Welcome to the Star Fleet Universe!

MongooseMatt

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome to the Star Fleet Universe!

The Star Fleet Universe has been thriving and growing for over 30 years. Produced under license from Franz Joseph Designs and a contract with Paramount Pictures Corporation, Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc. has constructed an internally logical and consistent universe from elements within Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series. Welcome to our universe!

ADB, Inc. entered into a joint venture contract with Mongoose Publishing, freeing the way to jointly produce A Call to Arms: Star Fleet, Starline 2500 miniatures, and Traveller: Prime Directive. The grand thing is that our contract never dies. As long as players buy the products, we will produce them. You'll have a wide range of ships and empires to explore. Yes, we have the Federation, Klingons, and Romulans. We also have the Tholians, Gorns, and Kzintis (not Larry Niven's Kzin, but our own Kzintis). We also have the Hydrans with their fighters and hellbores, the Lyrans with their expanding sphere generators, the Vudar with their ion storm generators, and the Inter-Stellar Concordium who keep the peace with an attitude and plasmatic pulsar devices. Then there are the mysterious Andromedan invaders whose ships do things no other empire ever accomplished. And that's just touching on the Alpha Octant of the galaxy!

Part of having a contract that doesn't expire is that it comes with some restrictions. We have to ask our players to abide within those restrictions because we cannot be accused of using players to "sneak around" the contract terms.

Housekeeping
We always use Star Fleet and never "Starfleet." The latter term belongs to Paramount and we don't want anyone getting confused about the two different properties.

We don't get to use the Enterprise or the crew members that appear in Paramount's television shows. However, you will meet famous (and infamous) characters such as Phil Kosnett, Deth O'Kay, Ardak Kumerian, and Olivette Roche. Around your gaming table you are free to name your characters whatever you wish -- neither Steve nor Matthew will beam in and snatch your game out of your hands! However, if you want to write about your Captain on our boards, he'll have to appear under an alias so as not to be confused with Paramount's intellectual property.

We cannot stat up ships or characters or species from the later series and movies that are Paramount's intellectual property. We can't let our players do it for us, even if they try to blur they are doing so. So we cannot have the alien Sporks in their cube-shaped ships. However, we are always happy to see people write up their gaming experiences, just please don't mention things outside our our contact when you do it.

Our Kzintis are uniquely ours. Tiger-like warriors, no male Kzinti would suggest his mate was not intelligent -- unless he just was looking for a fight or liked sleeping on the back porch! You will no doubt notice that our Kzintis are never shortened to Kzin. (For us, the plural of Gorn is Gorns, too.)

No one likes a thief and people who steal other people's intellectual property are thieves. We are not the IP police, but if we find out there is a site that has material that violates our IP, we will take direct action. If it violates Paramount's IP, then we are obligated to report that to Paramount. What they do with the information is their business. We cannot allow people to do things that break our license on our official boards. We also cannot allow people to suggest
places to go where they can break our license or find others who have done so. That falls under finding out that a site has material that violates our IP. Think of it this way: Would you discuss where and how to buy a term paper while you were standing in front of your professor?

We don't like people to steal our property; we'd be hypocrites to allow that to happen on our boards even with somebody else's property. We cannot aid and abet statting up properties that belong to someone else. One, it is illegal. Two, if you like the property that much, then you'd probably like to see it properly produced. It hurts Mongoose's chances to work a legal deal if there's a bunch of stolen stuff on their site.

On the other hand, there are a lot of worlds out there and nothing says you cannot create your own species and their ships. Maybe they are just stepping into space; perhaps they were tossed here via a space rift. Who knows -- if you can create a balanced empire (or empires), maybe you'll find your creation published! That is how the Borak came to be.

Cast of Characters
Matthew Sprange you know as your host and president of Mongoose Publishing.

Steve Cole (aka Stephen V. Cole, PE, sometimes called SVC as there are entirely too many Steves at ADB, Inc.) is the designer of games such as Star Fleet Battles, Federation & Empire, and Federation Commander. He is also president of Amarillo Design Bureau, Inc.

Tony L. Thomas (scoutdad) is the Q&A guy for ACTASF on ADB's Discus-based BBS system and on the Federation Commander Forums.

