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I've been a big Star Wars fan from the very beginning, stuck with it through the prequels and even love Jar Jar Binks. I started playing the WEG D6 Star Wars and stuck with d6 for 20+ years with just a few forays into D20 and Saga. So needless to say I was very excited to hear that FFG were bringing out a new Star Wars RPG, albeit with a little trepidation that the system was similar to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (3rd Edition), a system I have mixed feelings about.

STAR WARS
Edge of the Empire
Beginner Game


IMPORTANT: This is a Beginner Game. This is an introduction into role-playing box set, a teaser for the full game that is to come, with just basic rules and no character creation. As such I'm going to review this on what it is.

Whats in the Box

Read This first
Rulebook
4 Characters folios
Adventure book
Star Wars Dice
Character counters
Map
FFG Flyer

The Box
Beautiful artwork that immediately generates a Star Wars atmosphere. However, the box is mainly full of air and is very flimsy. You won't be re-using this too long before it falls apart. It's pretty packaging and sadly not a place for storing your books for constant use.

Read This first
This is just a four page booklet giving examples of how to role-play. Veterans can pretty much ignore this, it's the usual Dave says this, Beth says that, you get at the front of most RPG books. What you will need though is the back page which gives the opening scrawl to the adventure.

The Rulebook
This is a 48 page softback book with everything you need to get started. Good quality full colour paper with great artwork.
The layout is pretty straight forward with Chapters on Playing the Game, Combat, Skills, Talents, Gear & Equipment, Starships & Vehicles and Adversaries.
The instruction is pretty clear. There are a few examples of play which help understand the rules and it has that all important Index at the back. I did find myself flicking back and fourth through the book during play. A couple of times the rule I was looking for was not obvious, but it still didn't take long to find in such a condensed booklet.
Generally the book is nice and easy to read and easy to understand.

4 Character folios
These are the sample characters to use in this game - note: two more characters are available to download from the FFG web page.
Each folio is eight pages, if you count the cover. Each is full colour and like the Rulebook is excellently illustrated. The folios contain information for new players on understanding the Character Sheet, which is in the folio, and explains the use of the custom Star Wars Dice. The folio includes two character sheets for each character, the starting profile and an advanced profile for when they gain experience. The back of each folio gives a brief background on the character.

These folios are certainly great for new players but even my old school players who have role-played for 25+ years loved the folios and there was no arguing over characters. Each character has his/her role, Human Smuggler, Wookiee Hired Gun, Female Twi'lek Bounty Hunter and Droid Colonist. So a thumbs up for the characters folios.

Adventure book
The included adventure is very much a beginner adventure and written in a way so as to gradually introduce the players to the rules of the game. For both Players and GM this was very useful. The adventure itself is very linear but is good for learning the system, but being a long time GM I managed to flesh it out a bit with GM trickery such as playing the Cantina music and including extra encounters. The book itself is 32 pages in the same full colour and has many boxes explaining rules or giving suggestions on what the characters might do. There is scope for added role-playing beyond the scope of the adventure should the characters decide to explore Mos Shutta more, so GMs be prepared for a little off-the-cuff improvisation.
Overall as a starter adventure which is probably planned for a single evenings play it is pretty good, immediately immersing the players into the Star Wars universe.

Star Wars Dice
Those of you familiar with WFRP3 will recognise the unique dice system of FFG. The use of this dice can give mixed feelings. Cool, something gimmicky, or that sucks that I have to buy their dice too. Personally I like the dice, although you don't get a great many in the Beginner Game and I know that I will personally buy several packs of dice when released which will bump up the price of the game. I'll go over the use of the dice in gameplay.


Character counters
These card counters will again be familiar to players of WFRP3. I'll be honest, I have not even opened them (I have more than enough Star Wars Minis). But there are enough counters to represent everything the group may need in the starter adventure including counters for Teemo the Hutt, mynocks, Stormtroopers, starships and even a Rancor. The counters are double-sided on sturdy card. There are also counters for Destiny Points, again I'll come to them later.
So while not something I will personally use they are a nice addition to the box set and I wouldn't complain if they are included in later supplements.


