Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Review: Ultra-Tech Print-On-Demand

My preference for RPG books is always PDFs – I use a laptop when GMing anyway, since I like keeping notes, files and information on a computer because the structuring feels more logical to me. I find PDFs easier to navigate through than books, thanks to instant page-jumping and text search, so all of my GURPS collection is digital.

Until now! In preparation for my upcoming game, I bought hard copies of GURPS Basic Set Characters, GURPS Basic Set Campaigns and GURPS Ultra-Tech, the main books I'll need at the table. I bought them from Amazon UK and the copy of Ultra-Tech seems to have been print-on-demand, so I'll do a quick review of it!

I didn't actually realise the book was print-on-demand until I got to the cart. The clue was that it was going to take two days to get to me (even with Amazon Prime) because "this item requires additional processing time". I was slightly surprised when it came and it was in black and white, but after I double-checked the description on the webpage (which I didn't read before!) it does say it was supposed to be black and white.

This version is softcover and the pages have a more papery-feel than the normal glossy ones. The printing is good quality but black and white definitely takes away from the pictures somewhat. That said, GURPS art has always been a little questionable up until recently, so maybe that's not a huge problem. I'd say the biggest inconvenience black and white gives is the loss of the colour-coded page trims for each chapter. I've used a friend's full-colour copy of Ultra-Tech before and it really helps when trying to turn to specific chapters.

I actually really like the softcover, which isn't very common for RPGs. The bibliophile in me isn't afraid of actually opening this book, since the flexible covers mean the spine won't crease as easily. (I've yet to open either of the Basic Set books more than about 30°...) The only downside is that the covers might get a bit dog-eared but... eh, it happens.

But the best part is that this printing has been updated for all the errata! I wondered this when I saw it was black and white, and checked the two errata I always remember: that laser pistols should have 66 shots not 33, and that electrostun wands should have a (0.5) divisor not (2). Sure enough, they were fixed, and I cross-checked the most up-to-date errata to check it all out. Everything's been fixed, but one new error has been introduced: the dinosaur rainbow laser (p. 117) has a weight of 9/Dp when it should be 19!

According to the back cover, this is a November 2016 printing. This means that the back page has an advert for the standalone Dungeon Fantasy game, "coming 2017". No need to convince me, I already backed it!

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