Sunday, September 15, 2013

Edge of Empire

For the last several week I have been running an Edge of Empire game at my friendly local gaming store (FLGS). I am a long time fan and advocate of the West End Games (WEG) d6 Star Wars RPG from the '80s and '90s. The game was fast playing and easy to learn, and had the second greatest collection of sourcebooks in RPG history. It was obvious to me that the people putting the sourcebooks together were big fans of Star Wars, and that they had been given plenty of room flesh out the universe. I would say that WEG Star Wars was second only to Iron Crown Enterprise's Middle Earth Roleplaying Game in this respect.

I did return to my old WEG Star Wars stomping grounds when I chose the location though. Since Edge of Empire is focused on the Outer Rim, I chose the Elrood sector as the setting for the game. The Elrood sector was the setting for my very long running WEG Star Wars game back in high school, so I am very familiar with the setting, and I enjoy it quite a bit. As it was originally intended to accommodate the Fringer game style, it will work well for a band of smugglers.

The reason I went with Edge of Empire is that my game store is nice enough to let us run games there. Not just nice enough, but actively encourages it. Navid stops by the table to talk and even gives out prizes based on how people are doing in the game. The focus of the store is Magic the Gathering, and I want this to continue, so I make sure I am running something that he can sell in the store. A 20 year old game is not going to bring him a lot of book sales.

Luckily, it turns out that Edge of Empire is a great game on its own. I really like its task resolution mechanic. The game uses funny dice, and I mean dice that are funny even to people that are used to funny dice.

That's right, the dice of funny symbols on them. The basic premise is that some of the dice are good (green, yellow, and blue) and some of the dice are bad (purple, red, and black). You add good dice based on your character's abilities, skills, and situational advantages and you add bad dice based on difficulty. After you have assembled your dice pool you roll it and add up the results. The results let you know if you succeed, how well you succeed, and if their are any complications or advantages that go along with your success. This mechanic allows for you to overwhelmingly succeed but still come away with some kind of complication, or to fail but still gain some kind of advantage. Some times the advantages and complications are spelled out by the rules, in other situations they can be more free form and narrative in nature. I like this because it allows for Indiana Jones style adventure, where the players fail but always keep moving forward.

The game moves pretty fast, and even with 7-8 players at my table it does not get bogged down, even in combat. There are no minis of combat mats, just imagination and dice.

I'll be talking more about the game in general, and my game in future posts.