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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Join us on Facebook and Twitter

ADB, Inc.’s page on Facebook is now up and running, and we’re finding a lot of new faces who haven’t been around the BBS or Forum. We have pictures up of ADB, Inc. staff, links to many of our videos, snippets of information, and interaction with our fans. Jean Sexton is the main voice you will hear on our page on Facebook. If she doesn’t know an answer, she’ll ask one of the Steves and ferry the answer back.

All that is left is for you to "like" the page for Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. if you haven’t done so already. Here’s the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf.

Many people on our page on Facebook have not been on our BBS, so perhaps our new outpost on Facebook will become the place for those who want to keep up with current events without the intense atmosphere (and flood of information) found on the BBS. If you are very busy on a given day, checking our page on Facebook would tell you quickly if something important has been announced. The page also has its own art galleries, plus a place where you can post a review of our products. It also has discussions where you can link up with fellow gamers.

We've also added a Twitter feed which you can follow at https://twitter.com/ADBInc_Amarillo.
 Be sure to follow us for a quick look at what is going on!

We hope to see you there! For Facebook users, be sure to add us to an interest group to see all of our posts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mission First

This is Steven Petrick posting.

Well, "The Last Ship" brought me to one of those moments of deep disatisfaction.

I am sorry, but the correct answer was to leave.

Yes, I know it is morally wrong to leave the girl, and her people, to the less than tender mercies of "El Toro." And, yes, commanders on the spot have to make decisions without guidance from higher.

However, the captain risked everything, at least as far as he knew.

He knows that the Russians wanted his research and researchers, but he does not know if there are other teams out there also working on the project who have not yet been overcome. (Not enough background to know, I mean there could be a Chinese team out there, or an Argentinian team or what not, and maybe the arrived to collect samples in the cold after he and the Russians left.) It is implied by the show's background that his ship and the Russian ship are all there is, but in all honesty the writers could at any time write in another research team somewhere. It is a big planet after all.

Even so, the Captain does not know this.

So he risks himself and his executive officer on a Quixotic operation to bring justice and save the girl. Does he really believe that there is anyone else on his ship holding them all together and on task? His researcher needs the monkeys, and he is risking them not getting to her.

This is a "fate of humanity" moment, and the show would (I admit) probably bomb if they had not saved the girl, but I at least would have profoundly respected the choice to save humanity first.

Now, I might have taken the monkeys to the ship and then returned with landing party, but only "might." I only have so many crewmen, and I have a ship that I have to keep running somehow, which leaves me very few people I can afford to have killed while I am playing Don Quixote. How many men might I lose to those booby traps they had planted (and was it not amazing that in their three man night attack they did not trip over a single one of them)?

Yes, our three stalwart heroes easily won the fight (such as it was), but only one of them was a highly trained ground combatant, and the result of there one-to-four odds attack starting with no weapons was unlikely in the extreme.

It was, however, the wrong answer and the wrong choice no matter how "moral" it was and how much it made all the writers feel good about how "our hearts are pure so our strength is the strength of a hundred men" resolution.

More likely El Toro's boys would have been the best fighters he had in running his gang before the collapse, and on their own ground (since they have been there a while) would have been able to at least inflict casualties on our heroes before they died.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Steve Cole ponders various thoughts that came to mind.

1. Is there some reason that TV shows are once a week? I know that back in the old days of three networks and no cable, the shows were shot during the year and you were watching a show that had been shot only 8 or 9 days earlier. But these days, we have these shows that are shot months before they are shown, and is there some reason we could not have the eight-episode half-season of Walking Dead on eight consecutive nights?

2. On the season finale of ELEMENTARY, Mycroft goes into hiding after the British secret service faked his death. He did this to protect Sherlock and Watson from retaliation by the French mob. Hearing this, the intrepid pair insisted that they could take care of themselves from the French mob came after them. No, they cannot. If a major criminal organization wants to kill you, they will. These two consulting detectives are always going here or there to investigate something and it should be no trouble at all to stake out a point near their home and ambush them. After all, Watson was easily kidnapped in an earlier episode.

