At last its the summer holidays here in the UK and a chance to catch up on my review pile and get this blog updated.
Authored by Michael Johnson, the Anderson and Felix Optional Components Guide was released a couple of months ago by Gypsy Knights Games and is available from Drivethru RPG for the normal price of $4.99 or current price $3.74 (25% off) during GKG’s ‘Christmas in July’ sale. It is available as a PDF or with soft/ hard cover options and contains 31 pages.
This is a supplement to the main ‘Anderson and Felix Guide to Naval Architecture’ for the Clement Sector but can be used with any Cepheus Engine / 2D6 SFRPG set of rules. The book provides some useful additional starship equipment that is quite varied in its scope. The first couple of pages start with an introduction and brief background to the Anderson and Felix shipbuilders and the company place in the Clement Sector. You are then presented with the first of the main headings, which take the major parts of a starship and offer variations or additional components. Each section is constructed from a section heading and an individual paragraph detailing the component, room or weapon.
Page 6 kicks off with ‘The Engineering Section’ which is spread over three pages (though one and a half of these are taken up with some very fine illustrations related to the engineering section, by Bradley Warnes).
Page 9 starts with ‘The Main Compartment’ and this is a good example of where that varied list I mentioned is demonstrated. The section has paragraphs for ‘Computers’, ‘Steerage Accomodation’, ‘Astrographic Cartography Room’, Casino’, ‘Interrogation Room’, ‘Retail Shops’, ‘Small Office’ for example. In the description, it typically describes some information needed in order for you to add it to the ship, being the amount in displacement tons (dTon) and the cost (in Cr / MCr). Weapons stats are listed where appropriate.
Armament begins on page 14 and is a pretty tasty section including such weaponry as the ‘Plasma Gun’, ‘Railgun’ and ‘X-ray laser’. What I like about these is that the book presents some pretty exotic weaponry, such as one I’ve never heard of before, the ‘Orillery Railgun’, which is a variant of the ‘standard’ mass driver railgun but fires projectiles at slower speeds but are optimised for smashing planetary targets. Suitable spinal mountings for these types of guns are also discussed in this section.
Something that was (probably) rarely seen in most SFRPGs more than ten years ago, but are now a prominent piece of technology are drones; this is forms part of the next section on page 19, ‘Small Craft, Vehicles, Drones and Cargo Holds’. You get ‘Boarding Pods’, which are specialist transfer launches normally used to breach hulls with six occupants such as special forces or pirates. In addition, you get a description for Point Defence Drones (PDD’s), which are small armed drones which are designed to extend a ship’s point defence sphere beyond the range of normal PD node weapons.
Page 21 continues with describing ‘Cargo Holds’ and options for conveyors, access locks, modular and cargo cranes.
The final two sections ‘Interstellar’ and ‘Reaction’ drives are described from page 23 onwards to the end of the book on page 28. The Zimm drive is the means of interstellar travel used in the Clement Sector and though it is not recommended to use another form of starship drive as it would change the nature of the setting (bit like Classic Traveller’s Jump Drives in the Third Imperium), a few examples are offered who wish to explore different types of drive technology. You get a pretty detailed description of the ‘Alcubierre Drive’, which includes the theory of operation, distance travelled and how to construct a starship using such technology. Reaction Drives includes two types: Extended Pulsed Plasma Propulsion and Electromagnetic (EM) Drives. The former are also known as ‘Orion Drives’, the technology proposed in the 1960’s as an incredibly powerful method of launching large spacecraft and ‘quick’ way of travelling to the other planets. The drive relies on firing nuclear ‘pellets’ to create a small nuclear explosion which forces the spacecraft to accelerate. Hundreds of these nuclear explosions would be used to accelerate the spacecraft to the outer planets such as Jupiter or Saturn, in a matter of weeks. However the idea was abandoned in the 60’s and 70’s due to the huge amounts of radiation it left behind. For more information about Orion Drives, take a look at over at Atomic Rockets. The principles of EM Drives are actually being tested at the moment, though only a few weeks ago a group of German scientists have proved that the principle behind the EM drive does not work. More on this can be found on this page at Atomic Rockets.
This is a pretty decent supplement to own; there is quite a varied range of equipment listed, some have only a small description paragraph whereas others cover two to three pages. However I do like the level of detail that has been included in all the sections, there are things that ‘go beyond the norm’ here as most spacecraft designs include typically much the same thing as this adds a great deal of ‘variety’ to your spacecraft construction. With the character scene artwork by Bradley Warnes, spacecraft / line art by Ian Stead and logos by Stephanie McAlea, if you’re looking for a supplement to spice up your spacecraft construction, this is definitely worth looking at. I would like to thank John Watts of Gypsy Knights Games for being so kind as to send me a copy to review.