I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, don’t fix what ain’t broke. It’s a simple concept; if something works well, don’t change it, at least not substantially. I’ve recently purchased the new Star Wars RPG, Force and Destiny by Jay Little and published by Fantasy Flight Games, and I’m faced with a difficult decision. This is a beautiful book, and the quality of the writing and artwork is stellar. Character development is excellent, and fits exactly what a Star Wars game should offer. But I wonder about the unusual die system. Force and Destiny requires a specific set of dice, a group of multiple sided, colored and marked dice used in task resolution.
First off, while I get the idea behind it, I find it confusing, and more importantly why on Earth would you increase the cost of an already expensive book (I bought mine for $56) by requiring a hard to obtain, expensive set of dice? Let’s face it, with internet piracy and gutter incomes across most of the world, role playing game publishers can’t risk putting something out there that’s too expensive. People who want to play but can’t afford the high prices are going to get the game somehow, even if it means downloading a scanned copy PDF.
Obviously, those publishers are facing a very niche market with RPG books; tabletop gamers are a dying breed (although I’ve seen hope on the horizon!) so they’ve got to sell the books for enough to make it worth their while. And that’s where my confusion about Force and Destiny lies. Regardless of how good or bad (and I’ve got to say that this game looks very good), using this weird dice mechanic will probably hurt them in the long run. Was it really necessary to use this system, or was it just an effort to stand out in the crowd?
Personally, every time I crack open the Force and Destiny rulebook, I get my jones on for Star Wars, but get so frustrated at their system that I always go running back to my old West End Games d6 version, arguably the last word in Star Wars gaming.
However, if you really like Star Wars and enjoy gaming in that universe, and you can afford it, Force and Destiny is worth buying. Actually buying. Don’t bother downloading it on PDF, ‘cause that will leave you with a great book that you can’t use without the goofy dice. Support your local game store and get them to order the book and the dice for you.
P.S. There is an app available for the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars series of role playing games, and it’s only 5 bucks. However, I’ve got something to say about why that doesn’t make any difference. First off, it’s damned difficult to get the players to stay off those stupid phones as it is. Second, that’s one more digital killer of dice makers, and third, if you’re going to use an app to play, you might as well just go play video games and give up on table-topping altogether. That’s my opinion, so there. Raspberry.