OK... Who else has heard of Star Fleet Battles???

The old-timey, paper chit on a hex map roll the dice game…

I spent countless hours playing it with my buddy while I was in the Marines. Not a lot to do in the California desert.

I was the king of the Hydran anchor…

Get close, lock a Klingon up with the tractors…

Hit him with the gatlings and fusions (suicide overlaods please, there are only two ways out of a Hydran anchor… either you blow up, or we both do…) and then pop the hellbores… BOOM

Miller time.

Anyhoo, the similarities are striking. Cliff, was SFB your inspiration?

I am enjoying GSB greatly! Brings me back to the old days of SFB!!!

I strongly suspect there are quite a few SFB players lurking around here - I’ve seen a mention or two.

I want hydran fighters :slight_smile:

And Tholians!

And transporter bombs…


I played off and on for years, but never did find a group crazy enough to do a Tholian Starbase scenario…something about the wedding cake scared 'em off.

I have a big stack of SFB rulebooks in my office. I used to love that game. I liked the interstellar concordium, and the lyrans expanding sphere generator :smiley:


I am soooooo glad to have found a worthy spiritual successor to SFB on the computer! Whoever controls the SFB intellectual property never got it right on the computer.

Geeze, it’s been 20 years since I played!

Couple of more points to ask about:

  1. It seems that Nelson’s management style is the inspiration in some way for the gameplay.
    Were you thinking about Nelson and his command style at all?

  2. You know better than anyone what your vision for the game is and what is the proper way to expand (if at all), but I think it could progressively expand in both the micro (individual ship command by the player) and macro ways (like Federation and Empire - in the direction of grand strategy). Are you considering something along those lines?

  3. Star bases? Some folks don’t like to bother with all that messy moving around and Type 4 phasers made the other heavy weapons in the game look like toys…

  4. There was another SFB tactic that would give the races that used to give tracking weapons fits: Ping ponging his tracking weapons off with TWO wild weasels. To execute it in GSB would require more finite control than the game is currently designed for, and tracking weapons like the massive Type-R Plasmas don’t exist in GSB, but it was a neat tactic.

  5. For an added terrain feature, how about a black hole? Either you bring enough engines to escape the gravity well… or you die…

Geeze, sorry…

I just done ran away with myself there…

Anyway, GREAT GAME!!!

I never played; a bit too young probably. I did see the figures in stores until ~10 years ago… as a Trekker, I always wondered about them.

Years later I started playing Battlefleet Gothic, Games Workshop’s space battle game (based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe). If I didn’t have a busy job, a house to buy, and a wedding to plan, I’d create a mod, but odds are that isn’t going to happen this year. The current models are plenty good anyway =].

wild weasals are something I really liked and would love to get in the game. I’m currently working on short campaign style stuff for an eventual expansion, and there will be more fleets and weapons coming too.
gets back to work

Yep. Played just a few weeks ago, in fact, although the version I played is called “star fleet commander” or some such variant, less paperwork, more fun.

I used to play SFB as well. The ISD are kind of the inspiration to some of my strategies. Most of my deployments are multi-ranked, specially tasked ships:

First rank - heavy cruisers, damage sponges with 500-700 range weapons
Second rank - cruisers or frigates, beam, torpedoes or plasma with 750-900 range weapons
Third rank - frigate missile spam, 1000+ range weapons.

woe betide anything that gets into the kill zone in front of the first rank.

I kind of thought this would be another interesting game type - one side has a star base that the other one has to blow up. Although, it seems like after a few goes it actually wouldn’t be that interesting.

I saw SFB but never played it. I played a different game called “Leviathan”.

I would LOVE to see something with the ship cusomizability of Leviathan! GSB is very similar to Leviathan, except that Leviathan had a total amount of spaces you could install weapons/equipment/armor into. There were no dedicated equipment slots or weapons slots, anything could go anywhere, and ship classes had a set number of spaces to install into, and a grid on the page to block off where that equipment was placed in the hull.

Then when damage was done, armor boxes would be marked off, and equipment would be damaged according to where on the ship it was located and where the enemy hits landed.

The ships were limited only by a cost budget and a rapidly rising slope of decreasing returns. You had to track missile usage, since missiles were a finite resource in the game.

And of course there were rules to handle hits on explody components. “Oh gosh, your crowbar(railgun) hit my missile magazine (roll), oh crud, it went explody, and damaged my power plant, oh, that exploded too, aw man, that hit the second missile magazine! (roll) Oh, well there goes my last engine.”

Having damage cascade from one system to another was so awesome!

The only downside was that the game did take a while to play.

I was brought up on ‘Starfire.’


boardgamegeek.com/image/4507 … hanate-war

We added rudimentary 3d rules.

One thing it might be interesting to see imported from Starfire into GSB, would be the ‘datalink’ module which allows several ships to time their missiles to hit the target simultaneously.

SFB was a horrid boardgame; if they’d tried to make it more glacial and opaque I doubt they could have done so. The pre-internet fannish development method (ie ‘let’s invent a pile of stupid crap’) wasn’t a great element, either, although at least the factions were interesting (except the Klingons who were just set to ‘suck’).

The PC games were fine since they removed the giant pile of boring bookkeeping, but they weren’t very interesting due to serious balance issues. The games are needless to say almost totally different to GSB beyond ‘has space ships pew pew’, because SFC was a micro-intensive, laughably short-ranged missathon full of almost useless features whereas GSB is a fleet management game. No endless tail-chasing 30s weapon cooldown ‘excitement’ here. :slight_smile:

GSB hasn’t even inherited the hilarious ‘giant bits blown off but ship still operating at 70% efficiency’ element either.

