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Traveller: Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs $8.99
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Traveller: Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs
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Traveller: Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs
Publisher: Mongoose
by Stu V. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/08/2012 10:38:27

Mongoose’s modernization of the classic Traveller science fiction RPG is a fine example of a mature gaming system. It has maintained (and in some cases improved upon) some of Marc Miller’s great innovations, like the random and detailed character generation system and a simple but effective skill system.

We’ve played a lot of Mongoose Traveller (MGT) over the last year or so, and a few of us have mused that, because of MGT’s high tech level, the system’s skill and equipment lists could be scaled down or modified to play other genres.

We weren’t the only ones thinking that. The folks at Mongoose Publishing, it turns out were busily working on an Old West adaptation of the MGT system, Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs.

Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs is a setting book disguised as an adventure. The first chapter provides a fairly extensive list of genre- and period-appropriate equipment, including clothing, vehicles and two pages of weapons — and yes, and entire page of revolvers.

The second chapter details the small boomtown of Bent River, including details of the various businesses and an extensive list of NPCs.

The next three chapters detail the adventure itself, including events that don’t involve aliens. The town of Bent River has enough detail in it to run an entire mini campaign just on the potential intrigue there. The alien menace has its own chapter, detailing events and locations that will be familiar to those who’ve watched any classic science fiction films.

The back of the book has the “Main Cast,” that is pregenerated PCs for the game. This is where I started to get a bit disappointed. I was hoping for a chapter with common professions, so players could make their own old west characters. Alas, it wasn’t there.

They do include one career, Desperado, which is presented in the long-form, like those found in the splat books. One could use this as a guide to homebrew additional careers, like trollop, miner, town drunk, lawman, cowpoke, school marm, etc. Personally, I would rather they devoted the pages of pregens to the normal two-page careers, like those found in the core book.

In spite of this misstep, I do feel that Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs would make a great addition to one’s MGT collection.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Traveller: Cowboys vs. Xenomorphs
Publisher: Mongoose
by Billiam B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2012 11:03:35

This is a lovely little "mash-up" of the wild west genre and sci-fi thriller, which may appeal to fans of the Cowboys and Aliens, Alien films and steampunkers.

This is a bold move by Mongoose to use their Traveller system, deviating from traditional Traveller products as it adapts the mechanics and ramps up the equipment details to root players in a Wild West setting - as opposed to just applying generic backwater world "Low Tech Level" brush.

If you're a loyal fan of the imperial galactic "feel" of the Classic Traveller canon, this might not appeal as a Traveller product per se, but if you like the Mongoose Traveller system and have a relaxed approached the gaming you will possibly enjoy the extra gloss and grit of cinematically style cowboys and their feisty female companions.

As well as adventure details (the "Town of Bent River"), a choice of alien adversaries, there's even the class / career of "Desperado" and a bunch of fully equipped pre-generated characters which actually makes this a "pick-up-and-play" supplement in my book. Even your horse can have a personality quirk - which reminds us that horses in some ways are NPCs or hirelings with relationships to the characters in their own special way. Not to mention the fact that horse-riding can be dangerous in itself - but this is optional stuff.

It's a great little supplement (50 pages), and if you don't own any games with Western/cowboy settings, there's a fair about which can be "mined" for other systems.

At $9 it's a bit pricey if you're "just curious" - Perhaps $5 to $6 would have been better for this supplement in PDF form.

If your enthused by Traveller and Cowboys and Aliens (or Alien but with a lot of dust) this is a must-buy. If you think you can do something like with you're own choice of system, there just might be the odd little detail which will improve your game.

I'm very drawn to the Giger's Alien styled "xenomorph" vs. the Magnificent Seven. ;)

Full marks for ambition and style!

-Billiam B. (Edited from review and commentary at http://bit.ly/rpgblog )

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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