Mongoose Traveller - Agent
Firstly, airlocks, and lots of 'em!
Don't worry, there's only 3 spacecraft, but I'm pleased they have enough airlocks to function properly.
Agent is comparatively slender to the other profession books, but without pages of deckplans, this is packed with useful info and mechanics, just as Psion was, but more relevant to every day play, and the OTU.
7 careers, with new skill-like factors: Trust (as in how much trust the agent has with their agency), Networks (as an organisation rather than individual contacts), and Cover (as in developed aliases). These are acquired like skills, on the skill tables, in mustering out, and from Events.
Due to these taking up skill slot opportunities, Agent characters might tend to end up with less skill levels than other careers, which is a little odd for such elite career types. Covers do allow for skills to be gained from other non-Agent careers, but only if it is rolled as the first skill roll, not as for advancement (which serves to increase the cover's strength). Survival rolls are quite high, but this is balanced by a good portion of the mishaps allowing for the character to remain in the career.
There's a chapter on agencies, giving an overview of the MoJ, local police, corporate operations, and religious fanatics/zealots. There's a bunch of special actions for each one related to the Trust 'skill'. I guess these are exemplars. Note: no mention of SolSec (which for me is good, as there's nothing to contradict all the stuff I've written for my campaign).
Law Levels are broken down into the areas already seen in TMB. It is not explicitly stated, but I think the implication is that the sub categories are not meant to be exactly the same as the main Law Level.
There's several chapters detailing the processes and skill chains associated with investigations, espionage, hacking (hackers are like a 'prestige' class, with qualification based on skillset, and have special actions only they can do), corporate conflicts, and bounty hunting, with tables to aid generating missions. Like the in Mercenary, these are laid out so that players can conduct assignments quickly in downtime using a few skill rolls, but they become a toolset to help refs design the mechanical parameters of scenarios.
Then there's some new agent oriented equipment.
In terms of production, it is well written by messers Steele and Hanrahan, well laid out, with nice, B/W line art for the most part. Like Psion, it lacks the production hiccups seen in Merc and (less so) HG, so it looks like this issue may be solved.
I've only had a chance for one read through, but so far I think I will find this incredibly useful. But then I am running an agent/scoundrel game right now (unfortunately the next session will probably be before I get my hands on Scoundrel), so this has most of what I'm looking for. However, considering how most Traveller games will involve some kind of investigation and most probably law enforcement, I think all refs could find this book very useful. Along with the mission generators of other books, MGT is getting a powerful set of tools for structuring adventures.
If I had any nitpicks...
There's no specific career for a covert courier type (even though this occupation is touched upon here and there in the fluff), but hey, that's what CB3 is for! Wink
While surveillance is covered in the Espionage chapter, I would have preferred more detail in actually how to go about conducting high-tech surveillance operations. There's not a great deal of surveillance kit either, just a camera. Where's all the bugs and bug sensors, or the rules for bodging makeshift snooping devices out of personal coms (a la Burn Notice)? Not a major gripe, and perhaps the CSC will fill in some of the gaps? Leaves room for a third party supplement detailing sensors of all types and how to use and fool them...
Overall, I'd give this an A-. It's the first MGT book that really treads new ground from previous editions, and the text is logical, clear, and sometimes insightful. It lacks the production issues of some previous books, and there is something useful and interesting on every page. I'm looking forward to hitting my players with nausea batons; should make quite a mess .....