Review: Modiphius Entertainment – Tricorder Collector’s Box Set (Star Trek Adventures)

Tricorder Collector’s Box Set
Tricorder Collector’s Box Set is a core box set for the science fiction RPG Star Trek Adventures, published by Modiphius Entertainment.
By Stephen Reuille

Learn more about Tricorder Collector’s Box Set here
Find other Star Trek Adventures posts here

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 then roleplaying games. I have been a player and/or Game Master for every Star Trek Roleplaying game produced. Needless to say I care deeply for the house Rodenberry built. That being said, a friend has allowed me to review a number of PDFs for the newest Star Trek roleplaying game by Modiphius Entertainment. Today I am excited to say I have received a review copy of the Tricorder Collector’s Boxed Set. Yes, I will be going through a physical copy of a Modiphius work for the first time. I will give my thoughts on the contents, production value and overall usefulness of this set. So without further adieu, let’s scan this product and see what we learn.

Opening the shrink wrap, the set is a solid piece of roleplaying equipment. The box measures 11 inches in height, 7 inches in length and just shy of 2.5 inches in width. The set comes with a leather strap that attaches to the sides of the box so you can wear it like the tricorder it represents. The cardboard box is durable, uses magnets to keep the lid shut, and has a nice representation of a working Original Series tricorder on the hatch when open. Inside the box, Modiphius included a rulebook, story booklet, pregenerated characters, reference sheets, dice and tokens. I will go over each of these items below.

The included rulebook is a digest-sizde book like everything in the box. This is the first time the complete Star Trek Adventures rule set was published in this format. Going with the theme of the box, the rulebook sets everything in the timeframe of Star Trek: the Original Series. The design of the 304 page book utilizes Modiphius’ design for this era with whites pages, mostly black print, and primary coloring. The setting material firmly expresses the thinking and history of the setting during Kirk’s initial 5-year mission with the Enterprise with sidebars from various characters in the universe as we have come to expect from Modiphius products. The species choices for character creation are Andorian, Denobulan, Human, Tellarite, Trill, and Vulcan. This chapter is mostly the same as the previous version but they do include the overhaul of the Milestone and Reputation systems we saw in the Klingon rulebook and short PDF as part of the base game.

The book continues through the 2d20 rule system, gear, space combat, starship creation, Gamemaster advice, and NPC/adversary sections. The big thing in these sections is the setting information. The gear in the book is Original Series tech in description. Modiphius does pull starship frames from various sources so players have a number of era ships and adds the Archer class from the Vanguard novel series to the official rules. Enemy vessels include two Klingon, one Romulan, and one Gorn. Sadly, we do not see a Gorn adversary template or Tholian ships and NPCs.

The next item included is a three-adventure booklet called, The Keyhole of Eternity. These adventures roll one directly into the next creating a mini-campaign with a length of 43 pages. During the adventure, the player’s ship is on shore leave and a mystery surfaces for the characters to solve. The adventures are written with a lot of the rule system included. It informs the Gamemaster on the rolls for many actions characters can take and has not only investigation, but possible personal and ship combat with a scene or two where players can try the Scientific Method rules. The adventure is also simplistic enough to let the players roleplay without too much of a problem for the Gamemaster to get them back on track.

So we have an adventure but what about characters? The box comes with two crews and starships for them on durable cardstock. The first ship is the U.S.S. Lexington from the Living Campaign and the Shackleton Expanse Sourcebook. I must say I would have liked to see maybe a Hermes or Archer class ship instead as the other is Kirk’s Enterprise. With our two Constitution class ships, we get 5 new characters for the Lexington and 8 familiar crew for Enterprise. We have stats for all the main characters from the Original Series with Nurse Chapel included. As we should be aware of their backgrounds, the reverse sides of their cards are reference for the Roles they fill in the game.

The last two items in the box are a set of Star Trek Adventures dice and Momentum and Threat tokens. It is nice that the dice come with 5 20-sided dice and not the 3 like the original dice sets. You also get 10 Challenge dice. I would like to see this be the new normal for dice sets. The Momentum and Threat counters are thick cardstock and you get enough of each for a night’s gaming.

With the dice and counters, that is everything in the Tricorder Collector’s Box Set. There were a few things about the box set I wish would have been different. Like I said above, I would have liked to see information on the Tholians in the rulebook. Also the confusing addition of the Gorn Starship with no Gorn NPCs. The cardboard counters, with as much use as they will get at the table, I believe plastic versions would have been nice to have in the box. Also, I would suggest being careful getting the items in and out of the box. With the few times I did for this review, I have a few minor nicks on the books and cards already. The pregenerated Lexington crew did give more player options to pick up and go. However, with Enterprise and 8 pregenerated characters, I would have replaced the second crew with a digest size pad with character and starship sheets for players to create their own characters. A lot of the rulebook is taken up with creation rules after all.

Before I conclude, I want to comment on the art. There were a few pieces I wish they would not have used. The art for the species seemed a step down from the other pieces in the rule and adventure books. However, much of the art was either well detailed or photo realistic. I am a sucker for those containing starships. The picture on page 128 of the rulebook has me running to my Vanguard novel series to create a followup campaign.

All that being said, I love this box set. The production value is high all around and for a quick night of gaming this is perfect. Have some friends that are into gaming or Star Trek? Forget a board game, just pull out this set and you are playing in minutes. The included adventures could be run over a few nights depending on the buy-in of the players. From there, you are traveling at Warp Speed with the advice and information in the rulebook for additional adventures. The set is also a must have for anyone interested in using the Original Series as their starting point. I cannot recommend the Tricorder Collector’s Box Set highly enough. Pick it up, strap it over your shoulder and boldly go where no man has gone before.

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