Reading up a little on the game concepts and dice mechanics I understood a couple of key things about this game. It is more about plot and interpreting the dice than rolling "67 on a D100 to pass a skill test for sitting down" type of game. This approach suits me quite well, it is both more casual and accessible while allowing both the GM and players to improvize and adapt the gameplay at a higher and more flexible pace.
I will talk about the rules in a post in just a couple of days as I have already familiarized myself with the core mechanics and will have played my first game with my friends when this review is posted on my blog. In the meantime I thought it would be good to show what you get in the various packages that FFG has in their current Edge of the Empire catalogue - starting with the "Beginners Game".
The Beginners Game is a boxed set that features a complete and ready to go scenario, instantly playable characters and a superb tutorial on the core game mechanics. Seasoned pen & paper RPG gamers may not necessarily find this product appealing but it does feature the following contents:
A double sided foldout map of the spaceport Mos Shuuta, and on the back a really good interior view of a YT-1300 light freighter.
1 pack of the special Edge of the Empire RPG dice.
1 sheet of Tokens to represent characters and adversaries, a couple of spaceships, monsters and light/dark side force points.
1 adventure booklet that consists of 8 encounters, with the help of this adventure players will be given a tutorial adventure on how to make Skill checks, combat with small arms, interaction with NPC's and space combat. It's written very well and it's easy to follow. It also features a lot of information for the GM about the adventure and how you can run the encounters.
1 shortened version of the rules, featuring bare bones rules on some basic skills and talents, space combat, using the EotE dice, more info on how to run a game etc. The rulebook and the adventure book both feature basically the same rules as you will find in the core rulebook - but a few things are slightly different; such as ship repair difficulty thresholds and a couple of other such things.It also doesn't fully use the same stats and profiles as in the core rulebook- for instance the run in with the Imperial Navy at the very end of the beginner story is extremely hard if you use the critical hit stats written for the Tie Fighters and there will be no info of your own ability of inflicting critical hits with your ship. If you have the core rulebook you can use the proper stats for the Tie Fighter and for your own ship weapons, making the encounter a lot more balanced.
You will be able to get by with the basic rulebook to play through the adventure supplied in the Beginners game box and the follow up adventure "Long arm of the Hutt" that is available as a free PDF download from the FFG site - but there is no way around it - you will have to buy the core rulebook eventually to enjoy the full game.
So is it worth it? Well I think so, perhaps more so if you (like me) are unfamiliar with running pen & paper RPG's or simply want to get a softer learning curve of the EotE rules. I bought both the Beginners set and the core rulebook - so my friends instantly created their own custom characters to use in our campaign even though it started in the beginner game scenario which is pretty much "on the rails".I also modified the beginner scenario and the encounters to better reflect the new characters and a to test out a few GM ideas in a already established setting where I could use the framework of the encounters as guidelines.
As such I think the beginners scenario is an excellent way to start your adventures in Edge of th Empire and it lends itself easily to modifications from the get go. It's extremely linear both for the GM and the player characters but it shows exactly how everything works. The only thing not touched upon in the beginner game is character creation and "obligation" which I will talk about in my review of the core rulebook.
If I had to complain about something I would complain about the cheapness of not including a couple more of the specialized dice with the core game (actually the problem is identical if you buy the separate dice blisters). For most part you can get away with just using one set, but sometimes a situation may arise which forces you to either re-roll a die or two – or have a second set of dice at hand. I ordered a blister of special dice to complement my Beginners Game dice, but these are sold out at the moment.
Stay tuned for more reviews of the Game Masters Kit, and the Core rulebook - after which I will post a review of the game mechanics and rules.