Hello again readers of the Fandomentals! It’s time for another review of a supplement to Modiphius Entertainment’s Star Trek Adventures game! Last time, I was reviewing the last book in the series of different career divisions. This time, I will be reviewing the second book in the their planned four part series of the different Quadrants of the galaxy. More specifically, The Alpha Quadrant. Before I begin, an important disclosure: This book was provided for free by the nice people at Modiphius Entertainment. In addition, I am reviewing a published book, and not a PDF that may contain updates and other rule errata added at a later date. With that out of the way, let’s get started!
The Book Itself
Like The Sciences Division book, the Alpha Quadrant Sourcebook is 128 pages, counting the index, and it continues to use the LCARS theme. Chapter one is a brief introduction and some information, including the news that the book will be advancing the timeline one year, from 2371 to 2372. This may not seem like that big of a deal but it sets the game on the very brink of the Dominion War. There’s a lot of different plots and adventure ideas that can start on the eve of a large scale war.
Chapter Two is the largest and can be divided roughly into four different sections. The first section recaps the discovery of the Bajoran Wormhole, first contact with the Dominion and the withdrawal of the Klingons from the Khitomer Accords. This history lesson isn’t needed for a lot hard core trekkies. but it’s still a good recap if you haven’t watched the first half of Deep Space 9 in a while. The second section goes over a few Federation planets located in the Alpha Quadrant including Betazed, Trill, and several others. Each section on a planet also includes a brief description of places of note on each, which can act as plot threads for GMs. The third section covers Bajor, The Cardassian occupation of the planet, and of course, Deep Space 9 itself. The fourth and final section covers several different antagonists native to the Alpha Quadrant, most prominently the Cardasians and the Ferengi, although the Breen, Tholians, and the Tzenkethi are mentioned have their own sections as well.
Chapter three details new playable races. Some are pretty obvious choices, like the Ferengi or the Cardassians. Others are really unique races, like the Edosian, not featured in Star Trek at all since the Animated Series. Chapter four is similar, and features new ships for the new antagonists.
Chapter five is the final chapter, consisting of stat blocks for various antagonists and three different adventure ideas. The antagonists are all varied, and range from simple Ferengi traders all the way up to Gul Dukat. The adventure ideas consist of plot threads for three different areas in the Alpha Quadrant: The Badlands, The Demilitarized Zone, and along the Federation Border. There’s even a short sidebar about how to run a Maquis style campaign. All in all, a lot of information.
There’s plenty to like about this book. Unlike the Beta Quadrant book, which dealt a lot with the ‘big names’ of the Star Trek universe, this book has time to look at some of the smaller players in both the federation and outside of it. I was particularly struck by the description of Denobula, a massively crowded planet with only one continent and a mysterious ‘trash island’, made up of centuries of debris and waste. I was also quite happy with the depictions of the Ferengi. They have been one of my favorite races in Star Trek, and I enjoyed seeing descriptions of their home world and various colonies.
Another nice aspect of the book was the focus on Bajor and Deep Space 9. While that section wasn’t as useful for me, it will be useful to someone else. Right alongside this focus on Deep Space 9 is the one year jump in the metaplot. Advancing the plot to the very of the Dominion War allows GMs to plot both war and diplomatic stories.
Perhaps my favorite part of the new book however was the variety of new playable races. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected races from the animated series to get write-ups. And yet we have not one, but two different examples. I’d love to try them out and create characters based on them at some point.
That’s not to say the game is perfect. And one of the biggest issues I have with this book is the lack of federation ship designs. While the Command Division book added several, there could always be more unique designs for federation ships. Another flaw would be the lack of detail about the Tzenkethi and Breen. I understand the desire to keep things as close to canon as possible, but having three or four pages for these mysterious antagonists is really not enough. “Not enough information” seems to be a running theme with this book, unfortunetly. I’m hoping future books or the living campaign will serve to flesh out some of these ideas.
“Knowledge equals profit.”
The Alpha Quadrant Sourcebook is not a perfect book. However, it is a great addition to Modiphius’ growing library of Star Trek Adventures splatbooks. And if your game happens to take place along the Badlands or deals with Cardassia, I would call it essential. For me? I’m sure to incorporate some of the plot ideas into my own campaign. And thanks again to Modiphius Entertainment for providing me with a copy!