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Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture Third Edition $19.99 $11.99
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Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture Third Edition
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Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture Third Edition
Publisher: Independence Games
by Robert M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/04/2023 17:48:59

Review of the Anderson and Felix Guide to Ship Building 3rd Edition, by Independence Games for their Clement Sector setting.

My first impression as soon as I started reading was that the writing is aimed at a first time reader of an RPG. Which is good. Its very “step by step” and they clearly attempt to be as clear as they can manage. Which to me was crystal clear.

As I read, and made use of the Table of Contents, I found that too to be very well done, with practically every page referenced, often more than once. So its very detailed like an Index should be.

I should also note that the Clement Sector setting is used for any flavor text, and I like the factual kind of presentation of “this is going on right now” in their setting. There is an authors note explaining the limitations on TL present in this book (TL 12, with a few exceptions), but also gives suggestions on how you can adapt this to pretty much any other RPG system, mainly by taking its assumptions into account while doing your design. Which seems easy enough to do, especially if its some other version or edition of Traveller.

As I read on, the level of detail, and attention to it, is very front and center. Definitions given as the terms come up, suggestions on what you need to consider at each step of design, with flavor text used to give “in setting” context. Which is generic enough to use in most other settings by simply changing names used. All things I feel a first time gamer would really appreciate, and even as a 30+ year gamer myself, I like it being written this way.

Now as someone who has ran Traveller on and off across my 30+ years of gaming, the first thing I really appreciated in this book was the level of detail given to the various hull types and variations within those types, such as when they go into specific details on Distributed hulls having two types, and giving good explanations as to how those look, and the cost advantage of using the Dispersed version. They even use a nice little table to show each of the 3 hull types, the kinds of shapes seen within those types, as well as which ones can have spinal mounts, which is all of them except dispersed, and we are even given the percentage of weapons on a given type and shape that can be brought to bear. A question I have always had on the larger ships, especially once they get into the Capital size range. So I am really pleased with this table.

This is probably the best, most concise, explanation of Hull versus Structure damage I have ever read:

“Initially, damage is applied to the Hull and once the Hull is breached, further damage is applied to the ship’s Structure. If all Structure Points are lost, then the ship is considered destroyed “ -p. 29

They then go on to explain what will more likely happen instead, such as surrendering, then go on to calculating a ships hit points, and so on.

On page 32 we are given a concise example of how the ship design should look at this point, with an example of the math involved for each calculation, and even a couple of brief explanations as to why a couple of the choices were made.

The next Module, or topic, is Engineering decisions, and first off is the Maneuver Drive. Now the first thing in this part I immediately like seeing is a thorough discussion on Gravitics drives, and even how they provide gravity within a ship. I think the only other place I have seen an explanation like this is in the GURPS books. Which also have a level of detail similar to what I am seeing here.

The next thing we go into is power plants, and I really like the range of types covered here. To give an idea, they go into what I expected to see, but also go into chemically powered plants and even chemical batteries. I also appreciate their discussion of Variable Power Output and the importance of an Emergency Power system. ( I was in the US Navy for 10 years, so like seeing things like this given some depth.)

Another thing I liked seeing is they go into good detail on why Capital ships have a different set of Drive criteria and the various other considerations Capital ships are given in this design process.

Next they go into the most important drive for the assumed setting, the Zim Drive. Then tables and calculations ensue, even a nice simple formula for calculating fuel consumption. Then more needed details on the Zim Drive.

Then you will see a small paragraph on gravitics drives and how they have more rules and info on Reaction drives on page 152. This is on page 41. So good to know that info is so much later in this book, now.

So at this point I am realizing if I keep going on about this book like this, my review might end up being half as long as the book itself. So now I am just going to cover the things that stood out to me. Rest assured they continue on in the same level of detail and give an example of how your design might look at the end of each section/module, with an example of the math process for each calculation needed. As for the math, I personally think its pretty easy, but I also know people who have great anxiety over math, even when its at its most basic. If your such a person, I hope these examples will help you get through them without getting over whelmed. Going to the end of each section, and referencing the examples as you read through the chapter/module, may help.

