Monday, March 30, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Games That Shaped Me (Part 4)

Star Wars - The Roleplaying Game - West End Games (1987)

This, along with James Bond and the Ghostbusters RPG, constantly vie for the top spot in my personal "Greatest RPG of All Time" list. When I was a kid it was all about Star Wars. Star Wars was just about everything to me - when I first picked up Star Frontiers as the first RPG I ever bought and GM'd, it wasn't because it was a cool game (which it was). It was because I looked at that gorgeous cover and thought, "I could play Star Wars with that".

In an act of typically bad timing, just as most of my gaming group had gone off to universities around the country and the remaining members were cutting back on their gaming time (to have something called "a real life" - I know, right?) along comes the perfect game for me. A tabletop RPG of Star Wars, made by my favourite game publisher at the time. I bought just about everything they'd produced already - Paranoia, Ghostbusters, The Price of Freedom - and this partnering of publisher and property had me far too excited.

Upon release I purchased the core rulebook (see above), as well as the Star Wars Sourcebook (on the right), and was completely blown away by how cool they were. Most, if not all, of the RPGs I'd played in the past were completely black and white inside, so the punctuation of some gorgeous full colour inserts in the corebook was amazing. Especially the one that looked like a recruitment advert of the Imperial Navy.

The game system was basically a more complicated version of the D6 system that I'd played before with Ghostbusters, but not too much more complicated. It was fast, easy, and above all, fun. The players quickly created characters, tweaking the templates at the back to suit their own needs, and before we knew it we were playing in a galaxy far, far away.

The smuggler (Deeko Smiggins) piloting the Ballistic Wombat led the group of misfit rebels, tackling ridiculous odds and seeming to come away pretty unscathed. I think I may have let them progress a bit too quickly with experience, as I remember the ship dodging a complete attack wing of TIE Fighters pretty easily to sound of a dozen or so D6 clattering across the table.

Star Warriors slowed ship combat down a bit, a board game spin-off with advice for using it in the RPG, but strangely that was where my gaming of Star Wars (WEG) finished.

I think that may have been when my tabletop gaming came to a bit of an end in general for a while. I was busy writing those adventures for Ghostbusters for West End Games, was unemployed for a little while before I started working for the local council (thanks to being a gamer, I got my first job as the interviewer knew about D&D and knew it would help with my teamwork, map making, and puzzle solving) and it all kinda ground to a halt.


Since then, I have purchased every incarnation of a Star Wars RPG - Wizards of the Coast's D20 version, the Star Wars Saga edition (gotta love those square books), and now the Fantasy Flight Games triple threat (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, Force and Destiny), and while each is very cool, none of them got me as over excited as that 1st Edition West End Games one. Heck, just last year my lovely wife managed to find me the West End Games' 2nd Edition at the charity shop she volunteers at. It's really nice, but again, I didn't feel that buzz like I did before.

Must have been something about the time and the game being just right for it. That 1st Edition and the Star Wars Sourcebook that came out with it are such stuff of legend that Fantasy Flight Games reissued them for their 30th Anniversary in a slipcase. Just proves I wasn't the only one who thought they were something special.

Maybe I can convince my GM to start up Star Wars again with that system, just for fun...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was brilliant. Yes, Deeko remains one of my favourite characters (I still have all the sheets and the drawing of the Ballistic Wombat).

I am not sure why it didn't continue but I think it was because it was towards the end of our university days - instead of all coming back at once during the hols it depended on when we could get home from our careers, which was mainly Xmas, so that was family time and down the pub... Ho hum.

Milo. xxx