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Central Supply Catalogue
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Central Supply Catalogue
Publisher: Mongoose
by David G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/08/2021 21:17:24

I have broken this review down into the good, the bad, and split (ugly but redeemable).

Note: I just got done playing Pirates of Drinax, a friend refereed it for me, this is the perspective from which I will be reviewing the Central Supply Catalogue.

The Good

Between the Core, Central Supply Catalog (this book), and High Guard you will have the required triumvirate to play a typical game of Traveller.

This book provides a large, practically essential, catalog of equipment that is a great aid when playing a game of Traveller.

This book remembers to consider game economy more than many games, this can lead to the world having a consistent feeling that can be lacking in other works.

This book considers things beyond weapons and other items of war.

The Split

The equipment rarely gives a new thing to do, it almost always gives a bonus to something the character could already do. This is an interesting predicament, as this is a skill based system if a character has a skill to do something gear can help this; however, this can also make gear dull, as it is either needed to utilize a skill, or adds a small plus to a skill. This can lead to gear being something that is placed on a character sheet modifiers noted and forgotten.

There is a decent amount of equipment that feels fringe, yet there were things that we couldn't find that didn't seem like fringe asks. This seems strange as we were playing Pirates of Drinax, with modifications, which is their big campaign; it seems they would at least furnish equipment for that.

The Bad

There isn't much in the way of creative equipment, I see weapons from this and that sci-fi book, movie, or show. Traveller has been around for a long time, and I know many would say that Traveller inspired these other works. However, Traveller isn't D&D it is definitely known, but it doesn't have this large pop-culture effect; because of this, I feel that this is at best a weak argument. Also, Mongoose has not been making this game the entire time, nor is their room to sit on one's laurels when creating a game.

Organization is not great, armor and other protective gear, which is combative gear, is on the opposite end from weapons. Sections are monoliths making things hard to find things, but there is an index, so if you know the name you can find it. Then again if you're looking for a type of item you're going to have to go digging.

The setup of the items effects are a mess, some things are well displayed such as: name, tech level, and weight. Weapons are better described than most as they also show damage, magazine size, and traits. However, it is so frequent that there are important rules expressed in the description of the item. This can make gear a pain to reference as every item of text must be read to make sure that nothing is missed, this is not good in the middle of combat.

There is also this strange opinion that there are rules maintained in the heading of each subcategory that can abbreviate the language for each piece of gear. This would work well, if there was a greater ability to discern when an item comes from a certain category, without adding much extra verbiage in small margins, and if it was easy to find the place where the category specific rules were listed. At least they always seem to be at the beginning of their subcategory, but to make things worse you have to dig through super-categories to find the subcategories. This makes for an issue of having to dig through disorganized rules that the index doesn't help with.

The high end equipment is almost completely lacking for diversity; as the idea seems to be, the nice expensive gear will do everything that a few less expensive items but will do it better. This leads to tapering gear diversity, and with clever players, this can lead to rapid gear improvement as old gear can be sold to sponsor better gear as the band of options converges into a single item for that category.

This book, which is about as essential as the Core Rules, isn't part of the Core Rules. Mongoose seems to have decided that because they have a few items in the Core they can treat this like an expansion. Rather the situation is the players can get a starting character equipped and then they will quickly run out of gear, and in a game where character progression comes from a slow skill improvement process and gear this isn't an acceptable situation.

Breaking Down the Rating

This is where I will attempt to explain why I have given this product the rating it currently has, to do this I will give a running tally of the products total star count, out of five, after each argument is provided.

First a three star is an average rating, so the rating tally will be starting at this point. - 3 stars

This is functionally a necessary book if one wants to play, let alone run, a game of Traveller. While this is annoying this is not a negative or a positive for the product itself. - 3 stars

This books equipment can be almost essential to play in a smooth game of Traveller; otherwise, the referee has to build most things themselves, which with economical concerns is a lot of work. - 4 stars

This book respects game economy, mostly, which helps allow for trader type games. - 5 stars

The book has equipment that is useful for things beyond combat, or weird little trinkets. - 6 stars

The equipment is not imaginative or that interesting. These are the kinds of things that referees would likely have made on their own, if left to their own devices. This saves the referee some time, but doesn't help with developing a milieu. - 5.5 stars

The equipment options can be eclectic at times, which is strange as it is also not innovative or world building. The catalog reminds me as if it was a collection of refuse on sale from a Star Wars junkyard. This is largely copies from things that I love and recognize, but it lacks the interest of the setting of those originals, a cheap copy of them. This call to nostalgia is damaged as it is all combined without consideration to how they combine. - 5 stars

The organization is painful, it slows things down and lends itself to incorrectly utilize gear. This is because the player has to track down all of the rules impacting their gear, it isn't in one place nor is there a reference given to help find all the related rules. The player must instead have read the entire book and remember where all to look for the rules, there are some patterns but they require the player to remember a significant amount of details to follow. - 3 stars

There is a singular destination for each equipment type if there is a high end, this lack of diversity or lack of progression is disappointing for a book that is dedicated to equipment. There are interesting modifications, such as ammo that effects some things but this is typically a small modifier that must be bought over and over again. There also tends not to be enough room on the character sheet for these items, this often leads to frustration. - 2 stars

This comes down to this book does not perform well at the table. It seems to have a great amount of possibilities until the players started using it for a while, there were options that were straight down better. This lead to a situation were after a certain amount of time players will have little to purchase, making the book useless later in the game, but essential for early game. This terminal effect, and aggravation that trying to get small efficiency gains, lead to this book being given a poor score.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Central Supply Catalogue
Publisher: Mongoose
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/11/2018 08:44:02

OK, so what can be said about just another equipment guide? The Introduction begins by explaining that it contains an updated collection of items from earlier editions of Traveller as well as new ones, it is not designed solely for use with the Third Imperium setting and indeed has things that don't exist there, and that there are rules for item use, availability and even permits as well as the things themselves. However, with all that said, it's still a shopaholic's dream of everything the well-equipped Traveller might want or need - or wish he had picked up - during his travels.