As I read through the book I continue to see more details addressed that I am not used to seeing, such as covering more room types you will see on various ships, from Casinos, to chapels, to briefing rooms that give you a +1 DM on things like Tactics checks.

The next thing to stand out to me is in the ships weapons section and Sandcasters, where they describe 3 different types of cannisters you can use. I am not used to seeing them individually described like this. Once again, their level of detail pleases me.

Next is covering Standard and Improved Ordnance magazines, and their needing to be adjacent to the Bay weapons. Not something I see given this much description in other books.

The Magnetogravitic screen is some new tech for the setting, and is an interesting idea for use in other settings.

Ships Point Defense Drones is also interesting to me.

Ships crews. Now this section I really like. It gives a lot of explanations as to what you want to consider when deciding on what crew is needed for whatever ship you are designing. Since this covers even their largest capital ships it gives guide lines for command personnel, flight operations crews, staffing medical departments, and more. They even talk about officer accommodations versus enlisted. This is something I wish I had seen 30 years ago.

The part on Ships Software is largely familiar, but again, the degree of detail really appeals to me, and I like their write up on “Avatars” for an intelligent interface.

Next thing is how they cover Ships costs, including mortgage. Nicely organized and explained, all in the same part of the book. This includes crew pay.

The next stand out to me is on ships construction times, “redecoration” to full refit and refurbishment, with a nice table breaking down specific costs.

Next stand out is the section on Technology and its effects with regards to ship building, including across the various star ports where ships are built. Including adjustments to cost based upon what TL is used. Which can be applied to more than just ships. Another section I wish I had seen 30 years ago.

Next is a full example of designing a 200 dTon ship. I think this is very helpful.

Next is something I am pretty sure I have never seen before. A full treatment on designing small craft. This is something I wish I had several times over my GMing career. Especially for the campaign where the group got into planetary exploration, and wanted customized vehicles and small craft. By full treatment, I mean just as detailed as it is for the space ships. I have to say WOW! for this section. Fantastic.

As I approach page 152, mentioned way back on page 41, they start detailing other drive types, from reaction drives to ion drives to plasma drives to even using anti matter to create a type of Plasma Drive. Then it goes on to “Alternative Drives” starting with one known as an “Orion Drive”. The level of detail in this section is impressive, as it usually has been through this entire book.

Next they talk about spinning habitats, starting off with the O’Neil Cylinder, seen in a number of sci fi movies and TV series. Then they cover toroid habitats (think big spoked wheel), then a number of variations. Very nice.

Skipping a lot of pages we get to Zim Drive alternatives.

Here we see “Star Drives, “Slip Drives”, and the Alcubierre Drive, along with the usual details the previous drives are given.

The next stand out is the attention given to Point Defense. Pretty sure I have not seen this much detail given any where else.

The next part I want to mention is a part I always love to see, ship examples, also accompanied by nice artwork showing how they look. No deck plans, though. Which might be on purpose, because the next section covers doing just that, creating your own deck plans.

Which is not just a few paragraphs about it, either. Its a full primer, with examples and things to consider , and more. Add this to the list of things I wish I had seen 30 years ago.

Then the book wraps up with an Index, which some how manages to be even more detailed than the Table of Contents is.

So my over all opinion on this book is, I love the level of detail and advice. To me this is a really stand out book on ship creation, all the way from small boats to 20,000 dTonne Capital ships. My only complaint is the artwork. What is there is really good. Most of it is done by Ian Stead, so If you know his work, you know its good. My issue is I wish there could be more of it. Most of the pages have no artwork. Certain sections would be better if nice illustrations helping to convey the information covered could be added as well.

Wishful thinking aside, and in case you cannot already tell, I really like this book. This level of detail and advice really appeals to me. I have Zero regrets about owning this book,. I am glad I bought it, and I think if you have bothered to read this review, you will be glad you bought it too.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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