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CT-G03-Traveller- Azhanti High Lightning $19.99
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CT-G03-Traveller- Azhanti High Lightning
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CT-G03-Traveller- Azhanti High Lightning
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/08/2022 01:23:21

Originally posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/2022/05/review-retrospective-traveller-board.html

I can't really talk about Traveller without mentioning my history with the game, or more to the point, my non-existent history with at least one aspect of the game. The Traveller Boardgames.

I remember reading ads for Traveller in Dragon and White Dwarf Magazines and among the RPG books and very cool looking minis, there were the board games. I remember reading about Azhanti High Lightning in particular. This was a board game and yet it could be used WITH the Traveller RPG. It even included material that could be added to your Traveller RPG OR played completely on its own. Then imagine my surprise that this was not the only one.

Long-time readers will know this was the start of something I call my "Traveller Envy." Even then in the early 80s, I was blown away by the amount of material for this game. RPGs, Boardgames, starship minis. It was enough to make a die-hard D&D player like me jealous. Sure, I had Dungeon! but that is not quite the same is it?

Sadly, and long-time readers know this too, I never got the chance to play any of them.

Fast forward to, well, last week. I picked up three of the board games from DriveThruRPG. These are PDFs, but they are, as far as I can tell, complete. They are PDFs though.

I want to review them, but I really have no context for them save they are, to me, worth everything I paid. Honestly just to see what they are all about was worth it even if I never get to play them.

General Overview

I picked up three games, Imperium, Mayday, and Azhanti High Lightning. All three share similarities. There is s set of printed rules that are easy to read. There is a board game that really doubles as an awesome map. And there are counters. If anything is the weakest link here it is the counters. I have, with other games, tried printing and gluing to cardstock (gotta wait for the ink to dry), but that is time-consuming. I have been considering a completely futuristic plan. I would use my HDMI projector to project down on a table and use 3D printed starships. I have found a few online and I am 100% certain there are more. It would be far more time-consuming than laser printing and gluing, but it would be 1000x so much cooler. Thankfully the ships would not need to be huge so I could do a few at a time. I wouldn't even need to spend a lot of time painting them, just a solid color the same as the counter.

Azhanti High Lightning (1980)

This is where it all began for me. Well. At least my Traveller Envy began here. This is Traveller Boardgame 3 and it is a companion to the S05 Supplement Lightning Class Cruiser.

This game is personal combat on a starship. This PDF package includes 3 PDFs. The first is the complete game of 118 pages. This includes 40 pages of rules which includes six different sorts of "Incidents" (read Scenarios). The next section (40+ pages) of this PDF is S05 Supplement Lightning Class Cruiser. So if you are looking for this supplement for Classic Traveller, then here it is.

The next 16 or so pages include the counters and the deck plans for the Azhanti. Again these counters are good, but I would like to use minis or something like that.

I have been told this game is a lot of fun. I'll have to endeavor to get it all printed out into a playable shape.


It is hard to give these a proper review since the only proper proof is playing them. One day maybe, but for now I can honestly say my curiosity has been satisfied.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
CT-G03-Traveller- Azhanti High Lightning
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by James T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/22/2014 22:46:59

Rated medium for use in recreating the game.

The rules are very well done, scanned with OCR and clear and easy to read. This also applies to the accompanying supplement. However the deck plans in the supplement have been replaced by what appears to be recreated versions done in something similar to MSPaint. These are very harsh colour-wise and do not have the identifying numbers to match the text descriptions. This actually makes it impossible to play the included scenarios as working out the starting placement is a matter of guesswork.

There is an accompanying file of the deck plans, again missing the identification numbers.

The counters are generally fine for play, a little blurry but mostly usable. The main exception are the black on red Zhodani counters. The identification numbers are impossible to read and the icons are very blurry.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
CT-G03-Traveller- Azhanti High Lightning
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by Andrew P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/06/2013 13:29:19

OK - Overall, I think this product is very well done. The quality of the source materials is excellent, the color makes the deck plans for the most part clear, and the quality of the digitization is excellent with a notable oversight below. The ship is well thought out, the class history is interesting, the information overall is practically presented for GM and players alike

Buyers should beware however of two things which reduce the utility of this otherwise great product.

  1. None of the files associated with this package actually contain a side view of the ship, an external view of the ship, or even the gorgeous box cover painting. This is not just a shame from an eye candy perspective. It makes interpreting the deck plans much harder as none of the otherwise excellent plans contain a profile view of the cruiser itself. The buyer should know that the AHL class is presented as having 80 plus decks, but the cruisers used a modular construction and the decks are presented on 14 pages of plans and heavily reused. Decks using the same plan are not all stacked together either: they may alternate with other modular deck types. A plan view or external views would have made it easier to associate the deck plans with the exterior of the ship: useful for visualizing out how they are arranged and how they fit together in boarding actions for instance.

  2. The enclosed supplement describing the cruiser (in a fair amount of detail) includes numbered short descriptions of spaces and key features on each deck...but nowhere do the drawings have the numbers associated with the callouts on them. The original maps did include the numerical callouts on them and they are all imaged at various places on the internet (Boardgame Geek for one). For the most part this is not a difficulty and a GM will be able to define what they think each thing is supposed to be on the drawings. But it is very troublesome in some areas like the main bridge because the designer's intent isn't always clear without the callouts. There are 35 stations on the bridge which the designer has lovingingly annotated for us in the deck notes for the bridge. But there's no way that I can see in these data files to know which of the labels goes with each seat on the deck plan. This is a pretty serious oversight for a GM who wants to use the ship as a fixture in their campaign and a pretty serious oversight on the part of the people who scanned the product.

Overall, I heartily endorse the product (especially at this price point) but buyers looking to use the ship in detail should not be surprised (as I was) when they'll have to work out some pretty basic material for themselves.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
CT-G03-Traveller- Azhanti High Lightning
Publisher: Game Designers' Workshop (GDW)
by john k. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/08/2013 14:42:44

Great job, even of you don't play traveler, it a super setting for any hard scifi campaign

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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