Number 1: Traveller
|Pictured: True Awesomeness|
The Peritextual ElementsNothing will ever beat the first three books for the original Taveller game. I am not joking, they are so stark, so minimalistic, and so simple that it just looks awesome to me every time. Mongoose managed to do a cover that looks the same and yet somehow fails to capture my imagination as well. I am not sure exactly why, but there you are. The internal art is all black and white line art with a sort of sketchy style that works well to convey tone. The margins are a bit wide and it is two column. It goes with a rather simple font and it is no problem at all to read. Each section has a page header at the top of the page that lets you know where you are in the rules, which is hand when you are flipping around as you do in gaming. I have no real complaints, but no real compliments. the formatting and art are serviceable and do not get in the way. There are worse things to have in a game.
Mechanical ElementsThe basic mechanics of the game are pretty simple. Roll 2D6 add/subtract appropriate modifiers and compare to a target number. Higher numbers are better than low numbers. Character creation is probably my favorite part of any Traveller game. It is practically a game in and of itself. First you roll for your characteristics, 2D6 down the line for each(Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, Social Standing). In this edition you choose a home world, which grants you some background skills. Then you choose a career, but it is not just a choice. You need to roll to see if you qualify to be in the Career. This is pretty great as it makes the character grow more organically. You also roll for advantages and gains in the career as well as if you have a mishap and must leave the career. If you do not leave the career you can roll for advancement. When you leave the career yo also get some mustering out benefits(also random). I dig it a lot. When everyone is doing this together at the table you can get some truly unique and funky crews. If you ever wondered where the crew of the Serenity came from it would be something like this. The rest of the game is closer to a series of mini games for dilating down to the action level you want. The GM is given loads of tolls for building adventures on the fly and building a sandbox setting quickly. It gives you enough stuff to build as quickly and surface level or slower and deeper world building. It is pretty great. I would recommend just diving in and playing right off the bat, and learning on the go. This game is super basic, with lots of bits you can bolt on when needed or wanted.
|Pictured: Also Awesome looking|
There we Have the First Game of Christmas. Tomorrow...