Federation and Empire

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Federation and Empire (F&E) is a strategic-level board wargame set in the fictional Star Fleet Universe spinoff of Star Trek, currently published by Amarillo Design Bureau Inc. (ADB). It is a stand-alone product, but has sometimes been considered the official campaign generator for Star Fleet Battles.

Overview[edit]

The main focus of the game is the General War, an 18-year long conflict that involved all the major powers of the SFU's Alpha Octant. The scale is vast, with each hex on the map representing 500 parsecs, which as the rules point out, reduces the Milky Way Galaxy to a two dimensional object, as only the core would be thicker than a hex across, and it is not shown on the map. On the other hand, units are typically individual ships, each with its own combat rating. Each of the interstellar governments or "empires" can have dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ships, leading to a game that possibly tops the largest games for number of counters used, on a map that is only as large as a "small" strategy game. However, significantly larger maps are available for purchase directly from the company that greatly reduce this problem. Player aids also permit individual fleet counters to represent large fleets, the individual ships being kept off map.

In outline, Federation and Empire is fairly typical for a grand strategy game. Players take alternating turns, managing the resources of their side to build ships and defenses, and maneuver their ships (or fleets) to attack the enemy and then resolve the resulting combats; his opponent then does the same on his turn. In detail, it is a bit more sophisticated. During movement enemy ships can react a short distance onto moving ships. There are rules for the interaction of these forces, which may force some or all of the moving ships to stop, being pinned by the reacting enemy. After movement, the non-moving player can also move a few limited reserves of ships to battles so as to shore up the defense of critical points. After combat, the moving player retrogrades or moves ships that were in combat back to source of supply or repair, and finally moves a limited number of ships vast distances to prepare for the coming enemy turn.

While essentially a two player game, each empire's record-keeping is kept separate, meaning that is easy to run each side with teams — one person per empire. Technically, this could be up eight people (three for the Coalition, five for the Alliance), but it is not common to have a separate player for each of the smaller powers in play (and especially so for the Tholian Holdfast, which is included in this total, but is neutral for most of the game, and a very minor force when it is active), so that typical team play is probably four to five players.

Part of the article series on
Star Fleet Universe
Games
Star Fleet Battles
Federation Commander
Federation and Empire
Prime Directive (role-playing game)
Star Fleet Battle Force
Star Trek: Starfleet Command
Star Trek: Starfleet Command II: Empires at War
Star Trek: Starfleet Command: Orion Pirates
Captain's Log

The map also includes the provinces, starbases, battle stations and planets of other empires in the region, such as the neutral Lyran Democratic Republic and the WYN Cluster, as well as the Interstellar Concordium, which in the main rulebook are considered neutral powers, but the inclusion of these empires on the map allows for their use in game expansions, such as the ISC War expansion pack.

The main boxed set has a series of scenarios that can be played individually, but together outline the play of the entire General War. As well, it also allows for non-historical free campaigns to be played, with historical orders of battle for each of the stellar empires. The expansions typically have a number of scenarios, which may be a focused treatment of a particular part of the General War, or an alternate way the war could have begun. There are also a limited number of scenarios that show other conflicts in the region, such as the Four Powers War.

Editions and supplements[edit]

Federation and Empire itself was originally published in 1986 by Task Force Games (TFG). The rulebook has been revised five times since then, two of them coinciding with a change in the overall components. All editions come with 'fleet charts' (sheets of off-map holding areas for excess counters) as well as 'capital charts' (to detail the contents of the capital systems of the various empires), and the main map.

TFG's first strategic level game for the Star Fleet Universe was Federation Space, released in 1981. It was derived from the current working draft of what became Federation and Empire, and so can be considered a "brother" to it, even though there are notable differences between the two.

Deluxe Edition[edit]

Federation and Empire Deluxe Edition was published in 1993 by TFG with the massively updated and expanded Rev-3 rulebook, a nicer-looking map and a new set of counters. The original set included 10 numbered sheets of double-sided counters for ships as well as two sheets of single-sided counters for markers and the like. Deluxe Edition retained the two single-sided sheets, but had three identical sets of four double sided counters (referred to as A, B, C, and D), providing two extra sheets at the cost of a couple unique units.

