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Back in the summer of 1980, when my brother and I were home from school for vacation, we gamed quite a bit. We had both discovered D&D, and while perusing an issue of Dragon magazine, we saw an ad for a game in a simple black box, called Traveller. It was the "Deluxe Edition" and on the cover of the box was a bit of text that piqued our curiosity.

This is Free Trader Beowulf,
calling anyone. . .
Mayday, Mayday. . . we are under
attack. . . main drive is gone. . .
turret number one not responding . . .
Mayday. . . losing cabin pressure
fast. . . calling anyone. . . please help. . .
This is Free Trader Beowulf. . .

We picked up the game and loved it. I love the Traveller universe. Given that D&D was only other primary source of gaming, I was fascinated by a couple of significant differences:

  • Characters started the game competent and skilled, taking focus off of experience points and mechanical advancement; this put more focus on role-playing and enjoying the playing of the game itself.
  • Combat was flat-out deadly, which made for some more "realistic" and varied exchanges when conflicts arose; not to mention, non-lethal bar fights were more commonplace and quite fun.
  • It was easy to have an adventure occur in an alien/exotic environment, it was built in as a commonplace feature of the system.
  • Social interaction was more significant.
  • The distinction of intelligence versus education was interesting.
  • Having Social Standing as a trait was also very interesting.
  • Starship combat was fun
  • Boarding actions were fun

As I matured as a gamer, Traveller (released 1977, now called "Classic Traveller") underwent changes and revisions. When MegaTraveller was released, I was not a big fan because I was very fond of the Traveller universe as it was and it seemed like the price paid for the new rules system in terms of complexity and errata was high; so I stuck with Traveller then shifted to Traveller:2300, which was later renamed to 2300 AD (released 1986). It was closer to Twilight: 2000 than Traveller. I ended up liking 2300 AD as much, if not more, than Traveller. Traveller 4 came out and I bought it mostly to support the game and help it flourish. I did not have a chance to even play it before it faded from view (I was very busy at the time), but the books were (and still are) nice.

Currently, we have Classic Traveller (Far Future Enterprises), GURPS: Traveller, and Traveller20 or T20 (QuikLink Interactive Inc.); they are based upon the original d6 Traveller system; the points-based, 3d6-driven GURPS system; and the D20 system.

Which brings us to now. For my money, I am most intrigued with GURPS: Traveller as I still prefer it over the D20 system. Alas, I have yet to find the time to really test it.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know via my questions/comments form!