I’ve always liked spacecraft identification manuals, ever since I’ve owned a copy of ‘Spacecraft 2000-2100AD’, the first of the TTA books. So when John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games sent me a copy of ‘Ships of the Clement Sector 8: Berlin Class Destroyer’ I eagerly looked forward to getting my teeth into reading it whilst on holiday.
Something to me that sets spacecraft identification books apart from each other is the descriptive background of a craft. Its history, how it came into being, how it performs and notable actions during service. The TTA books having this style always seemed to catch my imagination and I’ve returned to them over and over again for some years.
This is why I’ve particularly enjoyed reading this, one of the latest ‘Ship…’ books by Gypsy Knights Games as it nicely balances these elements for me, along with the practical elements of deck plans and specifications. The book is 38 pages long including cover and obligatory open game license page. It is available from the fine Drivethru RPG store for a very reasonable $4.99 in PDF format.
The ship itself is a 1200dTon destroyer built and employed by the German Navy. A number these were in service in the Clement Sector at the time of the conduit collapse and have been integrated into the Hub Federation Navy.
The book is broken down into a main background story of the ship, specifications and deck plans, monochrome and colour illustrations of the ship (by Ian Stead) displaying various views (top, side, front) along with its service craft details. This content is interspersed with a running storyline or a mercenary units last, almost desperate job to capture one of these destroyers and the action taking place. This helps to present a page of adventure seeds and a mercenary NPC, backed up with colour graphics by Bradley Warnes. The destroyer itself looks like it could ‘do the job’, with a large number of hardpoints dotted around the hull and four particle beam weapons as its main armament. I did wonder at the number of marines the ship is supposed to carry, at around thirty. Would this be enough to be effective in the variety of actions the ship is supposed to support? Then again, I don’t have any point of reference to compare against, so I will bow to the writers guidance on this.
It’s a book that feels nicely balanced – the running storyline has enough ‘meat’ to engage you and the specifications and deck plans (by Michael Johnson) are well detailed. I suppose what has made this ship stand out for me in comparison to other ships of the navies is by having the background linked to a mercenary action and to make use of the book not restricting it to the players being part of a navy. It simply feels like a book that I’ve enjoyed more than some others. The illustrations are excellent – all the contributing artists have produced some beautiful pieces of artwork – if anything the quality is of a greater level of detail than in previous releases.
A thoroughly enjoyable book – well worth purchasing for use in your campaign! I would like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for kindly sending me a copy to review.