Federation Commander: Distant Kingdoms is a new expansion for Amarillo Design Bureau’s Federation Commander tactical sci-fi board wargame. Similar to their previous expansions Distant Kingdoms comes in an 8 1/2″ x 11″ format with a color cardstock wrapper. Inside are two mounted map boards featuring small (5 hex) and large (7 hex) gas giants, 40 1″ and 108 1/2″ full-color counters, sixteen laminated ship cards (including two large battleship cards), and finally a sixteen page rulebook.
As its name suggests, Distant Kingdoms introduces three new races to the Federation Commander system. New are the WYN Star Cluster, the Hydrans, and the Lyrans. Besides just getting the ship cards for these races a number of new rules are also introduced. The Hydrans use the Hellbore Cannon and Fusion Beam. Both weapons are somewhat similar to Photon Torpedoes or Disrupters. Perhaps more interesting is the Lyran Expanding Sphere Generator (ESG). The ESG is mostly a defensive weapon and it radiates 360 degrees out around the ship to protect it from incoming seeking weapons. Also of note is the inclusion of the Hydran Stingers or fighter shuttle craft. This is the first time we have seen fighters appear in Federation Commander. They have always been controversial in Star Fleet Battles as many players feel fighters do not belong in the universe of Star Trek. But with the inclusion of just the Stingers the impact on FedCom is minor and they should make for a nice tactical diversion for players.
Distant Kingdoms includes descriptions on the various ships provided with the game. There are four WYN ships, six Hydran ships plus a battleship, and six Lyran ships plus a battleship. The expansion also includes five new scenarios and the Moray Eel of Space monster solitaire scenario (as well as a SSD for it). In addition, there are notes for converting fifteen previous scenarios for use with the Lyrans and Hydrans.
Federation Commander: Distant Kingdoms is a soild expansion overall. Players will welcome the inclusion of the Hydrans and Lyrans in the FedCom universe, and the new ships and weapons provide players with new options to try out in battle. Now the only major races missing are the ISC and the Andromedans — the Orions appeared in Orions Attack — and we may see them in 2009 or 2010.