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Hub Federation Ground Forces

This review originally appeared on rpg-resource.org.uk in November 2014, and is reprinted here and in the February/March 2015 issue with permission.

Hub Federation Ground Forces. Michael Johnson.
Gypsy Knights Games http://www.gypsyknights.com
104pp., softcover and PDF
US$9.99(P)19.99(S,S&P)/UKú6.56(P)13.12(S,S&P)

In the Hub Federation, a key feature of Gypsy Knights Games’s alternative Traveller universe, as well as a navy there are two types of ground forces—the Federation-wide Marines and individual planetary ground forces. This book deals with both, and is of most use if your game includes the Hub Federation as presented. However, it could be retooled for any pocket empire that chooses to organise its forces this way, and includes career tracks and equipment that could be useful in any game where ground troops are involved.

The first part describes the Hub Federation Marines and the various planetary ground forces—loads of detail here from history and structure down to uniforms and rank badges. Unlike the Hub Federation Navy, where fleets of British and German origin combined (and created a new force based on both traditions), the Hub Federation Marines were formed from a group of British Royal Marines and have insisted on retaining their traditions by and large intact. Each planetary force, however, has established their own, and this is reflected in variations to a standard uniform for all of them. However, I am left wondering why the Marines wear bearskin caps… never worn by the Royal Marines, they are the sole preserve of the British Guards regiments! The Hub Federation Marines have also adopted the kilt, as an optional item of dress, due to the presence of the ‘Royal Highland Marine Regiment’ or ‘Black Watch’ (again a bit of confusion—yes, there was a Black Watch or Royal Highland Regiment until the last round of mergers, but they were never marines!). It makes a nice touch, especially the thought that the kilt may be worn into battle along with combat armour. Scary… and there’s even an illustration to give the idea.

Next come all the details necessary for creating a character with either Marine or planetary ground force background. There’s a section on medals too; no pictures, but names and terms of award. That’s something nice for players… I once ran a game at a convention in which success was rewarded by medals, and was surprised that the players noted the decorations they received on the pre-gen character sheets they’d been handed for the game! The career paths are detailed and comprehensive, with loads of tables to roll on as you work your way through.

Then comes a selection of landing craft to get these ground-pounders where they need to go, followed by vehicles, aircraft and equipment for use when they get there. Atmospheric fiction and pictures are scattered throughout, and appendices contain reference to a notable past action (the Battle of Beol) and organisation charts. All in all, a good resource if you are using the Hub Federation in your game and want to know about their ground forces.