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.