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Friday 20 July 2018

RPGPundit Reviews: Alpha Blue: Battle Star Trek Wars

This is a review of "Battle Star Trek Wars", a sourcebook for Alpha Blue by Venger Satanis, who is obviously increasingly unconcerned with blatant name-dropping/parody.  The book is published by Kortthalis Publishing. It's a softcover, about 70 pages long, with a full-color cover featuring some spaceships flying past a planet, the ships look vaguely reminiscent of the original Battlestar Galactica. 

The interior is full-color, with magnificent glossy pages that are beautiful to both sight and touch. In terms of production values, this is a very high-quality book (we'll see in the process of this review whether the content comes close to matching up). The interior art is a mix of color and b&w, featuring mainly spaceships, weird aliens (often with tentacles) and (most of all) sexy women in suggestive poses (some of them featuring full nudity) that would make the Tracy Hurleys of the world go apeshit.

Before proceeding, I should note something: I have nothing to do with the production of this game nor do I have any kind of publishing relationship with Venger, but he is one of my co-hosts on Inappropriate Characters, my talk show about (mostly controversial) subjects in the D&D and RPG hobby.  I sincerely don't think that this relationship will affect my ability to provide a clear and critical review, but I wanted to make sure it was stated so that there wouldn't be any questions of transparency.

The book is introduced as quite possibly the last Alpha Blue sourcebook, which makes sense I suppose as Venger has done quite a lot of them now, and I guess he might be getting ready to move on to other things. There's only so much comedic smut even he could produce, though he's sure determined to give it one last stab at milking this genre for all its worth.

The first 8 pages of the book are eaten up by the introduction and then some in-setting short fiction, which is as bad as almost all in-setting short fiction in RPG products.

From there we get into the material, which is as usual a mishmash of stuff in more or less random order as far as I can tell.
First off we get a name change, from dungeon master to Bold Dungeon Space Master, just so that you can abbreviate it as BDSM.

Second, we have a method of creating characters by asking seven key questions (about who the character is and what they do). The ultra-simple (and, as I've covered before, non-OSR) system of Alpha Blue would then have a PC roll 1d6 for any attempt to do something that isn't covered by their answers to those questions, or 2d6 for anything that can fall under those categories.

Then there's an optional rule that involves determining damage based on your attack roll rather than a separate damage roll.

After that, some advice on social situations in the game, and then a mechanic for shortening combat by having a random table roll to resolve any combat that gets too long.

Suddenly, we switch to a random table about what happens when an alien you're having sex with has an orgasm. And a random table to determine what type of underwear a female lover is wearing, and the condition of said underwear, and her 'vaginal area'.  Yes, I'm serious.

Then a description of an encounter with a 'slut bot'.

After that we suddenly switch back out of Pervert Mode, and have a table for "how to start an Alpha Blue adventure", a table for what an NPC will want in exchange for information/favors, and a random table of exotic weapons.

Suddenly, we switch back to a supposedly popular game in the galaxy involving getting other people of the same sex as you to see your junk.

Then back to a random table of communications your comms pick up. And a lengthy random table of 100 random NPCs you might meet in the campaign, each comes with a short paragraph's worth of description.

At this point we're about halfway through the book. The next thing we get is another large random table of Alpha Blue Loot. Followed by a small table of "reasons why she says no", a table to determine how "pussy whipped" you are, a table for "recovery time" after sex, and a description of an Alpha Blue crypto-currency called MeowMeowBeanz.

Then we get to an adventure scenario called "I Wear my Heart on my Sleaze". It involves a party where the PCs have to get laid within 3 hours or they'll die. It also involves a weird alien bio-condom, some "bi-sexual nymphomaniacs", and a pickpocket. It's 5 pages long.

The next adventure scenario is called "Emergency Escape Sequence Delta Cream". It has the PCs getting involved in a fight to save a rebel moon from the Federation.  It is a much more traditional adventure, and it's 4 pages long.

After this we get a 9-page long scenario called "Outer Rim Jobs of Ta'andor". It's an incredibly ridiculous adventure involving a truly wacky job for the PCs. There's a singing contest and an evil psychic orange.

The last scenario is "Panty Raid on Palyrus 5".  It's a 5-page scenario, set in a system full of University Planets. Each of the 5 planets is focused on a different set of disciplines, and Palyrus 5 is the one that focuses on Women's Studies. And there's a hot market for panties raided from that world. Yes, it is basically a dangerous mission to steal panties.

So, as usual with Venger's Alpha Blue books, the end result is a mixed bag of stuff.  If you are a tried and true Alpha Blue fan, you'll probably like this product.
If you aren't, you will really want to read up on Alpha Blue first.

As far as using material from here in other games or settings, the good news is that there's hardly any actual rules material here. It's almost all descriptive and setting. So in theory, you could take the stuff in Battle Star: Trek Wars and put it in whatever sci-fi system you're running. Of course, it would absolutely have to be gonzo.  If you were to use all of the stuff in here it would also have to be extremely smutty.

There are redeeming elements in the product: almost all the material that isn't explicit could certainly be transferred to an appropriately sci-fi gonzo setting and work, there's certainly tables that would require little to no 'cleaning up' if you didn't want your game to highly sex-oriented.

Personally, I still can't quite get that there's a ton of people that really want the sort of sex-focused comedy sci-fi that Alpha Blue offers. But the fact is I know that there is, because the material was crowdfunded.

Anyways, before I devolve into rambling, I'll say that it's likely that I might use a table or two from this book in my Gonzo Scifi/Fantasy DCC campaign. So I guess that's a kind of mild endorsement. I don't think I'd be buying this book myself.

I also have to say I'm amazed that with the type of (admittedly 'brave' in the sense of being intentionally offensive) material that Venger writes, he's not far more censored than James Desboroughs, whose material looks outright tame in comparison. Machinations of the Space Princess is a freaking disney movie compared to this.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Classic Series Rhodesian + C&D's Crowley's Best


  1. "Machinations of the Space Princess is a freaking disney movie compared to this."

    Hahaha! I think that means I won...