Star Wars games!

Hey folks!

Thought I’d share a little something else with you all here on this most exciting of days, and a small celebration of all the Star Wars games I’ve featured here in the past year-ish of blogging!

Star Wars LCG

X-Wing

Escape from the Death Star

Star Wars RPG: Saga Edition

Make sure to come back tomorrow for something else on this theme!

Star Wars Armada

A sparse week

Hey everyone!

It has been a bit of a sparse week for gaming news, I have to say. The most exciting thing, for me, was a look at two of the upcoming ally packs for Imperial Assault, here. To my shame, Imperial Assault remains unplayed since I got it at Xmas, so just how excited I am for more content for a (currently) unplayed game is a bit of an issue. But we’ll see. Of course, I got another game of X-Wing in at the local games shop, a hilarious adventure among the asteroids that you can read about here!

Desperate Allies

I was pretty excited about this one, actually, which perhaps is a bit strange given the fact that I haven’t played a role-playing game in years!

I’ve been on a bit of a nostalgia trip of late, started off by my D&D week earlier in the year, and since then, I’ve been looking back with fondness at my Star Wars RPG days. I’ve not properly looked over the latest incarnation of the game from FFG, but I recall feeling positive about it when Edge of the Empire first appeared, so even though my chances of playing soon are pretty slim, I’m nevertheless thinking of featuring a look at the thing here on my blog sometime soon.

While West End Games did an awful lot to make a credible universe, tying in very closely with the Bantam novels of the 90s, then Wizards of the Coast largely ignored all of that as they just kept churning out movie-related material, it seems FFG is going on its own way of providing adventures almost unconnected to previous material, and it looks pretty amazing for it!

On the subject of Star Wars, I read the first issue in the new Marvel series today!

Star Wars #1

Y’know, that was actually a really great book! I’ve been a Star Wars fan for decades, of course, and have grown accustomed to being a Dark Horse Comics fan, so was initially very wary of them moving back to Marvel. But a good story is a good story, whoever is publishing it, and this was a lot of fun! It’s not very long, almost half the book is taken up with previews and adverts for the other two comic lines promised from Marvel – Darth Vader (which looks superb, let me tell you!) and Princess Leia (artwork looks a bit cheap…)

Going back to D&D week, I also finished reading The Halfling’s Gem, which turned out to be pretty good in the end! Being pulled into Tarterus near the end seemed a bit extraneous, but maybe that’s just me. After, what, eighteen months or so of being left, it was good to finally finish the trilogy! I’ve since moved onto The Legacy, the seventh book in the series, and while I’m only a couple of chapters in, it’s definitely setting up a compelling story. I had kinda spoiled myself for this book through the adventure system game. [SPOILER ALERT!] In the game, Drizzt’s brother Dinin Do’Urden appears as a drider, and after starting to read the Dark Elf trilogy I was a little confused, before finding out that happens in the course of book seven. Plus, the cover does kinda give it away!

The Legacy

I really loved the Dark Elf trilogy, books one and two in particular were just too awesome for words, and a big part of my enjoyment came from the setting. Menzoberranzan is one of the most interesting locations I’ve ever had the pleasure to read about, and the whole adventures in the Underdark was a real joy, so the interruption on the surface for the last three books has been a bit unwelcome, really! Good to get back underground, even if it is currently only for part of the book. The Legacy takes place nearly twenty years after Drizzt left the Underdark in Sojourn, and it’s fun to see what has been happening with the drow characters in the time Drizzt has been away. Promises to be a good read, anyway!

I’ve also been painting more Necrons this weekend! I must admit, I’m quite pleased with myself! Having had such a slow start to painting this year, I’m glad to finally be creating again! I’ve made up a batch of Immortals, and have been painting them as Pyrrhian Eternals, the dedicated Immortals of Anrakyr the Traveller! I’ve recently begun to use my flickr account once more, where you can head over to check out my album here!