Jean Sexton (Jean) does some marketing and public relations for ADB, proofreads and edits nearly everything they print, and edits the RPG line. She works at a RL job as well and manages to squeeze in a bit of sleep now and then. (You might not believe it if you watch when she posts, but there are at least rumors that she snoozes sometimes.) She may not know an answer to a question, but she will ruthlessly bug SVC until he gives her an answer that she can repost here.

So there you have it -- a well-developed universe with a rich background and history. We hope you enjoy it and visit often.
 

Harbin

Mongoose
Thanks for posting this but there are some things that are still a little unclear...

No, I'm not trying to find ways of skirting the agreement but are we 'stealing' by:

Posting our own ACTA: Star Fleet stats for ships that don't have stats yet (e.g. Lyrans, Hydrans, ISC, WYN, X-ships, etc.) on our fan / blog site?

Creating our own versions of ship stat cards / sheets and posting them on our own fan / blogsite?

Creating and posting our own house rules or rules variants (ex. rules for carriers and fighters and rules for hex map-based movement) on our own fan / blogsite?

I am very pro-capitalist, do not think earning a profit is an evil form of greed and I both get and respect that ADB and Mongoose are both businesses striving to sell a product and make a profit and that they both have contracts in place and legal obligations to abide to. But part of the fun of gaming, at least for me, is to be able to make my own mods and stuff for the games that I pay good money for and have a hard time wanting to purchase and support a game where there may be some perceived (or real) heavy handedness coming from the publishers restricting what fans can and cannot do.

Any and all clarification on this will be very much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!

Scott
 

Da Boss

Mongoose
Quite a big discussion on this here:

http://forum.mongoosepublishing.com/viewtopic.php?f=103&t=49541

soem relevant bits even though it has now been unstickied

have a read through and see what you think :)

although this post from another thread is also informative :) with regard to allowing you to paint ship in different colours from the highly prescribed ones...........

msprange said:
Totenkopf said:
@ID, wouldn't be the first time I did something "not canon"
I'm on your side :)
The Star Fleet Universe is certainly big enough for your own ideas, and we would never let canon get in the way of a good idea for your fleets!
 

Jean

Mongoose
Scott, I will try to answer your questions, although some of them are "it depends."

I cannot answer for Mongoose how they feel about statted up ships for ships they have not yet done posted elsewhere or house rules ships. I can say that ADB has found there to be confusion among the fans about if those are "official" or not. I know you are on safe ground if they are never posted; I am not sure of the legal grounds if they are posted.

We have absolutely no problem with you doing anything you want around your gaming table. It is the posting part that gets sticky. Many times it cannot happen on the official boards and if things come to our attention we do have to act on it. Sometimes making things right is as simple as assigning copyright to the company. Sometimes the ship cannot be made legal such as if the ship is legally the property of someone else. In those cases when we become aware of it, we would certainly report any issues to Paramount or to other appropriate IP holders.

Does that help?
 

Harbin

Mongoose
Da Boss... Thanks for the link... :D

Jean... Impeccable timing considering I just finished reading through the discussion link that Da Boss referenced... :D

Now my head hurts... (not anyone's fault though) :wink:

A hypothetical example of what I had envisioned with my original question above was posting some homebrew rules for using the SFB / FC megahex counters in ACTA: Star Fleet games using a hex map, as opposed to using miniatures on a flat tabletop (as opposed to a non-flat tabletop, I suppose) on a blog site. The hypothetical blog site would have stuff on it about both non-gaming topics and gaming topics, some of which would be about ACTA: Star Fleet.

And at the same time, a disclaimer indicating that the ACTA: S F stuff on the blog site is fan based, not official, no copyright infringement is intended, etc. would be added to hopefully make it clear that the material listed above is fan based and not official in any way. Although doing that kind of seems like putting a sign in front of a fire in a fireplace saying 'Please don't put your hands in the fire. You might get a boo boo.'

Under this scenario, would posting these homebrew rules on a personal blog site be allowed? On the one hand, I'm using the hex-based rules in my personal games and wanted to share my ideas on the internet. On the other hand, using hex-based rules and counters, instead of miniatures could reduce the sale of miniatures, which is what ACTA: S F was designed to use.

With the internet, it's really easy to make hobby and gaming information available to other interested people, yet it seems that one has to practically walk on egg shells to avoid crossing any legal boundries, avoid IP infringement and avoid creating questions on who owns fan made up gaming stuff - the fan, or the publisher of the game that the fan-based stuff is based on, etc. Being told that 'what we do at our own tabletop is our own business' by a publisher is good and all, but without clear and unambiguous rules, it still feels like an unanswered question.

