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High Guard $29.99
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
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High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by CD F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/06/2021 19:16:20

Good product with lots of ships that characters can use to travel universe. I love the Scout/Courier and just reading that little snippet about the Q-Ship. "Q-Ship: A trader, merchant, freighter or other civilian vessel that has hidden weapons, used to trap pirates and other raiders." Gave me lots of adventure ideas.

Great book if you want the characters to have to earn their keep hauling people and precious cargo across the stars.

I would have liked a more detailed Table of Contents but the art and layout are great.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by David G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/17/2021 12:38:43

I have decided to break this review down into good, split, and problematic. As a note: I just got done playing Pirates of Drinax, a friend refereed it for me, this is the perspective from which I have used High Guard the most.

The Good

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

The Split

There are many options when it comes to designing your own ship, that is once you have the basics: hull, j-drive, m-drive, fuel, etc. which have few customization options. However, few of these options are particularly exciting; there are things such as mining equipment, great if your a miner, and some interesting cargo hold expansion solutions. But, outside of that there are options that have little to no mechanical effect, such as holographic hull or game room. In the end the ship will be closer to what was desired, but we never could get a ship that truly felt personalized to us, no matter how long we tinkered with it. There is a degree of modification, but it is within a tight band of what is provided.

The ship catalog is large and provides deck plans, which are in isometric view. This can be good and bad, it helps with lining up what is below on a multi-level ship, but is very hard to use. These simply are not good for using as a game grid. They do provide some 2D maps, but they are only of the most common ships from the Core and not part of this product.

The book discusses mining, my tables haven't used mining yet. So I will not speak to its material, but at least they include this, unlike some other important details discussed in the next section.

The Problematic

No boarding, the Core says that boarding will be discussed in High Guard; I haven't found this. Maybe it went missing in the disorganization that is this gaming product as a whole, but I haven't seen hide nor hair of it. This would have been greatly helpful while playing Pirates Drinax, after all you are playing as a pirate.

Fleet combat is broken for smaller vessels. There was a fight with multiple ships that we the players got ourselves into while fighting for Drinax, not finale, we decided we would like to try fleet combat. We quickly learned that our ships did as much damage as they ever did, but each ship only had a tenth of the hull points and the percentile armor didn't make up for it at all. Ships that would have been hard to handle beaome tissue paper as long as you got the first shot off. The system was completely unbalanced, it was so bad that after the first shot we had killed an enemy ship while still having some weapon systems that hadn't fired. It was so bad that players and referee all said, nearly simultaneously, that we should backtrack and fight the battle from square one using the normal system. I have never seen players so quickly give up a kill.

There is little in the way of interesting sci-fi ideas. So much of space operas, which Traveller is, are about interesting ideas that push the limit. Star Trek and Start Wars had revolutionary ideas that has lead to some modern technological devices. If you think that I'm being to hard on Traveller because I'm comparing it to movies, let's look at Cyberpunk. It's not even a space opera, rather a neo-futurist dystopia setting, it has had ideas that have become reality and still has enough creative juice to push the limit. Now, not all sci-fi has to push the technological bubble, but can instead question, the question can be about as diverse as the authors and their audience. That doesn't seem to happen here, either this is more of a setup with a space setting or its gone even deeper and is questioning what is sci-fi. Either way I really want to see something that sets this setting apart. Why am I saying this here? Because sci-fi loves tech, if a sci-fi setting's tech doesn't distinguish it from other sci-fi settings there are few other staples left to fall on.

Ship design, its just bad. It's true the only design that we're truly given is the ship's art that comes with each stat block. After all a ship isn't just a collection of components, its also how you connect those components that make it work. This is where being an engineering student, who runs for and plays with mostly STEM students and graduates, becomes a problem for Traveller. Most of these ship shapes do not work, this goes back to many people thinking that the moment drag and air resistance are gone they can do what ever they want. Things couldn't be further from the truth than this. The moment designs become asymmetric making the ship move in a consistent desirable way becomes difficult. Long and slender beams focus strain into themselves, making a stress point.