Pyrrhian Eternals

Saga Edition

Hey guys!
As always, Tuesday is Game Day here at spalanz.com, and today promises to be something…different. For months now, I’ve been posting about games on here, with lots of pictures of the components, and an overview of why I like them and whatnot, but today, I’m taking a look at a Role Playing Game. Indeed, the Role Playing Game – at least, the only one I’ve ever been able to play! Today, I’m looking at Star Wars: Saga Edition!

Star Wars Saga Edition

The first question I asked myself when I was preparing this blog was: Why am I doing this? All of the other games that have featured on my blog have been in-print, but Star Wars Saga Edition officially ended over four years ago. As such, it can be fairly difficult to come by – especially if you actually want a new book. However, one of the reasons I do these game day blogs is to talk about games that I love, and it would be remiss to not include this game, because I love it!

So first of all, let’s talk about RPGs. I’ve talked about RPGs before, of course, including this short description back in June:

For the uninitiated, Role Playing Games are actually really awesome. You need a good Games Master who is more concerned with storytelling and ensuring everyone has a good time than with the rules being correct, and you need a group of people who are somewhat invested in the story and their characters than they are in just goofing around, but all the same, when you get the right mix of folks around the table, it can be really magic. Prepare for a couple of hours of being lost in your imaginations! Ah!

Basically, a Role-Playing Game is a game where you play a character but, rather than moving that character around a board, you tell the story of what you are doing. In a very real sense, it is an experience akin to telling stories around the fire, or whatever.

I’m in charge!
One person in the group plays the Games Master, who is nominally “in charge” of the proceedings. Something that is very important here is that the GM is not the enemy. Yeah, he controls any enemies that you may face, but his role is better described as a referee. In short, the GM controls the world that you’re playing in. A good GM is one who is primarily concerned with everybody having a good time, and telling a good story, as I said back in June. He or she is responsible for everything that can happen, so you’ve got to be a hell of an improviser.

When I played Star Wars Saga Edition, I was the GM, and as much as I loved it, it’s also hard work. Being responsible for the world the other players are playing in, it’s up to the GM to create the adventure that you play that week. To a large degree, you need to be able to account for all possible avenues the game can proceed along, so it’s no use in preparing just a linear scenario where your players must do x to then be able to do y, but don’t have the option of being able to do a, b or c, as you haven’t got notes for that. I’ll talk more about my experiences shortly, but it really sticks with me when I first took up the mantle, and my group decided they wanted to do something completely different to the adventure I’d prepared. Gah!

So, as much as you’re telling the story, you’ve got to be prepared to let the story tell itself, also. Knowing your group will help enormously with this. It’s always best, then, to have a scenario prepared that you want to happen during the course of the session, but also have a host of notes on other stuff that could just as easily splinter off from that scenario. For instance, my first game involved the heroes having to make it off-planet in a ship, but they were completely disinterested in pursuing the option I’d prepared, which would make it easier for them to hire a ship, so I had to make my grizzled spacer captain into more of a pushy sort who was touting for business, and have him approach the heroes. Hardly a massive plot point, but without it the story would have never gotten off the ground (pun intended).

GMing is a lot of work, but it can be immeasurably rewarding, as well. And if those notes you prepared for potential side adventures aren’t used, they’re never wasted, as the situation may come up when you want them in the future. Always keep everything!

It’s all about the characters
The main focus of role-playing for many people, however, are the characters that each player creates. Character generation is one of the most fun aspects of this sort of game, and even though I was a GM, I used to create all sorts of characters just for the joy of it (and they never went to waste, let me tell you!) In any given system, a player will basically fill out a template of what his character can do. Basic stuff like name, age, species, gender, height/weight and so on flows into what skills your guy has – are your strengths physical or mental? Are you good on your feet, or are you really persuasive? There are usually six core attributes that RPG systems account for:

strength, constitution, dexterity, intelligence, wisdom and charisma

Each of these are scored, and from this your character becomes good at certain skills. There are two big influences on these attributes and skills: species and class. For example, in Star Wars, Wookiees are really strong and really dexterous, so have high scores in these two attributes. Classes denote what you do, with classic examples such as Mage/Priest, Cleric, Ranger etc, and these will also lead you down a certain route as regards your attribute scores and, subsequently, your skill scores.

