on 16 July 2015
Bought this book on a whim and a recommendation, and my only regret was that I hadn't bought it sooner.
I'm going to split this review into two parts, the RPG and one for the book itself .
I'm by far not an experienced reviewer of table top RPGs by far, but I must stress how much I adore running Edge of the Empire. For me it's all in the dice system, the only con being these dice being sold separately which feels a bit nickel and dimey.
But! These dice doesn't only show if you succeeded at a given roll, as there are modifiers on the dice wich can lead to you succeed with a test, but at the same time you rolled a "despair" symbol, meaning something far less than ideal happens to the player even tho they rolled a success.
This makes the system highly flexible and keeps everyone at the table at their toes.
Otherwise there are comprehensive rules for everything from the characters obligations to space combat, all is well written and easily understood.
The book: high quality hardback with durable pages. The text is easy to read and the layout with headlines are broken up with amazing artwork and sidenotes to make an easy but pleasing read.
There is no wall of text anywhere in the book.
I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good system and if you love Star Wars this is a must try!
on 20 April 2016
This review will be addressing Fantasy Flight's Star Wars RPG as a whole. Each setting (book) is such that it is really down to preference which you prefer. I Think they all have their merits. But if I had to choose one, it would “Edge of the Empire”. In the case of all of the settings it is their shared mechanics that I feel matters.
Fantasy Flight Games attempt at a Star Wars RPG is excellent. And I thoroughly enjoy it.
It thankfully focuses on the role-play aspect rather than the mechanical. Making this, well, Star Wars. I don’t need to worry too much about facts and figures, I can focus on what’s important in a setting such as this, the story.
The mechanical side is handled with a set of custom dice that provide a good amount of depth as to whether actions in-game succeed or not. Simple, once you are used to what all the symbols mean, but deep enough. But, not only do they provide mechanical information, they also provide story information, to an extent. They have symbols that can appear on the dice you roll that actually allow for something else to happen related to the action you rolled for. For instance; If you are trying to hack a computer, and you roll an “Advantage” you may find yourself not only succeeding in your hack, but also finding more on the computer that you originally intended. Or perhaps you incidentally deactivate that droid that has been firing at your friends while you were hacking. On the flipside, you could also roll a “Disadvantage”. You hack the computer, but it has a security system that activates more of that droid’s buddies. Who proceed to begin firing upon your friends. There is a whole manner of storytelling possibilities. And it also allows for the player to get involved in the storytelling process
Custom dice. I must admit, the idea did, and still does somewhat, bug me. Especially since you are expected to purchase them separately if you buy the core rulebooks instead of the beginner sets. There is no other way about it, in my mind. It’s a cash grab. You can play using traditional polyhedral dice. Like those used in other RPG’s you are just required to convert the numbers, using a table provided in the core rulebooks. But doing it that way is, frankly, annoying. And you will get to a point where you want the dedicated dice. For one thing they are colour coded, and they have everything set out simply on them. They are also, slightly, thematic looking. The dice are, however, made to cover far more than just successes and failures. So I can somewhat understand the point of having a dedicated dice set.
So, why not buy the beginner set? Right? They come with the dice, you get some nice maps, pre-generated characters, a starting adventure, the works. Problem with that is that it is great for learning the game but you get only enough rules to play using the beginner set. Anything like character creation, or more in-depth descriptions and rules are missing. Unless you are completely new to roleplaying games the set will not teach you much beyond what the new dice mean. Everything else is there to teach players the concept of roleplaying and how to game-master (run a game). One way or another, you will need to buy the core rulebook to play your own adventures/campaigns.
Which brings me to my biggest issue with the games as a whole…
The Star Wars universe is diverse in its set of characters. It has Jedi, Sith (or force sensitives), it has smugglers, soldiers, rogue politicians, bounty hunters, to name but a few. And they were not separate from each other. They fought alongside or against each other. So why are they separate in this RPG? There are three books each detailing the same basic rules on how the game is played, what the dice do, and so on. And then rules for their respective careers. To truly play a Han Solo type character who joins the Rebellion. I need to get two books. “Edge of the Empire” and “Age of Rebellion” Both with pages of similar rules, and only a few to detail rules regarding their focus. Why should I need to buy another book that contains pages of the same rules, just to get the few rules that apply to that setting? Why should anyone? This is not meant to put you off buying them. It’s just a criticism of the way the game has been marketed. If I was a cynical man, I would say it was to just grab a few extra bucks. But I will be fair and say that Fantasy Flight did not do it for that reason. And their intentions were good. There are many possible reasons it was done this way.
A great game system. If you are looking for a roleplaying game set in the Star Wars universe that focuses on roleplay aspects rather than mechanical aspects. This is most definitely the game for you.
Easy to learn, Character creation is done in a way that will make some great characters. All with their own quirks, and backgrounds. This is an RPG that you can spend hours playing. You never really feel burned out playing it. Probably because of the laid back rules system. And, well, its Star Wars.
If you are new to roleplaying games, get a starter set and play through that with some friends. You will get a feel for the game and learn all the skills you need along the way. I know it means more money in the long run, when you decide to buy the full rulebook, but you really don’t want to dive into a 400+ page book for your first experience roleplaying. It can become very confusing. The beginners set will take you through rules step by step. So you never get confused.
If you are someone who has played or does play roleplaying games, then I advise you to get the core rulebook. And the dice. It is costly, I know, but even if you get a beginners set, you will end up spending around about the same amount of money in the end. If you are worried you may not like the game, and don’t want to invest in the dice as well as the book, use normal polyhedral dice for a while until you decide. If you like it, the purpose made dice make life a lot easier. And your game will flow easier too.