Classic Traveller Reprint. The Books.
Author: Marc W. Miller, Loren K. Wiseman, Frank Chadwick, Joe D. Fugate, Sr., et al
Company/Publisher: Far Future Enterprises
Page count: 256
SKU: FFE 001
Capsule Review by Daniel on 03/14/00.
Genre tags: Science_fiction Far_Future Space
NOTE: This is not so much a review of Classic Traveller as a game as it is a review of the re-issue of Classic Traveller products by Far Future Enterprises.)
I have many fond memories of Classic Traveller; I probably played as much as D&D--if not more--back in the late 70's & early 80's. Like many fans, I have a strange attraction to the LBBs (Little Black Books) and never quite felt that the other editions of Traveller--MegaTraveller, Traveller: The New Era, or Marc Miller's Traveller--were quite the same. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that as one of the first Science Fiction role-playing games, the industry owes a lot to these Award-Winning LBBs.
Well, I guess Marc Miller has heard the cries of his fans and is now republishing the ENTIRE Classic Traveller "Canon." The first works to be reprinted are books 0-8, The Rules. (For those of you unfamiliar with the LBB's, Books 1-3 were the original set: Characters & Combat, Starships, and Worlds & Adventures. Book 0 was an Introduction to Traveller included in a 'Deluxe' edition. Book 4 was Mercenary, rules for military careers. Book 5, High Guard, with detailed naval career and starship creation rules. Book 6, Scouts, developed the Imperial Scout Service more as well as giving pretty hard-science planetary system creation rules. Book 7 developed the Merchant service and Book 8 gave rules designing Robots.)
As soon as I stumbled across Far Future Enterprise's website (http://members.aol.com/Traveller/T000-00.html) I placed an order. That was a Thursday night. I received the book the following Monday. Now that is FAST service--good first impression.
Are these the LBBs? No, not quite. The content is exactly there (1981 revision for the basic books), and the cover is black with the red stripe--but the format is a perfect bound 11" X 8.5" landscape single volume. The old pages appear two to a page, side by side. It appears to be a good quality print job--nice glossy cover.
Yet even though these aren't quite the LBBs, I feel as though I found an old, long lost friend after many years. (My original books were lost years ago.) Nothing but the size is different.
Strengths? It's Classic Traveller. If you love the old system but lost your old books, this is a must buy. If you still have your old books it still might be a good idea--retire those Old LBBs with honor, preserve them as they should be preserved, and use the reprint volume for gaming. Having all of the rules in one volume is also very handy.
Weaknesses? Three very minor complaints: (1) the pages are not renumbered for inclusion in a single volume; (2) an master index would have been helpful and finally (3) these aren't the LBBs. None of these are what I consider major weaknesses. In fact, the landscape format has a certain appeal all its own.
Far Future Enterprises is planning to release volumes covering the entire classic "canon" every two months or so. The next volume, The Supplements (Supplements 1-13) is due out May 1, 2000. They are also planning to release a fifth edition of Traveller.
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)