SPOILER WARNING - This review is intended for GM's only as its hard to review adventures without discussing the plot. Why would Paranoia players be thinking about buying an adventure anyway ?
Crash Priority is the first adventure supplement for the latest version of Paranoia ( the game formally known as Paranoia XP ). As most Paranoia GM's realise it is hard to come up with new and original Paranoia adventure ideas, and as it says on the back this supplement contains a whole bunch of them. Unfortunately though the quality of these adventures leaves a lot to be desired and I couldn't help getting the impression that this product had been a bit of a rush job.
Crash Priority is a lightweight softback supplement, only 64 pages long and costing about £10 ( or $15 ). Like many Mongoose Publishing games it is quite expensive for what you get, so its value really depends on its quality, which in this case is not up to their usual standard. It has been written by a number of different authors from The Traitor Recycling Studio, an online group of writers and Paranoia fans. The supplement consists of 5 Paranoia missions and a selection of ready made troubleshooter characters for use in any game. Oddly enough the majority of the scenarios are written for the 'Straight' style Paranoia game, rather than the more relaxed 'Classic' game. As Mongoose already have an adventure supplement for 'Straight' style adventures ( called "WMD" ) I would rather have seen more of the 'Classic' style, and this is the first of many dissapointments.
The first adventure in the book is called "Stealth Train" and is a 'Straight' style adventure for Red clearance clones. This is actually one of the better scenarios as it involves the troubleshooters guarding a train that may or may not be there, and the adventure builds up in pace and mayhem fairly well. It does not take much work to adapt this to a more 'Classic' style adventure as troubleshooters can never guard anything without getting into trouble. My main criticism of this adventure is the begining which skips any sort of briefing, outfitting or service service. I found myself having to write my own in order to flesh out the adventure, which is something I shouldn't have to do if I buy a published adventure. There is no reason for this ommision except to say that the writers obviously couldn't be bothered.
The second adventure, "Traitor Backup", includes the traditional pre-mission format but unfortunately it is deeply flawed. Written once again in the 'Straight' style the mission is more of a single situation - namely that the troubleshooters have been ordered to serve tea to convicts. Long descriptions of the holding area are given, but due to its chosen style there is nothing funny about it. The service service really makes no sense to me ( something about cleaning ceiling fans ) and certainly adds nothing. Eventually the inevitable prison break occurs, but the troubleshooters have not been issued any weapons so they can only run around helplessly and watch. This adventure simply does not give the troubleshooters enough to do, the majority of the adventure has them watching events unfold. To use this adventure it would need to be largely rewritten and the troubleshooters given more to do than just standing around.
The third scenario is the worst of the lot. "Patch Job" is a complete cowpat of an adventure with no redeeming qualities what-so-ever. It involves the troubleshooters being sent to fix part of a subway station only to discover that it is the home of a dangerous mutant with machine empathy. And thats about it, the actual gameplay involves one big fight in a tube station. Descriptions are given of the area and statistics for the major combatants but there is nothing at all of interest in any of it. The scenario description says it "works in either Straight or Classic style" but in my opinion it doesn't work in either. A prolonged combat encounter is neither funny nor darkly entertaining, its just dull.
"Random Access Mission" is probably the strongest scenario in the book and is designed as a 'Classic' mission. It takes the traditional format of troubleshooter missions and reverses it completely so that they get debriefed, outfitted, sent to a service service and then briefed, all in the wrong order. The cause of this is traced to a communist plot and a game called T3tr.1S. This adventure works pretty well as written, but is best played with experienced players who will find the chaotic structure of the mission an entertaining surprise.
The final mission in the book is called "Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk" and its a 'Zap' mission with a theme. The author has created three troubleshooter versions of Larry, Curly and Moe and the scenario has them guarding a warehouse. Its pretty pointless stuff unless you are a big fan of the Three Stooges, and all your players are too. The scenario is unoriginal and lacks anything to really make it funny, relying mainly on your players taking the initiative to wipe each other out. Its a very weak and not particularly funny adventure all based around the same joke.
After the adventures are the "Six-Shooters", ready made troubleshooter teams for 'Straight', 'Classic' and 'Zap' games. These are for use in any adventure, not just those in the book, but personally I fail to see the point in them. Usually pre-made characters are designed for a specific adventure, otherwise players always always prefer to make up their own. Its not a very good idea and is probably used just to pad out this supplement.
Overall then I am far from impressed by this mix of adventures. Mongoose have done such a good job so far revitilising the Paranoia range that this offering is a big let down. It seems far too rushed and most of the scenarios require you to do extra work to finish them off. For a game line that has produced such outstanding scenarios in the past it would be a big mistake to start publishing sub-standard rubbish like this. I would only reccomend the product to a GM who is prepared to put in their own work to improve these adventures. Otherwise you would be better off writing your own.