American & Soviet Vehicle Handbooks
American & Soviet Vehicle Handbooks Capsule Review by Graham Donald on 01/04/02
Style: 3 (Average)
Substance: 3 (Average)
Not perfect but still useful
Product: American & Soviet Vehicle Handbooks
Author: Loren K. Wiseman
Line: Twilight 2000
Page count: 104
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by Graham Donald on 01/04/02
Genre tags: Modern day Post-apocalyse
NOTE: As both of these books are essentially identical in appearance, layout and content, I have done a dual review, where I make a comment relevant to a specific book, I will identify which book I am referring to.
"AMERICAN/SOVIET VEHICLE HANDBOOK(S)", OVERVIEW.
The "American Vehicle Handbook" and the "Soviet Vehicle Handbook" are the second edition replacements for the "U.S. Army Vehicle Guide" and "Soviet Vehicle Guide" released with the first edition of "Twilight 2000".
These two books, along with the "Nato Vehicle Handbook" (Not reviewed) and the "Nautical/Aviation Handbook" (See my review) are apparently intended for use with both the second edition of GDW's "Twilight 2000", post-WWIII roleplaying setting and the "Merc:2000" alternative setting.
I say apparently, as, while the later "Nautical/Aviation Handbook" has both "Twilight 2000" and "Merc:2000" prices for its equipment these two books only have "Twilight 2000" prices.
Both books begin with an introductory section which contains stats for any new equipment/weapons introduced in the book and new ammunition record sheets for those weapons.
This is followed by vehicle data-sheets these begin with cargo/supply vehicles, followed by Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Armoured Personnel Carriers, Armoured Cars, Tanks, Mobile Artillery/Anti-Aircraft vehicles and finishes with Hovercraft. Each data-sheet is accompanied by a picture and pre-printed ammunition reference sheets. These information sheets are useful, but not perfect, in some cases ammunition records are not printed although there appears to be room for them and one of the hovercraft that appears in the "Soviet Vehicle Hanbook" is described in the descriptive text as unarmed, yet the illustration, which is used on the front cover clearly shows weapons.
Placed in the middle of the vehicle descriptions are a set of colour plates similar to those found in the various military history books published by Osprey. These plates are followed by captions, written from the point of view of a post-war(?) historian, giving the history of the vehicles described. Personally I think that the colour plates and accompanying captions should have been placed between the data-sheets and the following order of battle/unit history section rather than in the centre of the vehicle data-sheets as it is distracting.
The final section of each book is a unit history/order of battle section, which covers the history & organisation of the various units that exist in the Twilight/Merc universe.
In the American book each unit is given a resonably detailed history, sufficient for a GM to use in planning a game background. This history concludes with the location, size and whether or not the unit has any tanks attached to the unit.
The Soviet book, reveals "Twilight 2000's" basic assumption, namely that players are members of western units, in the fact that the Soviet/Soviet allied units are only given a short, one or two line history followed by location, size if the unit has tanks attached.
"AMERICAN/SOVIET VEHICLE HANDBOOK(S)", VERDICT.
These books are worthy successors to their predecessors, that is to say that while not brilliant, they do their job successfully. GM's looking for new vehicles to confront their players with or needing to plot 'front lines' will be able to find it in these books.
Overall, three out of five for both style and content.