Once you’ve got your character set up, and you have a fair idea of what he or she is good at, you’re ready to play the game!

Playing the game
Depending on how the GM decides to run the game, you can role-play anything and everything, or just the important parts. To give an extreme example, the GM may just tell the players “You walk into the cantina…” or he might say “You need to make a Perception check to discover the location of the nearest cantina. You then need to make a Dexterity check to see if you can open the door…”

Checks? I hear you cry. Well, this is where your skills come in. In order to do something, you need to check if you can do it. For example, in order to see if your character noticed something, he needs to make a Perception check. This is done by rolling a die – in the case of Star Wars Saga Edition, all skill checks involve rolling a twenty-sided die, or d20 – and adding your skill score to the result. If you equal or exceed the difficulty class (DC) of the check as set by the GM, you pass. As I said above, depending on how the GM is running the campaign, you might have to check for everything, or you might only have to check for certain things, such as when you’re in danger.

Star Wars Saga Edition

As an aside, I would often make my group make Perception checks seemingly at random – “You’re walking down the broad central street of the town. Make a Perception check. All done? Marvellous. So you’re walking down the central street…” – but a lot of this informs the GM on the level of detail you give to your group. If someone beat the DC of the check, then any subsequent attacks aren’t entirely a surprise, or whatever.

Perception checks are one of two checks that you’ll most often find your characters making in a RPG such as Star Wars Saga Edition; the second is the Initiative check. While Perception measures how much the characters are aware of their surroundings, Initiative determines the order in which things happen – most commonly, attacks.

Attack!
Good RPGs will have a mixture of intrigue skills, information-gathering, and combat. Even bad RPGs will still have combat, however. This is where your Strength and your Constitution attributes come into play – your Strength will determine how good you are at attacking, and your Constitution determines how much damage you can take. A wide variety of weapons is often available, and these will add bonuses to your dice rolls, as well as special effects such as being able to ignore armour and the like. Your basic Strength score will, of course, determine how good you are with your bare hands.

Attacks can be where people confuse the role of the GM with that of the enemy, as the GM is controlling any non-player character (NPC), most often these being your adversaries. While the players are rolling their dice in the open, some GMs can be quite maddening, making their rolls behind a screen, and constantly making little notes here and there. However, there is always a purpose! Mostly, it is to ensure the encounter runs reasonably as planned: if you intend for the heroes to fight a boss’s bodyguard in order to impress him into giving the players some information they need, it’s no good if said bodyguard kills all of the players in the first round of combat. As a GM, I have often fluffed my rolls in order to make a game run more smoothly. So we’re not cheating – we’re actually helping!

It’s all about the experience
When players successfully overcome challenges, whether they’re fights or something else, they most often gain experience points (XP), the amount being dependent on the challenge level (CL). These go to form a bank, and when a player reaches a set amount, he can go up a level. In Star Wars Saga Edition, there are 20 levels a player character can achieve, and each one comes with all sorts of boons, from simple bonuses to attributes, to increased options for skills and even classes. Especially in Star Wars, Jedi characters cannot learn certain Force powers if they are not of a specific level.

Levelling up your character is one of life’s true joys!

So that’s RPGs in a nutshell!


 

Star Wars Saga Edition

Star Wars has seen many incarnations of role-playing games, starting with West End Games back in the 80s. Saga Edition was published from 2005-2010 by Wizards of the Coast, who held the Star Wars licence from the late 1990s. It was their third iteration of the RPG, and the fifth version of Star Wars role playing to that point.

Wizards of the Coast are perhaps most famous for their Dungeons & Dragons line, which has just recently entered its fifth edition. Saga Edition is based very strongly on that game’s 3rd edition, so in that respect it is very similar to the Pathfinder RPG. Over the course of the run, fourteen hardcover books were published, giving the rules for different eras in the timeline as well as specific classes etc.

