Starfleet Battles, anyone? (Tabletop version)

Throwing a line in the water to see what nibbles. Cleaning out one of my old totes in my closet, I came across a box set of Starfleet Battles with a binder of the 2012 SIlver Anniversary ruleset (printed out from the PDF). The thing is, I picked it up years ago with the intent of playing, but never did.

I signed up for SFB Online today, and am interested to see if anyone else out in Cecilspace has/is playing, so I might learn to play.

I hoard boardgames. I really do. . .

I never played but a buddy of mine owns it.

I played that, back in the early 1980s. It was fun.

I played hundreds and hundreds of hours of SFB back in the '80s. I still have all my stuff, too.

I played lots in the 80s, I loved it.

But I have nothing left of it.

I played it some back in the 80s, but not in the last 35+ years.

Sweet. I thought I was the only nerd around these parts.

Hooray retro games!

A friend had the game, and a group of us played it many times. I was a Larry Niven fan and was amused that the Kzinti made it into the game. My recurring strategy was to use the big Kzin ship and launch a jillion drones. The Federation players eventually came up with the notion to lurk in minefields so the drones would blow themselves up before reaching their targets! Sthondat monkeys!

That’s because Larry adapted one of his short stories for an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Since then, the species is part of series canon, although they have only appeared 6 times, and always in animated form. Twice in the original cartoon, and four times in Lower Decks (so far).

I used to play SFB frequently in the late 80s and early 1990s but not at all in the last 25 years. I just read some of the other replies in the thread and it looks like a lot of us haven’t played it in 25+ years. A buddy of mine I used to play the game with gave me all his books, photo copied ship sheets, maps, and tokens in the late 1990s and I accepted them with the intent of finding people who wanted to play. I got close in the early 2000s but I haven’t found anyone else who plays the darn game.

It’s a very good game, but it takes a long while to complete one battle. Back when I was a teenager I had all the time in the world to play games like SFB, Car Wars, Supremacy, Ogre, BattleTech, Renegade Legion and others. But it’s harder to find people these days willing to sit down for 4+ hours of the same game.

I was aware of the Kzinti existing in the first animated series, which I watched in the 70’s. I was not aware that they appear on Lower Decks. Interesting.

This is pretty much me, as well, only I played SFB a little earlier – I discovered it when I went to college in 1983, and played with a couple of friends fairly often for a few years. I likely still have the boxed game which I bought in '83, somewhere in a box in the basement, but I don’t think I’ve played since around 1987.

In the past few years, I’ve supported the Kickstarters for the relaunches of both Ogre and Car Wars, and I have the big boxes of those games in my game room. As you note, they’re still fun games, but they require some dedicated time to play. I got to play Car Wars with a few friends over Thanksgiving, and playing one novice-level game did take us about 3 hours (though we were also re-learning the rules as we went).

My absolute favorite ship was the Romulan Killerhawk. It was basically a heavy cruiser hull packed with way more weapons than it should have been packed with. The group I played SFB with absolutely hated cloaking devices so I always got a 15% decrease in the points cost. There was one Federation ship that only cost 100 points but I can’t remember what it was called. I referred to it as the Lemon because that’s what it looked like on the datasheet.

I don’t know if it’s the length of time it takes to play versus how tedious it all seems. I played a game of BattleTech in December 2019 for the first time in approximately 20 years. It was pretty much how I remembered, but it was a slow grind as we continued to damage one another and we were playing with light mechs. I had a Locust for God’s sake and it felt like a grind.

^ This! ^

I will never, never forget the feeling and mind-blowing realization I had the first time I played EverQuest.

I made my character, logged in and made my way out of the starter city I was in to go kill some rats or goblins or orcs or whatever and with the first strike of battle, it all crystallized for me: I was playing Dungeons & Dragons but would never have to open a rule book, would never have an argument about the rules, would never have to write anything down or draw a map. It was like being in paradise…

There was a computer version of SFB that did the same thing:

I played it back then, and liked it. I wonder if I could find a version now…

I never did give that a try back in the day. Steam still has it but only for older operating systems. Spoilered because I don’t know how to remove the “purchase” link; this should just take you to the page, tho.

GOG has it too, but I also see people reporting that it has problems on Windows newer than 7. Still, those reports are from 2015, they might have fixed it by then.

GOG usually does a great job making old games compatible with new OSes.

Starfleet Command III on GOG reportedly works in Win10 but you have to manually delete a DLL or it will crash on loading. Otherwise it is fine.

I have a copy of it floating around the house here somewhere. I played it for hours but got frustrated with it because I could never get past the “Planet Killer” mission (where you have to ram a Fed/CC down its mouth and live). I haven’t tried loading it onto my Win 10 desktop, but if I find it, and I can’t get it to work, I’ll drop you a PM if you want it.

And then I just read @Snowboarder_Bo’s post. It may not run anyways.

I’m willing to set up a Discord server, if anyone’s interested in pick-up games. I really want to learn to play, if someone’s willing to have patience with me. There is a StarFleet Battles Cadet Module for the Vassal Engine for “over the Inter-tubes” play, but it’s been awhile since I set up a Vassal game.

Going full “reto-nerd” this month.

I just installed it from the Steam site. There’s a tutorial available there about how to make a few simple changes that will let it run under Win10, which seemed to work for me. I ran some of the tutorial missions to remember the controls, and the first mission, and it seemed fine.