The Saving Throw
Star Wars - Saga Edition Core Rulebook 12.31.2009
Saving Throw's review of Star Wars - Saga Edition Core Rulebook.

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Star Wars - Saga Edition Core Rulebook
published by Wizards of the Coast reviewed by Martin Drury
288 pages, 2007, $39.95
Story 3
Enjoyability 4
Adaptability 3
Intelligibility 4
Review Scoring

   Star Wars. The name alone evokes a feeling of awe and amazement. Grand stories and dramatic fights. Unfortunately, the Star Wars - Saga Edition Core Rulebook seems to suck some of the excitement and daring out of the Star Wars universe. This is to be expected of any game system adaptation of a film, but is still disappointing.

Being the "saga edition", this take on Star Wars roleplaying provides information for adventuring in three different eras: The Rise of the Empire, The Rebellion, and The New Jedi Order. The different eras have different restrictions on feats, force powers, an non-player characters that are available, although of course a Game Master could choose to allow a mix of eras.

The core rulebook provides seventeen races, from Humans and Bothans to Gungans and Wookies. The mix covers the major races from the Star Wars universe as well as some who are less common or less well known. Although only five classes are presented in the core rule book- Jedi, Noble, Scoundrel, Scout, and Soldier - they should cover all the basics. Toss in the twelve prestige classes, and most of the "classes" in the movies are covered.

Skills and Feats help round out characters along with heroic traits, and of course, the Force. It is at this point that Star Wars - Saga Edition loses some of the flair of the Star Wars universe. The game mechanics suck some of the excitement out of the displays of force, taking Jedi from super beings to little more than skillful warriors. While good role-playing can save some of the excitement, the end results of the use of the Jedi powers are unimpressive and will disappoint many players.

Another staple of the Star Wars franchise are fantastic vehicles and droids. For the most part these translate faithfully into the game system, although a few hiccups exist here and there with spaceship combat. Rounding out the rulebook are several chapters dedicated to Game-Mastering and life in the galaxy. These chapters will be invaluable for Game Masters to help preserve as much of the feel of Star Wars as possible.

Like a lot of adaptations, Star Wars - Saga Edition is a two-headed monster. On the one hand, fans of the movies who are also gamers will be drawn to it, but at the same time they might be pushed away by some of the mechanics that take the majesty out of the setting. Overall the system works, but Star Wars purists are likely to be put off, especially by the watered down "Force".

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