There are places were there are obvious errors. Such an example is in the weapon bay section, where as far as I can tell the large weapons bay has the same damage and traits as the medium weapons bay while requiring more power, tonnage, and credits.

Unorganized rules make this book hard to use as a reference during a game. Rules tend to be smattered around in clumps and clusters, with a lose fungible logic that can be truly hard to follow and near impossible to look up quickly mid game session.

Conclusion

This game book has potential and is practically essential for playing Traveller, but it is missing edits, organization, and entire sections it was advertised to have.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by Troels P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/17/2020 03:48:41

There is not much useful in this book. There are mistakes in the numbers/calculations. I ended up not using it at all.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by Roy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/12/2020 09:41:43

Excellent book overall. As with almost all Mongoose books, I find the organization a bit haphazard. It is sometimes hard to find what I am looking for in the book. My biggest complaint is that the pdf is locked in such a way that I am prevented from adding my own bookmarks. I can still copy it and share it I don't care about copyright issues, so I'm not sure what they are trying to prevent. The book looks very nice and has a very large assortment of ship stats and layouts. The new isometric maps look great, but I wish there were 2D maps that would be easier to use on a VTT. The sale price of $30 is suitable to what is offered, but I think the full $50 price would be a bit steep. If you are playing game that focus on ship improvments this books is a must have. The core book does not include very much for upgrading or building ships, and high guard has a lot of detail in this area.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/09/2016 20:56:04

I would've preffered this information to be within the core rulebook, as I felt it somewhat deceptive to have to pay another 45 dollars for something I feel is very integral to Traveller. However, the depth of information was amazing in this book, and it almost makes up for the fact that it didn't come within the core rulebook. Pretty much a must-buy for a Traveller player.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/17/2016 12:04:53

What's Traveller without, well, some travelling... especially in space? High Guard is designed to provide a toolbox to empower every aspect of spacefaring in your game from designing and operating starships to using them in spectacular combat.

The Introduction begins by explaining where the name 'High Guard' comes from in the first place - it refers to a vessel standing overwatch in a position that is higher in a gravity well than other ships. That's a useful place to be, as if combat should take place when under the influence of a planet's gravity (or indeed that of any object in space) it's advantageous to be higher in it than your opponent. Harking back to the age of sail, one would speak of having the 'wind guage' when in a position where the wind conferred an advantage - here it's the 'gravity guage' instead, but a very similar concept.

Other topics explored in the Introduction cover terminology, the various types of space navies to be encountered - Imperial, subsector and planetary (assuming you are using the Third Imperium default setting) - and the concept of the Ship's Locker (standard equipment carried aboard all ships such as vacc suits and emergency equipment). It ends with a listing of different types of ship, including a useful size chart.

Chapter 1: Ship Design then gets down to detail of how the process of designing and building ships work. You can use existing designs 'as-is', modify them or come up with wholly-new ones... but will need to hire a naval architect to oversee the project. For those who want to have this level of control, there is a thirteen-step process to follow starting with creating the hull. It's a detailed process, one that will keep you happily occupied for a while and, like many design processes in this game, can become an end in itself, an enjoyable pastime rather than the more ulitarian designing of a ship for your next game. As well as cost, you need to keep track of tonnage and power requirements.

Next is Chapter 2: Weapons and Screens. This goes into detail about the weapons and defensive systems that can be mounted on a spaceship. There's a huge range of weapons that can be employed, and this chapter concentrates on what you need to know to install them: cost, power requirements, hardpoints to attach them and so on. Fighting with them comes later, never you fear! There's also a bit about defensive technology, mainly point-defence weapons and screens. Physical armour is covered in the construction chapter above.

Still looking at building ships, Chapter 3: Spacecraft Options gets quite interesting as it looks at how to customise your ship and presents a wide range of options from alternative drives and power systems to adding acceleration couches... and far more. Everything is described in terms of cost, tonnage and power requirements, linking it all back to the original ship design process.

