(written from a Production point of view)
Star Fleet Battles (or SFB) is a tactical ship-to-ship combat game created by the Amarillo Design Bureau and published by the now-defunct Task Force Games beginning in 1979. Amarillo Design Bureau now publishes the game independently. The principal designer is Stephen V. Cole, an engineer and former US Army military intelligence officer. It has undergone heavy revision and expansion since it was originally released and is the oldest and most thoroughly tested Star Trek-based game in existence.
While this is a Star Trek product officially licensed by Paramount Pictures, it is granted only a partial license, and as such cannot mention specifics of canon Trek in the games, save for basic information. This game does not use the name Star Trek in its title, but incorporates the design of the Constitution-class heavy cruiser and the uniforms, weapons, aliens, and some of the terminology of the Star Trek: The Original Series era. Part of this license allows the game to depict information from the Star Fleet Technical Manual by Franz Joseph (such as the Federation-class dreadnought and Ptolemy-class tug) and also information from Star Trek: The Animated Series (including the Klingon projected stasis field and Larry Niven's rarely-seen Kzinti. It should be noted that the SFU Kzinti are very distinct from those of Larry Niven's works). This game's license forbids the release of characters, aliens, ships, or situations taken from any of the Star Trek movies or theStar Trek: The Next Generation era series (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, etc.). However, Amarillo Design Bureau has continually added their own ships and races to the game system, referring to their continuity as the Star Fleet Universe.
While Star Fleet Battles is a tactical-level game, Amarillo Design Bureau also published a strategic-level game based on the same "universe" entitled Federation and Empire in 1986 which is similar to a 1981 game entitled Federation Space, also published by Task Force Games. The focus of the game involves the eighteen-year long General War fought between the "Coalition" (the Klingon, Romulan, and Lyran Empires) and the "Alliance" (the Federation, Kzinti, Hydrans, and Gorn with the Tholians as co-belligerents). Expansions and updates published in 1993 and 2000 have greatly enhanced the game and further expansions are still forthcoming to involve races and time periods outside of the General War. A role-playing game has also been created entitled Prime Directive which focuses on small, specially-trained and equipped "Prime Teams", who are sent on exceptionally dangerous missions. Also, a card-based combat game known as Star Fleet Battle Force and a new tactical combat game, Federation Commander are also produced by the company.
Because of the game's extensive revisions and high-degree of playability, much of the material from the Star Fleet Battles universe was incorporated into video games by Interplay, such as Star Trek: Starfleet Command and Star Trek: Klingon Academy. These games were licensed by Paramount and therefore were allowed to feature situations during the Star Trek movie era. Amarillo Design Bureau's partial license has prohibited them from producing computer games based on their own material and previously published board games, however this has been disputed in the past and is still being contested by legal means.