Review: Modiphius Entertainment – Strange New Worlds, Mission Compendium Vol. 2 (Star Trek Adventures)


Strange New Worlds, Mission Compendium Vol. 2
Strange New World is an adventure supplement for Star Trek Adventures, written by Fred Love, Marco Rafala, Aaron M. Pollyea, Joe Rixman, Christopher L. Bennett, Andrew Peregrine, Ian Lemke, Spring Netto, Sam Webb, Jason Bulmahn, and Jim Johnson and published by Modpihius Entertainment.
By Stephen Reuille

Learn more about Strange New Worlds here
Purchase Strange New Worlds here (paid link)
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Star Trek has been a part of my life for a long time. I grew up with Kirk, Spock and McCoy (in syndication) and watched with joy and wonder at the Next Generation, then the other series and feature films. Over the years I continued my love for Trek with comics, novels and roleplaying games. I have been a player and/or Gamemaster for every Star Trek Roleplaying game produced. Needless to say, I care deeply for the house Rodenberry built. That being said, a friend, knowing my interest in Star Trek, asked me if I could look over a copy of the newest offering by Modiphius Entertainment, the adventure anthology Strange New Worlds, Mission Compendium Vol. 2, and write a review. After a short moment of apprehension as this would only be my second review, I jumped at the chance to give my thoughts.

The copy of the anthology I received is in PDF form. This is not my preferred way to digest and use a game book however. I am more comfortable with a physical copy as I have been using them for many years and only recently started using book files. And only then to look up quick information or statistics. Since my background is not in PDFs, I will not be commenting on some of the items a more tech savvy reviewer might. My review will be of the content and not the add-ons a PDF purchaser may use to increase the document’s utility. Now that my disclaimer is out of the way, let’s get into the reason you are still reading this, the review of Strange New Worlds.

The anthology is the second one by Modiphius Entertainment with the first being These Are The Voyages. It has a page length 133 pages and includes nine adventures set in three different eras of Star Trek. The adventures as written are set with one in the Enterprise era, four during the Original Series, and the last four during the Next Generation. One improvement over the first adventure compendium is the format used for each different era. The first book used the same Next Generation format throughout the book but this one uses a style, design and coloring fitting with the era the adventure is set in. For example, the maps used and stats for NPCs were changed to look like they could be from a screen on a ship of the era the adventure is set in. Although the layout could be slightly jarring in the beginning, the background graphics and lettering invoked the feeling of the three eras well and helped pull me into the adventure. Like the first anthology however, each adventure gives helpful hints on how to use it in the other Star Trek eras. These hints are more useful on some adventures than others but with work I believe all the adventures can be relocated into the other eras of Trek.

One thing I need to express before I go on is, like the other Star Trek books by Modiphius, the art in this book is well done. The art direction team on this book really deserve some kudos. The pieces throughout the book are consistently strong and show a uniform of style. Many of the pieces I would love to see framed on my wall. Two of my favorite pieces, and it really is a tough decision, are the Original Series Enterprise on page five and the Starfleet ship in peril on page 124.

Now on to the adventures. Each of the nine adventures is broken down into three Acts. Reading through the action, it appears an Act would last a couple hours depending on the speed of your group and how much additional flare the players like to add to a session. So each adventure could be used as a long night of gaming, a couple good size games or a mini campaign with three quick sessions if you are short on time.

***SPOILERS***

Now I would like to give an overview of the last adventure in the book, The Angstrom Operation, in order to go deeper into the basic adventure design of the anthology. Before Act One begins, the reader gets a synopsis of the adventure, a paragraph on how to use the adventure in other Star Trek eras, and two Directives which can be used by the players or Gamemaster in conjunction with Determination.

The Angstrom Operation starts with the players’ ship on the Cardassian Border being rerouted to aid a research station. There is a Captain’s Log that sets the stage and tone of the adventure to come. The first Act, as with the others, is then separated into scenes. Act One is where the crew starts to investigate the trouble at the station and encounter some crazy scientists. Act Two sees the crew repair parts of the station, discover the reason for the scientists behavior, and ends with the arrival of an outside threat in the form of a Cardassian Gul. The last Act wraps up the adventure with the crew trying to solve the mystery of the station while dealing with the Cardassians. This adventure and the others do a great job giving you the die roles the players need to complete an action is most scenes, easy to read NPC stat blocks and a small map of the station.

If I have a criticism of the book design it is the placement of game statistics and possible player handouts throughout the adventure. During a game session, I am mainly using the book for stats I need in combat or a quick look up. Having all this information at the back of the adventure instead of scattered throughout makes it easier and more accessible when I need the information fast. Also, having all the encounter maps and player graphics in an area not surrounded by Gamemaster-only information can make printing the information to give the player an easier option.

The adventures are well suited for the title of the anthology. The players will be exploring nine new worlds with many of them rarely, if at all, traveled by Starfleet. They will explore a Ringworld, investigate extinct civilizations, visit remote Federation colonies with dire troubles, and even match wits with a god planet. Your Starfleet crew will be blazing new territory as many of the adventures feature new locations, alien machines, and species. That being said, peppered through the adventures the crew will also contend with familiar faces like Orions, Cardassians, and Klingons. I must add that these adventures are developed, like the overall game of Star Trek Adventures, with the idea of the players being a Starfleet crew. The adventures are set around the crew helping aliens in trouble or solving mysteries or both. While this could be tried by crews of other governments in the Star Trek universe or even a group of freelancers, it will take a little work to get the players on the right path and some to keep them there. These adventures feel like an episode of one of the shows, but in that the players may feel railroaded into a course of action. However, if Starfleet tells the crew to help a research station and they don’t want to help the inhabitants and just go off and search for fame and fortune, they are playing the wrong space setting.

All in all, the Modiphius team has crafted an anthology that is well thought out, easy to use and beautiful in design. The nine adventures can be used as a fun stand-alone, ran as a mini-campaign and/or placed between your own adventures. Strange New Worlds is a great addition to the Star Trek Adventures line and the book does a great job bringing the feel of the shows and setting to a gaming table.

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