Review: Star Trek Adventures Operations Manual

Cover of the operationsdivision sourcebook shows two operations officers in gold uniforms in front of a burning shuttle

Section 31. One of the more recent additions to the Star Trek Universe is now a playable faction from Star Trek Adventures. The new Operations Manual, includes Section 31 along with other Starfleet organizations and technology. Also, the rules for Star Trek Adventures incorporate ‘Red Alert’ rules, which add a new a fun dimension to gameplay.

The Operations Manual’s main focus is to expand on Starfleet’s Intelligence and Engineering departments. There are suggested storylines for Starfleet Intelligence and Engineering. Star Trek Adventures is very much traditionally focused on actions. I don’t know how an engineering storyline would play. Gumshoe rules feel like a more appropriate fit for engineering story lines.

Starfleet Intelligence/Operations storylines are a much better fit for the Star Trek Adventure rules. I must admit its fanboy fantasy to play a security red shirt(TOS)/gold shirt(TNG). As we all know, Starfleet security can’t keep anything secure, so it would be interesting to play a story where Starfleet security is actually competent or has to bail themselves out of a situation they created. The Operations Manual gives a good set of rules for the ‘security protocols’ that Starfleet follows.

If the Starfleet rules are too constraining, then you might want to consider Section 31. This part of the Operations Manual was not as good as I had hoped. I’m a big fan of Section 31. I’ve watched every Section 31 episode on DS9. I’ve even read the Section 31 books. So, I had my own expectations. I was expecting a detailed description of the interaction of Section 31 with Starfleet and the rest of the alpha and beta quadrants. Instead, it was only a brief summary of what Section 31 is and only brief suggestions on how to weave them into a story. If some of these suggestions had been novel, then I probably would have enjoyed this more. In the end, this is okay, I’ll just fill in Section 31 details myself.

The last section of the Operations Manual is a favorite. It expands the Star Trek Adventure rules with what it calls ‘Red Alert’ rules. Basically, these are head to head combat rules between groups aka squads, where group may be an away party of 1 or an entire team. You still use the normal d6 and d20 dice, but there is the addition of tokens and markers. There are no real surprises here in the Red Alert rules. They are an expansion of the existing rules. And, like the existing rules, it’s something you have to study beforehand or you will be forever referring to the rulebook.

The Red Alert expansion rules are justification enough to purchase the Operations Manual. It would have been nice to have a more fleshed out Section 31, but perhaps that was by design.

Review: Star Trek Adventures Beta Quadrant Manual

Cover of the beta squadron book shows space ships around a planet

Modiphus has a new supplement to their ever growing Star Trek Adventures rules. The Beta Quadrant rule book contains additional species and ships missing from the core rulebook. Now, we have rules and information so we can play Klingons. In addition, there are more information on settings such as the Neutral Zone and Briar Patch.

One of the biggest disappointments of the core rule book was the omission of the Klingons. The Beta Quandrant fills this gaps with Klingon character creations rules, details on the operations of the Klingon Empire, and Klingon starship statistics.

The Klingons you are allowed to create appear to be the Next Generation Klingons. That’s fine and good if you just want to play in the TNG era. But, I’m a fan of the original series. I wanted to play as a Klingon augment, but there were no rules to address this aspect of the Klingon backstory. You are presented with a history of the Klingon empire. None of the Klingon history is going to be a surprise if you’re a fan and if you have seen all the shows and movies. But it’s nice to have the details spelled out.

Another nice detail is the addition of ships, including Klingon ships. It’s curious that the D7 Klingon battlecruiser was missing, but its predecessor the D5 was there and successor the K’T’inga cruiser was there. It’s like the persons who wrote this book never saw the original series. Like the other starships in the core rule book, the stats of a ship are specified by the systems group and department groups. You have rules to address the use of the Klingon use of cloaking devices.

In addition to the Klingons, there is information on the Romulans, Orions, and Gorns. The information on the Orions and Gorns is very light, so that leaves lots of room for customization. There are additional aliens to play but all from the Next Generation era.

If you’re interested in playing a Klingon in the Modiphus’ Star Trek universe, then you should get the Beta Quadrant manual. If you’re only interested in playing the Federation, then the Beta Quadrant manual is not a necessary purchase unless you are the GM.

Review: Star Trek Adventures The Command Division Rulebook

Cover of the Command Division book shows toe command officers on a burning field

I’ve always wanted to be Captain Kirk. With the additional rules in the Star Trek Adventures ‘The Command Division’ rulebook, you can play the same cowboy diplomat. This addition to the Star Trek Adventures fills in lots of details of the department where everyone wants to serve. In addition, the number of vessels available for your campaign or one shot in the Federation is expanded.

One of the best parts of these additional rulebooks are the scenario suggestions for a specific department. The Command Division has all the story prompts you would expect, such as first contact, exploration, show the flag, diplomacy, etc. One thing Modiphus does is suggest Star Trek episodes that match some of the story lines they suggest to GM’s. This is handy.

My favorite part of The Command Division is the additional ships. They add a significant number of ships that span everything from the Enterprise era to post-The Next Generation. I’m grateful that they added so many ships. One of the neat details is that it is indicated when a ship has an emergency medical hologram. Voyager proved that the EMH is good addition to possible crew. It would have been nice if they had included floor plans for the starships. I had to keep going to the memory alpha website to figure out the appearance and layout.

The additional ships provided are motivation enough to purchase the Command Division. But, if you are planning any bottle episodes on board a ship, you are going to have to work at providing details.