This is primarily for those of you in the studio audience who aren't that familiar with Star Fleet Battles. I'm hoping that this'll make the page more fun and understandable.
I have simplified the definitions somewhat. I am leaving out most
of the exceptions and special cases SFB has generated over its 20 years
of life. If I put all those in, I might as well just post the game
rules, and that's about 1000 pages of reading.
Sometimes it's easiest to use a symbol than spell it out. I use:
# = any number or a set of numbers.
If I said "Phaser-#", I am talking about something which applies equally
to a Phaser-1, -2, -3, -G and any other phaser.
? = any letter in the same way # = any number. If I write "plasma-?" I am referring to any or all plasma torps, depending on the context.
SSD: = The topic's designation on a SSD comes next
|"Rolling one (a T-bomb) out the hatch" (many variants)||SFB slang for using a Shuttle Bay to lay a T-Bomb.|
|Romulan Star Empire (also Romulans)||Over a thousand years ago the would-be Romulans left the planet Vulcan
(now in the Federation) in the wake of some great conflict or disaster.
They traveled through space looking for a new homeworld, eventually finding
the twin worlds of Romulus and Remus. They set up housekeeping on
When they had rebuilt their technology to a point where they could consider building an empire, they found their expansion blocked by the budding Federation and the Gorn Confederacy. Those first wars were fought with primitive technology. The fastest engine was the Impulse Drive and none of the modern weapons existed. The Federation fought them to a standstill but their conflict with the Gorns was never completely settled.
The Romulans never quite developed Warp Drive (the Gorns raided the lab working on the project), but when the Klingons contemplated war with the Federation, they stepped in and sold the Romulans warp drive and some older Klingon ships. The Klingons wanted to step up the pressure on their mutual enemy, the Federation (which considered the Impulse-driven Romulans more of a nuisance than a threat). The tensions between the Federation and the Klingons eventually escalated into the General War, which engulfed all of known space.
Romulans use Plasma torpedoes as their heavy weapons. They also are the only race capable of manufacturing the Cloaking Device. Except for the Orions, no other race has more than a handful of Cloaks, if any. (Orion cloaks are captured Romulan devices). Romulan ships are optimized for the cloak, which means they are usually slightly smaller, have less phasers and are less durable than a similar ship of another race. As one might expect, modern Romulan-designed ships show much Klingon influence.
NOTE TO TREK FANS: Unlike regular Star Trek, SFB Klingons never acquired cloak technology, nor did the Romulans ever get Disruptors. As is suggested above, SFB Romulans use standard Warp Drive technology (no Quantum Singularity Drive).
|Scatter Pack (also SP)||A ship from a drone-using race can load up to 6 spaces of drones on an Admin shuttle and launch it as a seeking weapon. At a preset time or distance, it will launch all of the drones at once. SP's require 8 impulses before they can launch their drones for any reason and many are destroyed before that time expires. This is why a ship will sometimes launch a fake seeking shuttle first. SPs must be launched unmanned. They will go inert once they launch their drones. If a ship has time to plan ahead, it can start a scenario with one or two SPs ready to go from the start. Otherwise, they take 3 turns to fully prepare.|
|Ship's Systems Display (also: SSD)||A ship's SSD is its representation in Star Fleet Battles. It consists of an simplified sketch of the ship with boxes placed placed inside to represent the parts of the ship. Every time a ship takes damage, boxes are marked off (some people put X's in a box, others color them in). Those boxes are considered "destroyed" until/unless it is repaired. Shield boxes are marked off first, then internal boxes. When a starship takes internal damage, the Damage Allocation Chart is used to determine what boxes get marked off. Modern SSDs include the charts for the ship's weapons and other support, but the basic SSD is just the ship, the four systems tracks, and its shields.|
|Shuttle||Shuttles are small, short-range warp-driven spacecraft. Some shuttles are heavily armed (for their size). These are Fighters. Others, like Admin shuttles, perform support functions. Shuttles do not have shields or system boxes and they do not fill out an Energy Allocation Form. They simply have a given amount of damage they can take before they are destroyed. They also have a maximum speed they can go, which can be doubled with Warp Booster Packs. When a shuttle takes 2/3 of its total damage, it is considered "crippled", which deactivates most of its weapons and cuts its speed to half. Shuttles can be tractored, but they are too small to affect a starship's movement. If a shuttle is tractored by a starship moving more than twice as fast as the shuttle's max speed, the shuttle is torn apart by the stress. Purposefully doing this to a shuttle is called "Death Dragging".|
