On Monday I discussed what the Mongoose Traveller tells us about the "Imperium." Today I will discuss another setting possibility hinted at in the core rules. It advises using the bases present in a system to define the various polities and states that exist in your sector. This method obviously requires the GM to be a bit more flexible with his or her setting design. One doesn't know what it'll look like until everything is generated.
While some might dislike this method, I think it relies on one of Traveller's greatest strengths: random generation. I'm a firm believer in oracular dice, and I've commented before on the fact that Traveller takes full advantage of that aspect of RPGs. In the case of Mongoose Traveller, not only are there systems for random encounters, patrons, and worlds, but even character generation is based on this concept. You build the story of your character by seeing the events he or she goes through throughout their prior career(s), as determined by the dice.
Since this is one of my favorite things about Traveller, I'm very tempted to use it to define my Traveller setting. Still, I do have some reservations. I have a few ideas for the alien and human states in Terran Space, and I would like those to be preserved in the final product. I have not squared this yet with my philosophical preference for random generation, but I'll continue to think it over.
It may ultimately depend on the star map I use. If I use the one that is more concentrated in the upper right, I'll stick to my original plans for the Terran Imperium and its neighbors. If I go with the second one, which was generated a bit more randomly, I'll use the dice to tell me where the borders are.