The Alpha Quadrant may feel like our own back yard (Sol, our own solar system, is located here), but there's plenty going on, as the Introduction suggests. It takes the form of the commander of DS9 (presumably Sisko given the timeline of events they are talking about) welcoming a new starship captain into the area. The Klingons are spoiling for a fight, the Cardassians have just managed to root out Changling infiltration... and the crying need is for more knowledge about what the Dominion and the Changelinga actually want. This introduction takes the timeline forward to 2372 (the default for the core game is 2371), and there's some information about what's going on to help you get sorted. It builds on what has been presented on TV, moving everything forwards. There are also notes for those wishing to play in earlier eras - perhaps making first contact with some of the species familiar to Starfleet crews in later eras, or you can scrap with Klingons, Romulans and Cardassians in a series of border skirmishes or encounters with their exploratory missions.
Whilst DS9 continues to be pivotal, there's a chance to look at various species to be found here and their interrelations. The Bajorans (with their spiruality), the Cardassians, the Betazoids and the Ferengi feature large. These are all discussed in Chaper 2: The Alpha Quadrant which is the largest part of the book, and includes deatails of worlds and cultures that may be encountered as well as bringing recent history into focus.
Chapter 3: Species of the Alpha Quadrant presents new playable species as well as expanding on some from the core rulebook. These rules can, of course, also be used to create NPCs for them to meet. Fancy playing a Ferengi? Here you get all the necessary systems information to go along with material such as the Rules of Acquisition, which are discussed at length in the previous chapter.
Next, Chapter 4: Starships of the Alpha Quadrant presents ten new starships belonging to the Cardassians, the Ferengi, Breen, Tellarites, and the Tholians. All the detail you'll need, both descriptive and in terms of game mechanics, to have them make an appearance in your game.
Finally, Chapter 5: Encounters and Adversaries explores typical encounters for a starship travelling in this region of space, complete with sample NPCs and other material to make it all spring to vivid life.
The whole work reeks of atmosphere with snippets from documents, news reports, intercepted transmissions and interviews scattered around descriptions of places and organisations that the party might meet during a visit. Cultures and beliefs, areas of expertise, the history of assorted civilisations, there is plenty to read. It's a very busy quadrant with a lot going on, it is unlikely that visitors will get bored!
Return to Alpha Quadrant Sourcebook page.
Reviewed: 12 March 2020