Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/02-
Of all the Colonial Gothic material to review, this is an odd one to do later in the series because it is such essential setting information for the core book. Gazetteer was released in 2010, after a smattering of modules and after the revised edition of the core rulebook the year before. While some setting information sourcebooks had been released, this book had a broader scope that covered the colonies you would probably play in using the core book. Most of the colonies get their own chapter, with a few additional chapters dedicated to things like native tribes and an adventure.
The book kicks off with a chapter on the basics of Colonial American history: wars, settlements, and the various acts (laws impressed upon America by the British). After that, each colony basically does the same, giving a brief history first followed by various nuggets of knowledge concerning the area. For instance, there is a section on the geography of each area as well as important locations and a few notable local legends or areas that might be adventure seeds. The only break from this pattern is in the section on Native American tribes, which turns out to be fairly comprehensive as far as I can tell. While not giving you a ton of information on the tribes, each one is given page real estate according to their presence in colonial life. The last chapter is an adventure involving the players intercepting a letter and then being asked to infiltrate a British fort.
Low Detail, More Overview
For a game master who is serious or wants to get serious about his commitment to a more historical Colonial Gothic game, this book is a must. It takes a bunch of necessary facts that are easy to grasp and organizes them by colony, then presents them according to type. It’s definitely not exhaustive, and the level of detail is more of a bird’s-eye view than anything else, but unless your players are hardcore into the historical detail aspect, it will suffice. Rogue Games continues to expand upon certain events or locations with entire sourcebooks so, while you will have to buy another book if you really want finer detail, you can get it if you want and you can pick and choose where you want your graininess. I find it a nice quick reference for historical timelines and important cities, I don’t use the mysteries as they tend to be sort of old-timey-American-legends type of things, and many of them I find silly. If you already know your American history cold or have other reference books around you want to use, you might skip this book. Otherwise, it’s a nice reference to have and read through for a general picture of each colony and its history.
[3 of 5 Stars!]