3. If I were going to do a TV show about politics (something like West Wing or Scandal) I would do it about the "Union Party" and the "Federal Party" and we'd talk about "the immigration bill" without ever saying what was in it. I would not want to lose half of my audience because they did not agree with my politics.

4. A mix of white and red is a distinct color called pink but a mix of blue and white is just "pale blue." Maybe the red faction had a better branding expert in their marketing department and was able to create a new color?

5. I watched the season premier of FALLING SKIES and found it as badly written as ever. From a military standpoint, the plot is just full of holes, things that sound good (to the writers) but make no sense to anyone who has been in the military. They could do perfectly good stories that made sense, but Hollywood just thinks it knows everything. In the end, whatever happens is whatever the writers decided was going to happen, not what was the most likely thing to happen.

6. The new show DOMINION has redefined gutsy moves. The show starts with "Twenty-five years ago, God disappeared" which caused the angels to get upset and decide to wipe out the humans. (The anti-human angels think that God was so disgusted with humans that He just walked away.) So is this a Hollywood anti-religion show or is this a "Left Behind" sort of thing where God really has an involvement in the physical world far beyond His current level of miracles and meddling? I don't know, but seeing a twin 35mm anti-aircraft gun shoot down an angel has me watching the whole season.

Monday, July 21, 2014

This Week at ADB, Inc., 13-19 July 2014

Steve Cole reports:

This was a week of serious work on Captain's Log #49; at the end we were 50% finished. The weather this week was cloudy and cool, 74F instead of 94F. The spam storm mostly remained at something under 200 per day.

New on Warehouse 23, DriveThru RPG, and Wargame Vault this week: Captain's Log #36 (containg the original B&W SSDs) and separate colorized SSDs for the issue.

Steve Cole worked on mostly Captain's Log #49 but did a few customer requests.

Steven Petrick worked almost exclusively on Captain's Log #49.

The 2500 project saw the first three new ships arrive in Amarillo; they are on sale as of 21 July.

The Starlist Update Project moved forward with four new entries.

Leanna kept orders and accounting up to date.

Mike kept orders going out and rebuilt the inventory.

Simone did website updates and some graphics.

Jean worked on PDF uploads, managed our page on Facebook (which is up to 2,174 friends), managed our Twitter feed (108 followers), commanded the Rangers, dealt with the continuing spam assault on the BBS, managed the blog feed, proofread Captain's Log #49, took care of customers, and did some marketing.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lights! Cameras! The SFU Hits YouTube!

Ever wished you could take a peek inside a shrink-wrapped box or look behind the pretty covers of a book? Then these videos are for you.

The brainchild of Mike Sparks, our YouTube videos are of three types. The first is about a specific product line and you can hear Steve Cole (yes, he is the talking hands in our videos) discuss the products that are in one of the different games. The second kind is what ADB, Inc. has released in a particular month. These are a great way to catch up quickly on the new items.

It is the third kind that let's you see what is in the box. A boxed game such as Federation & Empire is taken out of the box item by item so that you can see what's in there. From rulebook, to charts, to maps, to counters, each item is shown and discussed. It's a lot of information to pack into a short clip, but SVC and Mike manage it.

Check out our channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/starfleetgames and be sure to bring the popcorn!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Find New Opponents

Steve Cole writes:

Many gamers are looking for new opponents. This is nothing new. When I was a teenager, there were maybe four war gamers in Amarillo that I knew, but there must have been more as the one store that carried Avalon Hill games (then the only wargames) would sell one or two now and then that my friends and I knew we didn't buy. Funny, it never once occurred to us to ask the store manager to give our phone numbers to the other guys. When I was in college, SPI (then the second wargame company and rapidly becoming larger and more innovative than Avalon Hill) had an opponent wanted list. I sent in my dollar to get it, and found only one person (of the 20 on the list) who was within 120 miles; the first and last person on the list were each 450 miles away (in opposite directions).

These days, the concept of contacting other gamers has had decades to mature, works much better, and there are a lot of ways to do it. For best results, you should do all of them.