Map
I love maps, especially Star Wars maps, and this doesn't disappoint. Full colour double-sided map for use in the enclosed adventure. One side has a floor plan for the Krayt Fang, a YT-1300 Freighter, the same model as the Millennium Falcon. The other side is a floor plan of the Cantina and a map of the town of Mos Shutta. My only minor quibble with the map is that it is folded the wrong way for using the cantina or town plan, I ended up folding it back on itself.

FFG Flyer
Okay, not a real bit of box contents, but it does direct you to the FFG website where you can download the follow on adventure Long Arm of the Hutt. As minor an inclusion this is it's nice to see FFG supporting Star Wars on their website.


Gameplay
Jedi & Sith be warned, this game is for Smugglers & Rogues, The Force is not covered in the starter game. But the smuggler and rogues have a good time of it.
A lot of the mechanics of the game are based around the custom dice. The various dice are the Ability die, Proficiency die, Difficulty die, challenge die, Boost die, Setback die and Force die. For now the only use of the Force die is generating Destiny Points. There are various symbols on the dice; Success, Triumph, Advantage, Failure, Despair, Threat.
I'm not going into too much detail, but the system works by the GM assigning a number of Difficulty dice, these may include the Challenge and Setback dice. The Player gets to roll his Ability, Proficiency and Boost dice. The aim is to get more successes than failures, the number of successes is not generally important except for Medicine and Combat (inflicting bonus damage). Certain symbols cancel others. We found the whole group very much liking the Advantage & Threats, this is a story-telling mechanic. This again is going to be a contentious issue with some role-players feeling they don't need a mechanic to tell a story. The flip side of that are the gamers who want to play a game as much as they want to role-play. For those gamers the Advantages and Threats can be a treat. They basically give the GM a nudge to add some flavour to a scene, weather it's good or bad for the characters depends on the dice.

While I've not played enough of Star Wars EotE yet, my gripe with the dice system in WFRP3 is that defending yourself was very difficult. If you dodged or parried you just got to give the enemy a single Setback die, which wasn't much of a challenge for a high skilled opponent. A little more play with Star Wars will see if this suffers from the same problem.

The final mechanic I want to mention are Destiny Points. Each session the players generate a pool of Destiny Points, Light or Dark, tokens are supplied amongst the counters. Players get to spend Light Side Destiny Points to boost their dice for the next roll. After their roll the token is flipped becoming a Dark Side Destiny Point. The GM can now use the Dark Side Destiny Points to boost his Non-Player-Character or increase difficulties for the player-characters, after which the token flips to being a Light Side token. The balance of the Force kept between Light and Dark. Personally I think that is a great mechanic for Star Wars, I like that a lot.

So, overall Star Wars Edge of the Empire Beginners Game is a great product. It's a great RPG and it's a great Star Wars RPG. I would recommend for any Star Wars fan without hesitation. For non-Star Wars fans, well if the theme doesn't grab you it probably won't for you. But I can certainly see just the Beginner Game getting a lot of play until the full version is released.

Further plays pending, 9/10
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Hugh Grotius
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Great review! Thanks for posting it.

I just played most of the first adventure with my kids, and we had a blast with it (pun intended). I wasn't worried about hooking my son, but my daughter doesn't really care for Star Wars. Even so, she was intrigued that I (the GM) could just "make stuff up." I think I hooked her when I gave her the option to loot snot off a dead Gomorrean in the cantina. Now she wants to GM our next game! Off to download the supplementary adventure published by FFG...
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Diz Hooper
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Great review. I'm really tempted to try it now.
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Roger McKay
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A great RPG? With NO character generation rules?
 
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Yes, Roger, we know that you think it's impossible to enjoy an rpg without character creation... Since you've made your point abundantly clear on that subject, can we please keep any further discussion about this topic in this thread; Oh well.

The page count is now into number 4 about this topic, so if anyone feel the need to try and share/bludgeon their opinion (or 'infinite wisdom' depending on who you are..) onto others, that would be the thread to click.

---

Great review btw.
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Roger McKay
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Gripen wrote:
Yes, Roger, we know that you think it's impossible to enjoy an rpg without character creation... Since you've made your point abundantly clear on that subject, can we please keep any further discussion about this topic in this thread; Oh well.