Sorry if I'm beating a dead horse, as I know there has already been quite a bit of discussion on it. Just looking for some clear cut rules on what us fans can and cannot create and release on the internet.

Thanks!

Scott
 

Jean

Mongoose
Scott, I'm taking this to SVC. Your question is now specific enough that he probably has enough to give an answer. :) I don't want to tell you something wrong.
 

DM

Mongoose
I must admit to a certain degree of jaw dropping when I read this, for various reasons, especially given the significant number of Star Trek variant rules for use with various SF sets of wargames rules that are out there. Five minutes on Google brings up a dozen for Full Thrust alone, and in every case the stats for the various Enterprises, Reliant, Grissom, etc. are there. But the implication of Matt's post is that doing the same for the Star Fleet Universe is likely to bring down the Wrath of K*** oops - I mean Paramount's IP lawyers. Now, I can perfectly see why posting stuff like that on an MGP or ADB website of forum would be verboten, but on a person's own site or blog? Really? and if this is such a "hot potato" would it not be more appropriate to have this printed in the rulebook? or are you happy assuming that everyone who purchases the rules is going to visit this forum and read this thread? If yes, that's a bit of a risk.

I'm not posting this from a sense of aggrievement having just statted up ships from the film and TNG series ('cos i haven't). Its just that in nearly 40 years of wargaming and role playing (including many happy years playing Star Fleet Battles - for which I did generate a whole load of "paramount" stats) I don't I've ever sen a games company make an announcement like this. of course I might just have been not paying attention :)
 

Ben2

Mongoose
Certainly if Paramount chose to they could have your site shut down (though they could do that now as ISPs are notoriously easy to get to remove sites) but they haven't gone after the dozens of small companies offering garage kits or variant resin parts for Ertl and other plastic ships. And no one has gone after Shapeways either.

The Star Trek IP is huge and spottily policed. However someone converting SFB ships over could damage future sales of Mongoose/ADB products and hit their bottom line, so while Paramount may not care overmuch if anything were brought to their attention they may well act.

Having read about SOPA and the prospect of streaming ten times over a six month period becoming a second degree felony crime, like manslaughter, second degree murder, vehicular homicide, etc, if I were America based I'd be watching the passage of SOPA and PIPA very carefully for what they say or don't say about fair use. It seems bizarre that statting up SFB ships in ACTA could end up being a crime, but frankly a lawyer could interpret it that way and the argument that you're causing financial harm to Paramount/Mongoose/ADB by doing so could be made.

Frankly it sounds insane and paranoid, and as long as you're UK based the worst that can happen is your site getting taken down, but Jean has a point about copyright being enforced at a level that would make the Gestapo envious.
 

Nerroth

Mongoose
I have a feeling that the other licencing restrictions thread should be stickied again, so that dissussions/arguments/etc about the things that ADB and Mongoose are required to go by can be discussed there; leaving this thread to perhaps be used instead about the amount of places, ideas and opportunities that the Star Fleet Universe brings to the table in its own right.

I suppose it's probably inevitable given how few of the "indigenous" aspects of the SFU are in A Call to Arms: Star Fleet at this early stage; but it would be unfortunate if the unique aspects of what the setting can do gets drowned out by the Franchise-related things it, by the nature of its licence, cannot.
 

Jean

Mongoose
Nerroth, as with any conversation, it wanders where it will and that is to areas that concern people. I'd rather be talking about the neat stuff we can do, but I will answer questions to the best of my ability.

To be clear, if we find that Paramount's IP has been violated, then we have a duty to report that to them. We, however, have far better things to do than go out looking for every site that violates their IP. If we encounter it when dealing with a person who has stolen our IP or it is brought to our attention, then we have to act. But no, we are not Paramount's personal IP police.

So no I don't casually google to hunt down stuff. However, if I find something during my searches for my own name on the web (or something similar), then I must report it if I find the site is a torrent site or someone has decided to put up a scan of one of the products I have worked on. If I found that Matthew's ACTA game had been posted, I would let him know from courtesy to our joint venture partner, just as I would let SVC know if I found a substantial number of SJG products since the Steves are personal friends. Do I go out hunting for their pirates? No. Think of it this way. You might stop someone from snatching a purse from a little old lady and not go around hunting for criminals. At that point in time it offends your sense of right and wrong.

