Stephen V. Cole

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Stephen V. Cole
Born United States
Nationality American
Occupation Game designer

Stephen V. Cole is an American game designer and the CEO of Amarillo Design Bureau (also known as ADB or, incorrectly, Starfleet Games) which publishes Star Fleet Battles,[1] Federation and Empire, Federation Commander, Prime Directive (a series of RPGs for D20, D20M, and GURPS), and other wargames set in the Star Fleet Universe. ADB became ADB, Inc., in 1999.


Stephen Cole is a registered engineer and former Texas State Guard company commander (and operations officer). He was awarded the Texas Medal of Merit with "V" for valor.[citation needed] In 1973, while a student at Texas Tech, he founded the company JagdPanther Publications, which published JagdPanther (1973-1976), a magazine which featured complete small games in every issue as well as scenarios and variants for existing games.[2]:114 A few years later, Allen Eldridge, who Cole met at a local game club in Amarillo Texas, joined Cole at JP.[2]:114 the company published several games separate from the magazine. Cole and Eldridge decided to close down JP in November 1976, and the company shut down in spring of 1977 after paying all of its bills and subscriptions.[2]:114 JP Publications operated from 1973 to 1977.[3]

In the fall of 1978, Cole and Eldridge co-founded Task Force Games which they used to sell only to wholesalers and retailers and not to individuals (until years later when they added mail order sales).[2]:114 They started a "Pocket Games" line, with four science-fiction releases in 1979 designed by Cole: Starfire, Asteroid Zero-Four, Cerberus, and Star Fleet Battles.[2]:114 Cole had first conceived of Star Fleet Battles in 1975, and finally published the game after obtaining a license from Franz Joseph.[2]:114 Cole's Valkenburg Castle was also released in 1979, and was the company's first fantasy game.[2]:114 Cole has designed over 100 published games on many subjects. He won two Charles Roberts awards for JagdPanther and several awards for Star Fleet Battles.

Stephen V. Cole took ROTC from 1971-1975 but did not enter active duty as the Vietnam War had ended and the Army got smaller. He took US Army Command & General Staff School (a master's degree in military science) through the Army Reserve. He wrote and published the military intelligence newsletter For Your Eyes Only from 1983-1999. He was a consultant to the military and DIA during this time. He has written over 200 articles on military affairs for several magazines.

In 1983, as the Pocket Games line came to an end, Cole left Task Force Games to form a new company, Amarillo Design Bureau, which would be his design house for future Star Fleet Battles products.[2]:116 Through Amarillo Design Bureau, Cole owned and created all products for Star Fleet Battles, Federation & Empire, etc.[2]:118 After Task Force Games was sold to John Olsen in April 1990, Olsen moved the company back to Amarillo to better coordinate with Cole.[2]:117 Task Force Games published Cole's Star Fleet Battles Captain's Edition Basic Set in 1990 and dozens of other products.[2]:117 Cole took over publishing Star Fleet Battles in 1999, turning Amarillo Design Bureau into a corporation in the process.[2]:117 Star Fleet Battles continues to be published by Amarillo Design Bureau and was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming, Arts, & Design Hall of Fame in 2005 where they stated that "Star Fleet Battles literally defined the genre of spaceship combat games in the early 1980s, and was the first game that combined a major license with 'high re-playability'."[4]

Cole was previously a contributor to StrategyPage that "provides quick, easy access to what is going on in military affairs."[5]

Cole has been happily married since 1979 to Leanna. They have owned several Felis bengalensis wildcat crossbreeds. Cole regularly visits the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary where he gives talks on wolf nutrition and behavior as Chef Steve.


  • Star Fleet Battles: A Captain's Log #14 - Betrayal at Oxvind V (Paperback - 1994)
  • Captains Log Trek Star Fleet (Paperback - Jan 1, 1993)
  • Introduction to Star Fleet Battles (Paperback)
  • Star Fleet Battles: The Best of NEXUS (Captain's Edition, Captain's Log #13), with Steven P. Petrick (Paperback - Nov 14, 1993)
  • Star Fleet Battles Captain's Log #15, with Steven P. Petrick (Paperback - 1994)
  • Star Fleet Battles Advanced Fighters Captain's Module J2 (Paperback - 2002)


  1. ^ "Star Fleet Battles Basic Set (Review)". RPGnet[1]. Retrieved 2007-09-13.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  3. ^ "JagdPanther Publications: A Game Inventory". Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  4. ^ "Academy of Adventure Gaming, Arts, & Design Hall of Fame (2005 Inductees)". Archived from the original on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  5. ^ "StrategyPage homepage". Retrieved 2007-09-13. 

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