CLASSIC STARFIRE Third Edition
Now known as CLASSIC STARFIRE, in 1992 Task Force Games (TFG) released a box set for the Third Edition Tactical Rules, designed by David Weber. Third edition was a complete rewrite, changing all but the core tactical rules. Most notably, the entire game system used d10 dice for everything instead of using 2d6 like the First and Second edition rules. The rules were redesigned to integrate the strategic rules directly with the tactical system, even though the strategic rules were released as a second core rule book. In 1993 a box set for the strategic rules was released as Imperial Starfire.
Over the next few years Task Force Games released additional Third Edition products in concert with David Weber:
In 1993, TFG released the supplemental scenario/story book Stars At War
. This is a historical supplement loaded with scenarios and written history that details the origins of the Terran Federation and the history of the first three intergalactic wars. From when the Terran Federation first encountered the Khanate of Orion and Interstellar War I (ISW-1), encountering the Ophiuchi and triggering ISW-2, the Gorm-Khanate War, and finally ISW-3 and the formation of the Grand Alliance to defeat the Rigellian invasion and their attempt to genocide the races of known space.
In 1993 TFG also released the supplement Crusade
. This supplment covers the Federation-Theban war of the Weber/White novel of the same name (Crusade
). During ISW-1 a Terran Federation colony expedition wandered into a closed warp point and crashed on a world populated by the Thebans. All of the humans died, but the Thebans were able to retrieve the data from the ship's computers and prepared their entire population to join the war against the Khanate of Orion. The Theban leadership was able to do this by creating a religion based on the knowledge in the Terran data banks. When the Thebans left their system to join the war, they discovered that the Terrans and Orions were working together and attacked the Federation to try and liberate "Holy Mother Terra" from the hands of the Orions. In addition to adding new technology for Detonation Chamber/X-ray Lasers, Drive-Field Ram, Hetrodyne Lasers, and Anti-Mine Ballistic Attack Missiles (AMBAM); Crusade
also added rules and tech systems for boarding actions, as that was a favored tactic of the Thebans.
In 1995, TFG released Sky Marshal #1
as a magazine-like supplement that added new scenarios, fiction, multiple sections on rules clarifications and discussing ship design and strategy.
CLASSIC STARFIRE and Marvin Lamb
In 1997 Task Force Games worked with a group of volunteers led by Marvin Lamb to produce several electronically published STARFIRE products. This allowed the publication (in 1997) of the long-delayed Sky Marshal #2 and The Fourth Interstellar War.
Sky Marshal #2
was another magazine-like supplement that included new scenarios and fiction, but it also contained a rewrite of the most complicated and difficult parts of the ISF strategic rules. Most notably it added a better population management system, munition management system, and introduced the "Strategic Movement Point (StMP)" movement system for vastly simplifying movement at the strategic level. It also included new stats for Kinetic Weapons from Alkeda Dawn, balanced with the other 3rd Edition weapon systems. SM#2 was the most significant improvement to the strategic gameplay in STARFIRE since its inception.
In 1997, TFG released The Fourth Interstellar War
, a supplement that covered the "Grand War" that pitted the Grand Alliance against the most vicious foe ever faced - the Arachnid Omnivoracity. The Terrans called them "the bugs." A hive race of insectoids, the bugs treated all other life as food animals to be gathered into pens, bred, and slaughtered. Worse, the bugs hive mentality enabled them to create an industrial output far greater than any other race. The "bugs" were not afraid to use that advantage to build and pile hundreds and thousands of ships and gunboats into their enemies until there was no one left. During the war the Grand Alliance also encountered the Star Union of Crucis, another alliance of races that had been fighting the "bugs" for centuries. ISW-4 introduces a slew of new technologies to include the plasma gun, laser torpedoes, datalink point defense, capital point defense, converging antimatter beams, ECM 2 buoys, gunboats, anti-laser armor, suicide riders, reconnaissance drones, missile box launchers, cloaking devices, ECM3, Defense Pods... and dozens more improved and squadron-based weapons and technologies.
CLASSIC STARFIRE under the STARFIRE DESIGN STUDIO
In November of 1997 Task Force Games sold the STARFIRE system and products to Marvin Lamb. Marvin created the Starfire Design Studio (SDS) to continue publishing STARFIRE rules and supplements. The SDS pursued the relatively new concept of electronic publishing and worked over the Internet to generate and sustain interest. The Electronic Communique (EC) was first released in 1997 and continued until 2000 with more than 40 issues. Andy Blazel updated and modified Marvin's own ship designer program so it could be released as Shipyard, which unfortunately is no longer available (it does't run on modern operating systems).
In 1998 the Starfire Design Studio
released the Third Edition Tactical Rules, Revised
(3rdR) rules. Along with a supernova's worth of changes to the rules, 3rdR included all of the rules changes and technologies re-balanced in Sky Marshal #2
Also in 1998 the Starfire Design Studio
, a supplement based on David Weber's novel of the same name. This supplement detailed the Terran Civil War and the eventual break-up of the Terran Federation into several human empires. New technology was introduced for HT14: Heavy Bombardment Missile (HBM), Shield Regenerators, Variable-Focused Beams, Counter-pod Minefields, Fighter-Kill Missile, Advancened Penetration Aids, and the Heavy Monitor hull.
In 2002 the SDS and 3rdR Design Group released an additional product called the Unified Tech Manual. It combined all the technologies from all the Classic Starfire supplements and added a few new technologies. This was the last Third Edition product for STARFIRE.
In 2015 the SDS re-released the CLASSIC STARFIRE products in electronic format. That necessitated creating new covers for the handful of products that did not have cover art. Those products were Sky Marshal #2, The Fourth Interstellar War, and Insurrection.
Non-Weber CLASSIC STARFIRE Supplements
Between 1995 and 1997 there were two additional supplements published by Task Force Games that were not an official part of David Weber's Starfire history. These were First Contact and Alkeda Dawn.
was a completly new history created by Mark Costello and Bryant Wu. It detailed the flight of the Vestrii from the Hre'Daak, an ancient empire that believed everyone must join them or be eliminated. The Vestrii fled across the stars for centuries, meeting a race of religious fanatics (the Kess), and a race of cyborg fleets that wander the galaxy harvesting organic and inorgranic resources from whomever they meet (the J'Rill). While it is not part of the official STARFIRE
history written by David Weber, Alkeda Dawn
is considered an alternate official history in the CLASSIC STARFIRE
was created as a bridge between the Alkeda Dawn
history and the Weber/White CLASSIC STRFIRE
history, briefly detailing when the Vestrii encountered the Grand Alliance and briefly fought against the Tangri. It is generally regarded as a novelty item and not an official part of the CLASSIC STARFIRE
history, and is intended for players that want a path to combine the two histories together for their own campaign games.