Game Day: Perfect Storm of Geek Work, Star Wars RPG

The headline says it all. I’m reviewing the new Star Wars: Saga Edition as a freelance gig. My review copy arrived Wednesday; my playtest of the game was scheduled for Friday and the game review is due Monday. At the same time, my Knights of the Dinner Table column was due Friday, my next freelance web review is due Tuesday and oh, wait, there’s that Shadowrun game review I need to start thinking about for next week.

Meanwhile, at work — meaning my day job — I’m scrambling to get our Moodle installation up and running with a full faculty and course list as well as a spiffy new theme before I leave for a conference.

So I’m feeling a little stressed. And Friday’s Game Day column is a little late.

“The Force is strong with this one….”

The primary source of my stress (at least last week) was the Star Wars playtest, which necessitated me reading the entire Star Wars: Saga Edition rule book in about 36 hours, and then knocking out a couple of pre-gen characters for my friends to play as well as a Knights of the Old Republic-inspired scenario for them to run through.

It speaks volumes about the new edition that I was able to do all this and still managed to sleep about six hours a night. The new edition ditches the complexity of the old D&D 3.x-inspired skill system in favor of one in which a character is either trained or untrained in a skill, with the trained ones getting a greater bonus. Throw in the combination of Armor Class (Defense in the previous Star Wars edition) with Saving Throws and you’ve got a system in which it’s possible to stat out a 3rd level character in about 20 minutes. Heck, it took me almost as long to come up with each character’s backstory.

The playtest itself went very, very well — everyone was able to put aside their experience with the Dungeons & Dragons and focusing on running Star Wars as Star Wars, and not just a dungeon crawl in space.

The sense was that the streamlining of the game really does make it more cinematic and faster-paced, and while these changes may not work nearly as well in a fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, they do work damn well with Star Wars.

Check out our notes from the playtest.

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