Next, Chapter 4: Primitive and Advanced Spacecraft looks at vessels which differ from the norm presented in the previous chapters. These range from custom-built ships utilising the latest concepts and technologies to ones built by less-advanced species who have at least begun to reach for the stars. This is followed by Chapter 5: Space Stations, which looks in equal depth at space-based constructs designed for living in space rather than travelling through it. A similar thirteen-point checklist is provided for you to work through if you wish to design one from scratch, and there are also notes on some of the specialised space stations that are to be found out in the black.

We then take a look in Chapter 6: The Ship's Computer at the 'brain' of your space vessel in more detail. It's an interesting balance between modern advances in computing and the original Traveller concept of ship computers as being massive - a concept derived when real-world spaceship computers had about as much power as the average smartphone of today and computer facilities covered acres of land! There's information on the sort of programs you might need for your ship computer and how much they cost. Next comes Chapter 7: High Technology which explores some exciting ideas about what happens beyond TL15 (the upper limit covered by the construction rules presented so far). Perhaps you'd prefer not to use a Jump drive at all... well, here are details of alternate drive systems such as hyperdrives, warp drives, space-folding drives and even time drives allowing temporal as well as spatial travel. There are equally exotic weapons and screens and other equipment to browse through as well. Here it's a matter of what the Referee is willing to let you have or, if you are the Referee, how you want your universe to look.

OK, now we know how to design a ship from the keel up (and how much it will cost) but what does it look like? Chapter 9: Creating Deck Plans... hey, hang on a minute! We've lost Chapter 8! Seriously, there isn't a Chapter 8 in this book. Fortunately this appears to be just about the only error I've found, and all the indexing and hyperlinks work, so it's no real biggie... So, this chapter looks at how to draw deckplans that reflect the ship you have just taken so much trouble to design accurately. It's all a matter of scale, and relating the known tonnage of different elements of your design to the whole. Some talent at technical drawing or a good drawing package might help here, though.

This is followed by Chapter 10: Fighters. Never mind these big ships, what about those swarms of single-seater ships you see swarming about in science-fiction movies? For a start, they are generally more fun in a space battle than capital ships from a player perspective. There are some design notes, although the main process introduced in Chapter 1 is sufficiently flexible to construct fighters as well as larger ships. There are also notes about how they are used in combat and even how they are recovered by their mother ship when the fight is done.

Next is the bit you've been waiting for - combat itself - in the shape of Chapter 11: Capital Ship Battles. Whilst it is possible to use the core combat system presented in the Core Rulebook - which does work for ship-to-ship battles as well as for when people brawl - it gets a bit cumbersome if you want to stage a mass battle of capital ships. So here is a vastly streamlined system based on, but separate from, the space combat rules detailed in the core rules. It takes a while to set up, but once that's done the actual battle proceeds at a suitably dramatic pace.

Finally, there is the Jayne's Guide to Spacecraft of the Third Imperium (presented by the Travellers' Aid Society, of course). This provides a whole host of ready-made ships (using the design process outlined in this book) complete with statistics, price, running costs, crew requirements, external illustrations and isomortphic floorplans - starting with a single-seater light fighter and working all the way up to battlewagons like fleet carriers and dreadnoughts. There are a few interesting ones along the way - the Type S Scout and the Far Trader are still in there, which will be remembered by many Traveller players from previous versions of this game, a laboratory ship built on a ring structure, and even the Annic Nova... an alien craft which formed the basis of a classic exploration adventure back in the days of the Little Black Books!

Overall, this contains pretty much all you need to know to get travelling... with an elegant design system that's infinitely scaleable and flexible whatever sort of spaceship you need.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
High Guard
Publisher: Mongoose
by Simon S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/16/2016 17:08:37

CAUTION! Both this and the main rulebook are staggeringly unoptimized. Both are crashing my current gen ipad within one or two page turns, making the pdfs a complete waste of money if you plan to use anything other than a laptop. I know its not an issue with my ipad, since I can easily run far more graphically complex and larger files. I have downloaded and read through nearly 100 pdfs from dozens of publishers on this sight and rarely, if ever, experienced crashes. This new edition is the only one ive experienced issues with. Also, between crashes I managed to discover that there is no ship record sheet in the book, yet another instance of Mongoose neglecting to provide adequate record sheets. This will be my very last purchase from this publisher.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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