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BastionKain

Age of Rebellion ReviewS

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Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook: review 1 of 2

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.. so I decided to review it twice.
you may see why after reading both reviews.


 

Review 1.
Assumptions:
1* The buyer is new to role playing games.
2* FFGs’ Star Wars: Edge of the Empire product line does not exist (or at minimum, the buyer has and never will have any desire to purchase or utilize any of that product lines material.)
                
 Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook provides everything needed for both players and Game Masters alike to jump in to the Star Wars universe at one of its most exciting times. From the introduction, the reader is thrown into the Rebel ranks and sets the on an adventure to defeat the evil Empire.
The rules clearly state that the focus is on Role-Play and the heavy use of Narrative to keep things moving along smoothly. Like most RPG’s the rules can take a while to master but in Age of Rebellion they are clearly written and you will quickly pick up the basics. The dice system is interesting as well as dynamic, supporting the narrative style of the game and pleasing those of us who enjoy throwing fistfuls of dice down as frequently as possible.
As players begin to create characters they will find several options from race selection to careers and specializations. There are 8 familiar and recognizable races to choose from including the Gran, Droids, and even the race of our beloved Admiral Akbar, the Mon Calamari.
There are 6 Career path options each with 3 specialization trees as well as a ‘universal’ tree for those who are just starting out, or just can’t decide yet. Maybe you’d like to be a Diplomat who dabbles in computer hacking, or maybe augment you’re Ace Pilot’s skills by learning some Scout Talents. With the games system designed to let players branch out however they like over time, players will find there are plenty of options to keep them interested for quite a while. The special abilities you gain from your Careers Talent trees help separate you from the commoners, but don’t forget your basic skills.
A large list of Skills are the core of what your character can do and how well it gets done. Purchase up to 5 ranks in a skill to roll more dice and have the advantage. Skills vary from combat skills such as Melee and Gunnery, to more esoteric skills like Knowledge (core worlds) and Astrogation.
The skills are described in detail. You’ll learn what each one is good for, what it can and in some cases can’t, do. The book even gives options on how to interpret dice results for certain kinds of skill checks, which helps both players and Game Masters keep things moving smoothly.
Once you get past the character creation, there is a fairly standard fair of gadgets and gizmos, arms and armor that are available to the players. Save up and buy that fancy armor, if you don’t you might want to invest in a Bacta Tank. Even the weapons and armor in this game can be further modified. The modification options are somewhat limited, but even the small selection dramatically increases the overall number of ‘options’.
Of course, no Star Wars universe would be complete without some of those iconic Spaceships and imperial walkers. Fear not, Age of Rebellion provides stats for speeders, AT-ATs and even Star Destroyers. The ship combat rules are a bit less streamlined than the rules for personal combat, but they still get the job done. I imagine that most combat would not be ship combat though as player characters would be hard pressed to purchase a ship that would last more than a round against a star destroyer. Even in smaller ships though it’s still a generally dangerous and final a prospect to have your ship blown up in space seeing as how, when that happens you rapidly go from ‘meat bag in a box’ to ‘meatsicle out in the cold depths of space’ assuming of course that you aren’t immediately turned into ‘meat mist’ by the initial blowing up part…. Aaaanyway.
One thing that is likely to disappoint players is the apparent lack of Force related powers or abilities. There is a singular Force related Talent tree, and three basic powers you can acquire. You can move things with your mind, use the force to enhance your own physical abilities, or see the future. The powers here can be quite powerful, but the players won’t be able to just pick up a lightsaber and have the powers of Vader. Of course, that all makes some sense, since the Age of Rebellion is set in a time when there are no Jedi and the Force is a nearly forgotten thing.
The Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook has a nice section to help Game Masters set things up and lead a group of players. It’s not the most in depth help I’ve ever seen, but it’s a start.
There is a starter story in the back, a short mini-campaign that your GM can run called the Perlemian Haul. Its got bad guys, good guys and other stuff I won’t spoil for you, but it’s pretty well done even if it is fairly short.
When your done with the Perlemian Run, there is also a moderate helping of bad guys and locations to choose from that are already stat’d up and ready to go.
All the pieces are there. Good concepts, good rules, lots of choices, no glaringly horrible oversights, a little bit to get you started and a boat-load to keep you going.
For new GMs and new players who love the Star Wars universe Age of Rebellion is going to be a ton of fun.
 
