I’ve both played and GM’d Edge of the Empire over the last few months. It started with winning a contest for the Carpe GM podcast. I got a copy of the Star Wars Beginner Game from Fantasy Flight and played it with my sons, We had a great time. They picked up on the dice mechanic right away, and enjoyed the narrative part of the game.
I was a skeptic. For I don’t know how many years before that, I played the Saga and D20 editions from Wizards of the Coast. I have a lot of their stuff. I didn’t want a game where they charged you for the Beta, for the Dice. A game where they limited your options as a player. No Jedi. How can it be Star Wars without Jedi?
In the last few months I’ve run the beginner game again for my friends. More importantly, I’ve been playing in a mostly regular group. So I’ve had a chance to create characters, add XP, see how most of the system works.
Things I don’t like first.
The way that Fantasy Flight does business. Feels like I’m getting charged at every step of the way. Why make me have to buy new dice. Why doesn’t the standard pack of dice have enough (it is short for the most difficult tasks in the game). Charging for a Beta version. A Beta version is wrong/incomplete by definition and it will be made obsolete and wrong with updates (patches).
Limiting the choices that make it Star Wars. No Jedi. Fantasy Flight was very upfront about not including Jedi – OK. They themed the game at an era without any influence of the Jedi – fine. It’s not really Star Wars without Jedi (are there any Star Wars movies without Jedi?). They included very basic force powers, but there is a definite discrimination against players that choose force powers. Are there more force powers in the next book? In the Beta version yes – sigh.
Things that I like.
The production values of the products from Fantasy Flight. If you are going to overcharge for something make it beautiful, and it is beautiful. The quality is good, the production is good, and the organization is good.
Rules. The narrative storytelling system is outstanding. It takes a very short time to get used to the dice mechanic. After a few game sessions, you start to wonder what other types of stories you can use it for. If my two hyperactive sons (age 9 and 10) can pick it up in one session you are doing something right.
Setting. After complaining about no Jedi and lack of force powers above, the system is targeted at a specific time period, and executes it well.
So overall- too expensive, and missing classic Star Wars elements, but great production values and excellent rules and focus.
Verdict. I’m having a great time playing. Is it because the group is great (they are), or the system is great. There are things I wish were changed, but they aren’t stopping me from playing. I have a character with a story that I think is worth playing and people to play it with.