What we are really worried about are the "official" forums which are here, on the Federation Commander Forums, ADB's BBS, and our page on Facebook. Those must remain "pure" as to not do so would seem that ADB and/or Mongoose were permitting the IP violation. If some person were to not frequent these boards and we had no clue he was breaking the law, then we couldn't act on that unknown infraction. If Ben2 were to post here and write: "Hey, there's a really kewl site called ACTASF.TNG.Stats," then we would be obliged to take notice. If Nerroth were to privately email Matthew or SVC about the site, then we'd have to take action. (Not saying such a site exists or that you two would do that, but you are the last ones to post. :) )

With the possibility of SOPA/PIPA, we do need to be careful.

Does that help clarify matters?
 

Jean

Mongoose
Scott, here is the answer: Generally speaking, house rules are fair game, although house rules that violate somebody's copyrights are not.

In the case of house rules to use megahex counters, SVC would like to see them (he's been meaning to do them himself) and if they work he would be willing to host them on the SFU website.
 

Harbin

Mongoose
Jean,

Thanks bunches for looking into this and clarifying what is allowed and not allowed.

I would be delighted to send my hex-based house rules to you and SVC.

A 'minor' issue is that I don't have a copy of the ACTA: S F rulebook yet and have not been able to playtest them. The rules ideas I have are based on the ACTA: S F previews that Matt started posting on the Mongoose site a month or two or three ago. I am hoping that the copy I ordered through my FLGS arrives soon so I can get them written up in a way that's consistent with the rulebook.

Again, thanks for your help!

Scott
 

Sgt_G

Mongoose
EDIT EDIT EDIT

Da Boss, as you have amended the post I thought was badly worded, I shall remove my complaint about it. Cheers!

EDIT EDIT EDIT
 

Da Boss

Mongoose
Ok if that is the impression that you gained I will do as you suggest to make that clearer and I'll link the thread - my intent was not to mislead, my appologies.

Jean said:
I cannot answer for Mongoose how they feel about statted up ships for ships they have not yet done posted elsewhere or house rules ships. I can say that ADB has found there to be confusion among the fans about if those are "official" or not. I know you are on safe ground if they are never posted; I am not sure of the legal grounds if they are posted.

Moongoose have always been very open to such things happening in the past with as far as I am aware no problems - I sincerely hope that this change is not imposed on us..

We have had discussions on what is official and what is not in the past with regards to ACTA:SF (never seen this discussion for previous versions or in other games such as Firestorm or even Warhammer - with GW being fiercely protective on their own IP etc)
 

Jean

Mongoose
Da Boss, as you can read, the house rules ships should not be a problem provided they are clearly labeled as such. The confusion arises when someone comes across "the Federation DN" and they think it is the real one when it is a house rules one. I think as long as things are clearly marked as "House Rules" or "Proposed" or some such to show it is not official, you could do it. Remember though that using someone else's IP is still a Not Good Thing, so no statting up TNG, movie ships, Stargate, Weberverse, and such, please.
 

scoutdad

Mongoose
Webmom said:
...Weberverse...

I don't have enough attack dice or counters to representthe missile throw weight of a single manticorian SD(P), so let's defintiely not go there... :shock:
 

Jean

Mongoose
Honorverse, Weberverse, I've seen it called both since he's moved away some from focusing on Honor alone. However, let's do try to keep this on topic so people don't have to page through a lot of posts to find what they are looking for, please.
 

DM

Mongoose
Remember though that using someone else's IP is still a Not Good Thing, so no statting up TNG, movie ships, Stargate, Weberverse, and such, please.

The web (and indeed the wargaming world outside the web) is replete with articles, web pages and other stuff covering people's interpretations of TV and film entities (and other IP - perhaps a good reason for MGP not to be continuing production of their modern figures and vehicles since the IP for many of those designs lies with the world's arms contractors). Yet I'm sure that the vast majority of wargamers are blissfully unaware of the potential risk to themselves and potentially to the companies that supply their favourite products (if I'm reading this thread correctly and ADB may be at risk of a costly law suit from Paramount if players stat up film and TNG era stuff). If that is the case then could I suggest that those "in the know" on this write some definitive guidance and promulgate via places such as TMP and the "glossy" wargames press? And perhaps (as I knid of suggested in my first post) it is vital for games companies such as yourselves to have this warning writ large in your publications, rather than relying on people to chance across it on a forum?
 
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