-1 for not having more… stuff (just in general, more stuff is nice)
-1 for minor gripes about ship combat rules and very minor gripes about the books organization.
 

As far as Core Rulebooks for a new RPG goes, this is pretty great. 8/10

 

 

 

 

Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook: review 2 of 2

a book so duplicitous I had to review it twice.
 
Review 2.
Assumptions:
1* The buyer is not new to role playing games.
2* The buyer owns the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook (possibly some other edge of the empire books as well) or at the very minimum is aware of and familiar with (has played extensively) FFG’s Edge of the Empire product line.
 
YOU DO NOT NEED THIS BOOK.

I remember when I was a kid maybe 7 or 8 years old. I was obsessed with action figures, specifically alien and predator action figures. I waited for the new ones to come out, kept track of the Toys-R-Us delivery schedule to make sure i could get mine. Each time a new one came out I was ecstatic. My favorite was the special mail away Cloaked Predator figure. it was AWESOME... then I started growing up, and suddenly had the realization that... wait a second.. this is the same exact figure as one that I had from a different pack... then i realized that several of the things i owned were just re-paints of other figures.. and i thought... wow.. I've sort of been cheated here.. i payed money for this stuff that they marketed as cool NEW products... but they are the same **** thing, they just slapped a different color on it and called it by a different name. And my fancy Cloaked Predator that i mailed away for was the worst culprit..  i thought i had something super special and new and different.. when really.. they tricked me in to paying more money for something that in the end, was basically an unfinished version of something i already owned...
That is basically what buying the Age of Rebellion core rule book feels like.
except, now I'm an adult and the regret/disappointment/anger was virtually instantaneous.

Age of Rebellion contains no compelling new material.

If FFG can sue themselves for plagiarism they should.
Here is the first paragraph from chapter 9 'the game master' in the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook.

 Welcome to the first step in becoming an EDGE OF THE EMPIRE Game Master. While running a role-playing game can be challenging, it is also rewarding in ways different from those associated with playing individual characters. This chapter walks new Game Masters through the information needed to become an accomplished and entertaining Star Wars GM. Novice and experienced GMs alike should find useful information and advice for running this game from both a storytelling and mechanical point of view.

and Here is the first paragraph from chapter 9 'the game master' in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook.

Welcome to the first step in becoming an Age of Rebellion Game Master. Running a role-playing game comes with both challenges and immense rewards. This chapter focuses on helping a new Game Master get the information needed to run a successful Age of Rebellion game that captures the feel of Star Wars. Both novice and experienced GMs should find that this chapter contains useful information for handling both the rules and the storytelling aspects of the game.

Seriously? This is reminiscent of high school book report plagiarism and the vast majority of the book is like this. Ok, so lets ignore for a moment that you already purchased the vast majority of the information in this book when you bought the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook and try to focus on what new and different things the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook brings to the table.

Here is the grand total of NEW material you will receive from the Age of Rebellion core rulebook.
4 new Races.
1 new Skill.
6 new Careers, comprised of 13 new Specialties.
17 new Talents.
3 new Items.
2 new Universal Specialty trees.
2 new Force Powers.
21 new ships.
1 new ship attachment.
47 new bad guys.
1 Story.

ok so now your thinking "hey, that's a fair bit of stuff there guy. I think I probably DO need this book". but... sadly, your WRONG. i'll explain. i'll go point by point on the new stuff.

