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Mongoose Traveller - The Third Imperium: The Spinward Marches

Traveller The Spinward Marches. Martin Dougherty
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
142pp, softcover
UKú15.00/US$29.95

Mongoose Publishing isn't wasting any time in getting Traveller material onto the shelves; this is the second item we've seen, and we know there are two more items that we should see this month.

[[Only one - the other was pushed back into early August. -Ed.]]

On the Shelf

The bottom of the cover sports the black-and-red Traveller logotype familiar to most fans, in the Mongoose variation described in our review of the core book. Above that is a color picture of a starport scene with the text "The Spinward Marches" across the bottom of it, and above that is a steelcut nameplate reading "The Third Imperium".  If the book is displayed vertically behind other products, you'd have to look carefully to spot this product - but when you find it, you'll come away with 140 pages of setting material.

Initial Impressions

As with the core rules, the organization is reasonable, repeating the introductory material found in the core rulebook, and then going on to give additional information on the Third Imperium, the Spinward Marches, the subsectors thereof, and adventure-relevant information and ideas. The comments we made about layout and readability of the core rulebook apply equally to this sourcebook.

On Closer Inspection

Most of the information in this supplement will be well-known to long-time Traveller players; even material not attested to in prior releases seems familiar, possibly being inferred from extant material. There is, however, one glaring editing error that should have been caught: On page 34, the heading for the section about the Imperial Bureaucracy is misspelled "Beauracracy". Oddly enough, this appears to be the only place where this misspelling occurred.

The heart of the book is the 66 pages of subsector data, four pages for each subsector plus two pages giving an overview of what to expect in the data.  Each subsector gets approximately half of one page of overview text, two overviews of important worlds in the subsector at approximately one page each, a subsector listing in the now-traditional format (about half a page, possibly including a drawing presumed to be a scene from one of the profiled worlds), and a one-page subsector map.

Summary

The player new to Traveller, or new to the Classic era of Traveller, will do well to get this book, as much of the older material does center on the Spinward Marches as the setting area.  It's less useful for players who already have an extensive Classic Traveller collection, but it does have the virtue of being information-dense. Overall, good value for the money.