Crossposted from the SFU blog on BGG.

One of the problems that Star Fleet Battles has struggled with for… decades by this point, is electronic piracy. While the game is complex, the components are simple, and ever since the rise of BBSes, there have been problems with copies of SSDs being traded around on the net. Since most products in the line are vehicles for presenting new ships, that is is a problem for ADB’s bottom line, and the root cause of their generally anti-electronic stance, which has thawed somewhat recently.

This Tuesday, ADB made a PDF version of the Basic Set SSD book available through e23 for $7.50.

Traditionally, SSDs are photocopied by players for use in the game. Today, a lot of people have spent a fair amount of time scanning their SSDs in so that it easy to print out what’s needed on a moment’s notice. Now, there’s a way (for a few, but common, ships) to be available for printing out without going through that time, and without needing a scanner. And of course, the quality is very good, since this is straight from the electronic file that generates the printed book.

However, Steve V. Cole writes:

“We are considering the idea of putting most of the SFB SSDs on e23. However, there is concern over piracy. There is also concern over sales. Frankly, how well basic set sells (and how much trouble we have with pirates) will determine if any others are ever uploaded. If you want the SSD book for module this or that, buy the basic set one if you’re serious.

“This is the current version. Not every SSD has necessarily been updated with the most recent bells and whistles such as advanced shuttles and crawford boxes. We will do that when we have time (new products come first) and you’ll get the update free.

“I always resisted putting stuff on e23 because of pirates. We have had 10 times as many pirates since e23 as before, and for exactly the reason I predicted (you don’t have to scan a copy to upload it). Joel spends at least a day a week hunting pirates and demanding that the files be taken down. Sales have been steady but I had been led to believe (by those of you who campaigned for this stuff) that we’d be selling five times as many.”

So, if you think this is a good thing for ADB to be doing, discourage piracy when you see it, spread the word that this PDF version is for sale, and of course, consider if it is worth $7.50 to you.

I will also note, that the Basic Set SSDs are missing a few features compared to more recent ones.

SVC has gone on to write about that:

“Steve Petrick, intrigued by my incremental way of doing some tasks, has agreed to update one SSD per day until they’re all done. (This won’t happen on some really busy days, or days he is not here, but then some days he might do two or them.) Today he actually did the first six. Counting the front page as done, that’s 7/48.”

If you have an e23 account when you buy the PDF, you will automatically be informed when an update is posted.