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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Star Wars: Galaxy At War sourcebook previewed

by Ken Newquist / August 18, 2009

Amazon.com has sample cover art and a blurb for the upcoming Galaxy at War source book for the Star Wars: Saga Edition Role-Playing Game. From the blurb, it looks like this book plans to do for war and soldiers what Scum and Villainy did for thievery and scoundrels. And based on what Wizards' own web site has to say, it appears the game will also offer options and rules for the Star Wars Miniatures Game as well.

The Amazon.com product description says:

New rules and character options for war campaigns.

Warfare is a common theme throughout the Star Wars saga. From the Clone Wars to the Galactic Civil War to the Sith-Imperial War, soldiers have their work cut out for them. This supplement gives players and Gamemasters everything they need to run games or play characters in a war-torn galaxy. This book provides rules for military units as well as new character options, new gear and starships, and a host of adventure hooks and campaign seeds that can be used to inject military flavor into campaigns of all eras.

I don't know -- this book seems like a repackaging of the rules we got in The Clone Wars Campaign Guide. Admittedly, those mass combat rules were quite cool, but did we need a rehash? The part that sounds most appealing to me are the adventure hooks and campaign seeds; those were some of the best parts of Scum and Villainy. With the Mandalorian Wars and Jedi Civil War looming large in my own Star Wars campaign having a bunch of ready-to-run scenarios could be very handy.

Update 8/18/2009

Thanks to @Lumrunner on Twitter, I discovered that Wizards of the Coast also has a preview up for Galaxy at War. What's interesting about their write-up is this quote: "The perfect gaming supplement to Star Wars Miniatures: Galaxy at War". It also mentions guides for creating fortresses and battle stations and a bunch of new content from The Clone Wars animated series.

Comments

This does seem to be another "class book," which is not bad. Did you happen to catch Amazon pre-announced another book for WotC? "The Unknown Regions" sounds like a settings book, but a (tentative) release date of April 2010 breaks the every 2 month cycle. With absolutely nothing (to the best of my knowledge) announced for SWSE at GenCon, and Rodney working on Dark Sun (hope he preserves the original feel), not sure the future is as bright for this game release-wise.

http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Regions-Roleplaying-Supplement/dp/078695...

And Galaxy of Intrigue (Jan 2010) will likely be a similar sourcebook for Nobles

I hadn't heard about Galaxy of Intrigue, but I'd love a Nobles source book -- I think there's a lot of potential for that class. If I were playing, rather than GMing, that's the class I'd probably take. It's everything I wanted the bard to be, and more. :)

I'm not too surprised about the lack of announcements regarding Star Wars: Saga Edition -- it seems to me to have been second fiddle in WotC's RPG line almost since it launched. We certainly didn't see a huge number of source books out of the gate in 2007, and it was only once 4E development let up that we saw Saga really take off, product-wise.

And honestly, I wouldn't mind the pace slackening a bit; six books a year seems like a lot, and at this point, they've run through most of the obvious stuff. We do have a number of potentially good books in the pipe though -- Galaxy at War, Galaxy of Intrigue, the droid source book (which I believe is scheduled for this fall) and the Unknown Regions book you mentioned.

I think a New Jedi Order book is also a no-brainer, and if they keep up the class-book thing, then I think we'll see a scout book before it's all said and done. That would put us at 5-6 books over the next 12 months. Throw in Old Republic source book for the new BioWare MMO and you are at 6-7, which isn't too shabby.

That said ... by 2010 Saga will be three years old, and it would not surprise me if the folks at Hasbro are agitating for a 4E-style edition in 2011 (perhaps even as a testbed/tie-in to a relaunched d20 Modern?). As it's composed now, my group wouldn't go for a 4E-style Star Wars game, but even if they did come out with a new edition, I think we'd be fine. I've got enough source material to last me for a dozen campaigns, and I think there's enough interest from the group to keep the game running through at least one or two of those. :)

See, this is getting to be as bad as playing Magic: the gathering. Gotta collect all the books so that your character stays more awesome than the next guy. I would have thought they'd exhausted all the possibilities for source books for Saga Edition. Do we really need class books? We've got the main book, and then some various era books, and some tv show/video game tie-ins already. As you said, this smacks of re-hashing books we've already got just to make a soldier book. And, really, isn't all Star Wars about war? I mean it's in the name, for Yoda's sake. Calling this Galaxy at War seems redundant. Most of the books you've mentioned just seem unnecessary to me.

Just saying ... it could happen. Not that I'd want to play it; I think Saga's just about perfect for the way I like to play Star Wars. :)

Just the nature of the industry, IMHO. Some folks like this, others don't (but apparently enough do to keep selling new books. :))

On the one hand, I like seeing the new books because it means the game's still alive, kicking, and supported.

And on the other, well, it does have that end-of-edition feel to it. I'm reading the Rebellion Era Campaign Guide right now, and I'm underwhelmed by it. There are a few high points, but most of it seems like filler, like including Luke's uncle's brother's roommate's cousin twice removed. I think part of that is that the era's actually pretty well covered in the core rule book, but it also feels like they were trying too hard.

Having said that, from a GM standpoint if Galaxy at War and Galaxy of Intrigue are as good as Scum and Villainy from a game support standpoint (e.g. scenarios, adventure hook generators, etc.) then I welcome them. Scum and Villainy was a great toolkit for me, and it's become one of my go-to books.

But would I have all these books if I wasn't reviewing them? Nah, I don't think so. Though I do think that one big point in Star Wars favor is that all this extra stuff is optional. Saga three years in doesn't feel like D&D 3.x at three years in, where power creep had truly set in. I think they've gone out of their way to make things balanced, and to make sure that they note when a new subsystem (like origins in Rebellion Era or legacies in Legacy Era might combine to become too overpowering.

IMHO i think with Saga you can get away with having one or two books as a player, and never notice the difference.

The only other thing (and this occurred to me later, so I'm abusing my editor powers to go back and update my comment) is that when he was on the Order 66 podcast discussing Scum and Villainy, Rodney Thompson had said that he was shooting for a three-book approach, in which people could have a good, robust campaign buy getting the core rule book, the campaign book for the era they want to adventure in, and the corresponding "theme" book (e.g. these two new Galaxy books or Scum and Villainy). I think that's a pretty reasonable approach.

Rodney Thompson, the Star Wars line editor, was on the latest episode of Order 66 and gave some details about Galaxy of Intrigue and Galaxy at War. One important point is that these aren't being designed as class splatbooks; instead he explicitly said he was looking at these books as providing tools for the GM.

The campaign books were all about giving players options; while these books will have more player stuff, they're being designed in the same vein as Scum and Villainy. For example, Galaxy at War will have advice and tools for creating memorable location encounters. And Galaxy of Intrigue? Well that's going to introduce skill challenges (something my group's been using since we started Star Wars). Rodney clearly gets that prep time is an issue for all GMs (he pointed out that if it's an issue for him -- a guy who gets paid to write for Star Wars -- then it's got to be an issue for the rest of us.:)

All in all, they sound like exactly what I'd hoped they'd be -- source books that give me more tools to GM with.