|Shuttle Bay (SSD: SHTTL)||A Shuttle Bay is a group of Shuttle boxes which are all part same area. The number of Shuttle boxes in a given bay determines how large the bay is. Many ships have only one shuttle bay, but some have several. On small ships a Shuttle Bay can consist of one box. A given Shuttle Bay can launch or recover one shuttle every other impulse, so the number of bays a ship has can be important. Some Shuttle Bays have Launch Tubes connected to them which can launch Fighters (every other Impulse) independently of each other and whatever the Shuttle Bay itself is doing. Launch Tubes cannot recover shuttles, only launch them. Launch tubes appear on a ship's SSD, but do not have a "box" of their own, so they cannot be destroyed. A Shuttle bay can contain boxes for regular shuttles and Fighters. Shuttle Bays (but not Launch Tubes) can also be used to lay one T-bomb per turn. A ship can have one or several shuttle bays. Sometimes shuttles can be moves between them.|
|Shuttle Box (SSD: SHTTL)||A Shuttle Box is a box on the SSD which represents the ability to hold one normal-sized shuttle (there are a few double-size shuttles but none larger and none smaller than 1-box). Shuttle Boxes are grouped in Bays, each of which can launch one shuttle every other impulse. Shuttle Boxes are also used to repair damaged shuttles and prepare Admin Shuttles for its special missions (SP, SP, SS).|
|Speed-# (also SPD-#)||A ship's speed is the number of hexes the unit would move in one turn at its current velocity. Thus, A speed-20 drone would move 20 hexes in a turn. Ships cannot move faster than speed-31, but some drones and all plasma torpedoes move at speed-32 (i.e. 1 hex per impulse). Ships and shuttles do have the ability to change their speed over the course of a turn, so its rare for a ship to go one speed for an entire turn.|
|Starship (also Ship)||Starships are large, long-ranged warp-driven spacecraft. They are Star Fleet Battles is all about. Ships must fill out an Energy Allocation Form each round and use the Damage Allocation Chart to determine what systems are damaged when it is hit by weapons fire. Ships vary in size from a movement cost of 1/3 for frigates to 2 for battleships. There are a few MC 1/4 ships.|
|Suicide Shuttle (also SS)||If needed, an Admin shuttle can be loaded with a magnetic bottle containing an antimatter warhead. Warp power (up to 3 points per turn) must be allocated to it for 3 turns before it is ready for use. The shuttle is then launched as a seeking weapon which will do 2x the total allocated power if the shuttle hits its mark (max of 18 points of damage). If a ship is warned of trouble, it can start a scenario with one or two Suicide shuttles ready to go (which are always 18-point SS's).|
|Tractor Beam (SSD: TRAC)||A device which uses a beam of force to grab and hold an object. Ship which are linked by a tactor beam are forced to move together and usually slow each other down. All starships come with systems which allow them to fight a tractor beam (Negative Tractor). Shuttles and drones can be tractored, but are too small to affect a ship's movement. Tractoring a ship will stop it from launching shuttles (except Suicide Shuttles and Scatter Packs) as well. This inspired the "Gorn Anchor" tactic, where a ship grabs its enemy in a tractor beam just before launching a killing or crippling salvo of seeking weapons (usually plasma--hence the name). Shuttles can be torn apart if a ship tractors them while moving at too high a speed. This is called "Death Dragging". A tractor beam may only operate once per turn. A ship with several tractors can use each one once per turn if it allocated enough power to do so.|
|Transporter (SSD: TRAN)||A device which can teleport an object(s) from one place to another. In combat, Transporters are mostly used along with Boarding Parties for Hit-and-Run-Raids or boarding actions where the BP(s) fight the ship's crew for control of the ship. Transporters are also used to place special mines called "T-Bombs" on the board. A Transporter may only operate once per turn when it has energy allocated to it.|
|Warp Drive (SSD: ?. Warp)||Warp Drive uses antimatter power to move a ship faster than light. Ship's movement uses Warp power almost exclusively. Warp Drive comes in three types: Right, Left and Center. For power generation and movement, they are interchangeable, but they are hit at different points on the Damage Allocation Chart|
|Wild Weasel (also WW)||An Admin shuttle whose electronics have been optimized to make seeking weapons think it is the ship that launched it. It works like a combination of dropping a flare to distract a heat-seeking missile and a submarine's silent running. A starship which launches a Weasel must cut weapons tracking, cannot move faster than a crawl and has a bunch of other restrictions or the shuttle can't carry off the deception. Opposing starships aren't fooled, but seeking weapons they control are. (the WW does confuse the starship's targeting computers and gives the ship a lot of electronic warfare defense) A WW takes two turns to prepare. If a starship is expecting trouble it can walk into a scenario with a weasel or two ready to go.|
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