Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Star Wars - Edge of the Empire Beginner Game: Review/Session Recap

So I picked up Star Wars – Edge of the Empire Beginner Game this week. It's been out for a while (over a year), but this is the first Star Wars gaming I've done in a long time. I figured it was time to try it out. I went for the Beginner Game over the core rules for several reasons: A) I could get playing within minutes, B) the buddy I was gaming with was completely new to roleplaying, C) it came with dice, and D) it was cheaper than the core rules.

Everything except the map. Click for bigger version.

Box Contents

“What Is a Roleplaying Game?” sheet
Sheet advertising the core rules and a free adventure called The Long Arm of the Hutt
Four character folios
Adventure book
Rule book
Two-sided fold-up map
One page of punch-out tokens
Fourteen narrative dice

Before I get into the session recap, I've got some initial pros and cons.


1. The dice. I love the dice. They took some getting used to, but I really like that the rolls almost always come out as “you succeed/fail, AND/BUT...” instead of just the binary success/fail that a lot of other games have. That, and they're just good looking dice. Normally I don't like color coded dice, but it really helps with this system.
Cantina, Spaceport, and Mos Shuuta.
Click for bigger version.

2. The map. It comes with a gorgeous two-sided map showing the city of Mos Shuuta, the cantina, spaceport control building, and on the flip side, the YT-1300 Krayt Fang sitting in a spaceport docking bay.

3. Overall quality. Aside from the box itself, everything in the box feels very high quality. The books are sturdy, the rule book probably more so than the adventure book. The dice are good, the tokens are solid, and even the character folios are easy to write/erase on.

4. The adventure. Escape from Mos Shuuta is definitely railroaded at first, and the adventure acknowledges that fact at one point. That said, it's a solid opening scenario for a Star Wars game – you've crossed a Hutt and it's time to grab a ship and get out of town.


1. The box. I was really hoping the box was a standard board game-style “lift off the lid, set it aside” type box, and I was really disappointed to see that it's all one piece with an opening flap. It's also very thin and flimsy. I don't see this box really lasting too long, and I'll have to find something else to hold my Edge of the Empire stuff, especially if I get more. There's plenty of room in the box for extra stuff, but itjust doesn't feel like it'll hold up with a notebook, DM screen, extra dice, etc.

So flimsy, closing it has been damaging the flap.
2. The tokens. Now, the tokens are made very nicely, they're textured, and they look like they'll hold up to quite a bit of play. The only problems are that A) they have no real use since the combat system is not miniatures or grid-based, and B) even if it was, they're way too large to use on any of the maps aside from maybe the Krayt Fang map.

Session Recap

Initially I'd planned to play with at least two players, but for various reasons, ended up with only one interested player. We had the game, we both really wanted to play, so we gave it a shot. I ran the included adventure, which did a fairly good job teaching the rules in stages. I also gave my player the option to play two characters, and he chose Lowhhrick the Wookiee hired gun and Pash the human smuggler. He was channeling Han and Chewie, I guess.

The game started in the middle of the action, in a chase from Teemo the Hutt's Gamorrean enforcer dudes. The PCs started by hiding in the local cantina. Pash leapt over the bar, ducked down, and spit out some story about hooking up with a local's daughter and the local sending Gamorreans after him and his Wookiee partner. Amazingly, in one of a string of incredible rolls, he succeeded and the bartender let him huddle down out of sight.

Meanwhile, the Wookiee (because I can't spell that damned name) dove into a booth and laid down on the bench seat. “He's brown, and the chairs are brown, so maybe it'll work!” Spoiler: it didn't work.

So, two Gamorreans came in, spotted the Wookiee, and pulled their clubs. The Wookiee flipped a table, took cover behind it, and pulled a vibroaxe. Meanwhile, Pash calmly stood up, blasted one in the back, and took him out. The Gamorrean and Wookiee went hand to hand, but vibroaxe beats club in Star Wars rock/paper/scissors, so the second Gamorrean dropped.
Cantina map, with the Pash token. See the size difference?

The bartender gave the dynamic duo a helpful tip about the Krayt Fang, a ship stuck in the spaceport due to some mechanical problems, and added that the junkyard down the street has just the part they'd need to steal the ship. Then he told them to get the hell out of his cantina.

They booked it out of there, stop by the junkyard, and ended up paying 500 credits for this hyperdrive part they need. It took a Deceit roll, as they spun a cover story that they were there to pick up the part for Trex, the Trandoshan owner of the Krayt Fang, but it worked.

From there, it's on to the spaceport control center to get the ship clearance to leave. Blocked by security droids, they hotwired a side entrance and got in that way. Seeing the control officer, an attractive, mid-30s human woman, Pash immediately whipped out his Charm skill. In another surprisingly good roll, his spiel of needing to get the ship cleared for his boss and a promise to “have a drink next time I'm in the system...”, they miraculously succeeded. To my player's credit, it was a very "daring smuggler" thing to do.

After there, they went on a stroll through town, interrupted by two groups of Stormtroopers (who, unbeknownst to them, were working for Teemo). Seeing that they were right near the water tower (this is where the map came in handy), Pash decided to take a shot at it in the hopes of distracting the Stormtroopers. With another overwhelmingly successful roll, he punctured the water tower, causing it to catastrophically fail and take out one group of Stormtroopers entirely. The duo managed to take out the other group, with vibroaxe and blaster pistol, then stole their blaster rifles and ran for the docking bay.

A quick bluff by the security droids there got them into the hangar and into the ship, where they were confronted by Trex. Not quite believing their story of “look, we got this part for you after that guy upped the price, so we just want a ride”, Trex went to pull his blaster. Plenty of Advantage on that roll meant that the PCs had the chance to win Initiative and take him out first. They took out Trex in a couple rounds, managed to get the landing ramp sealed before security droids could show up, and blasted out of there.

Too bad for them that TIE fighters were waiting for them. A few rounds of evasive maneuvers, some shaky Mechanics rolls to install the hyperdrive part, and a couple rounds of trading shots (and nearly getting the Krayt Fang shot out of the sky) led to them going to hyperspeed and escaping. That's where we ended the session.

I'll leave you with some dice. Game on!

First Impressions

Overall, I really like this game. The dice work well, the symbols are easy enough to get used to, and I can't think of any rules stuff that really grated on me. It seemed pretty easy for my player to pick up, though he's new at this kind of gaming, and we didn't have any problems during the session. Every Star Wars fan should own either this, the core rules, or both.

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