At the time, the rules mentioned an upcoming expansion, Total War which was expected to provide all the things that could not fit in the box. However, as new ships and ideas were still be swiftly introduced to the SFU through Star Fleet Battles, this proposed expansion quickly took on dimensions equal to the original game.

  • Carrier War (subtitled Total War Part One) was the first module, or supplement offered for F&E in 1993. It consisted of new rules, new scenarios, and counters providing separate carriers and escorts (which had only existed in pre-defined "groups" for space in the original).
  • Special Operations was a smaller module published in 1993 that brought in several new rules, such as Klingon Stasis Field Generators.
  • Marine Assault was published in 1995 and featured extensive rules detailing the use of ground troops and marines in strategic operations.

2000 Edition[edit]

When ADB took over the publishing of all SFU material from TFG, they continued selling the Deluxe Edition, but soon released another large rewrite of the rules in 2000. The Rev-4 rulebook is usually called "F&E2K".

In 2004, the countersheets were again changed, from ABCD to One and Two. (Current sheets are twice the size of old ones.) In total, the number of counters are the same, but the counters that players may want extras of have been segregated onto Two, so that they can be bought separately. Once the counters are punched out, there are no differences between "F&E2K4" and the previous version.

  • Advanced Operations, published in 2003, was the first new expansion after the rewrite in F&E2K and focuses on the later years of the General War with X-ships, heavy war destroyers, as well as more sweeping rules like raids and battlegroups.
  • Combined Operations was published in 2003 as a revised replacement for both Special Ops and Marine Assault. It provided a much-needed rewrite of elements of the earlier expansions and included new content such as police ships.
  • Fighter Operations was published in 2004 as an updated version of Carrier War and also introduced new carrier types to the game.
  • Planetary Operations, published in 2004, features more ways of producing and repairing ships, like planetary repair docks and depot-level repair.
  • Strategic Operations, includes rules and counters for hospital ships, sector bases, diplomatic teams, and other additions to the game system.

In addition, Captain's Log has a regular section devoted to the game, and often includes preview material for future expansions, such as the set of trial rules for the Interstellar Concordium, found in issue 25.

2010 Edition[edit]

In March 2010, ADB Inc. released a new edition of Federation and Empire, the first since the 2000 edition. While the map and various charts are identical to the previous edition, key differences include a new rulebook and all new counter sheets.

The 2010 rulebook includes all past errata and player questions generated over the 10 years since the last edition. Many rules were updated to better combine with the various expansion products, and to accommodate the expanded counter mix provided by the new counter sheets.

Due to changes in manufacturing, the counter sheets now contain over 2100 counters (as opposed to over 1500 of the previous edition). This allowed the many carrier groups in the game to exist as individual ships instead of multi-ship counters, and the new rules eliminated the special bookkeeping this once required.

It is planned to bring up the Deluxe Edition Expansions to the new 2010 standards in the future.

  • ISC War published in June 2011, is the most recent (June 2011) expansion to Federation and Empire. This module brings the Interstellar Concordium into the game after 25 year wait. The game includes the ISC Pacification scenario at the end of the General War as well as a scenario on the expansion of the ISC to their borders at the beginning of General War.[1]
  • Minor Empires is the next planned expansion for Federation and Empire. This part of the originally planned Civil Wars product. The product will include rules and counters for the WYN, Vudar, Lyran Democratic Republic and the Seltorians.[2]
  • Tactical Operations this product will be primarily a counters only product with minimal rules and adding ships not currently in the game from previously published Star Fleet Battles products.[3]
  • Civil Wars this module will cover the Romulan Civil War, Kzinti War of Return, both from the end of the General War, the Lyran Civil Wars from before the General War as well as the introduction of WYN and Lyran Democratic Republic to the Federation and Empire system.[4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Interview with Federation and Empire Staff member, 6 August 2011
  2. ^ Interview with Federation and Empire Staff member, 17 June 2013
  3. ^ Interview with Federation and Empire Staff member, 17 June 2013
  4. ^ Interview with Federation and Empire Staff member, 6 August 2011