Mini-review of Traveller Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue

I’ve already made clear my lack of enthusiasm for the Official Traveller Universe in other posts around here.  With that in mind, this was one of the first Mongoose Traveller supplements I was really, really looking forward to: a totally setting-free collection of equipment lists.  Hardcover, 192 pages, $34.95.  (“Credits to Burn,” anyone?)

I admit it, I’ve turned into a cheapskate when it comes to buying gaming books.  Most of the time I’m content to go without, relying on a mix of DIY, improvisation, and whatever free homebrew resources I can find on the web.  With the exception of mags like Fight On! or Knockspell and the occasional OSR supplement, I don’t buy new gaming books very often; when I do it’s usually something I’ve been hotly anticipating for a long time (like the BRP Big Yellow Book), something I just can’t find in used condition, or something I can buy “for free” with a gift certificate.  Fortunately, I had a Barnes & Noble gift card for this particular instance, so the price tag was reduced a bit and shipping was free.

Here’s the actual Table of Contents:

Introduction…. 2
Rules & Background…. 3
Personal & Light Support Weapons…. 28 (melee and firearms)
Support & Artillery Weapons…. 108
Personal Protection…. 132 (describes various types of armor)
Survival & Field Equipment…. 154
Electronic & Medical Equipment…. 166 (including some heavy equipment and robots)
Subsistence & Living Expenses…. 182 (which mostly consists of cybernetic augments)
Index…. 188

There are a ton of weapons in the book.   The weapon section is well-illustrated, and there are some cool mock advertisements for various weapons mixed in.  Had I seen this in junior high, this could possibly have been my favorite gaming book ever.  Unfortunately, the grown-up me was a bit disappointed with the ratio of weapons to other equipment, especially since the description on Mongoose’s website (and on the back cover of the book) suggests that this is the be-all, end-all of equipment catalogs:

Whether you are looking for a new set of wheels, a more powerful gun, sophisticated bugging equipment or the finest in evening wear, this book has it all.

What it should say: “Whether you are looking for a new melee weapon, a powerful gun, sophisticated bugging equipment, a more powerful gun, medical or survival gear, or an even more powerful gun, this book has it all.  If you want a new set of wheels, you’re out of luck — stay tuned for Supplement 5: Civilian Vehicles or Supplement 6: Military Vehicles, only $24.95 each.”

I really want to like this book.  What it does, it does very well.  If I were running a more violent Traveller game — a mercenary, bounty hunter, or military campaign — I’d probably be way more excited by this book than I am.  (Maybe this means I need to start jacking up the body count!)  Even though I’m disappointed that Supplement 4 doesn’t quite live up to its own back cover blurb, I’ll withhold final judgment until after I’ve had a chance to put the Catalogue to use…

In my next mini-review, I’ll look at one of two other recent gift-certificate Traveller acquisitions,  Book 5: Agent or Book 6: Scoundrel.


One response

  1. Neil Ford

    If you are not s big fan of the OTU, then you might want to keep a look out for Hyperlite by Sceaptune Games. It uses the traveller rules but presents a very different setting. for details.

    – Neil.

    11/18/2009 at 14:47

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