Most current version of Starfire?

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Most current version of Starfire?

Postby almashir on Sat 28 Nov 2020 09:46

Hi, folks,

I haven't played this game in years, and was afraid it just died of neglect. Then I found this forum, along with the Starfire game page (http://www.starfiredesign.com/starfire/index.php), and noticed a lot of the posts were fairly recent. So, I've got a few questions:

1. What is the most current version of the game? It looks like it's called "Solar Starfire." Is that correct?

2. Is http://www.starfiredesign.com/starfire/index.php still active? Can I actually purchase something and not just my order disappear into the void?

3. Is it relatively easy to get a casual play-by-email game going via these forums?

As I said earlier, it's been years since I've played, and I'll have to re-read the rules, and probably learn the new ones. I have Starfire, Imperial Starfire, Crusade, The Stars at War, and one or two other expansions from the early 1990s. I understand the game has change a bit. The old version worked pretty well, but if some things have been simplified even more, that would be great.

I originally found Starfire back in the late 1980s because I played Star Fleet Battles, which is also a great game. The problem is trying to find people who play it, especially if you moved around a lot. I was in the army for a long while, so every time I wanted to play, I basically had to A.) find people who were interested, B.) then teach them the game, and C.) keep everyone interested long enough to learn the advanced rules. This got a lot more difficult as video games became more popular. But Starfire is simple enough that you can get a fairly satisfying game even if you're playing with a bunch of new players. Plus, you can actually play fleets. With Star Fleet Battles, if you tried to play more than 3-4 ships per side, each turn took hours.

Thanks in advance for any insight.
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby Cralis on Sat 28 Nov 2020 22:17

almashir wrote:Hi, folks,

I haven't played this game in years, and was afraid it just died of neglect. Then I found this forum, along with the Starfire game page (http://www.starfiredesign.com/starfire/index.php), and noticed a lot of the posts were fairly recent. So, I've got a few questions:

1. What is the most current version of the game? It looks like it's called "Solar Starfire." Is that correct?


That is correct. Solar Starfire is the 6th edition of the game, and it is currently on v6.02, released in 2013. We have been working on a new update since 2019 that includes a bunch of changes and 5+ years worth of errata and suggestions.

2. Is http://www.starfiredesign.com/starfire/index.php still active? Can I actually purchase something and not just my order disappear into the void?


The order page is at https://www.starfiredesign.com/starfire/order/
Alternatively, our older versions are being added at https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub ... ign-Studio ... right now you can get Original Starfire (1st and 2nd edition) and Classic Starfire (3rd edition). Galactic Starfire and Ultra Starfire will be there next year, and Solar Starfire will likely be added after we finish the current update.

3. Is it relatively easy to get a casual play-by-email game going via these forums?


Strategy games or Tactical games? It seems that a lot of players run solo strategy games (and some even write stories based on those games, see the fiction section of the forums). Finding a running strategy game that is accepting players is a little harder. And AFAIK, all of them use the Ultra Starfire or Solar Starfire and the spreadsheets available for them.

Tactical games can be done online with Xveer's module for Table Top Simulator, or the older Vassal module. I don't know how many players do email-only games.

As I said earlier, it's been years since I've played, and I'll have to re-read the rules, and probably learn the new ones. I have Starfire, Imperial Starfire, Crusade, The Stars at War, and one or two other expansions from the early 1990s. I understand the game has change a bit. The old version worked pretty well, but if some things have been simplified even more, that would be great.


The later versions are geared more towards players that want detailed strategy games. Technology has expanded so there are lots of options.