The New Races are actually pretty cool.. and you can't get them without this book. hmm
The new Skill is Knowledge (warefare). Sounds neat but the skill itself is somewhat vauge. It might help support your character to say he has the Knowledge (warefare) skill. If roleplay is your focus though, what knowledge the skill does represent can easily be folded into the other skills like Lore and Education thus making this skill completely un-neccessary.
The new Careers aren't too bad really. they offer new progression options and their Specialty trees are more focused to help support the concepts of each career far better than in Edge of the Empire. You still don't need the book though.. because the Specialty tree pages can be copied and you can find them freely on the interwebs (i'll have my own versions up soon). So, you don't need the book to get 90 percent of the info you need to utilize these new Careers. there are 5 duplicated Specialty trees :(
New Talents is always good, they are a sweet honey that we all desire. there are only 1.3 new talents for each new Specialization tree, so that's kind of a bummer. You don't need the book for these either though. Like most talents the blurbs in the Specialty tree lists contain the gist of each talent. You can use the Specialization tree you copied or found on line to get the idea. if you have a question about the details, someone will have answered it already on the forums i bet.
the new items are: Anti-Vehicle Mine, Anti-Personnel Mine, Armor-Piercing Grenade. These are all extremely circumstantial and not terribly likely to come up very often, so feel free to improvise if you like.
The Universal Specialty Trees are the Recruit and the new Force Emergent tree. both pretty cool but again, they are Specialty trees and free to copy. Get yours on-line.
New Force Powers include Foresee and Enhance. I look forward to hearing of all the games ruined by the Foresee power, but once again, you can get these on line just like the Specialty trees.
New ships. ok, there are fair amount of new ships.. and i do love me some ships.. you get some really iconic stuff stat'ed out here. like the AT-AT or star destroyers. not a lot of small or mid-range stuff though. so unless you're group is in the habit of hunting down giants, these aren't likely to come up. If they do, there is ONE new rule called 'Massive' and a couple new ship actions to help you deal with their immensity. When they do though, you'll likely be running from them anyway, so having them all stat'ed won't be insanely important to your game experience. "holy ****! a star destroyer showed up, lets get the **** out of here.   it's shooting towards us!   I know! that's why we are leaving!" and then you're gone or dead or captured, and I'm guessing any way that plays out, the stats of the ship weren't super important.
The new ship attachment is the upgraded Comms Array..  nice.. but..... not necessary. There's other important **** you need those hard points for anyway.
New bad guys. 47 new bad guys. most of them are naturally from the rebel and imperial ranks. I admit, that having pre-made baddies on hand is incredibly helpful and useful. Sadly, most of these aren't all that interesting. I know that making bad guys yourself is a pain, but really, you can do it and if you do, your baddies will likely fit your story, your objectives and your needs better than the pre-made guys anyway.
The new story. the 21 page Perlemian Haul story is... well, i'll let you make up your own mind. You don't NEED it though... you can make up your own **** story (isn't that half the point of these games).

so yeah... if you already own the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook...
  YOU DON'T NEED THIS BOOK.
Maybe you have a friend, who is a sucker like me and already shelled out the money.
if that's the case then YOU REALLY SERIOUSLY DON'T NEED THIS BOOK AT ALL as you can simply borrow it for a moment to fill in the gaps.

don't get me wrong though, the new material is compatible with all the old material, and it does allow you a few more options. options are nice. variety is nice.. variety...
This book is a virtual carbon copy of the first core rulebook.
It provides very little new material. The new material it does provide is superfluous, or easily obtainable (legally) without purchasing this book. It has NO defining characteristics to separate it from EotE or justify calling it a Core Rulebook.

I will use this book... but every time I play my Ace character, i'll shed a small tear inside that will slowly drip down in to the pool of disgust and distrust that is building in my gut for the FFG star wars role playing game franchise(s)

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook:   3/10
DO NOT BUY
 
 
 
 
TLDR: If you don't own any FFG star wars role playing products then this book is great.  If you DO already own any FFG star wars role playing products, This one is a trick to steal your money.
Edited by BastionKain

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Ref. to the second review - I disagree. 