Star Wars Saga Edition

The game was initially quite heavily-supported by the company through online content, though as time went on this dwindled to a stop. It’s always a shame when this happens – let me tell you why…

You’ve hopefully picked up on the notion that RPGs involve a lot of written content, with the GM becoming something of a writer, producing characters and locations and encounters in order to create a successful game. In order for any of these to function in the game, they need stats – NPCs need stats to at least be able to fight the heroes; locations need stats to interact with the encounters that take place there, which in turn have DCs based on what precisely is going on, which all go together to produce XP for the players. Now, GMs can do all of this, sitting alone amid piles and piles of books, making sure they have all the information to hand to know exactly how effective Darth Vader is in combat. Or the game designers can just tell you how effective Vader is in combat, leaving the GM free to come up with an exciting story as to why the heroes come up against him.

It’s not exactly about just getting free stuff, though, but about a company producing loss-leaders. For example, Wizards released the Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide in 2008, and accompanied it on their website with a host of additional content such as stat blocks for a variety of creatures and hardware that didn’t make it into the book. That stuff was made for free and, while the odds that a KotOR book wouldn’t sell well when the video game was still a hot property were very slim, it nevertheless creates something of a hype when a company has free stuff on their website, but you need to get the campaign book itself to make maximum use out of it. It creates fan goodwill, and increases the chances of people buying into the game if they can see that game is well supported.

Star Wars Saga Edition

Initially, then, Wizards were producing all sorts of stuff like this. The RPG also made efforts to cross-fertilise with the Star Wars Miniatures game, a skirmish game where players fielded armies of miniatures and basically tried to wipe each other out. When a new batch of miniatures was released, stat blocks would go up online to allow players to use the characters in their RPG games. Indeed, Wizards did originally seem to have in mind that people would use the miniatures and the maps to play the RPG, but that died a death.

Star Wars Saga Edition

Something really impressive about the level of support Wizards initially gave Saga Edition was the amount of new stuff that became available for free. I’m not just talking about new ships you can use, or new NPCs you can fight – they even gave us new species we could use. Character options like this are phenomenally useful!

Star Wars Saga Edition

They also gave us scenarios and campaigns on the website, including Irridonian Darkness as another KotOR tie-in. Luckily, a lot of this content has been preserved by the fans, as it is really top-notch, but when the gave up the licence to produce Star Wars games, they obviously had to cleanse their website of all content.

Star Wars Saga Edition

The jewel in the crown of all this, for me, is the Dawn of Defiance campaign. A 10-part campaign that was designed to take players all the way from level 1 to level 20, it first appeared in November 2007, and it was all for free.

Star Wars Saga Edition

Star Wars Saga Edition

Support like this  really impresses me, and makes me want to play in this system. And I’m not the only one, of course. Companies don’t always get it, and Wizards certainly lost their way towards the end of their run, but a well-supported game system will be well thought of by the fans, and attract increasing numbers to it. However, Wizards just seemed to lose interest in the licence towards the end of their run, something that particularly came out in the miniatures game, but also in the uneven quality of the last few books for the RPG.

I’ve expressed quite a lot of negativity towards Wizards over the years, all based on the way they handled the licence in their last year with it. Officially, they “ran out of ideas” as to what they could do for new content. A strange excuse for a creative company, but anyway. The miniatures line suffered, and the RPG stopped seeing web content. However, their final book, The Unknown Regions, was perhaps a fitting end for the run, as it gave GMs the tools with which to generate any sort of situation they could ever think of. So, while I have been disappointed in the past, I must admit to being really impressed by the way they ended the game.

I love role playing games, however, and can never let my feelings for how a company handled a game from letting that game speak for itself. Role playing games are just such a wonderful way of playing games, allowing you to exercise your imagination, tell stories, and even act out at times – it’s just so much fun! Star Wars is an incredibly rich and vibrant world, and getting to play in that world is just far too much fun sometimes. Getting to create your own character and living within that world, even if it’s just for a couple of hours a week, can be an amazing experience, and I can recommend it to anyone.

