I still need to write Part III on GMT Games, and maybe IV on ‘other’, but it’s Origins season, so things are happening.

ADB likes to keep a presence at Origins and release major new products there. Right now, the adventure is counter publishing. Since that’s a specialty thing, they print a single large sheet, get it glued to chipboard, and then die-punched and cut down into a bunch of smaller sheets for different products. There was some trouble (in a ‘he meant well’ way) and instead of getting handled over the weekend+Monday, they get to take a day out on Wednesday (in the middle of preparing for the Origins trip) to finish taking care of it.

And the line-up of products:
R11: Support Ships: SVC recently posted a bunch of information on the module (I think it’s most of the general background notes from the actual product.) General classes seem to be patrol tenders, workboats, theater transports, fast war cruisers, and some new survey ships (as well as bunches of other stuff).

The “Patrol Tender” is a smaller version of the standard PF Tender, and only carries 3 PFs instead of the standard 6 PF flotilla. I think this is an excellent idea, as it means you can do a battle that involves the “tender” aspect of PF operations (repair and reequipping in battle) in a much smaller battle.

Theater transports seem much better suited to the title, and great for campaigns, and F&E, not sure about standard SFB. Most of these were published in Captain’s Log a bit back. Workboats seem to just be conversion notes for existing SSDs, as they are ‘civilianized’ versions of PFs sold off by the governments after the General War. Fast ships were introduced a while back, and have been trickling into new classes lately. In F&E they are faster, in SFB, they generally have more power and phasers instead of heavy weapons (making them practically faster too).

One of the things I find odd in all the text is that ship (well, capital ship) losses went down towards the end of the General War as PFs were absorbing more of the damage, and a force that lost it’s PFs would (presumably) pull out, when F&E shows the opposite happening. In the late war, increasing attack values, PFs, and X-ships combine to finally start forcing kills instead of merely loosing fighters and crippling a bunch of ships to be repaired later. Considering that even campaign SFB is generally much bloodier than early-war F&E, it’s… ironic that it sounds like the opposite happens in the late War.

The new Federation Commander product for Origins is Battleships Attack, a pack of large ship cards with the largest ships ever built in the SFU. …well larger than that, really, as most of those never were built. I’m not sure just how that side of things is going to be handled, but even if plastered with “not real” warnings, they should be balanced, and bigger things to pound the other guy with are always popular.

In the big sheet of counters there was a small leftover space, which was turned into a special countersheet for Federation & Empire. The link is the image of the final version. Yes, all of it. ^_^

Which brings up three other things:
1) Strategic Ops suffered from poor printing on its double-sided counters (most of them were rejected), meaning that they’re nearly out already (it’s the most recent F&E product). So its counters are likely to be reprinted around the end of this year, and ISC War will probably be done at the same time.

2) Recently, it was noted that the Federation F-111 fighter was supposed to be a rare, hard to produce bird. But as it is what the Federation (in part) uses to counter PFs in F&E, there’s been a steadily growing number of carriers that use it. It’s the also the stand-in for the heavy fighters that most races use just before the introduction of PFs. Anyway, discussion for R11 produced the idea of the F-101, which is meant to be more analogous to the other heavy fighters, and much easier to produce. It’s not in R11, but it is official, and there’s a ‘coin’ for it on F&E-36, though there’s no solid rules for it in F&E yet (I would assume that it’s to mark the conversion of a carrier from a six-factor fighter squadron to an 8-factor heavy fighter squadron).

3) At different times, there are different people who represent the top players of a game. Right before I started getting back into F&E its top players were Joe Stevenson and Peter DiMitri, who did a lot to shape the current edition of the main set. Peter came up with what he thought was an “always win” strategy for the Coalition. A game to test this theory (between Joe and Peter) fell apart when a fairly dubious tactic was ruled illegal… and I missed this, and don’t know the details, but apparently it got quite heated, and both of them ended up walking away from the game. When I arrived, the exact nature of the “Mudslide” tactic was still being debated. Anyway, Joe showed back up a couple weeks ago (talked into it by his wife). And more recently, he’s talked Pete into coming back. They’re just starting to get back up to speed, but they’re already raising a ruckus about areas where they aren’t happy with the latest supplements. I don’t blame them, I think there’s some things that aren’t so great, but I do like a few things they don’t… it’s certainly entertaining reading though.

And still no solid word on what MMP is going to manage to have out for Origins.