Do you feel the siren call of the unexplored territory on the far side of the wormhole beside DS9? Come, let us explore what lies herein. But: there's a war on! The timeline has been pushed forwards from the core game's default of 2371 to 2374 and the war with the Dominion is at its height. The map is peppered with notations about past battles, skirmishes and single-ship actions, and there is no end in sight. So this is as suitable for those who enjoy combat and intelligence gathering as it is for those who like to explore new worlds just to expand knowledge. Being Starfleet, you'll likely end up doing both, and more.
Chapter 1: Introduction sets the scene with information on the progress of the war to date and how virtually everyone in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants has been caught up in it to a greater or lesser extent. There are also notes for those who want to run games set in earlier eras... although unless the party's ship falls through the wormhole it's unlikely that they'll get to the Gamma Quadrant or even meet any species from there.
The core of the book is Chapter 2: The Gamma Quadrant. With an opening quote from Quark, we dive into a discussion of the Dominion and what they are actually up to... and why. Actually figuring this out could make for an interesting game, so GMs might wish to keep their players out of this book and encourage their characters to investigate for themselves. Numerous nations make up the Dominion, and there's a listing of many which might be encountered. This is followed by a survey of worlds that exist under Dominion sway. It's not ALL the Dominion out there, there are other species and planets - some allied and some in opposition to the Dominion - and the next section deals with them. This chapter ends with a detailed account of the war with the Dominion to date and its current state.
Next, Chapter 3: Species of the Gamma Quadrant gets up close and personal with many of the myriad species mentioned in the preceeding chapter. The details here will enable you to play (or NPC) some of the new species that are to be met in the Gamma Quadrant. As it's unlikely that they will have had an opportunity to enlist in Starfleet prior to the start of your game there are notes about running such characters and weaving them into a game that, by its very essence, is built around serving Stafleet officers.
This is followed by Chapter 4: Starships of the Gamma Quadrant, which come divided into Dominion Starships and Starships of the Dominion War. The Dominion ones are designed for war, and many of the others serve in that capacity whatever their original design intended. Lots of stat blocks and tactical details here.
Chapter 5: Encounters and Adversaries presents ideas and plot seeds both for exploration of the Gamma Quadrant and for games set on the front line of battle. The distinction may be blurred, war doesn't often ask you if you want to play. Here we learn a bit about the wormhole itself and about the beings the Bajorans call the Prophets... and their mysterious Orbs. There are several encounter seeds, complete with appropriate major and minor NPCs; and lots of ideas for running a campaign based around the Dominion War itself. It's not just brawling, though, there are opportunities for behind-the-lines missions and outright espionage as well... even politics and diplomacy if you are so inclined.
In some ways, this supplement takes your game where Star Trek has not gone before. Warfare has never been a major part of what Star Trek is all about, no matter that every Starfleet vessel can - and does - wield considerable force when needed. This work presents an area of space that is definitely on a war footing, which may not suit everybody. However there is enough going on that many styles of play can be accommodated, so don't write it off as pure combat if that isn't the sort of game you prefer.
Return to Gamma Quadrant Sourcebook page.
Reviewed: 13 March 2020