Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Star Wars The Edge of the Empire

After three play sessions and having incorporated the full rules here are my thoughts from a game masters perspective of the SW:EoE from Fantasy Flight Games.

The book layout is very nice but sometimes particular things are a little hard to find. They also have these grey boxed text areas that contain some important game information (like how to manage a chase) but when I am reading  rules I tend to read the main text and don't look for rules in these aside areas so that took some getting used to. Also the equipment section seems a little weak.

The game mechanics themselves are very easy and if you can't find that particular rule you were looking for it is very easy to make up a ruling on the fly that will work perfectly fine without taking players out of the game. I have played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition which uses a similar dice pool mechanic so I had an idea how it would work. The tweaks they made for SW:EoE make the system streamlined and fast but if you are looking for a system that gives precise measurements on a grid or anything like that this is not the system for you. I have incorporated maps and figures in play and will probably be doing it even more so in the future but you don't need them and I use them to show where the PC's are relative to terrain and other characters not to measure distance(at least not in a precise way). That way the players know exactly what is going on.

The Dice. You play with a set of special dice and pick out the dice to match the ability of the PC performing an action as well as dice that determine the difficulty of the task then you throw in some for situational bonuses or difficulty. Green dice and yellow dice are your skill dice. Green represents your basic ability and then you replace a number of the green with the better yellow dice for your skill level. Purple is the basic difficulty. The more difficult the more purple dice. Sometimes these are replaced by red dice to represent your opponent's skill. Then you can throw in some black dice for negative modifiers like fighting in the dark or blue dice for positive mods like "I have night vision goggles". Once you have this in your hand you roll the dice and look at the symbols. Successes cancel Failures. Threat cancels Advantage. If you have more Success than failure you succeed. And then there may be a good benefit if you have some extra Advantage (you see garbage compactor door you could escape through)or something not so good if you have some left over threat(maybe you cannot contact your droids to stop the compactor). This system is actually very quick to use during play which makes for a smooth running game and also I find that it keeps you in the game, in character, in action because it's fast to do and you are not doing math no matter how easy it may be. Just the statement of saying you have to roll a certain number on a certain type or number of dice tends to break up the narrative just a bit. The problem with the dice mechanic is thinking of the good and bad side effects that come up from the Advantages and Threats. There is a chart of some basic effects to help out. There is also two symbols, one on each of the yellow and red die which means something really good happens(yellow die) or something really bad(red die). These can be fun but can take some creative thought.

If you want to run a Jedi character you are out of luck, you can run a minor force sensitive character but the force won't be filled out till the next core game and probably not a full Jedi till the third core book in a year or so. 

I played the first session using the beginners rules and scenario. The full scenario took us two and a bit sessions and by the second session we had switched to the full rules. Everyone got quite comfortable with the dice mechanic within the first session and I was comfortable enough as the gm by the 3rd session to(hopefully) put more energy into describing the action and environment.

We are continuing the adventure with the online adventure "The Long Arm of the Hutt" and the players are going to convert the pre-generated characters provided with the quick start game to full game rule characters.

The players range from one with only a little rpg experience, two with mostly d20 experience, one with lots of experience but mostly as a gm and one player with extensive knowledge of the Star Wars universe and all seem to be enjoying the game.

So I would say if you like Star Wars(and who doesn't) this is probably worth giving a try, if you like a sci-fi 
you will probably also like this unless you want a hard science game or if you just want a fun and fast game this should hit the mark as well.

As a quick note I got back into the painting mode a bit so bashed out some fantasy figs which I haven't done in a very long time before I switch into continuing painting my 28mm WWII Canadians.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

More Edge of Empire and Some Good Old Games Workshop

My modelling has sort of ground to a halt lately do to a lack of interest but I find the various aspects of the gaming hobby always keep me involved and right now I am not in the model building/painting frame of mind. I have been getting some models on the gaming table though and playing a few games which is always good.

So before I went camping with the family for a week in PEI Tristan and I got in another game of good old Warhammer 40k. This game I pulled out my Space Marines and we fought another 1250pt game. I did do a little painting here in that my Landraider Crusader had been built but never painted so I put on a quick coat of paint so that it at least wouldn't stand out in my army as the one unpainted piece. Let me just say I expect my Orks to consistently fail their army saves but my Space Marines...oh well that's how it rolls I guess.

While camping we played a few short games I brought with me which were  Munchkin by Steve Jackson Games and Once Upon A Time by Atlas Games. These are games the whole family can play including my (almost) 5yr old(with help). I think he may be a rpg enthusiast as he really likes the story telling games like Once Upon A Time or just the old around the campfire taking turns telling a story game. I also brought Gloom but we didn't get time to play.

Tristan and I are preparing a game of Warhammer Fantasy now. This will be another 1250pt battle and we have played the latest edition before but not in quite a long time.

I ran the second session of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire and have pretty much integrated the full rules into play now. We finished off the basic scenario that came in the beginners box and started the downloadable adventure from FFG. The core rules are pretty fast which makes the game fast to play allowing more time for role playing so now I have to polish off my understanding of some of the more common rules like starship combat, healing and repairing so I can concentrate on role playing the NPC's. I have to say that as of right now I really like the system but the equipment section is a little sparse but has enough to get through. I am hoping that this will be expanded on fairly soon.  

I also started to run a game of Dragon Age RPG be Green Ronin for my son Tristan and Michelle. This system is very easy to get into. I started them off with the free Quick Start adventure and will be finishing it up the next session and starting the adventure that comes with Set 1. I am not sure how this game will run in the long term and it seems hard to track down the second set that takes the PC's to level 10 and I assume fills in some more details. I had wanted to pick up the set before I started to run it but could not find it.

My 1250 pts of Space Marines. My Crusader just has a base coat of paint.

The battlefield.

The enemy, IG perhaps unwittingly tainted by chaos.

The setup, Vanguard Strike. The mission, Purge the Alien.

The units close. The Predator and Leman Russ exchanged inconclusive fire for a number of turns.

Still early in the game. The IG holding their positions and waiting for me to close.

My Crusader and Terminators enter play. The Terminators did some damage but were taken out by the IG gun line.My Space Marines engaged the IG infantry but after failing 4 out of 5 armor saves in 1 round I could see the writing on the wall. So my Company commander issued a challenge to try to redeem some glory. he failed to hit once and then failed all his armor saves and was pounded into dust. My SM must have got a hold of some Stormtrooper armor from Star Wars! The game ended in a 7-3 loss.