In the mid-90s I was working as a manager of a B. Dalton Bookseller down in Bradenton Florida. How exactly I got there is really beyond me, save to say it had something to do with the no-mans-land that is post college graduation.
Whatever the case, I did have the opportunity to use my 20% employee discount on several gaming products that came across the shelves of my miserably failing mall store. One of these was the Star Wars supplement Platt’s Starport Guide by West End Games.
Now I’ve never played the Star Wars RPG in any form, although I did make a character once, so this purchase might seem strange if not for two reasons. One, I was running and developing a Robotech: After the Apocalypse campaign which needed new content for the ever expanding universe and this book fit that bill perfectly, and Two, I was completely taken by the art.
Art Director Stephen Crane has put together a lovely little book with this piece because he stuck to the premise and delivered more of a traveler’s journal than a static info dump. Platt, the frosty-haired and fiery smuggler leads the reader on a wild adventure through many intriguing and downtrodden ports inside the Star Wars universe, and Crane had the sense to deliver this in the same romanticized process as a British officer’s campaign journal with unfinished and lightly colored sketches. The effect is dramatic, captivating, and simply genius as gaming goes.
Interior artist Chris Gossett, who I just gave mediocre marks to for his Ex Machina cover from 2004 [and isn’t it amazing how small the industry once was? I mean really, pre-2000 you can play three degrees of separation on any given gaming book with ease] has done an inspired job with his work on this book. Platt comes off both heroic, manly, and yet unmistakably sexual in these pages, and his work on the various Star Wars races is stunning.
The only setback to the book comes from the rather drab cover, although it does feature a Corellian YT-1300 transport docked sideways with a larger vessel which is cool for the Star Wars buff. Artists Gabor Szikszai and Zoltan Boros create the piece together, although I’m not sure who was responsible for what inside it. Still, I have to give the work a +.5 rating just for having and artist named Zoltan doing it…. Zoltan! How awesome is that name!?
In all, I adore this little supplement, not on for its gaming application content, but also the art that makes me want to take and illegal shipment of pretty much anything and smuggle it right under the noses of a platoon of storm troppers.
Artistic Rating: 3.5 [out of 5]