Montel’s & Belkov’s Starfleet X
Making SFB more Star Trek since 1986
This is an alternate universe of Star Trek, started when we began playing the boardgame Star Fleet Battles (or SFB) in the summer of 1986. Back then, there were only 91 hours of ST on TV and just 3 films, and the differences between SFB & Star Trek could be easily ignored. By 1989 though , there were 2 more movies and more than half again as much TV with The Next Generation’s first two seasons, but the gamemakers of SFB made it clear that they would never, ever expand to include any of the new material. So, we began modifying the game to try to bring it more in line with “canon” Trek. By setting our private little war in the “Mirror Universe,” we could keep what we liked about SFB but not adhere to that timeline or be contradicted by the official one, not quite unlike a certain 2009 film (We’re still waiting on our royalty checks, JJ)
Over the years, I’ve kept a variety of notes on the games and actions we take, and thought more than once that it should be more than just a record of dates, times, and ships. Once upon a time, when we played SFB in person, I would find myself driving home late at night, rehashing events. These were always a fond memory, but sometimes I wished I had written more down back then about my thoughts on those drives home. So, hence, this simple blog highlighting the various ins and outs of the onging space conflict between the New Federation and the Colonial Alliance, and assorted related things…
The Real World History of SFX
The initial Montel/Belkov conflict began as The Great Phone Machine War of 1986. The war was waged across several fronts, but there was something lacking from the exchanges. For reasons I can’t quite recall, I turned to a product that I had purchased years before – the “pocket” edition of SFB. In a meeting that, though details lost to history, no doubt contained lightning and thunder from the heavens and quaking and trembling of the ground, and from whence emerged a plan to begin conflict anew through the process now known as “Game Night.”
The following years were filled with many such nights, and legends will be told of the great wars. Sadly,as time marched onward and distance piled up, the ability to achieve Game Night in person became a phantom thing, ghostly and infrequent. By luck, or perhaps fate, that very game “SFB,” though stuck in a bubble of it’s own creation, was chosen to become a computer game called “Star Fleet Command”.
The beauty of any computer game is being able to play “person-to-person” despite the distances. The advantage to this game was double – we were both intimately familiar with the background that came from SFB, and that there were other like-minded players that strove to modify and change the look of the game. With only a relatively small effort the game SFC began to look more and more like our own version, now dubbed “SFX”.