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Fifth Frontier War» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Eam's Review #9, from when the game was new rss

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Eamon Bloomfield
23569 L├╝beck
Schleswig Holstein
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This is the first of a projected series of games based on events in the Universe that Marc Miller has created for Traveller RPG. Fifth Frontier War covers an attack on the Spinward Marches region of the Imperium by a combined force of enemies such as the Sword Worlders and Vorgr. The game contains a colourful map, 720 counters, rules and charts.

At a glance, the rules appear quite complex but at first playing, it reveals itself as an inherently simple game with all the elements that really give a feel of commanding vast Battlefleets across the reaches of six subsectors. The map provides all the information about the worlds neccessary to play the game, using an ingenious system of symbols. These show population, star ports, military bases, atmosphere, tech level, water, indeginous troops, travel zone code, system defence boats and even the world's name. This coding makes the map very useful for any Traveller adventures in the Spinward Marches.

The counters cover squadrons of battleships, cruisers, scouts, assault ships and tankers. Troop counters are of all sizes from battalions to armies and corps. Counters are also provided for Admirals to command the fleets of warships. The way Admirals are used is the original concept that makes the game. As in Traveller, there are delays in communication over the huge distances involved. All Admirals are rated as to how many turns in advance they have to plot their moves, to show how they are affected by communication delay. Even with the plotting, the game moves very quickly as both players rarely have more than six or seven fleets to plot for.

There are many types of combat such as ship vs system defence boats or ship vs troops on planetary surface. The combat procedures are straightforward, certain relevant factors being shown by a few die roll modifiers. Tech level is very important in combat, for example, it allows a regiment of Tech 15 Imperial Marines to fight off hordes of Tech 7 provincial troops.

Fifth Frontier War has to be the best game of inter-stellar warfare I have ever seen. It is also totally compatible to Traveller and can be used as a source for all sorts of adventures, such as players becoming involved in espionage, logistic support and many other activities involving the war.
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I would have described Azhanti High Lightning as the first of the series of the story/event/background history based Traveller games.

Mayday , Snapshot , and Imperium, being even earlier 'Traveller' based games. Although less based on Traveller's created Imperium background.
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