The page count is now into number 4 about this topic, so if anyone feel the need to try and share/bludgeon their opinion (or 'infinite wisdom' depending on who you are..) onto others, that would be the thread to click.

---

Great review btw.



I think prospective buyers ought to know what they are buying. Interesting that you want it hidden. The 'great review' made NO mention of this fact.
 
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RogMcK wrote:
Gripen wrote:
Yes, Roger, we know that you think it's impossible to enjoy an rpg without character creation... Since you've made your point abundantly clear on that subject, can we please keep any further discussion about this topic in this thread; Oh well.

The page count is now into number 4 about this topic, so if anyone feel the need to try and share/bludgeon their opinion (or 'infinite wisdom' depending on who you are..) onto others, that would be the thread to click.

---

Great review btw.



I think prospective buyers ought to know what they are buying. Interesting that you want it hidden. The 'great review' made NO mention of this fact.


Yes it did.

Ugavine wrote:

IMPORTANT: This is a Beginner Game. This is an introduction into role-playing box set, a teaser for the full game that is to come, with just basic rules and no character creation. As such I'm going to review this on what it is.
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Roger McKay
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Ugavine wrote:

Yes it did.

Ugavine wrote:

IMPORTANT: This is a Beginner Game. This is an introduction into role-playing box set, a teaser for the full game that is to come, with just basic rules and no character creation. As such I'm going to review this on what it is.


I stand corrected. Sorry.
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John Middleton
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The gripes about lack of character creation that I keep reading about the Beginner Box seem awfully silly.


I have the beta test Rulebook and character creation is very involved. It takes up more than 100 pages of space and could hardly be condensed more practically than what is done in the Character Folios. The creation rules are by far the most complex aspect of this system.


Needless to say the inclusion of the generation rules would substantially increase the page count of this box set and defeat it's purpose, to teach new players the games' systems and mechanics in easily digestible chunks.


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Roger McKay
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DegenerateElite wrote:
The gripes about lack of character creation that I keep reading about the Beginner Box seem awfully silly.


I have the beta test Rulebook and character creation is very involved. It takes up more than 100 pages of space and could hardly be condensed more practically than what is done in the Character Folios. The creation rules are by far the most complex aspect of this system.


Needless to say the inclusion of the generation rules would substantially increase the page count of this box set and defeat it's purpose, to teach new players the games' systems and mechanics in easily digestible chunks.

If the character generation is as complex and extensive as you say (and I find 100 pages unlikely), then a game which has nothing at all in that regard should not be named as a part of that system.

The beginner box is supposed to teach us about the game, but IGNORES COMPLETELY such a "complex aspect" of the game?

Did you pay to get into the beta?
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John Middleton
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The beta is a 221 page softcover, all pages glossy full color printed book. 30 dollars is cheap in comparison with other games. I've spent more printing out the numerous, and constantly changing, D&D 5th playtest pdfs than I did on this book.

It is unusual for a beta to charge, but I have never seen a beta that featured a published book of such quality, most are multiple pdfs that quickly become a major hassle to use without printing them out. The D&d 5th playtest is up to almost a dozen separate pdfs now.


A breakdown of the pertinent chapters...

Chapter II - Creating a Character pages 27-68

Covers Backgrounds, Obligations, Species, Careers, Specializations, Stats, Motivations, Talent Trees


Chapter III - Skills pages 69-86

Details the skills system


Chapter IV - Talents pages 87-100

Details the Talents and their modifiers for the Dice system


Chapter V - Gear and Equipment pages 101-126

Covers gear, weapons, and custom modifications - minus starships which is another chapter entirely.


So that's a total of exactly 100 pages. And bear in mind that this beta has art for only the chapter headings and illustrations of the species. The text is very dense so this section will likely be 150 pages with final art and layout.

The Beginner's Box is designed to teach new player's how to use the new Talent Tree system and the new dice mechanics that feature prominently in this game. It is also designed to show a GM new to this game how to run it while taking into account the Character Obligation and Motivation systems.

The Character Generation system is NOT required to meet this goal and it's inclusion would confuse the hell out of new players, whereas the pre-gen folios provide a structured and well paced teaching tool.


