Category Archives: FFG’s Star Wars

What Am I Playing Right Now?

Since my GM hiatus started back in June 2017, I used the opportunity to play in as many games as possible. For a very long time I was basically the go-to GM for many of my friends, but I didn’t get to play as often as I liked. Being the GM is fun, and it’s something very dear to me, BUT sometimes you just need to stay on the other side of the GM’s screen for a while. So, what games have I been playing during these almost 12 months?

Mutant Year Zero & Gen Lab Alpha
my0If you’ve followed this blog for a while you know that I am a fan of post-apocalyptic settings in general and the Mutant games by Free League in particular. Mutant Year Zero is definitely one of the most exciting and immersive games I’ve played so far. Since I am playing one of the bosses in our Ark (which is a derelict aircraft carrier), the game is sometimes pretty political. My character, Washington,  is an idealist, trying to build a new civilization on the ruins of the past. He strongly believes in compassion, reason, and justice. In a way he sometimes feels like an anachronism. I have to admit that Washington shares a lot with myself, aside from the fact that I don’t have the Mind Terror mutation in real life. Zwinkerndes Smiley

MY0 has all the elements I love: drama, politics, intrigue, exploration. Matthias, our GM, is also doing an awesome job running the game. He even manages what usually fails spectacular: while he’s running the game, he also plays his own player character. This is usually a recipe for disaster, but in Matthias’ case it works great.

I’ve already wrote about our Genlab Alpha game in my review of the core rules, so I will skip it here.

Shadowrun 3rd Edition
This is a game I’ve been playing for years now. And even though I think that the rules are a mess, the game itself can be a lot of fun. Planning runs, trying to get to our goals without even raising an alarm is a lot of fun, and sometimes we even managed to have some flawlessly executed heists. But usually things go terribly wrong and everything ends in a messy fight. Since we usually ignore some of the more tedious rules  (like bioware stress etc.), our characters got very powerful, very quickly. While some games might break down with characters that powerful, our GM just raises the stakes a bit. Our Shadowrun campaign is over-the-top and great fun, but all good things must end eventually, so we decided our current adventure will be the last. We’re dealing with dragons and their machinations this time, which is IMHO very fitting for our last bow.

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Some Thoughts on FFG’S Star Wars RPG

Yesterday I wrote about West End Games’ venerable Star Wars The Roleplaying Game, today I want to muse about the current incarnation of Star Wars in roleplaying form. Recently I finally had the chance to play Fantasy Flight Games’ Edge of the Empire game and I have to admit I was very positively surprised.

Usually I am not fond of roleplaying games using custom dice, but if there’s one thing Fantasy Flight Games is good at, then it’s creating cool dice mechanics. FFG’s series of Star Wars roleplaying games uses various polyhedral dice with symbols that denote successes, failures, complications, etc. At first reading the dice is a bit fiddly, but after a while it becomes second nature. What I really like about the dice mechanic is that it provides GMs and players with a lot of space for interpretations. If you’re creative you can get a lot out of your dice rolls, which then leads to very cool Star Wars moments.

The dice mechanic is definitely one of the game’s highlights but I also love the character creation process. After picking species and class you get a couple of free skill ranks. After that you can improve your character with a number of experience points granted to you during character creation. The costs for buying new talents, improving skill ranks and attributes are the same as when you advance your character later in game. A lot of games have different systems for buying abilities during character creation and through experience, so this just feels … elegant.

I think I have written about my opinion on the physical product, the core rulebook for Edge of the Empire, already, but if not, let me share a few thoughts. As with most FFG products the core rulebook is a very well produced hardcover book with outstanding artwork. It’s quite expensivve, but you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. That being said I am not too happy with this whole “a core rulebook for every setting” scheme. Aside from Edge of the Empire which is basically Han Solo The Roleplaying Game, there are the Age of Rebellion, Force and Destiny, and the upcoming Force Awakens Roleplaying Game lines. So basically every Star Wars sub-setting gets a complete line of products which are 100% compatible. The core rulebooks are perhaps not total copy-and-paste jobs, but a lot of the material is redundant. They’ve used this scheme with their Warhammer 40K RPGs as well and I didn’t like it there either. From a business perspective it makes a lot of sense though.

So if you are a collector of all things Star Wars you can sink a lot of dough into the Star Wars RPG lines. Up to this point there are already countless source books for all existing lines and I am pretty sure FFG will produce many more as long as they are holding the license.

One last thing: can FFG’s Star Wars RPG replace the West End Games one as my go-to Star Wars roleplaying game? Hmm, that’s a tough one. I think it depends a lot on the target audience. Your regular grognard is probably more than happy with the old WEG game. But especially if you’re running a game for kids, or people who are usually not into RPGs, I recommend FFG’s game. For some reason it feels more vibrant, more flashy. Since it’s also currently in print it’s also the easier choice. But you should keep in mind that if you want the full Star Wars experience you’ll need to buy all the core rulebooks, which are quite expensive.

So what are you’re thought on the subject? Please share your comments below!