If you are looking for really simple, I recommend looking at the Quick Start Rules at https://www.wargamevault.com/product/21 ... rs_id=9056 or the Quick Start Rules for Miniatures at https://www.wargamevault.com/product/21 ... rs_id=9056

These are highly simplified rules designed to teach new players how to play tactical battles. We've been thinking about adding more scenarios for those, or perhaps we'll soon see some players post new scenarios for them in the scenario section of the forum :)

I originally found Starfire back in the late 1980s because I played Star Fleet Battles, which is also a great game. The problem is trying to find people who play it, especially if you moved around a lot. I was in the army for a long while, so every time I wanted to play, I basically had to A.) find people who were interested, B.) then teach them the game, and C.) keep everyone interested long enough to learn the advanced rules. This got a lot more difficult as video games became more popular. But Starfire is simple enough that you can get a fairly satisfying game even if you're playing with a bunch of new players. Plus, you can actually play fleets. With Star Fleet Battles, if you tried to play more than 3-4 ships per side, each turn took hours.


I originally played Star Fleet Battles back in the early '90s and I had the same problems. And fleet battles... were impossible. We tried one fleet battle with about 12 ships and 4 sides and we played on Saturdays for two months and only got through about 40 turns before giving up. EDIT: I was going to mention that it was made worse because I was playing a Fed carrier group and another player was playing Kzintis, so there were probably 100 drones still on the board by the time we gave up...

I picked up Starfire and started playing it more in the late '90s and beyond. I found that if you played enough to memorize the sequence of play and a lot of the numbers, that you could easily destroy 100 ships in a full day of gaming (we were playing 3rd Edition Revised aka Classic Starfire). I have not found another starship combat game that can do that.

That said, it can get complicated as technology levels and fleet sizes get bigger and better. I've also never found an open-ended strategy game that didn't suffer from that, though you can always prevent it by imposing size limits to the galaxy (number of star systems) and/or turn limits to the game.

One thing to be aware is that Ultra Starfire is geared more toward player versus player in the strategy game. The technologies and tactics were balanced so that you can choose most strategies and have a chance to win. Solar Starfire has been geared more towards the "story player" who wants to play in a strategy game where they essentially roleplay their empire, with no predetermined end to the game. It is being designed for a future background story that we haven't released yet. But it's also a "living game" at the moment, originally starting off as an improvement to Ultra Starfire but now we are going through and changing the rules to match a new vision.
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby southwestforests on Sun 29 Nov 2020 00:49

Cralis wrote:It is being designed for a future background story that we haven't released yet.

Hmm ...

This is an interesting couple of posts.
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby Cralis on Sun 29 Nov 2020 14:01

southwestforests wrote:
Cralis wrote:It is being designed for a future background story that we haven't released yet.

Hmm ...

This is an interesting couple of posts.


We've always talked about this and at one point had some information about the background of the Solar Union, including a story or two.
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby PracticalM on Tue 01 Dec 2020 20:11

I used to have time to run a strategy game of Starfire using the ULTRA rules but my time has become harder to allocate to Starfire.

Maybe when my last child leaves the house I'll be able to find the time again.
Until then I've been playing a lot of Stellaris to get my space 4x fix
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby almashir on Mon 29 Mar 2021 13:05

Okay, I finally got around to purchasing the Ultimate Starfire Package last night. I am at work right now, and didn't have much time last night to read through everything. I started reading the Solar Starfire rule book. But I couldn't find any charts and tables on weapons, equipment, hulls, etc. Are they actually inside the rule book? Or in one of the separate downloads? I'm a visual learner, and charts and graphs are the quickest way for me to get a rough idea of what I'm dealing with. Thanks in advance for any insights.
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby dazrand on Mon 29 Mar 2021 19:10

almashir wrote:Okay, I finally got around to purchasing the Ultimate Starfire Package last night. I am at work right now, and didn't have much time last night to read through everything. I started reading the Solar Starfire rule book. But I couldn't find any charts and tables on weapons, equipment, hulls, etc. Are they actually inside the rule book? Or in one of the separate downloads? I'm a visual learner, and charts and graphs are the quickest way for me to get a rough idea of what I'm dealing with. Thanks in advance for any insights.


Check appendix EE, most tables are duplicated there.
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Re: Most current version of Starfire?

Postby almashir on Tue 30 Mar 2021 04:15

"Check appendix EE, most tables are duplicated there"

Thank you. I found it now. When I was looking the first time, I kept scrolling past it. I probably would have kept doing it if you hadn't told me where to look.
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