And agree - yes, for someone who has EtoE there is not too much new information. However the fact that most of the rules, skills and talents are reprinted is acutally - for my group - a big advantage. There are 5 players and me (a GM) in our group - and only one book to share. There is also someone during a session who wants to check something about the rules, the GM needs an ad-hoc NPC etc etc. And now, instead of buying exactly the same book again, we get AoR.

Just a different point of view.

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I wasn't interested in AoR to start with, so quite happy to read this. I really like EoTE because it doesn't really rub strongly with the movies or big factions. (I rather create my own worlds, than having the star wars nerds at my table go like 'Thats not how it is' ;) )

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Completionists are really going to take it in the garbage chute with this product line. In hindsight I wish I had just stuck with Edge and called it a day. 

 

* Clarification Edit: I love GMing this system, no hate. With that said this will be the last system I buy into that runs off of the Perpetual Splat model. Lesson learned...again. :)

Edited by GMmL

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Completionists are really going to take it in the garbage chute with this product line. In hindsight I wish I had just stuck with Edge and called it a day. 

Unless we like that. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!

 

I apparently must love it. You see, it all started in 1978... I was a child.... A CHILD, George!

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There is a lot of truth to this review. I'm don't view AoR as negatively as the OP, but yeah, if you're on a budget don't buy AoR. Or at least only buy one of the extant core rule books. You don't need them both.

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OP captures my thoughts pretty perfectly. I don't NEED this book. Buying it for the sole reason of owning it might convince me, but I don't think I will. Maybe at some other time.

 

So what makes me sad about this, the Force and Destiny book will probably be the same. What RPG or game in general needs 3 CORE Rulebooks?

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OP captures my thoughts pretty perfectly. I don't NEED this book. Buying it for the sole reason of owning it might convince me, but I don't think I will. Maybe at some other time.

 

So what makes me sad about this, the Force and Destiny book will probably be the same. What RPG or game in general needs 3 CORE Rulebooks?

 

Star Wars by FFG  :lol:

 

But more seriously, I still plan on buying all books from this series.

Not only it was a personnal oath from my part, but I'd love to have an actual full collection of this RPG.

Also, as I gm a Star Wars nearly every two weeks (a bit more on average) I find it to love having loads of books all around me as I do.

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So what makes me sad about this, the Force and Destiny book will probably be the same. What RPG or game in general needs 3 CORE Rulebooks?

The thing that seems to be forgotten a lot, is that each core book is a seperate self contained RPG. They are compatible, but all three are not needed.

Similar games from FFG are the dark heresy, rogue trader etc games. They are compatible, mostly, but seperate games in the same universe.

As for rpgs that require 3 core rule books, Dungeons and Dragons across its iterations, and ipso facto pathfinder.

Every palladium rpg has a core rule book, with mostly, the same rules.

FFG made a really smart business decision bybreleasing three rpgs that are rules wise identical, but different thematically. They are counting on fans to buy the books because they are star wars. Similar reason as to why we get books with a smattering of races, ships and gear, rather than anthologies for each thing. People will buy because there is something in each book people want.

While the powers that be probably like star wars a great deal, they are doing the rpg as a business, first and foremost.

If you don't like how it is done, don't buy the product. I'm not being snarky, just stating a viable strategy rather than complaining on an internet forum that the developers likely don't read.

Of course not supporting the rpg would possibly mean FFG loses the liscence, which wotc could buy again and shelves and/or doesnt support or intermittently supports it like the past.

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I'll get it but not until it is on sale, I want the new information that it provides but I don't need it yet. When I do get it it'll be useful but also a second book for the group.

F&D on the other hand should have more thats different so I'll get that one when it comes out.