You need to do some research and reading before you open your mouth on anymore of these forums as your skewed viewpoints are getting tiresome. This product may not meet your requirements for a boxed game, but they perfectly meet the intent of the designers and any players looking to learn the game.
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Roger McKay
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You can't learn an RPG without learning how to make a character.

I won't state my opinion on someone paying to play a beta. Testing is something companies are supposed to pay for.
 
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Joshua Parva
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RogMcK wrote:
You RogMcK can't learn an RPG without learning how to make a character.


There, I fixed that for you.

I'm glad I'm not afflicted with that learning difficulty -- otherwise I'd have missed out on hundreds of awesome roleplaying games over the years.
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John Middleton
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You can learn any RPG without making a character, and play them for years without ever making one either.


Pregens let you play without knowing how to make a character. They let you quickly let a new player into the game without stopping to make a character. They let a GM tailor a party for convention play. Most pregens often feature advancement and customization options as well.


The only thing character creation is required for is so that a GM can make his own pregens or the players can make a custom character based upon some concept they have in mind.

And, with to regard to these rules, anyone who gives a damn has the beta book and all the rules. And at a considerably cheaper price point than what the final version will cost.


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Roger McKay
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As I have said before - I don't oppose inclusion of pregens at all. More options for game play is better. However, not including any character generation rules means fewer options. That does not mean I think the full and complete rules for character creation and advancement need to be in there. Not that I think for a second that the core rulebook will have them either. That is not the way P&P RPGs are marketed now. It's nickle and dime all the way to the poor house, now.

Four pregens means you can't play with more than four players, and you can't mix groups because a player from group A might be playing the same character as a player from group B.

It might be a fun game, but you're not playing YOUR character if you didn't roll it up or someone else is playing the same character.

I think it is wrong-headed to be paying to play a beta. After all, you are doing work that the company should be paying professionals to do. Paying a company to work for them is very strange behaviour.
 
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RogMcK wrote:

Four pregens means you can't play with more than four players, and you can't mix groups because a player from group A might be playing the same character as a player from group B.

I'm having a 5th player join my game this week using one of the two downloadable PreGens from the FFG Support page. So technically this game does have 6 PreGens.

Quote:
It might be a fun game, but you're not playing YOUR character if you didn't roll it up or someone else is playing the same character.

All I can say is exactly what I said to players; here are the sheets, either play the character or build your character around the stats. My players were happy with the PreGens. We're not talking noob gamers here, I've played for 26 years and two of the group gave played for 30+ years each. Like any RPG you put YOUR personality into the character. The only thing pre-generated really are the stats. And stats are just numbers and are secondary to the personality a player puts into their character. It's unlikely two people will ever play Pash the same.

Quote:
I think it is wrong-headed to be paying to play a beta. After all, you are doing work that the company should be paying professionals to do. Paying a company to work for them is very strange behaviour.

I have to agree that charging for the Beta I thought was excessive, I didn't buy it. I bought this though as a taster. I've no qualms that this isn't the full game, and I've reviewed it as such. For anyone wanting a full game, it's coming.
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Matthew M
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Remember - if you see something you want to react negatively to, flag it and forget it.

Using the icon serves two functions - first, if enough users flag a post then it will be collapsed from general view. Second, flagging posts helps bring them to the attention of the forum moderators.

Thanks!
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Octavian wrote:
Remember - if you see something you want to react negatively to, flag it and forget it.

Using the icon serves two functions - first, if enough users flag a post then it will be collapsed from general view. Second, flagging posts helps bring them to the attention of the forum moderators.

Thanks!

No problem. But I'm personally not offended by any comments made here.

I just want to make it clear than in my posts all I am doing is putting across my view of RPGs based on my personal experience and that of the players I game with.

I know that I am closed to some RPGs myself, especially anything GM-less. Personally I appreciate others views here on RPG Geek, it's why I'm here.
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John Middleton
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The beta is pretty much a fully tested and ready to go game. I bought an almost finished game product, that is very professionally printed at half the cost the first Edge rulebook will cost.

I can't see why anyone interested wouldn't buy the beta over the final announced 60 dollar rulebook.
 
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