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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.

Edge of the Empire - Beginner Game Box Set
by Ugavine

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.

What's in the Box

Read This first
4 Characters folios
Adventure book
Star Wars Dice
Character counters
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.


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.

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.




Club Squirrel ratings

     (1 Squirrel)  Pretty bad.  Not fun.  Play before you buy. 

     (2 Squirrels)  Below average, not much fun.

     (3 Squirrels)  Good game.  Fun with solid mechanics.

     (4 Squirrels)  Excellent game.  Great fun with much replayability.

     (5 Squirrels)  GOLDEN SQUIRREL.  One of the best games out there.




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