Where to start

I recently decided to get back into SFB. The last time I played was decades ago; so I am effectively a noob all over again.

I began by reviewing the ADB website but was unfortunately overwhelmed by the product listings and yet left completely baffled as to what I really needed to get going. And its far too expensive to just start randomly buying to buying it all. And frankly, I'm still none the wiser. As such my first question is really a request; Can any one suggest what I need to get going? And bearing in mind I intend on playing online using something like table top simulator.

Also some folks have suggested to me that SFB has become bloated over the intervening years since I last played and the correct choice these days is in fact Federation Commander. Are these misinformed opinions? Is there a way of getting into SFB while avoiding additions that represent bloat? Are they right about Fed Commander or is it just a version of SFB with training wheels? What do the veterans have to say about these questions?

While I'm at it, another question I have relates to the ongoing online tournaments I see posts about in this a forum. Is there a way I can spectate?

Finally, if anyone would like help me get back in the swing of things by giving me a game of SFB or FC on some virtual table top, please feel free to get in touch. I can be flexible about schedule regardless of your time zone.

Thanks in advance for any replies.


Great questions! To get

Great questions!

To get started all you really need is the Basic Set and/or Advance missions. Ideally the MRB 2012 covers both and has more than enough information to get you started. Then some SSD's, a simple map (for FTF games) and you're all set.

As far as bloat; FC to me is SFB lite. I really have no interest in FC. I started SFB back in 1986 so I'm old school in my view. SFB can be as streamline or as bloated as you like. Many of the rules are optional like electronic warfare. I played for decades before really getting into those rules. And the games were just fine. Tournaments don't use EW anyway for the most part. You can add as many layers to the game as you like. For example, getting into fighters and patrol ships adds more rules to consider. Adding Commander's Options adds more rules (and I'd suggest Module G2 the Master Annex for all of those things). But for tournaments the MRB 2012 and Module T is all you need really.

SFBOL is a free download and IIRC, you can play the Fed TCC or Klingon TCC for free as much as you want in tournaments. The paid subscription has options but IIRC is about $5 a month which is nothing. That gives you access to everything in SFB. Online tournaments include Netkill, World League, Platinum Hat etc. As much as you want to get involved in.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

Getting Started

As Dave said, the Basic Set and Advanced Missions are really the "core" rules to the game. Everything else layers on new empires (and the rules to get them by) or new ships. After those two products, it matters only in where you want to go.

As a list of what to buy second, I would suggest module J (for fighters) and module T2012 (tournament rules). Further purchases would probably be a couple of the Module C stuff (for some interesting empires). If layering on more rules isn't your thing, then instead of the Module C stuff, I'd suggest the Module Rs as they flesh out the ships available to you.

The Master Rule Book (MRB) is a good product, but it gives you the whole encyclopedia of SFB rules. You may not be looking for all of it at once. (But you might be. In which case, get the MRB and Module G3 (the master annexes.) You will want to get the SSD books of the modules that peak your interest.)

SFBOL (www.sfbonline.com) is the de facto internet playing software for SFB. It is free to demo, allowing you to fly a couple of the ships if you wanted to get into things or fly in a tournament. But if you wanted the whole enchilada, flying in patrol battles or playing in campaigns or flying more ships in the tournaments, then it will cost you $5 a month in 3-month or 12-month increments.


SFBOL is very reasonable for all that is offered. The only thing I would like to see is software that allowed you to play the game against the computer if you weren't able to find an opponent. Something like TripleA uses for Axis & Allies. I've played many a game of 1940 Global against the computer. SFB is a lot more complex however so I don't know how realistic it would be to expect something like that? But as it is, SFBOL is a very useful resource for playing online.

My other car is a D7 Battlecruiser

back to basics

We tell our new Captains to get only the basic set for starters. We have all the rest.
That way they can practice away form the group, alone of with others.

If you want to get the whole rules and nothing but the rules, you want the 2012 final edition.
We just bought the electronic version. Way more compact, and a tablet is way lighter than three 3 inch binders.

I'm A soldier, Not a diplomat