Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Trilogy is Complete

I finally picked up the core book for Force and Destiny, completing the FFG trilogy.  Some thoughts:

They are very nice books. I really like the approach to the art this time. Using hand-drawn art, but in a fairly realistic style, keeps the look consistent throughout the game line but gives them a lot more freedom than limiting it to shots from the movies. The style is more consistent than I saw in the WOTC lines and much more true to the Star Wars look and feel than the black and white work from the West End Games line.  In both of those older games, the difference in style between the screen shots from the movies, the various composited still pictures presumably done by Lucasfilm, and the styles of the different artists could be jarring at times. The FFG art team is going in a different direction and I really like it. In fact, the Star Trek RPG's have had a similar problem with using screen captures alongside hand drawn art in the past and I hope the new one takes a direction more like this.

Nice-looking books aside I still am not completely thrilled with the approach. Dividing them up by character type still seems like the wrong tack to me. I know they position it as campaign type but I've never seen a campaign that was pure smuggler/scum types, pure rebel military types, and pure Jedi. In the campaigns I either participated in, heard about, or even read about online, there's always a mix of types. So despite their theory, this is not how people run Star Wars games. It's also not how the movies work either, which may be more or less important depending on how you look at it.  If you want to have a smuggler, a wannabe Jedi, a lost Alderaanian noble, and a bounty hunter you need 3 core rulebooks! WEG did it in one, WOTC did it in one, and I've had a good time playing in all of those systems so clearly it can be done!

I would have preferred to see a Star Wars core book with era-specific support books. A Rebellion era book to start, then a Clone Wars book, then an Old Republic Book and then for 2016/17 they could have done a post-Rebellion book with info on the new movies. The obligatory character type books and the adventures could be done just as they are being done now. That's how previous Star Wars games handled it and maybe that's the problem - I think it's likely FFG wanted to do something different after 25 years of other Star Wars games and so they did. It will work, it just makes the buy-in quite a bit higher if you want all of the options.

It's not like we haven't seen something similar before. Last Unicorn cranked out 3 full-color hardback core books for Star Trek back in the late 90's (and were working on a fourth when they shut down). The Next Generation, Original Series, and Deep Space Nine books all duplicated the rules content and all had their separate (thought somewhat muddled) lines of supporting products. While the TOS book kind of followed my preference for breaking the game up by era rather than campaign/character type the TNG and DS9 books were way too contemporary to justify separate core books - but that's what they did.

Regardless of my thoughts on the approach the games is out there as it is. Also, I do like the game - I mean, I already like the setting, and the new mechanics look like they have a lot of potential with my group. I have some ideas for a campaign - and yes it will likely be a "mixed" campaign. Between the starter sets, the GM kits, and a few of the published adventures there are some cool ideas and plenty of things to recombine for my own purposes. With our d6 campaign up and running it's not quite as urgent a need as it was but I still want to try out the new system in play for an extended period of time. I may try it as a limited campaign where we make up characters and play through one complete adventure with no further commitment but I have to see where we can fit it in.

Anyway, that's what I know about it at the moment. More when we do something with them.


Kelvin Green said...

I suspect FFG is following on from the way it does the 40K rpgs; there too you have a hard distinction between campaign types, although the Star Wars games seem even more inflexible.

Kelvin Green said...

I suspect FFG is following on from the way it does the 40K rpgs; there too you have a hard distinction between campaign types, although the Star Wars games seem even more inflexible.