I’m destined to keeping getting the bad endings, aren’t I? Oh well, Starship Traveller was a book I actually quite enjoyed, but at the same time, did have some problems with too. One of the things I enjoyed the most was the variety of situations you would encounter, all those planets I ended up flying past or starports I didn’t dock with, I want to know what was on them! It’s not like a door in a dungeon you pass by, the story and races encountered on the planets in Starship Traveller are all unique to each other and thus made themselves more intriguing, when you touch down on a planet you have no idea what you’re going to get. It’s almost like a collection of short stories wrapped up within your own personal goal, and I think that is the books strongest selling point. But what this variety of encounters and situations did lead to was a slight lack of focus, the new rules for phaser combat and hand-to-hand combat were sometimes difficult to apply and left areas of ambiguity, especially when the fights involved multiple crew members and opponents. That said, I did like the ship combat, but I don’t remember having more than just one ship battle through the whole book. Having a crew of specialised individuals was a great idea to freshen up the decision making process though and I would have liked to see even more attention paid to the interactions in the crew and the tasks you need them to accomplish. At the time, this was quite an experiment, changing the established Fighting Fantasy formula so early in the series was a bold move and mostly, I think it works. Although, despite all this though, I did find myself hankering after a sword and a filthy inn to explore, it’s a personal thing, but the Sci-Fi setting will never appeal to me the same as swords & sorcery.
Now, the next point is something I touched upon in the read-through itself and it may be me being dumb, but it feels like a few Luck and Skill based decisions take you to the wrong pages? I hadn’t encountered this before in a Fighting Fantasy book, well maybe back in my childhood I did when I read this book for the first time, but I probably knew no better at the time! I seem to remember two occasions when it came up other than the one I mentioned in the read-through; a personal Skill test when debating with K’tait before the Contests and a Skill test for my Medical Officer when an infection was brought back to the Traveller after I had some repairs done on the starbase. I can only assume this was fixed up in the later editions? I’d also like to know what the point of discovering the speed I needed to travel into the black hole at the end was? I was never actually asked to take that into account when making my calculations.
I won’t be posting any pictures in my Conclusions because I can’t bear to look at that crappy artwork again!
But as the pot called the kettle black, here’s my abomination of a map that I kept during the read-through! I can’t imagine anyone will be able to follow it or have use for it, keeping track of planetary exploration, ship travel and the decision making that replaces the traditional corridor exploration made it pretty hard to do. Perhaps my skills will be honed as we go along into more complex adventures! Anyhow, I have a long journey to Port Blacksand to make now so I will leave it there …