After a full-page advert for an equipment store, Chapter 1: Equipment Availability looks at various ways in which the Referee can control how easy (or difficult) it is to get your hands on any item desired. Law Level is the obvious one, if an item isn't legal it will at best be very hard to find and involve dealing with other than conventional retail outlets. However, even if an item's legal that doesn't mean to say every store stocks it, or even if they do carry it, do they have any right now when our Traveller wanders in looking for it. There's a system for determining whether or not that item is there, better than just having the Referee make it up (not that there's no reason why the Referee shouldn't make it up, it's his game after all). Availability can be modified when the item is illegal, with the party having to access the black market which may or may not have what they are after. There are various categories of item modelling how, just as in the real world, some items are only available (legally at any rate) to individuals with certain jobs or qualifications. Then follows a basic system for handling black market deals that go wrong, as in, the authorities notice what's going on - this begins with investigation and goes right through to penalties handed down.

Next come more rules in Chapter 2: New Rules. This introduces a few new weapon traits and explains what they mean. Just a single page, then we are on to "The Travellers' Aid Society Central Supply Collection". This is semi-in-character, although rules bits do intrude a little... and it's replete with loads of illustrations. The first part is devoted to Personal Protection - body armour, of course, in a wide range of styles including historical stuff and exotics designed to protect against fire and energy weapons and even one that protects the wearer against psionics. Naturally this includes both powered and unpowered suits, and a wide range of vacc suits. You can also get an electronics suite to add to the suit of your choice, other modifications and additions are also available... and that's before you get to battle dress.

The next chapter is Survival Gear, which starts with parachutes and continues through atmospheric protection, cold- and hot-weather gear, underwater kit and the like - all these include both clothing and other equipment you need to survive and function in a range of extreme environments. Go mountaineering, venture into vacuum, or just make use of a range of survival items including a 'fusion stile' (did they mean 'still'?) that produces potable water and an almost-edible gloop out of whatever organic material and liquids you load in. This section ends with wilderness housing, from tents to full-blown bases.

Next up, Electronics. This begins with vision and detection devices, then looks at communications, and a collection of gadgets and essentials. If you didn't think a laser-emitting ring was a vital piece of equipment before you read this, it might just change your mind! Computers get an entire chapter to themselves, which includes both hardware and software.

A chapter on Robots follows. There are rules for using them covering everything from how much damage they can take to programming them, and a variety of useful ones are presented. Do you want a protocol droid? Or a robotic assassin? Or even a sanitation droid to keep your living spaces clean and tidy? It will even wash your clothes for you! If you'd rather do your own work, head on to the next chapter of Tools, full of general hardware, toolkits and even welding torches.

Another essential in the next chapter, Medical Supplies. This looks at medical equipment and drugs and pharmaceuticals - some have, er, non-medical uses. Staying on a kind of medical theme, the next chapter is about Personal Augmentation. This allows for cybernetic or biotech upgrades (or replacements for lost body parts) to all parts of the body - but the treatments can be painful, and medics can get confused if they do not understand how a patient is augmented.

A chapter on Home Comforts (which include such interesting items as an alien cosplay kit and fully-animated miniature wargames) is followed by the large final section many Travellers will have been waiting for: Weapons! Starting with Close and Personal, there are sections on hand-held melee weapons, blade weapons (if you want a lightsaber, go for the arc-field weapon), other melee weapons, and shields. The next chaper is Self-Defence and looks at handguns, slugthrowing rifles, energy pistols and rifles, grenades, and archaic weapons. Then there's a whole chapter devoted to Heavy Weapons of all sorts: man-portable, crew-served, vehicle-mounted, and rockets and missiles.

The last weapon chapter is titled For the Discerning Weapons Specialist and contains all manner of exotic items that don't fit in the preceeding categories. Bolas and boomerangs to backpack nukes. Then we move on to Ammunition and finally Sighting Aids and Accessorties - some interesting odds and ends here.

This makes for a very comprehenive selection of items that the party might need, especially when equipping for exploration or military expeditions. Keep track of spending, it's easy to rack up a hefty bill... and it can be embarassing when your spaceship gets repossessed because you haven't paid your debts!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Central Supply Catalogue
Publisher: Mongoose
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/26/2017 15:22:35

Overall I like the MgT Central Supply Catalogue since there is a lot of good material to help fill up a ship's locker. The ability to customize many of the products is a bonus.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Central Supply Catalogue
Publisher: Mongoose
by Jake H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/17/2016 04:04:14

This book has a lot of high quality and very visually appealing art, while the price is a bit high, it is very much worth it as a physical book, I believe the price of the PDF should be slightly less, but its still a nice purchase for the expanded options in both weapons and equipment. The extra weapon traits are very nice and its a great addition to be used alongside the core rulebook. This really fills all of the missing weapons I felt the game needed. The artillery and vehicle weapons are visually awesome and all in all, a worthwhile purchase.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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