This article originally appeared in Issue 005 of the downloadable magazine.
Third Imperium: The Spinward Marches Map Pack. Nick Robinson
The Third Imperium: The Trojan Reaches Map Pack. Various
The Third Imperium: The Gvurrdon Map Pack. Nick Robinson
Mongoose Publishing http://www.mongoosepublishing.com
each 1p, unbound poster (22"x25˝")
Mongoose Publishing has released three (so far) poster-sized maps of sectors that have been developed for their Third Imperium setting. The three maps are generally similar, and thus are all treated together in a single review.
On the Shelf
Maps of sectors are inherently setting specific, and these three maps are all for the "standard" Third Imperium setting. As such, they have the Third Imperium setting logo at the top, the Traveller line logo at the bottom, and a snapshot of part of the sector described in the item in the middle.
On Closer Inspection
It is perhaps misleading to call these map packs, as they each contain only a single map. That map is on slick paper, of a weight that suggests that they will be reasonably durable. The finish is highly glossy, with a black background. Each map has the sector name across the top. Text is generally readable, in white, with selected world names in red. The actual map extends across four-fifths of the unfolded sheet, with the remainder - along the right edge - set aside for the legend. Symbols (for bases and other installations) and border colors for the various polities on each map are color-coordinated, though some of the colors chosen are difficult to see against the black background. The maps generally follow long-established Traveller conventions for the meaning of symbols and the color of the world symbol, but provide little useful information without the associated sector data from other setting volumes.
There are minor errors; for example, several worlds in Subsector P of the Spinward Marches map have had their names omitted entirely.
The actual size of the map hexes is just a bit too small to allow the map to be a reasonable 'board' for a strategic-level wargame.
As standalone products, these are not really a worthwhile purchase; they should really be treated as add-ons to their respective setting books (The Spinward Marches, Alien Module 1: Aslan, and Alien Module 2: Vargr, in order), for which they are suited as astrography overviews. The utility, and to some extent the visual attractiveness, is marred by the choice of colors, the errors, and the size, but not to the point of an active disrecommendation of purchase.