RPG communities are unlike regular game communities. They’re places of creativity, where people go to share ideas, as well as experiences. In this way, it’s also interesting to note that RPGs never truly die, even when the company has stopped supporting it officially. You can meet people all over the world who are still playing Star Wars RPGs using the West End Games version from 1987. Saga Edition has had a lot of support in the five years it was being published, and it still retains its place on my shelf even when I haven’t played it for months.

So there you have it, folks, my high-level view of role playing games in terms of Star Wars Saga Edition. More than ever, I’m keen to get back into role playing games, and have been looking at a few lately, notably the Warhammer 40k books from Fantasy Flight, but also the ‘new’ Star Wars RPG. I’m hoping that sometime soon I can convince enough people to try something with me – even if it means being the GM again…

If you don’t believe me on how fun these kinds of games can be, however, just watch this:

A weekend ramble

Morning everyone!

Today’s the day the clocks go back here in the UK, so obviously I woke up at 2am. Bah!

It’s been a fairly lacklustre week, so far as gaming goes. I got to play a couple of games earlier in the week, which will feature here at some point in the coming weeks, no doubt – top of the list, of course, being Elder Sign, which is a great little game from Fantasy Flight that I’ve mentioned a couple of times lately, especially when the new expansion was announced not too long ago.

I’m finding myself seemingly unable to get the time for large-scale gaming lately though, and this saddens me quite a lot. Sticking with Cthulhu games, I’ve been feeling in the mood to play Eldritch Horror again lately, as I’ve not managed a game since May, when the expansion came out. So much for my summer of Yig, hey… Real life has got a lot to answer for! However, I suppose it doesn’t help that my usual gaming table for such big games has been taken over lately, by either the degree work or my painting adventures.

I haven’t really regaled you all with such things for a while, have I? Well, my painting miniatures has continued apace, with all of my updates being confined to tumblr. There is a link over on the right to my Necrons page, where I link to all of my tumblr posts as I make them, so you can always investigate further if you’re so inclined, anyway! This weekend, however, I’ve moved on to the first “big” model for my Necron army, the Tomb Stalker!

Necron Tomb Stalker

This is something that I got from Forge World earlier in the month, one of their resin kits. I’ve been painting the beast in segments, as it seems almost unnecessarily complicated, though I suppose all of the bits allow for greater customization and such. My original plan was to have the model swooping down onto a Space Marine, but during last night’s modelling this proved to be unfeasible (there are a lot of bits that go under the head, for instance, so the stalker needs to be raised up in the front anyway), so I’m now onto plan B.

Necron Tomb Stalker

I think it still looks pretty cool, however! There are twenty legs, each of which has a separate claw that needs to be attached, and an additional twenty “tertiary velocitators”, which are just small legs that I don’t think will be impacting much on the model’s final pose due to the fact they’re so small. Anyway. I originally had some terrain on the base, from which the stalker was swooping, but have since removed this as it was interfering with the pose. While my current plan doesn’t really call for any more terrain, just the Space Marine casualty, I think I may still do something when the time comes, as it could help to attach the model to the base.

Necron Tomb Stalker
Original base earlier yesterday

The whole thing should look pretty damn good when it’s done, anyway! The green carapace will be finished with a bit of a metallic look, along with the silver main body and gold details (such as the head) are intended to fit in well with the Lychguard colour scheme I have going on.

Necron Lychguard

The entire Necron army I have currently is also looking really good, I think! The recent additions include a squad of Deathmarks and some special characters. I’m quite pleased with my results, anyway – which you can see here!

In game news, anyway, there hasn’t been a great deal to write home about. We’ve had another preview of Imperial Assault, which talks about the missions and such, and looks like it’s shaping up into a great game. Like the campaigns in Descent, missions form an overarching series of games, but Imperial Assault also includes side missions, which are single-game affairs. Nice to see that the game will be supporting multiple styles of play, at any rate!

Armada has had another preview, also, though I must admit to being still less-than-enthused by this game. When it was announced back in August, I was slightly underwhelmed because I wanted a ground-based miniatures game, not another space battles game. Now that we have Imperial Assault on the horizon, of course, I had half-expected my opinion to change, but it really hasn’t. As it stands, I’m still feeling a bit meh about the game, so at this stage I won’t be dropping the £60 that amazon are currently asking for it (although I did do a double-take when looking at that, as I was expecting it to be more expensive!).

