By Ken Burnside

A demo is enough to get someone interested, but if you want an opponent, you need to follow this up with a training program. While there are several ways to do this (following the Cadet Training Handbook being the most obvious), here is the one I use.

I schedule three sessions, and it's me and an assistant. My assistant is there to do two things; Answer rules questions when I'm busy, and to be a "catcher" -- if someone shows up and says "Oh, yeah, I played 6 years ago...I barely remember how.", it's not fair to the newbies to put them against the "experienced guy". Plus, I've also had "experienced guys" pull really strange rules out of their hats (Oh, yeah, you put power into phasers and they can fire every impulse...). If someone says they've played before, have your assistant play him a standard tourney duel.

Whenever a rules question is asked, make a show out of looking the answer up in the rulebook and showing the answer to the questioner, rather than answering off the top of your head. The SFB rulebook is big and intimidating, yes...but the sooner you show someone that it's very easy to navigate, it stops being a terrifying tome, and your questioners will start looking things up for themselves, looking for that nasty trick to win with.

Session 1:

Sometime after this has occurred, say "Surprise! Your engineer has figured out how to arm heavy weapons!" Explain arming and holding photons and explain overloads and UIM. Balance the scenario by varying the Fed's starting overload energy. Let them blow each other up reaaaal goooood.

Both sides should have fun with this -- it's pretty simple and straightforward. The Fed will likely have the edge in this, due to better phasers and photon shock. Hence, set the Fed's overload energy to balance.

Session 2:

This is a good point to let players repeat the game a few times -- if they're getting it, they'll want to play a few
more times to try different things out. This is a good thing.

Session 3:

After session 3, your players should be able to handle learning any new TC in one or two training runs.

I find that the natural outcome of playing with Cadet Training Manual, which teaches shield reinforcement before overloads, is that players learn a game that isn't SFB -- they learn how to fly at speed 8 or speed 10 with 16-20 points of general reinforcement to avoid standard load disruptor plinking.

I teach MTSC and shield reinforcement at the same time. By the time someone understands overloads and mid-turn speed changes, the appeal of playing turtle is minimized. 

Copyright 2001, Amarillo Design Bureau Inc., All Rights Reserved

Updated 14 June 2001