The Game of the Month series highlights one of the many games in our libraries at Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple. We will briefly describe the game, how to play it, and why we like it. This month’s Game of the Month is written by The Malted Meeple’s Head Game Master – and former Ravenwood Innkeeper – Karington Hess.
Game: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
As another blaster bolt whizzes past your head you have no choice but to duck into the nearest open door to elude your pursuers. Giving your eyes a moment to adjust to the dim light, you find yourself in a cantina. Quickly, you seat yourself at an open table. As you plan your escape, you reflect upon the choices that lead you to this moment. It was just a simple pick-up and delivery. Now the local Hutt has put a bounty on your head and you are wanted by Imperial Authorities. Your pursuers fail to notice you as they search through the cantina. You realize that this is your chance. With their backs turned you draw your blaster and open fire! Moments later you hand the bartender a few extra credits and apologize for the mess. Holstering your blaster, you step out of the cantina and make your way into the street. Life can get a little rough when you live on the Edge of the Empire!
Published by Fantasy Flight games, Edge of the Empire is set in the iconic Star Wars universe. The first in a series of roleplaying games set in the Star Wars universe, Edge of the Empire focuses on the Scum and Villainy in the seedier parts of the galaxy. Players take on roles such as savvy smugglers, notorious bounty hunters, fearless explorers, and many more!
On the Edge of the Empire everybody owes someone something. When players create their characters they must chose an obligation. This could include a gambling debt, blackmail, a bounty on their head, or ties to a criminal organization. This is an integral part of the role playing system as well as the characters backstory. At the beginning of each session the game master will roll to see if the characters obligation triggers. If it does, a bounty hunter may track down the character or an old friend may come to collect on their debt. It is up to the game master to decide how the obligation affects the session.
Edge of the Empire makes use of the innovative narrative dice system. The system uses two sets of dice, one good and one bad. Using this system, players build their dice pool based on their attributes and skill ranks. The game master then adds dice to determine difficulty. If the player is attempting to do something particularly difficult or interesting, the game master may add more or less dice to the pool. Each of the dice have special symbols instead of numbers. Many of the symbols cancel each other out. After the dice are collected and rolled, the game master interprets the result. It is entirely possible for someone to fail a check and still have something good happen. Perhaps a player misses a shot with their blaster, but they hit a fuel cell causing it to explode and damage nearby enemies. Or it is possible to succeed at a check and for something bad to happen. For example, while hacking into a computer the player finds the file they were looking for, but they unknowingly set off a silent alarm! Players can also help tell the story by suggesting what the outcome of a check might be!
There are many roleplaying systems out there. I have used several of them to tell stories over the years. Very few game systems give me the creative freedom that Edge of the Empire does. The ability to craft the story as it is being told is extremely satisfying, and letting my players help me to tell the story is a huge bonus!
If you are a lifelong Star Wars fan like me, you owe it to yourself to give this innovative Roleplaying game a spin. The Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game is a great place to start!