I think part of the reason for my reluctance to even entertain the thought of this game is down to having nobody to play it with. I got burned a little with X-Wing, which I have stopped buying for now, as I have managed to play it three times since its release nearly two years ago, all three of which games took place nearly two years ago. I dread to think how much I’ve actually spent on the game, and am seriously considering letting go on ebay, but I’ve sold games previously, only to berate myself for doing so, and then re-buying them anyway (Blood Bowl and Space Hulk: Death Angel are but two examples).

So, I think I’m going to avoid Armada for the time being, and likely won’t be rushing to buy it at release.

Something that has excited me this week, however, is the release of The Nin-In-Eilph, the latest addition to The Lord of the Rings. With all the hoopla surrounding The Road Darkens, it was almost possible to forget we were actually in the middle of an adventure pack cycle! So we have some interesting new cards coming our way, along with a quest that seems to be akin to The Dead Marshes but different. If that makes sense… It looks like it should be a really good game, anyway, so I’m looking forward to this.

The Nin-in-Eilph

To my eternal shame, however, I’ve not actually played any of the Ringmaker quests yet, and have only played the first scenario in Voice of Isengard once, back in March! How shocking. I should probably set aside a weekend to delve more thoroughly into Dunland.

I’m still feeling in a RPG mood, something that has been prevalent throughout the whole year, really. Bringing us back to Warhammer, I took delivery of The Outer Reach last week, a book I’d ordered weeks and weeks ago. If you checked the link, you’ll most likely see why – the Necron Overlord plastered all over the front should tell you all you need to know!

In the absence of a codex for the Necrons (that is, an updated codex), I’ve been hungry for knowledge of these guys that I’ve spent about two months building and painting, but The Outer Reach marks my first proper look at Necron stuff. The illustrations alone make this book invaluable for me, and indeed helped to inspire my golden Necron Overlord, but something that I particularly enjoyed was seeing RPG stats for almost the whole range of Games Workshop Necron models! Wonderful stuff. The secondary function of this book then began to appear for me, and I’ve been considering it as perhaps ‘my new RPG’.

The Outer Reach is a supplement for the Deathwatch role playing game, in which the players take on the roles of elite Space Marines from a variety of chapters, who have been pulled together to form a kill team and tasked with eliminating a xenos threat. The idea does sound pretty cool, and I imagine it would hook a lot of people in. Added to that is the fact that all of FFG’s roleplaying games for Warhammer 40k are compatible with each other, there is a whole slew of options! However, one of the strongest criticisms of the line I’ve read is that the actual role playing opportunities are somewhat minimal, as the game is very much forced along by the need to basically hunt out and exterminate enemies, with very little else involved. In that respect, I suppose something like Black Crusade (where you play Chaos Space Marines looking to corrupt people) or Dark Heresy (where you play members of the Inquisition looking to root out heresy) would be the more interesting option.

Each of these games has a starter adventure that you can try out, and that for Deathwatch is called Final Sanction. Having looked over the pdf, I think it might be worth taking a look at, especially given the pre-generated characters mean it’s very much a matter of gathering your people and your dice and playing the game. The recent flurry of Space Hulk interest might also help, as this adventure sees your kill team going after a genestealer infestation, much as in that game. Well, anyway, we’ll see.

Deathwatch

Also on the subject of Deathwatch, yesterday I read the short story The Infinite Tableau from the Deathwatch: Xenos Hunters. Again, I only got this because of the Necron connection. The story follows a kill team investigating the disappearance of a group of Adeptus Mechanicus (the technological subgroup in the Imperium) on an icy moon, and describes the horror they find when they get there. It’s pretty good; its appeal, for me, largely resting on an almost Lovecraftian Mountains-of-Madness feel as the kill team find the arcane piece of technology and so on. The story features the Necron special character Trazyn the Infinite, with some gore provided by a pack of Flayed Ones. Delightful!

