be found on Board Game Geek. The last three pages are optional cards that I created. Many of these actually change the rules of the game by working as interrupts. Some of them can be held in your hand and played latter in the game. We've found that they actually add a nice element to play. Use them if you wish.

The cards can be found here. Hope you like them.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Savage Worlds Playing Aids

For those of you who read this blog, visit my website, or play my games at conventions; you have probably noticed my fondness for the Savage Worlds system. Over the past six years or so this has become my favorite role playing system; whether it is pulp, fantasy, or horror.

Here are two playing aids that I have used at my game table for the past several years. A set of character information cards for Game Masters to use. These keep important data handy and easy to see so that I don't have to keep asking my players for it. They are modeled after the ones used for HackMaster. I liked the look and modified them for Savage Worlds. I have them for general Savage Worlds usage, Deadlands, Rippers, and Realms of Cthuthlu, and NPC's/Monsters.

The second aid is a character advancement record. In the past my players have often forgotten when and what advancements they have taken as their characters increase in experience - particularly attribute advancements. So now I have them record their changes on these forms and return them to me. They've been a big help.


Hope you can use these.