So last weekend at GenCon the third and final rulebook for Fantasy Flight Games new Star Wars RPG has been released. Because they made the descision to split the game into three and have separate rulebooks for smugglers, soldiers, and jedi and the game is using funky dice, I had not really been excited about it from the start.
But now that all three books are actually there and you can play a propper Star Wars game, my curiosity returned again. At least a bit. First inconvenience I encountered is that there is no digital version of any of these books. Which means you have to buy the much more expensive hardcover book. And how expensive? 65€! Each! That’s a total of 195€! I can get a PS3 with a stack of games for that money. Who can afford that? I know that you’re not “supposed” to play with all three books and just one. But pretty much every single Star Wars movie, novel, and comic I can think of always has mixed parties of heroes. Narrowly defined parties go against the spirit of the setting.
But let’s assume you have 200€ and nothing better to do with it than buying a new RPG. Are the books overpriced? Well, it seems almost reasonable given that they are 450 pages. Each! Who creates a 1350 page RPG? And this isn’t Mechwarrior or something like that. It’s freaking Star Wars. It’s a pulp setting for pulp adventures. How much rules can you possibly need for that? A tenth of that page count would have been completely sufficient. What were they thinking?
Let’s compare that to the Star Wars Saga Edition game by Wizards of the Coast from the last decade. I believe it’s a revised edition of Star Wars d20 (on which Knights of the Old Republic seems to be based), and while d20 certainly is not a good choice for a Star Wars game (or for pretty much anything other than D&D), it’s so much more reasonable in scale. One book, 285 pages, $40 cover price.
This new game seems like possibly the most ridicoulous game I’ve ever heard of. Though I don’t actually know anything about the rules or the content. Because I don’t have 200€ to indulge my curiosity. I love Star Wars RPGs, but even if I am not a huge fan of the Saga Edition or would be unable to find a copy of the out of print game, I could just as well go with Spirit of the Century or Stars Without Number. Which are free.
2 thoughts on “Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars RPG – What were they thinking?!”
Hear, hear. I couldn’t have said it better myself. In the interest of professionalism, I keep my mouth shut on this one generally, but the FFG Star Wars RPG is junk. You have to work really hard to screw up Star Wars, and FFG did their level best.
Funky dice to simulate board gamey mechanic? Check.
Stupidly overcomplicated MMO-type talent and skill trees? Check.
ASTOUNDINGLY overpriced buy-in with THREE $70 core books? Check.
This is EXACTLY what you get when a board game company (who overcharges for their board games) decides to design an RPG. This all started when they had the gall to SELL the beta test rules. That’s now naive they think their fan base.
The WotC SAGA edition rules were aces. The original d20 rules were kind of crap, but Saga really kicked it up a notch and delivered a fast-playing, fun, genre-emulative game that is probably the best iteration of a SW RPG ever published. That’s right, I said it: I liked it better than d6. FFG would’ve done better to repackage that game and rebuild it through the use of the OGL (which could’ve been done even though it wasn’t an OGL product itself).
It’s all indicative of a trend in licensed gaming whereby people shoehorn a license into their house system and bandy around bullshit words and phrases like “innovative dice mechanic” (hint: THERE’S NO SUCH THING). With their production capabilities, FFG could’ve produced an astounding game. Instead, well, at least the rest of us still have our old D6 and SAGA books.
Oh yes. Just last month we had announcements for a new Conan game, a Barsoom game, and a Witcher game, and they all use a bloated system because the company is using that system for all their games. This really isn’t necessary if there are games that are much better suited to it which you can get for $10-20.
And with licensed games, the rules are really everything we care about. Because we already know the settings, often inside out. The rulebooks are not going to tell us anything new we don’t already know.
Though I am question the reason for existing of rules heavy games in general. Why all this numbercrunching if all you really need to know is “did I kill him?”