I’m still reading Orion: The Vaults of Winter, on which I will provide more of a critique when I’m finished. For now, suffice it to say the story is heavy-going…

Anyway, I’m going to leave you with this video for Colt Express, a newly-released game of bandits fighting each other for the most loot…from a moving train…

Well, this is interesting

End of the World

Announced last night from Fantasy Flight Games, a series of RPG books is coming, The End of the World. Taking in the classic tropes of apocalyptic fiction such as Zombie Apocalypse, Alien Invasions and Skynet-like AI Revolutions, the system’s most innovative aspect is that you don’t have to spend hours creating a character – because you role-play yourself! When I read this, half-asleep last night, my initial thought was “hm, sounds like a gimmick”, but on further, wakeful thought, it actually sounds like a really great idea.

Four books make up The End of the World roleplaying game series. Each of these four books offers a different apocalyptic genre and experience. The first book in the series, Zombie Apocalypse, challenges you to face hordes of undead that rise and stalk the earth, hungry for the flesh of the living. The series continues with Wrath of the Gods, pitting players against a pantheon of supernatural foes intent of destroying humanity. Ranging from the Mayan apocalypse to Cthulhu, the gods return to exact terrible vengeance in this book. The third installment in the series is Alien Invasion, giving you the opportunity to battle unknown life forms from beyond our galaxy. You may face a species of conquering warriors, or aliens too small to see with the naked eye. Finally, Revolt of the Machines invites you to match wits against artificial intelligence. When our technology develops consciousness, even normal people will need to battle technology in every form. Each of these books offers a complete self-contained experience, although they share the same rules system. No matter which apocalypse you want to explore, you’ll find unending horror and adventure in this roleplaying series.

Now, I’ve not really had a chance to explore this on my blog thus far, but I have a real soft-spot for dystopia and post-apocalyptic narrative, and this whole idea really sits well with me. I’m not a huge fan of the Zombie genre, mostly because I play a lot of board games, and the Zombie subgenre therein has really been done unto death, but in this specific setting, I’m actually really quite excited by it all. Given my love of all things Cthulhu, I’m obviously very keen on seeing that book. Alien Invasion is something that I don’t normally think about, but after reading War of the Worlds last year I feel it could be something that I’d be very keen to get behind, provided it were done well. Perhaps having a sort of 1950s gloss to it could make this book shine. And finally, I’ve developed a big love for ‘rise of the machines’-types of stories after reconnecting with The Terminator in February of this year, so this is another genre that I’m looking forward to. All in all, then, looks like this could be really good!

Of course, having four books that share the same system and broadly the same genre but with a different theme is strongly reminiscent of how FFG have approached both their Warhammer 40k RPGs and their Star Wars line, and I do not relish the prospect of seeing multiple expansions for each of the four lines. I suppose it depends on how well the line sells, but it strikes me that, if the core rulebook is strong enough, this is the sort of game line that necessarily precludes any type of expansion, particularly seeing as how you’re role-playing yourself.

Since you’re playing yourself in every game of The End of the World, your starting gear is also limited to what you can find close at hand when you sit down to play the game. You could start with a cell phone, but how long will it stay charged? Who knows how long the cash in your wallet will be accepted as viable currency in light of the world’s ending? You might want a good shotgun to defend yourself, but that could mean venturing out of your friend’s apartment. Kitchen knives might be your only available weapons for defending yourself against hordes of ravenous zombies or conquering aliens.
 Each scenario features a post-apocalypse, illustrating how some semblance of order returns in the shattered aftermath of the apocalypse. No matter how humanity has adapted in order to survive, life in the post-apocalypse is completely different from life before. The post-apocalypse is just as dangerous as the apocalypse itself, presenting entirely different challenges and threats to whatever remains of you and your haggard band of survivors.

This is what has got me really intrigued. If it’s executed well enough, it could see the whole thing escalate into a truly awesome gaming experience.

From looking around the nascent forums on the official website, it looks like the community is currently really excited about this whole concept, which is a good thing to see. So we’ll see how it goes!