Revisiting an old favorite: 2300AD

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Japanese starships. Foxx Industries. Art by Ian Stead.

What can I say?

Finding Cepheus Engine led to rediscovering Mongoose Traveller (1e), which in turn made me check out their iteration of 2300AD. And then I dug out my old GDW T:300/2300AD stuff as well as that Traveller20 2320AD PDF that I bought some ten years ago.

I’ve been reading up on my once favorite hard SF game again and I must say that 2300AD just ticks more “cool” checkboxes for me than regular Traveller (even if TNE 1248 comes pretty close).

I also think that Mongoose’s move to publish 2300AD as a milieu/setting for the regular rule set instead of as a separate game is good thinking on their part. That way I can use the same SciFi rule set (with tweaks of course) playing in either setting.

Since MgT 1e is discontinued in favor of the new MgT 2e books, I decided to get hold of the M:2300AD materials while they’re still available as I prefer old MgT over the new (I will probably write a post on the reasons for that later). Apparently, Colin Dunn is working on a MgT 2e version of the 2300AD rules now but it’s unclear when it is due to come out.

As is my habit, I will make my own version of the 2300AD universe, incorporating stuff from old 2300AD, 2320AD and from the new books. Canon stuff I don’t like will be trashed and new stuff imported from other games/sources, like the Ridley-verse or The Expanse. How cool wouldn’t it be with Reticulan Parasites or protomolecules showing up somewhere along the way? Or synthetics/replicants?

So how does new 2300AD compare to the old?

I would say pretty well, even if world descriptions and such are much abbreviated from the original. On the other hand, the 1988 box was over-the-top chock full of everything! That’s probably why they printed it in those cover-less flimsy booklets… In a way, the new book is more similar to the original 1986 Traveller: 2300 box in scope. (I can’t comment on the physical book since I have the PDF). However, one of the things I like best about MgT is that they have updated computer tech (at least) a bit since Classic Traveller and that shines through also in 2300AD. Those 1977 ideas of the future of computing feels…err…somewhat outdated to say the least…

Another cool thing is that the author has toned down the Kaefer War a lot. Old 2300AD focussed a lot on the Kaefer War first. Then they focussed on some half-assed cyberpunk stuff because that was in at the time. However, if I want to play the cyber in the punk, I’d go with CyberPunk 2020 any day.

The author also wrote the now defunct 2320AD book for the T20 rule set. Looking through it, I recognize a lot from the M:2300AD book, but a lot of the new and cool stuff that was added to the 2320 setting is missing. I must say that I like the 2320AD vision a lot and I will most definitely pick stuff from all 3 editions of the game for my future campaign.

Checking out the internets, I see that a lot of the old sites that used to keep the 2300AD flame alive in the end of the 1990s and early 2000s are gone. That’s sad, because there used to be a lot of cool materials out there. Hopefully, the new edition will help rekindle interest in this most cool setting. It did for me at least.

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2 thoughts on “Revisiting an old favorite: 2300AD

  1. the original art is some of the bes ever – shame they couldn’t keep it because it defined the universe very well – the 2nd ed original box set one of best portrayed settings ever – mongoose one left me cold

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    1. Mongoose has struggled with art. The art in the equipment book varied from adequate to terrible, usually terrible.

      Like

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