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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.

Starblade Battalion

Campaign Sourcebook

R. Talsorian Games

136pp - [sterling]9.50

Starblade Battalion is a sourcebook for Mekton Z, setting out the background to a star-spanning conflict of epic proportions. A century and a half in the future of the Cyberpunk world humanity has begun to colonise the planets of the Pleiades cluster, sponsored by the decendents of the megacorps. Back home, Earth and the rest of the solar system are under the control of a repressive regime of ecofanatics, determined to prevent the despoilation of other ecosystems at any price. The stage is set for interstellar war.

Fortunately a secret conspiracy of renegades from both sides have plans of their own, to preserve the peace, and replace both groups of despots with a free and open commonwealth of worlds. The PCs, of course, are there to help them do it.

Like most worldbooks, what Starblade Battalion gives you is a detailed background in which to design your own adventures. It's cleanly and clearly constructed, with details of both power blocs, including significant NPCs, along with the various outsider groups which can help or hinder the heroes. As one would expect, there are also plenty of pre-generated mektons and starships for the PCs to play with, and, as usual, players are given plenty of in-game excuses to produce their own customised variants.

As a gaming background, this product has a lot going for it. Though the basic theme of interstellar war is a staple of space opera and anime style gaming, there are enough original touches here to make Starblade Battalion stand out as something just a little bit different. After all, when was the last time you saw the green movement presented as the villains of the piece?

Though the kit and the NPCs are defined in Mekton terms, most of the data presented here is descriptive rather than system specific; it could be adapted to other mecha combat games with little difficulty. Moreover, shorn of the mecha itself, it would still make an excellent basis for a more conventional space opera campaign, using GURPS, Traveller, or some other suitable ruleset.

Overall: With or without adaptation to another system, it will take an experienced and flexible GM to get the most out of this product. But GMs wanting a suitable background for a wide-ranging campaign, with the emphasis as much on politics as combat, are likely to find it well worth the effort.

Reviewed by: Alex Stewart

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