[Mongoose Publishing] Traveller 2nd Edition

By on 16 August 2017
[Mongoose Publishing] Traveller Core Rulebook Mongoose Publishing

Reviewed by Dom Mooney in the UK Role Players forum.

## TL;DR
The new edition of Mongoose Traveller has vastly improved layout, artwork and coherent streamlined rules that remain compatible with previous editions. The proofreading and quality of the book is a step change from Mongoose’s previous output. There are two areas that stand out as missing – the starship design sequence (covered in the new edition of High Guard) and an index – but these are not significant issues. If you have the old edition, you do not need to upgrade, but it is a very nice package. Overall, I recommend this new edition wholeheartedly. (8/10)

## Introduction
So, challenged by a few of my friends on the Tavern (First Age and SatBunny especially), here’s a review of the new edition of Mongoose Traveller.

My first reaction on hearing about Mongoose doing a new edition was incredulity as I couldn’t see the reason that they would want to do that. I’ve been of the opinion for a while that the first edition is one of the best implementations of Traveller that has been put together in its nearly 40 year history. It captures the feel of the original Classic Traveller, and is quite approachable by new players. Everything you need is in one core book (like the old Starter Edition and Traveller Book editions) and it meshes nicely with old material from the past. Sure, there was errata, but it wasn’t at the level that previous books had. MegaTraveller was notorious for it (yet the beautifully crafted task system overrode a lot of those elements for me) and the less said about T4 (Marc Miller’s Traveller), the better.

About a year ago, I bought into the playtest PDF (which got you playtest access and also the final PDF plus a discount on a POD (print on demand) copy of the final version of the rules. I read the whole thing in one sitting on the train from York to London to attend the BITS Traveller stand at Dragonmeet, and I was impressed. All of a sudden, the layout in the game felt like a modern game (unlike the previous edition which felt very much like Classic Traveller cleaned up with some variable art thrown in). The text was much more friendly to new players, and character generation was focussed with a flow chart. I saw Matt Sprange at the show, and congratulated him (and mentioned the few things that I had seen, most of which had already been flagged).

When the book was announced, I winced at the cost (£36 vs the previous £30) and then didn’t buy when it was mentioned that the POD version was worse quality than the Studio 2 version. Give Matt Sprange his due, he was upfront on this when he sent the voucher out. Anyway, fast forward to October, and I picked up a copy of the Studio 2 print at Furnace, and used it in anger for the first time properly to run a game later that day.

## First Impressions
I have the Studio 2 printing, which is a gorgeous hardcover book which has the cover that Traveller has needed for years. The first edition nailed the nostalgic feel for Classic Traveller, but this version is so much more exciting and screams out ‘science fiction adventure’. The image has the Free Trader Beowulf travelling out of the page from an asteroid field, under fire from two Type T Patrol Cruisers. This instantly raises questions in my long term Traveller mind about what the crew has done to deserve such attention. The old cover text hinted that they were under attack from pirates, but never said as much. The book is 240 pages long, and full colour throughout. The artwork mostly captures the feel of Traveller, and there is only one[1] image that feels out of place (p61), mainly due to it’s cartoon feel which doesn’t mesh with the rest of the book. Key sections are in inverted white on black, and there are clear tables and flowcharts used to aid the reader.

The logo has been redressed, becoming more 3D in feel and the line and arrow used for emphasis on the Mongoose line has become a dynamic ‘swoosh’, almost like a ship flying around the logo. It’s very reminiscent of the Blakes 7 TV series logo in many ways, something that coincides with the time that I started to play Traveller in the early 1980s.

Overall, this is a great refresh; the quality is stepped up significantly, the layout is modern, and the artwork is good and appropriate to the theme. It feels like a quality, premium product.

How does it compare to the 2008 first edition from Mongoose? That is also a hardback, but it is black and white throughout and ‘only’ 204 pages. The cover is stark and evokes the original, but relies on that to attract your attention. The layout is a simple two column approach, with a mixture of art, ranging from decent starship renders to some pretty disappointing black and white work that doesn’t need the standards of the few images in the original GDW release. So, we have a book that is 20% longer, in full colour and with a much improved layout.

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About Guest Reviewer

Guest isn't a real person, but this review has been written by one (a real person that is). They kindly submitted it for publication here. Their details are contained in the body of the review.

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