Having purchased and played many of Fantasy Flight Games top quality board games, I couldn't resist taking a closer look at their collaborations with Games Workshop. I've been a long-time fan of the Warhammer 40k line of games and have even begun delving into some of novels set in that fictional universe.
Rogue Trader does not disappoint in the looks department. The same exacting standards that make Fantasy Flight's board games a hit are all present here. The art is superb, the layout and organization of the book is great, and the overall quality of the binding and paper is way above average.
Character generation is fairly quick and on our first run through, me and my group found we had a decent handle on most of the rules pretty might right away. The core resolution mechanic is a percentile system that has the players try to roll under their score in a given stat to complete a given task. Many situational modifiers can come into play, especially during combat. Anyone coming from a D&D background will find that combat works and feels very different. After only playing through a few short encounters to get our feet wet, I can say that I'm a fan of the pacing and mechanic though I'm still somewhat unsure about how well the system will scale to different levels of play. Starship construction and combat rules along with "mass combat" rules are included as well.
Fans of the 40k universe will find no shortage of detailed setting information in some of the later chapters of the book. Rogue Trader definitely offers a unique glimpse into the lifestyles of some of the denizens of the 41st millennium - all well written and clearly presented.
Because the game presents game-masters and players with so many varied ways to enjoy the game, it's a safe bet that role players and fans of the 40k universe will all get something valuable out of this book.