(Note: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, a father and his two sons pretended that they were heroes in the Star Wars universe. They became friends, defeated Storm Troopers, saved the day, and lived happily ever after. Well, not entirely…)
I mentioned in my last article that being a gamer dad requires delicate balance sometimes. That article dealt mostly with the struggle to keep them away from games that are inappropriate for their age. This introduction represents the same struggle, though from a different point of view.
Several years ago, I found myself in one of the local gaming stores. I don’t remember the exact reason for this particular visit. At the time, I was just getting back into the swing of tabletop gaming and often went into the store simply to browse all of the golden oldies I remembered and the newbies I wanted to try. During this trip, a particular newbie stood out from the rest. I reached onto the shelf and pulled off Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG.
A couple of factors went into my decision to check out that particular game. First, I have fond memories of playing the Star Wars RPG with friends. If that had been the only reason, I’d have grabbed any of the D&D books because we played that much more often than Star Wars. Aside from childhood memories, though closely related, the kids had discovered Star Wars through Lego games and the movies. Inspired by their interest and my own nostalgia, I decided right then to buy the game.
I didn’t actually buy the game, of course. I’m the jerk who does my research at the local store only to purchase everything through an online retailer, most notably Amazon. Free shipping and a complete lack of human contact are appealing to a cheap and antisocial gamer like me. So, I ended up buying the game on Amazon.
Unfortunately, neither of the boys showed any interest as they were both very young at the time. Still, the game looked fun and I put it away in the hopes that they might grow into the role, so to speak. It took them a couple of years, but they did me proud. Liam found the game one day and said, “This game looks fun, Dad. We should play it.” Well, you don’t have to ask me twice. The chance to play RPGs with a group of friends and/or family comes so rarely that I jump at the chance. (See the now defunct Roll 20 group that never even got started.) Not only did the three of us sit down to start and learn the game, we made it about halfway through the starter adventure.
The box set worked perfectly as an introduction int these types of games. There were premade characters in familiar Star Wars archetypes (Droid, Wookie, Smuggler) so we did not have to spend any time doing that and could get right into the adventure. The action started right away. Too often these intro adventures put you in a tavern and you have to spend more time getting to know your adventuring partners on top of spending time creating those characters. True, this one was in a cantina, the Star Wars version of a tavern, but immediately Gamorrean guards busted in and the action began.
That action took the form of rolling dice as is usually the case in these types of games. However, instead of numbered dice, the game uses symbols for success and failure. There are also other symbols that can lead to overwhelming success or catastrophic failure and the game does a good job of introducing these and giving ideas of how to incorporate them into the storytelling aspect.
Being a writer of books and articles that are ready by virtually nobody, the evolving stories of these games are what hook me and keep me playing. Thankfully, both of the boys inherited some of that creativity and they helped to keep things moving. They were also silly at times as only kids can be and they had me cracking up with their own and their character’s antics. I look forward to finishing the adventure.
We had to press pause on saving the galaxy–well, really, we were saving ourselves so that maybe some day we can help save the galaxy–for some mundane reason or another. I might have had to cook dinner. Maybe we just reached our limits as adventurers and needed to rest after all that excitement. Whatever the reason, the session left me wanting more.
Not only do we have the final showdown to get transport off the planet, but there are other adventures to discover. In fact, one is mentioned to be available on the web page for the game but I haven’t been able to find it. (Update: Google saves the day again! I found it.) In addition, I suggested the idea of getting together with Dereck (one of the failed Roll20 companions) and his kids since they are friends with our kids, too, for a big friends and family group that can expand into other games as the boys get older. Liam has already inquired about D&D, which makes me happy. I enjoy other RPGs, but always come back to that one as my favorite. Heck, my ongoing (and currently in remission) addiction to World of Warcraft is no doubt fueled by its similarities to D&D.
I haven’t looked at the D&D beginner box set because I already own so much product that I can’t justify another purchase. Therefore, I can’t comment on the quality. However, if you have a curious new role player looking to learn about the genre, the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire set is an excellent place to start. I remember talking to Chris and he said that he went into Barnes and Noble to look for a starter book for D&D and was overwhelmed by it all. This cuts through all of that to provide everything needed to pretend to live in your favorite galaxy far, far away.
And, get hyped…