I never played SFB prior to the Captain’s Edition, but that one was a pretty good board game. Complex, but a lot of fun. Recently I’ve picked up Federation Commander with the hope of actually convincing some of my friends to play it. (it hasn’t been played yet…).

Always loved the Kzinti in SFB. Drones, + drones… and more drones :D. Love ordinance.

I’ve actually used aspects of Leviation (assuming you’re referring to the FASA Renegade Leagion one) in a board game I’ve designed. I never did play it though.

I played SFB in its early days, when the game was relatively simple. As more and more supplements came out, it became more and more complex. Eventually it reached a point where most of your game time was spent arguing about rules with your opponent, which caused me to lose interest.

Starfire kept my interest longer, I loved the ability to design ships. Ultimately, though, the balance was rather broken.

Sounds like the old “Echelon of Judgement” . Was current in SFB until about 3-4 yrs ago. Have a lot of the material and
some of the newer, simpler “Federation Commander” - aka StarFleet Battles Lite, though you’ll never catch anyone at
ADB calling it that…

Thanks for kick-starting this thread and letting an old-school tactics grognard reminisce. :wink:

I began my love/hate relationship with SFB back in the early '80s. Stayed with the game through the chaotic mess that was the “Addenda” time period, when every other rule seemed to be changed at least once and even some of the changes altered or superceded other earlier addenda. As Colonel Bogie said, “Madness…utter madness!” Gave up the game, cold-turkey style, in the late 90s and do not plan on playing it again.

The source material developed for the game universe’s background is absolutely amazing – much more than canon Trek from the post-1969 era concerning the later adventures of the original series’ crew (i.e., Paramount films 1 and 3 through 7; 2 and 6 were actually really good!). The game background is very much of a “Cold War goes hot” theme, and its internal consistency deserves applause. Seeing a much more pessimistic, militarized Federation was sobering yet fascinating – doubly so when viewing the greater strategic situation involving the Federation’s allies as well as enemies and neutrals. The “General War” was very much like a galactic version of Europe in the summer of 1914, and the way it played out in SFB terms was handled pretty well, on the average.

However, the persistent egomania of the designer coupled with too much “tech sloshing” between the different races’ weapons and entire hull classes being copycatted, plus years of “ruler lawyering” that many players excelled at instead of solid tactics, left me permanently soured. When a game system is mercilessly flogged into going forwards until you need an index of other indices just to keep track of everything, it’s time to grab your six-sided die and roll for a sanity check. I did buy the PC games of the “Starfleet Command” series when they were new, but was greatly disappointed at how the did remove the oppressive weight of the analog paperwork & numbercrunching burden, only to squander that chance for greatness by opting for an unbalanced and unrealistic game that played poorly when compared to how “tight” the tabletop pencil-and-paper original worked. That was a huge disappointment!

I still have all of my old Commanders’ Series rulebooks & such from boxed Volumes I, II and III…all my Captain’s Log issues from 1 to 21 or so…various other long out-of-print goodies also, such as “Battle Damage: Code Red,” “Federation Space,” the original X-Ships supplement from 1985, etc. I do wish that I never threw away my complete print run of every issue of Nexus, what with all of the scenarios and original fiction that’s still never been reprinted elsewhere. :frowning: (My sole defense there is that I was a dumbassed kid at the time.)

In GSB, anyone can play as the Interstellar Concordium and set up their own dream Echelon formation; “…to boldly go where no one has kicked ass before!” I really enjoy that. :smiley: The sheer joy - and far from thoughtless, uncritical joy - that I derive from Cliffski’s GSB sometimes makes me think back to those earlier decades of traditional tabletop wargaming.

Indeed memories…
Had a box set of it once- not even sure which version. I had problems finding people to play with so it just collected dust somewhere. With my original box sets of D&D - Basic to Immortals.
And my Car Wars.
And my Ogre.
And my GEV.

Nobody seemed to like roleplaying games. Guess I spent a lot of time playing the old C64 back then watching robotech.


I still have the SFB box set and all of the expansions; looking to sell (U.S. only; pm me).

I still have all of my 2nd edition AD&D books (sans Dieties & Demigods); that I’m also looking to sell.

Starfire, have that and all the expansions, too; keeping for solo play.

Car Wars, Rivets, Ogre, GEV

Also had the lead/pewter spaceship game Starfleet Wars; stolen.

Ah good ole SFB, i have played it a very little, played the klingons vrs federation and whomped there butts, but can not recall the ships, Did a finishing move of two trasport bombs on one fed ships. it was funny.

Also does anyone reamber, Aerospace, Battlespace, and Citytech? ALL before they were haphazzardly tossed together into Battletech? IF you happen to have ANY, or know someonw that is willing the sell there Battlespace, or aerospace book please please pm me with an offer and if I can aforid it I’ll accpet or counter offer. I’m a HUGE fan of them, never played citytech but i have a pdf of it somewhere on this pc.


I loved both Citytech and Battlespace, but I no longer have them. All I have are the really nice hex boards that they came with. (Battlespace was played on something more like hex paper, but its still pretty nice to have.) I’ll see if one of my friends might have a copy buried somewhere, but I doubt it.

Battlespace was the first game I ever played where you can flip your ship on its axis to expose the less damaged side of your ship to the enemy. Having fighters that had to choose between tight and loose formation was pretty nice, too.

I’m going to attempt to bring back battlespace here in my area, But we will have to see i have a few that are iterested in it. But much rahter play some good ole mechwarrior, or battlegurps as I have been calling it. Battletech/mechwarrior rules for the mech and combat, but gurps for the pilot and skills.