Amarillo Design Bureau released a new rulebook for Federation Commander. The book is their standard 8 1/2″ x 11″, black and white, softback format and is 94-pages long. The Reference Rulebook combines all of the rules from the various Federation Commander products released so far along with some playtest draft (i.e. beta) rules for upcoming products. The rules include all those from: Klingon Border, Klingon Attack, Romulan Border, Romulan Attack, Tholian Attack, Battleships Attack, Distant Kingdoms, Orion Attack, Booster Zero, Captain’s Log and Communique.
The only things missing from the regular rulebook are the scenarios and ship descriptions. It is possible to play FC using just this rulebook and some ship boosters if playing with miniatures, but you will probably want at least one of the boxed sets to get some map boards, reference cards, ship counters, and more ship status displays (SSDs).
The layout of the Reference Rulebook is the same as the regular rulebooks except now it, obviously, includes all the rules. Rules changes (updates) are marked with a star and there are thankfully not very many of them. The rules themselves are presented in the very clear and logical FC style. As with all FC products, do not let the length of the rules intimidate you if you are a new player. Only a fraction of the rules are needed to start playing. Most are particular rules for particular races and weapons that you will only need to worry about if playing (or playing against) one of those races.
Overall the Federation Commander Reference Rulebook is a great product for any FC player. Naturally any such product will become instantly out of date upon the release of the next add-on product but FC has grown slowly and mostly by adding new races/weapons so new rules bloat is generally not going to be a problem for quite a few more years. Some might have preferred a three hole punch design to allow future expansion but personally we think the standard, perfect-bound books are simply easier to use. If you play Federation Commander this is a must get product. Recommended.