Though we didn’t plan it during recording, we managed to have a Star Wars-themed episode for May the Fourth. In it we discuss our experiences with different iterations of Star Wars rpgs. Spoiler: Until the week before, I hadn’t actually played any of published Star Wars rpg. We try to get at what makes a strong Star Wars system & a strong Star Wars campaign. We knock around the question of canon and player knowledge to figure out what works at the table. As a bonus we're releasing a set of extra episodes today. Andrew ran a demo session of Edge of the Empire for us. If you dig Actual Play you can check out the audio here (broken into three parts) and you can see the session video here.
SEVEN THOUGHTS ON STAR WARS AND GAMING
- I’m old enough to remember standing in line for Star Wars opening weekend. I also recall not wanting to go at all. I’d seen the previews and the flash of the Tuskan Raider terrified me. I relented of course loved it, even though I covered my face every time Luke got attacked. Every time I watched it. I got the pre-order of the action figures that Christmas: the waiting was a killer. When my dad went to England to teach there, I made him take me to a tiny London cinema to watch double feature of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. I remember how exhausted and exasperated he looked afterwards.
- The Star Wars rpg always did well at the game store I worked at. Those sold and sold- certainly more than anything else West End Games put out (Paranoia, TORG, Masterbook). We did hand-written inventory management, so you’d have to check every couple of weeks to see if anything had fallen through the cracks.
- Among the many players I gamed with over the almost thirty years of Star Wars rpgs available, I only remember one person who actively collected and ran it. I bought some of the WEG supplements, thinking I might do something with it but I never did. Even the die-hard Star Wars fans in our group never bought or followed the rpgs. I’m not sure why. Sci-fi- outside of cyberpunk- never grabbed players' attention, even stuff as fantastical as SW.
- On the other hand many of those same gamers loved the Star Wars video and PC games. Why didn’t translate into a desire to play that on the tabletop? I know many ripped through Dark Forces, Star Wars Battlefront, Knights of the Old Republic, and even the first Star Wars MMO.
- Has "May the Fourth" always been a thing? I honestly didn’t notice it until last year.
- As I mentioned in the podcast, I've run Star Wars once, but with a homebrew. I had a great time and intended the short arc to be the first "movie" in a trilogy. However players’ schedules shifted after that and I’m reluctant to run the second part with some missing. You can see how I prepped that and my post-mortem of the play here.
- I don’t think I’d really play Star Wars: Imperial Assault, but I kind of want to buy it for the figures. They’re really nice. They’d be great for doing a tabletop rpg. But that way lies madness. I might start thinking “well, maybe I need to buy models to simulate the space battles…” and then suddenly I’ve wasted even more money I don’t have on X-Wing or Star Wars: Armada. I need to stick with using vaguely sci-fi'ish HeroClix and my weird partial collection of Starfleet Wars ships from the late 70’s.
If you like RPG Gaming podcasts, I hope you'll check it out. We take a focused approach- tackling a single topic each episode. You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or follow the podcast's page at www.playontarget.com.