Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stars Without Number, the Mongoose Edition

As some of you are no doubt aware, Kevin Crawford's terrific old school SF RPG, Stars Without Number (which I reviewed early this year), is about to be released in a new edition through Mongoose Publishing. Thanks to the kindness of reader Brian Blakely, who snagged me a copy at GenCon, I was able to get a look at it before it started turning up in most game shops on this side of the Atlantic.

The new edition is a hardcover, just like the one currently available through RPGNow and Drivethrurpg, using the exact same layout. The main differences appear to be a new cover (that I frankly don't like as much as the original), some typo fixes, and the inclusion of two new chapters comprising about 40 pages of material. These chapters cover rules for robots, including robot PCs, mechs, and the creation of planetary societies. None of this information is essential, but, as with nearly everything Crawford has produced to date, it's excellent and, if you're a player -- or even just an admirer -- of Stars Without Number, you'll want to get a copy of the new edition, especially since this new material is not available anywhere else (though Crawford has hinted it might appear in future products for the game).

15 comments:

  1. Hey, is the binding glue or stitch and glue?

    Cheers

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  2. The binding looks to be just glue from what I can tell.

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  3. I'm happy with the lulu SC print I got a few weeks back. Hopefully at some point the new material will be made available for us "early adopters."

    I'm with you re: the new cover. I'm not very fond of it at all. Much prefer the more evocative starfield image from the original. I also prefer paperback rpg books to hardcover...

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  4. I've got numerous copies of the PDF and one soft-cover, of which I'm very fond. The new cover art looks to be a little on the lame side I'm afraid but that doesn't alter the fact that this is the BEST sic-fi RPG this old-schooler has played in a long, long time.

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  5. Like Don, I hope that we'll get access to this additional content without having to buy a new copy of the rulebook. I'm neither in favour of, or against, using Mongoose as a publisher: for Kevin, I suppose it has lots of advantages over Lulu or any other POD outfit.

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  6. I really don't understand why they went for a kind of D&D 4E cover with a Drow on the cover. It would have been great it had just had been a nice starship on a space background filled with stars.

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  7. That cover is hilarious.

    Top dude "Space Shark, you're my best friend!" *hugs*

    Botton Dude "Got your nose!"

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  8. What a ridiculous and ugly cover. But not surprising if Mongoose was involved in the art "direction".

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  9. @KP: Yes, because we all ~know~ that a game won't sell if it doesn't have a full-cover color illustration.

    Mark me down as liking that "star field" cover better. too.

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  10. I have the pdf (self-printed because I like the product enough) and was looking forward to the hard copy but not with that cover! Also worried about the price point; Mongoose tends to be on the high end and even when taking existing products they seem to have problems with typos and text being lost and generally making a product TURN BAD. I hope SWN doesn't suffer this fate but with Mongoose...I am not holding my breath.

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  11. The cover was entirely my choice, really- Mongoose never asked for it. I've heard a fair share of objections about it, but the needs of the FLGS shelf differ from those of online retail. Online, you know what it is before you click on the link. On the shelf, I have to convey genre in the three seconds a casual viewer is going to glance at it. Also, I needed some sort of visual marker to distinguish MongSWN from the free version copies that are floating around. It's not to everyone's taste, certainly, but one of the perks of indie publishing is that I can pay my money and take my chances any way I please.

    Regarding the interior- and everything else about the book- any flaws or typos are entirely my fault. Mongoose simply took the files I gave them and printed the book, so they're blameless for any goofs inside.

    As for price point, the hardcopy is $40, which is about the minimum for getting any kind of profit out of the enterprise after retailers exact their usual 50-60% MSRP cut. In truth, I'll actually be making less per MongSWN retail copy than I will now with POD, but I need to push SWN out of the online ghetto if I mean to get very far with it.

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  12. I have been reading through the rules (PDF) and they are excellent, so I am certainly excited for a "mainstream" release. Hopefully it increases the chances of actually playing the game sometime.

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  13. I'll buy it! I buy everything in gaming that gets released! (not).

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  14. I cannot wait to get My hands on this product just for the upgrade. Now I need to clear room on one of My book shelves.

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