If you play Federation Commander, then you can go to the Commander's Circle and enter your data (as much or as little as you are comfortable with) and perhaps find opponents near you. We are gaining new sign-ins every day, and since it's free you can try it every month or two and find out if somebody nearby has signed in. http://www.starfleetgames.com/federation/Commanders%20Circle/

Primarily for Federation Commander players, the Forum has a topic where local stores and groups post announcements and invitations. Players can let other players know they're around. How silly would you feel if you found out that the guy who you've been arguing with on the forum for years actually lives in your town. (That HAS happened.) http://www.federationcommander.com/phpBB2

You can to go to a local store and ask them to let you post a notice looking for opponents. You could also run a demo of your favorite game(s) and "grow your own" opponents. If a person already plays the game you are demoing, he'll doubtless drop by just to swap phone numbers.

Many towns have community bulletin boards on the local cable company's "home" channel. These are variously free or cost just a couple of dollars. It's hit-and-miss, but you could get lucky. (When I commanded Company C of the 1-39 MPs, I gained a dozen new recruits in a year that came from cable TV.) You could also buy a cheap want ad in the newspaper or the free advertising newspaper (American's Want Ads or whatever yours is called) found in quickie marts. There is also Craigslist, but you should use the normal caution you would for meeting a stranger.

The quickest result, probably, is Starlist. Go to http://starfleetgames.com/starlist.shtml. Enter your data in the form, and you'll get a list of local players back. (This may take a day or two as it is done by hand.) Starlist is the most effective hunt for new players because the database has some 5,000 players in it, far more than all of the other sources combined. The only drawback is that Starlist works with full information (name and address) and those who are seriously concerned about identity theft often find this uncomfortable. In all reality, however, Starlist would not give an identity thief any more information than a local phone book would, and if that's enough for those criminals to operate, they would be vastly more likely to use the phone book than to request a copy of Starlist.

You can find opponents for all of our games on our BBS. Go to http://www.starfleetgames.com/discus/ and you'll see "Seeking Opponents" on the main menu. You can post a notice there (and search the previous postings). Again, you can post as much or as little information as you are comfortable with.

Friends of our page on Facebook can post to see who is out there. Not a friend? Become one here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amarillo-Design-Bureau-Inc/231728653279?ref=mf

With more effort, you can post opponent wanted notices in a whole lot of boardgame sites (see http://www.starfleetgames.com/links.shtml for suggestions).

If there is a game convention within driving distance, it's worth a trip to see if you might find someone who is also within driving distance. If there is a game club in your home town or a store with a gaming area, go there and set up the game and wait for somebody to ask what it is. (Even better, take a friend who will play the game with you so you won't be bored.) If there is a Star Trek club in your home town, show them Federation Commander or Star Fleet Battle Force. There are people who have printed a card with the logo of one of our games and their email address and left these in the windows of their cars who got emails from other gamers in their home towns who were seeking opponents.

You can go always go to SFB Online (http://www.sfbonline.com/index.jsp) and play Star Fleet Battles and Federation Commander online with live opponents from around the world for the princely sum of $5 per month. You might even stumble into somebody local.

There are probably more ways than this to find opponents, but unless you live in a cave somewhere, you can almost certainly find a new friend within a short while by trying these methods.

Friday, July 18, 2014

101 Ways to Kill the B10, Part 2

#11. Tell the government it's carrying toxic waste.

#12. Tell the DSF it's being assigned to the ISF to hunt pirates.

#13. Tell the ISF that the helmsman is drunk.

#14. Put Rush Limbaugh at the helm; he only turns right!

#15. Attack it with 500 administrative shuttles.

#16. Tell the Orions the crew consists of green slave women.

#17. Forget to close the hatch when leaving spacedock.

#18. Tell the captain he cannot raise the shields until the ship's counselor certifies that he's in touch with his inner self.

#19. Tell Congress the drone racks exceed the magazine limits.

#20 Challenge a Dominator to a duel and neglect to prohibit it from bringing satellite ships.

c. 1994, Amarillo Design Bureau, from Captain's Log #16