 

 

PS. I've also pretty much taken a pass on the splatbooks. They have a few interesting things but I find them moving the game into the more cartoony version of Star Wars. I prefer the more cinematic, fantastic realism of the original films. Plus you really don't need them to have a great game. 

Edited by FuriousGreg

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I've also pretty much taken a pass on the splatbooks. They have a few interesting things but I find them moving the game into the more cartoony version of Star Wars. I prefer the more cinematic, fantastic realism of the original films. Plus you really don't need them to have a great game. 

 

Not sure what you mean there, Greg.

 

Speaking as someone who loathes Clone Wars and all the anime influences that have crept into SW over the last two decades, I'm finding the splatbooks are the complete opposite. 

 

The main draw for EoE/AoR for me is that they feel like the original films. One of my players admits how much he likes 'Star Wars For Grown-Ups'. 

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I've also pretty much taken a pass on the splatbooks. They have a few interesting things but I find them moving the game into the more cartoony version of Star Wars. I prefer the more cinematic, fantastic realism of the original films. Plus you really don't need them to have a great game. 

 

Not sure what you mean there, Greg.

 

Speaking as someone who loathes Clone Wars and all the anime influences that have crept into SW over the last two decades, I'm finding the splatbooks are the complete opposite. 

Fair question. What I mean by cartoony is the further the abilities creep from cinematic realism to more cartoony physics. I'm finding things like the Heavy (Dangerous Covenants) and the combat oriented Signature Abilities a bit of a stretch for me. CRB already has enough to make seriously bad-a$$ combat monsters and the new career choices aren't really that compelling, they just feel like more of whats already enough. I'm not saying they take it all the way to cartoony but from skimming through them I really don't see them adding much else that I can't do on my own.

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Fair enough - I guess you mean things like 'Last Man Standing'?

 

I must admit though I enjoyed the splatbooks, though I agree there's nothing in Dangerous Covenants that's a must-have.  

 

However, I thought the Explorer book was a vast improvement of the original career, that was badly lacking things like stealth and weapon skills that you would expect an Explorer would have.

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I fully expected there to be many repeating aspects in the book, but as written, they are meant to be stand alone products, so have to repeat information

 

Besides, if I'm playing an Age of Rebellion themed game, I don't want to have to have the EOTE book lying around, plus whatever supplemental stuff I've printed that's different for AoR.  I'd rather just have the AoR book and have everything I need right then.

 

Too little value for the money? Perhaps, but a repeat in rules/information is necessary, imo. 

Edited by Rookhelm

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to paraphrase: I'm quite happy with FFG in general, its just unfortunate that those of us that want to have everything get doubles of things we don't really need, but I really like the general approach they have on their franchises.

Take X-Wing for example, beginners box doesn't have enough dice, but you want two of those anyways - problem solved ;) .

 

I would be content if e.g. the examples for the skills are different in the core books. Leadership might mean something slightly different in the rebellion and on the edge of the empire and give me another reason to enjoy the new books.

 

But, until I've seen the new book in person (which takes quite a while longer in europe :( ) I'll withhold judgement.

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 Get yours on-line.

 

 

Ah, not too put it too bluntly, but that's a load of horseshit - if you want to use the material, PAY FOR THE GODDAMED MATERIAL!

 

Look, it’s your right not to buy what you feel is mostly redundant material (despite the fact that you ignore the back half of the book, worlds and organizations as seen from the rebellion point of view is all new) and I'm fine with that. You buy what you like and can afford.

 

However, this game isn’t out of print and commanding crazy prices like some of the D6 books are. Pirating Tramp Freighters  is not hurting WEG any. However if you just download the bits you want from a living, active game from a - let’s face it, smaller publishing house - then you are actively cutting the legs out from under the game. You're hurting FFG and you're hurting the community.

 

That's a load of crap.

 

Dont buy it if you dont want it - but dont be an ass about it and use it anyway.

Edited by Desslok

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