Star Fleet Battles

Star Fleet Battles
Wargame published by
Task Force Games,
Amarillo Design Bureau
No. of Players 2-6
Session Time 1 hour to weeks
(~ # of ships)
First Publication 1979

Still in publication after 40 goddamn years, Star Fleet Battles is based on the original Star Trek teevee series, and includes the Kzinti from the animated series (because they had the rights to it because Larry Niven recycled one of his stories in TAS). It's regarded as the most detailed simulation of ship-to-ship interplanetary combat, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. The inch-thick book has rules for damn near everything, but it reads like the lovechild of your car's owners manual and VCR instructions. For those grognards that love Advanced Squad Leader, this is awesome, but for those who think of Axis & Allies as a serious wargame, these rules are impenetrable. (You won't need 90% of those rules for an average game, though.) For some bizarre reason, nobody's ever tried to make a vidya of SFB, despite the fact that the rulebook already reads like a computer program.

Actually there WAS a video game series created based on SFB, Starfleet Command

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The game is played on a hex-map, no terrain other than the odd planet you might be flying around, or asteroid counters for hiding behind, but there are rules for fighting near a black hole that keeps pulling all the tokens, or nebula clouds that give automatic ECM defense.

Among the win you can find in this game are:

  • Impulse-based turns instead of the I-go-then-You-go typical of tabletop wargames
  • Transporter bombs
  • Using ship's laboratories to out-science monsters
  • loading up one of your shuttle craft with torpedoes and ramming it
  • Wild Weasels ... where torpedoes or shuttles give off sensor data that fools electronics into thinking it's another full-sized vessel (this is the "Picard maneuver" that actually WORKS instead of just looking cool)
  • Boarding parties
  • Rules for fighters and torpedoes
  • Effects of having legendary officers like having Scotty as your ship's engineer.
  • What happens when the slaves on a Klingon ship stage a mutiny during a ship battle.
  • Q-ships ... for those who aren't navy nuts, that's what looks like a civilian cargo ship, but when pirates show up it blows off the camouflage and all the cargo is missile-racks.
  • C'mon, who doesn't want Federation versus Klingons, Romulan cloaking devices and attacking starbases?
  • Gorn AND Tholians!

There was a full 3d motion version based on the Squadron Strike engine in the works, but was apparently dropped.

See AlsoEdit